Spot the Differential

Phillips can offer excellent value as Liverpool prepare for fixture-swing

Gameweek 31 is almost upon us which gives us an opportunity to have a look at some more differential options.

This time, we’ve selected low-owned picks at Leicester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, who we think have the potential to make an impact.

As always, to qualify, the player must have an ownership of 5% or less at the time of writing.

Nathaniel Phillips

  • FPL ownership: 1.9%
  • Price: £4.0m
  • GW31-35 fixtures: AVL | lee | NEW | mun | SOU

Academy product Nat Phillips (£4.0m) has taken his chance at Liverpool this season and now offers Fantasy managers exceptional value.

The 24-year-old spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at VfB Stuttgart, where he helped them gain promotion to the Bundesliga. Having arrived back at Anfield ahead of the current season, he wasn’t expected to feature in many games, but has been thrust into action after injuries to key defenders Virgil van Dijk (£6.2m), Joe Gomez (£5.2m) and Joel Matip (£5.4m).

The Englishman has now made 11 Premier League appearances and alongside January loan signing Ozan Kabak (£5.0m), has kept back-to-back Premier League clean sheets. The duo have formed a decent centre-back partnership, and despite a challenging Champions League night earlier this week, it is worth remembering Real Madrid are an altogether different proposition to what they will face domestically during the run-in.

Crucially, the performances of Phillips have the added bonus of allowing Fabinho (£5.4m) to return to midfield. Jürgen Klopp’s side badly missed the Brazilian as a number six, and look a far better side with him sitting in front of the back four.

Up next for Liverpool is Aston Villa, who could be missing Jack Grealish (£7.5m) again this weekend. After that, the Reds take on Leeds and Newcastle, before closing the season with games against West Brom, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

Phillips costs just £4.0m, and as one of the cheapest starting defenders in the game, could be a quality enabler for the remainder of the season.

James Maddison

  • FPL ownership: 5.0%
  • Price: £7.1m
  • GW31-35 fixtures: whu | WBA | CRY | sou | NEW

James Maddison (£7.1m) returned with an appearance off the bench against Manchester City in Gameweek 30, having missed six matches through injury.

The playmaker had been in exceptional form prior to being side-lined, producing five goals, three assists and 64 FPL points between Gameweeks 17 and 25.

Unsurprisingly, the attacking midfielder has been Leicester City’s main creative outlet this term. Amongst team-mates, he leads the way for final-third touches, successful crosses and chances created, plus expected assists (xA).

However, since late last year, Maddison’s goal threat is improving too, something he touched on in an interview in January: 

“Me, the gaffer and Jack, the analyst, sat down and looked at where I can get more goals. Playing a bit deeper, I was a No.8 today, and breaking into the box and getting beyond that last line and really, kind of, almost smelling where the ball is going to drop. It’s not an easy thing to do. Frank Lampard was the best at it, arriving late and scoring goals, and that’s what I did today.” – James Maddison

Now shooting closer to goal, in more central areas, he has found the back of the net 11 times this season, eight of which have come in the Premier League.

Personal motivation could be a key factor, too. If Maddison is to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championship this summer, he will need to play a starring role during the run-in. Encouragingly, the fixtures offer him an opportunity to do exactly that, as Brendan Rodgers’s side face West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Newcastle United between Gameweeks 32 and 35.

Whether fielded out wide, as a number 10 or deeper, Maddison has found a way to impact games, and could be a smart differential for those on the lookout for a new midfielder.

Rob Holding

  • FPL ownership: 3.4%
  • Price: £4.2m
  • GW31-35 fixtures: shu | FUL | EVE | new | WBA

Another budget defender you might want to consider is Rob Holding (£4.2m).

Following the news that David Luiz (£5.4m) will miss a number of weeks with a knee injury, we think the Englishman is likely to start alongside either Gabriel Magalhães (£4.9m) or Pablo Marí (£4.4m), who are both left-footed.

