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. Diro
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Gundo or Raphinha > Jota ?

      1. Big Al Stankovic
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Tough one. Probably a good time to ditch city assets.

    • fpl_tp95
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Thoughts on this WC team.

      Mendy

      Alonso, Shaw, TAA

      Lingard, Bruno, Salah, Jota, Son

      Keli Kane

      Bench: Forster, Holding, Masuaku, Davis

      G2G? Potentially thinking of Mount as a one week punt over Son...

      1. Shteve
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Looks good, not sure about masuaka game time though

        1. fpl_tp95
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Yeah it's a risk but I'm tight on cash so can't afford much else. Unless I go Phillips over TAA

          1. Shteve
            • 11 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            If you've no BB left, then you could chance alioski, not good fixtures for next few but he usually plays and there last couple of games of the season are decent

      2. HammersXI
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Wouldnt go alonso. It's a very weak bench

        1. fpl_tp95
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Yeah fair point, I think he's likely to start the next few, and if it becomes to much of a headache I can ship him out for a Leicester defender

    • Cojones of Destiny
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      who’d you C out of :
      a. Kane
      b. Bruno
      c. Jota

      cheers and GL!

      1. jimbobmij
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Jota personally

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

        A

      3. Big Al Stankovic
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        C

    • Jebiga
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      What does this mean ? 🙂

      It's between important games vs Borussia Dortmund

      WFT, Pep roulette or ?

      1. GreennRed
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        He roulettes even when there's no CL games.

        1. Jebiga
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Im now 100% sure for KDB (c)

    • jimbobmij
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Pulisic or Podence for my draft team? I'm at bottom place so replacing a gamble isn't a problem if it doesn't work out

    • matiakez
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      spent way to much of this week thinking about keeper combos

      A) mendy, forster
      B) lloris, sanchez
      C) kasper, forster

      1. jimbobmij
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        A

      2. GreennRed
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        A. Forster has blank in GW33.

      3. Biggsy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        A. Maybe C.

        Spurs clean sheets not looking that likely

      4. HashAttack
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        c)

    • Igz08
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Martinez Forster
      Taa Dias Rudi Perreira Saiss
      Mahrez Salah Jota Bruno Jlingz
      Kane Iheanacho Davis

      1.2 ITB to do Mahrez -> Son next week

      Gtg?

      1. Biggsy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Don't like the Martinez pick, but if you are confident then team looks good

        1. Igz08
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Yeah I don’t wanna change keepers. Basically only unsure of the defence

    • Biggsy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      G2G?

      Mendy, Forster
      Rudiger, TAA, Dias (Coady, Masuaku)
      Salah, Lingard, Bruno, Jota (Lucas Moura)
      Kane, Nacho, Vydra

      £1.3m ITB to address problems/shift Lucas out after 32

      1. Crunchie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Yep looks good

    • Zlatan F.C
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Repost: Template WC team with Gundo and Fofana

        Am i G2G? Plan is to get Son for Gundo next GW

        Mendy (Forster)
        Rudiger TAA Fofana Holding Coufal
        Salah Jota Gundo Lingard Bruno
        Kane Nacho Vydra

        1. Biggsy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Looks good

      • sthelenslad92
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Start Watkins or Bamford? Both facing tough opposition but good chance of Liverpool & City rotating with one eye on champions league

        1. Big Al Stankovic
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Bamford on pens, probably more goals in Leeds than villa for time being.

      • Big Al Stankovic
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        A) Rudiger and Castagne?
        Or
        B) Alonso and Fofana?

        1. Akeem
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          A

      • Big Ronnie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Best £5m defender?

        A) Fofana
        B) Coady
        C) James

        1. GreennRed
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          C

        2. Jebiga
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          b

        3. Big Al Stankovic
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          James if you have a decent bench, Fofana if not.

        4. Bavarian
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          B

      • Big Hands Barry
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Any idea when villa double likely to be scheduled for?

        1. Jebiga
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          nothing before 35

          1. Big Hands Barry
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Thanks

      • gmando2011
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        is anyone wildcarding putting in Reece James? worth the extra over Rudiger?

        1. Big Al Stankovic
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Probably, but could be prone to more rotation.

          1. gmando2011
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            everytime i watch him i think hes so good.

            1. Big Al Stankovic
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              I was going Rudiger. But will check out more of his stats now.

        2. Hazz
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          He's great however here would be my arguments against him:

          - Still not actually nailed. CHO can play RWB. Could James be protected for Porto Second leg? Also, has been known to cameo if he doesn't start.

          - Slightly more expensive than Rudiger/Christensen.

          - Only actually has 1 goal & 2 assist in the league all season (1G 1A inf rust game alone. His stats are quite decent, but we do not take advantage of his crossing. Werner/Havertz and Co are quite guilty of this.