As the clubs only naturally right-sided centre-back, Holding is the obvious candidate to replace Luiz, and with a schedule that sees Arsenal take on Sheffield United, Fulham, Newcastle and West Brom in the next five Gameweeks, he can offer FPL managers real value.

This season, the 25-year-old has started 21 Premier League matches, and kept eight clean sheets during that time. He has arguably been Mikel Arteta’s best defender, and as a result, was rewarded with a new contract back in January.

Despite a poor showing against Liverpool last weekend, Arsenal do appear to be heading in the right direction. Since Boxing Day, when they beat Chelsea 3-1, they have played 16 Premier League games, winning eight, drawing four and losing four, so their form has generally been good. The arrival of Martin Ødegaard (£6.0m) has added another creative option, and their forthcoming schedule offers encouragement that they can kick on and finish the season strongly.

Holding is likely to keep his place at centre-back in the coming weeks, and at £4.2m, could be a good bargain option for your squad.

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1,194 Comments Post a Comment
  1. The Mighty Whites
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Start 2:

    Son
    Iheanacho
    Vydra

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      First 2

    2. Shteve
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Son and vydra

  2. Please Answer Me
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Cant make my mind up:
    1)Coady
    2)Fofana

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      2, much better team.

    2. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Same doubt... Wolves best fixtures but not sure if their defense is reliable

      1. Atletico Junior
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        2

  3. Tshelby
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Vardy or Salah in?

    1. Gudjohnsen
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Salah this gw

      Vardy next gw

  4. Steadzz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Mendty/Forster
    Coady/TAA/Castagne/Coufal/Mitchell
    Jota/Son/Lingard/Salah/Bissouma
    Kane/Watkins/Wilson

    GTG? Chasing so going for differentials

    Currently planning to do Lingard > Maddison at some point, possibly before tonight.

  5. GOONER
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Who to bench?

    1- Son
    2- Gundogan
    3- DCL

  6. chaser123
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Mendy | Forster
    Rudiger | X | X | X | X
    Salah | Fernandes | Son | Lingard | Jota
    Kane | Iheanacho | X

    On wildcard, would you prefer:

    1) Trent, Ward, Coady, Davis
    2) Phillips, Shaw, Veltman, Vydra

    1. Biggsy
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      1 but swap Ward for Masuaku

    2. artvandelay316
        3 months, 23 days ago

        1

    3. Connor's Calling
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      A) Play Bale
      B) Maja -> Iheanacho (-4) and play him over Bale

      1. Utopsis
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 23 days ago

        B

    4. kysersosa
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Getting there....WC Draft 3

      Thoughts - predominantly a 353

      Martinez
      TAA, Rudiger, Holding
      Salah, Maddison, Bruno, Jota,
      Kane, Nacho, Wood

      Forster, Gund, Targett, Coady

      0.7 ITB

      G2G??

      TIA

    5. Bobby Digital
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Captain:

      A. Aguero (LEE)
      B. Auba (shu)

    6. HMC
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      does this front 8 just create weekly benching issues?

      Salah Bruno Lingard Jota Gundo
      Kane Laca Nacho

      likely Gundo to Maddison for 33 if I can keep the cash spare on wildcard this week
      selling Raph for Gundo

      1. Biggsy
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        Yes. Unless you get lucky and Pep, Klopp or Arteta do the benching for you

        1. Bojam
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Seems like a highly likely scenario. Entirely possible that they do it the same week and then you've got problems. A strong bench is required!

        2. HMC
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          any obvious changes i'm missing here?
          don't feel comfortable with Nacho as 2nd striker

          1. Bojam
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            You're on the WC this week?

            1. HMC
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              yep wc this week
              trying to set it up for the next 5 without planning too many transfers
              happy to forego owing Son

              1. Bojam
                • 4 Years
                3 months, 23 days ago

                Too many risks though I think. Maybe that's the way to go if you're chasing but, like I said, I think you need a strong bench to cover for no shows (Laca, Iheanacho, Jota, Gundo, etc..). That said, all could deliver off the bench. Jota has come and scored pretty often so not starting isn't necessarily a disaster.

                1. Bojam
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 23 days ago

                  What would you do with this team?

                  Martinez
                  Dias, Stones, Azpi
                  Bruno, Son, Bale, Jota, Gundo
                  Kane, DCL

                  Sanchez; Watkins; Coufal; Dallas

                  0FT; 0.7ITB

                  a) Save
                  b) Watkins -> Iheanacho (-4)
                  c) Bale -> ? (-4)
                  d) WC?

                  Planning to FH in 33. Saving WC for 34 might be sensible.

          2. Biggsy
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            I think Laca is the player to reconsider. If you aren't convinced by Nacho why not downgrade to fodder?

            1. HMC
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              want to have 8 playing attackers if i can. nacho can easily be benched if mins drop
              no mid price strikers standout with antonio missing

    7. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Is castagne worth the extra cash over Fofana?

      1. Fantabulous KdB
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        Yes, I like him and he should be good value on both ends with LEI fixtures

    8. gmando2011
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      A) R.James, Maddison, DCL
      B) Cresswell, Gundo, Lacazette

      which one on a wildcard is best please??

    9. Fantabulous KdB
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Crazy to get Alonso and Sterling (C) if chasing ? Jota might be rested so will wait next week

      1. HMC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        he won't be rested it's whether he starts or gets 30 mins off the bench

        1. Fantabulous KdB
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Is he worth a hit though?

    10. evilfish
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      James or Fofana? Already have Rudiger

    11. Jimjam
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Gundo or Raph out for Jota?

      1. artvandelay316
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Raph

          1. Bojam
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            Agreed. Raph. Gundo could do well this week. And worth keeping for the run in I think, esp if you got him super cheap.

      2. artvandelay316
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Pope
          Stones, Rudiger, Cresswell
          Salah (C), Bruno, Gundo, Mount, Lingard
          Kane (VC), DCL

          Subs:
          GK: Forster
          1) Dallas
          2) Bamford
          3) Mitchell

          Good to go?

        • _Ninja_
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Worth going Konsa on a WC just for Villas DGW? Benching him most other weeks.

          Mendy Forster
          TAA Rudiger Shaw Holding Konsa
          Salah Bruno Son Jota Lingard
          Kane Iheanacho Bamford

        • Sam (Team Sam)
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 12 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Basically, everything is locked, except for 3 positions.

          ???, Forster

          Trent, Alonso, Shaw,???,???

          Salah, Bruno, Jota, Lingard, Gundo (Son next week)

          Kane, Nacho, Vydra

          I have 18.3 to fill the slots.

          Any advice?

          1. evilfish
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            Leno, Fofana, Masuaka?

            Don't really like the Leno pick but there isn't a lot of other options.

            1. evilfish
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              You have more money than I thought, change Masuaka to Creswell.

          2. Sam (Team Sam)
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 12 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            Oops, actually only for 14.9 when I factor in the Son upgrade

        • mcsteely
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Klopp's comments weren't exactly reassuring..

          “To be 100 percent honest, we don’t know yet,” he said, when asked about the latest team news.

          “We played on Tuesday, flew back on Wednesday, trained yesterday, some players still felt the game.

          “Injured is nobody from the game, but we have to see what we make of the information they give us today.

          “So nobody is injured, but if we have to change something, you will see tomorrow.”

          1. ⭐ Bemba_Da ⭐
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            we have to change something is a worrying quote yes

            1. Bojam
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              You missed out the *if*

            2. Eh, just one more thing ...
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              “If we have to” ... not the same as “we have to” ..... but concerning for Jota owners like myself I must admit ...

              1. GreennRed
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 23 days ago

                Jota is well rested and best attacking threat. Should play. I'd wonder more if he'll put Fabinho back to CB again.