          - He does have good baseline BPS accrual, but it's dropped a bit of late. Look which teams he got bonus points for against. It's the 'top' teams where he has more defensive duties to carry out. In games where we get far more posssesion our CBs do tend to accrue bonus more effectively.

      • evilfish
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Who starts?

        a) Coufal
        b) Fofana
        c) Veltman

      • Flynny
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        What is the best wildcard set up here please?

        Xxx forster
        Taa alonso shaw xxx coady

        A.....mendy  holding

        B.....Leno  rudiger

        Thanks

        1. Jebiga
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          A

        2. Biggsy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          A.

          Otherwise you are going to bench one of Shaw, Trent, Alonso and Rudiger each week?

        3. waltzingmatildas
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          A

          1. Flynny
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Thanks

      • Crunchie
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        mmm Lingard or Maddison.

        This quote may have made up my mind.

        Brendan Rodgers on James Maddison: “It was really good to get him back on the field. He’s a bit away from where his level would be. It’s important to have him back.”

        1. Biggsy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Agree with that. WHU is a tricky enough fixture to safely go without

          1. Crunchie
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Yes now I have Mount in the back of my mind lol 🙂

            1. Biggsy
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              I was on Mount for a long time. I think CL is enough distraction for Chelsea

      • Rocky FPL
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Guys need help with WC.
        Who would you rather have for the run in?
        A) Dias
        B) Shaw

        1. Biggsy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          A if you have nailed on back-ups

      • artvandelay316
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Fifth repost. Opinions please!

          Anyone able to give their opinion on my squad and if the subs are right? Cheers.

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

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

          1. artvandelay316
              2 months, 11 days ago

              Lol. Ok then...

              1. Bojam
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 11 days ago

                Looks fine to me. GTG

          2. jimbobmij
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Pulisic or Podence for my draft team?

            1. The 12th Man
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              I dropped Pulisic from mine. Need nailed on players if you have City players as well.

          3. Hazz
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            I was looking at TAA but now Tom Freeman has chucked Phillips in the Differential article, I'm not sure!

            1. The 12th Man
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              What makes the pick any different than before this article was posted?
              Phillips will get you 6 points if Liverpool get a clean sheet at 4m which is amazing but will block you getting one of TAA,Jota or Salah if you want to triple up.
              On the upside that 3 m can fund a big upgrade elsewhere.

            2. The 12th Man
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              Where as Trent has attacking points in him as well.

          4. Jebiga
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            1. Shaw

            or

            2. Lindelof + 0.5

            ?

            1. Biggsy
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              You aren't getting Shaw for the MNU clean sheets....

            2. The 12th Man
              • 7 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              Shaw

          5. Tshelby
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 11 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

            Still got my wc for next gws

          6. pjomara
            • 10 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Right bench and order?

            Martinez
            Alonso, Azpi, Shaw, Cresswell
            Bruno, Jota, KDB, Mount
            Kane, Richarlison
            sub: 4.0GK, Phillips, Raphinha, Bamford

            1. Big Al Stankovic
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              Rather Phillips than Shaw/cresswell.

          7. tabby98
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Which is better?

            A) Coufal + Lingard
            B) Neto + Fofana

            1. gmando2011
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              A

          8. gmando2011
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Really struggling to finish my WC team off, all advice appreciated.

            Mendy, Forster
            Shaw, Coady, Holding, N.Phillips
            Salah, Son, Fernandes, Jota
            Kane, Iheanacho,

            1 need 1 x def, 1 x mid, 1 x fwd and i have £19.8m to spend

            who should i be targetting?

          9. 2hotty
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Wildcard all done head is proper burnt out but im settled on this
            Leno
            Trent James Dias
            Salah Sterling Lingard Jota Gundo
            Kane Nacho
            Martinez Wood Musuaku Veltman

            1.1 in the bank sterling will become Son or Bruno in 32

            1. 2hotty
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              Sterling(C)

            2. LLoris
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              good luck

          10. LLoris
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Would you make any changes for my WC? Or G2g?
            Iheanacho or Neto?

            Mendy Forester
            TAA D.Sanchez Coady Holding Fofana
            Salah Jota Fernandes Son Esm
            Kane Iheanacho Vydra

            1. 2hotty
              • 4 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              not fussed on the sanchez pick but with the double i can understand.think spurs will concede in both 32 games and then u will prob wanna transfer out

          11. tabby98
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            WC Team:

            Mendy, Forster
            Rudiger, Dias, Coady, Coufal, Phillips
            Salah, Bruno, Son, Jota, Lingard
            Kane, Iheanacho, Vydra

            £0.1m ITB

            Gtg?

          12. pjomara
            • 10 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Is everyone getting in Phillips as a mark of respect to Prince Phillip?