        • Jordan.
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          cancelo/watkins to phillips/lacazette for free yes/no

        • FPL Kaka
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Is KDB to Salah a wise move?

          Have a feeling KDB is benched but not so sure ON Salah.....

          1. mcsteely
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            I am considering this myself. either this week or next week works. Think I will do it as a premium swap for the run in and back Salah to outscore KDB over the remaining games

        • Dybala10
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Worth going with Shaw on WC if he is a doubt?

          1. Utopsis
            • 1 Year
            3 months, 23 days ago

            I think Shaw is fine, precautionary sub midweek

          2. Shteve
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            Is he a doubt? I know it was said that he was taken off at ht as a precaution but that could have been because he was on a yellow.. Id expect him to play

            1. GreennRed
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              He should play. The yellow means he's out midweek too so that's good news. Just got him on WC.

        • Concrete
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          A Mount
          B Maddison
          C Jota.

        • Whazza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Last WC check (I hope!) Anything that needs to be fixed? Please and thank you. 0.2 bank

          Mendy Forster
          TAA Alonso Shaw Dawson Holding
          Salah Bruno Jota Son Lingard
          Kane Nacho Davis

          1. Biggsy
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            Looks good

        • JVALDEZ
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Any Antonio updates?

          1. Christina.
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            tweet tweet said the birdy

        • SHOWSTOPPERRR
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Guys, one question those who are going with Kane son in wc, and with the front line kane vydra iheanacho what's your plan for bgw33? Bench kane and son and start vydra iheanacho upfront?

          1. Shteve
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            A lot of ppl are planning to sell Son

        • Tshelby
          • 6 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          Easy Antonio to Vardy Swap?

          Martinez,
          Shaw, Dias, Coufal, Dallas, Veltman
          Son, Lingard, Jota, Fernandes, Gundogan
          Kane, Antonio, Bamford

          1ft - 4.7 itb

          1. Biggsy
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            I'd go to Nacho, roll FT next week and have 2FT and the funds for some good replacements for City or Spurs for the blank

            1. Tshelby
              • 6 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              Still got my wc and will play him before the blanks I think

        • Hansel
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 23 days ago

          A) Rudiger, Gundo, Bruno
          B) Fofana, Madders, Son

          1. hustler7
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            A for me

        • artvandelay316
            3 months, 23 days ago

            Am I good to go?

            Pope
            Stones, Rudiger, Cresswell
            Salah (C), Bruno, Gundo, Mount, Lingard
            Kane (VC), DCL

            Subs:
            GK: Forster
            1) Dallas
            2) Bamford
            3) Mitchell

          • hustler7
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 23 days ago

            Which of these do you prefer?

            A)
            SANCHEZ/Forster
            DIAS/Rudiger/TAA/Holding/Konsa
            Salah/Jota/Son/Bruno/Lingard
            Kane/Nacho/DAVIS
            0.1 ITB

            B)
            MENDY/Forster
            MASUAKU/ Rudiger/TAA/Holding/Konsa
            Salah/Jota/Son/Bruno/Lingard
            Kane/Nacho/VYDRA
            0.5 ITB

            Good luck all!

            1. GreennRed
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 23 days ago

              A, though both Masuaku and Dias don't look nailed on right now. Are you on WC?

              1. hustler7
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 8 Years
                3 months, 23 days ago

                Yes on WC so can move Dias/Masu to someone else?

                1. GreennRed
                  • 9 Years
                  3 months, 23 days ago

                  Dias isy player of the year, I think he's a great defender. You've enough cover there in backs for him. Prob most close to nailed City defender but Dortmund scoreline is tight, really should be 2-2, Bellingham scored a good goal. Just that if you swapped him for fodder you could upgrade elsewhere.

                  1. hustler7
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 8 Years
                    3 months, 23 days ago

                    Thanks for the feedback will stick with Dias! Good luck for the weekend!

                    1. GreennRed
                      • 9 Years
                      3 months, 23 days ago

                      Good luck to yourself too for now and rest of the season.