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. matiakez
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Thinking I'm set..

    Kasper Forster
    TAA Dias Rudiger Coady Holding
    Bruno Salah Jota Lingaard Son
    Kane Nacho Davis

    1. ballsy_b
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Mine is quite similar. I’m going Alonso over Dias as the upside is huge. And Saiss over Coady.
      Midfield is the same... blend of form and fixtures.

      1. matiakez
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 24 days ago

        That's fair. Alonso is tempting.

  2. ballsy_b
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    3 months, 24 days ago

    What are Wildcarders doing who already have Martinez as GK?

    1. Zladan
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      I am selling.

      Thanking him for his heroics and cashing in on profits.

      Mendy in.

    2. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Sold for Mendy

  3. Garfield1001
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Coady, Saiss or Fofana on wildcard?

    1. ballsy_b
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 24 days ago

      Saiss for me

  4. Hansel
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    A) Shaw, Madders, Bamford (8th attacker)
    B) Rudiger, ESR (8th attacker), Vardy

    1. Thomas Magnum
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      B hopefully ESR starts now Odegard is out

  5. GROBARI
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 24 days ago

    Bench
    A) Coady
    B) Shaw

    1. Hansel
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      B

    2. Atletico Junior
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 24 days ago

      B

  6. Zladan
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 24 days ago

    GTG?

    Mendy
    Rüdiger Christensen Holding
    Salah Bruno Son Jota
    Kane Vardy Iheanacho

    Forster Philips ESR Amartey

    1. artvandelay316
        3 months, 24 days ago

        Why are you playing Holding over Philips? Other than that, yes.

        What do you think of mine?

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

        Forster, Dallas, Bamford, Mitchell.

        1. Zladan
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 24 days ago

          Good question. I will likely play Philips.

          I guess this isn’t a WC?

          Players look good for this week!

          1. artvandelay316
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Thanks, appreciated.

            • artvandelay316
                3 months, 24 days ago

                It's not a WC, no.

          2. Thomas Magnum
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            What’s the thinking behind Chelsea triple up?

            1. Zladan
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Value, form & fixtures.

              Excluding the 10 men hammering of course...

              1. artvandelay316
                  3 months, 24 days ago

                  Yes my plan also was to bring in three Chelsea, but putting it off until next week now, and also pondering Liverpool instead, given their fixtures.

          3. tabby98
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Mendy
            Rudiger, Dias, Phillips
            Lingard, Salah (C), Bruno, Jota
            Vydra, Iheanacho, Kane

            Forster | Son, Coady, Coufal

            Is this starting 11 okay?

            1. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Id start Son over Vydra

          4. gellinmagellan
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Which one on a WC?

            Team 1:

            Mendy Foster
            Coady Phillips Coufal Shaw Holding
            Salah Sterling Fernandes Lingard Jota
            Kane Iheanacho Vydra

            (Sterling > Son next week)

            Team 2

            Mendy Foster
            Coady TAA Coufal Shaw Holding
            Salah SON Fernandes RAPHINHA Jota
            Kane Iheanacho Vydra

            1. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Team 1

          5. Totalfootball
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Captain -

            Gundogan
            Kane
            Vardy

            1. Thomas Magnum
              • 5 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Kane I think. Gundogan is the brave pick

            2. Zladan
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Definitely not Gundogan for his cameo off the bench.

              Kane.

              1. No Kane No Gain
                • 2 Years
                3 months, 24 days ago

                There’s no cameo, he starts.

                1. Totalfootball
                  • 4 Years
                  3 months, 24 days ago

                  How so sure ?

                  1. No Kane No Gain
                    • 2 Years
                    3 months, 24 days ago

                    My gut. He’s only played one game in the last 3 for city. Surely he plays this one

                    1. St Pauli Walnuts
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 2 Years
                      3 months, 24 days ago

                      Devil's advocate, he surely plays the next two after this in CL and FA Cup.

            3. No Kane No Gain
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Gundogan

          6. Thomas Magnum
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Has Dan Burn lost his spot or still returning from injury? Need a defender for week 33 and they have shu if not Veltman

          7. Van der Faart
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Thoughts on this WC please? 200k so trying to stay away from template where possible but some seem to important to leave out. Seems to be a lot of money in defence too.

            A)
            Mendy/Forster
            Cresswell Dias TAA Digne Alonso
            Son Jota Gundo Saka Neto
            Vardy Kane Watkins

            B)
            Or this
            Alonso for Rudiger
            Jota for Salah
            TAA for Phillips

            Thanks

          8. pjomara
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Going for Alonso (C).
            I thought he'd be popular captain pick but so far it looks like only 0.01% are doing likewise.
            He was likely to get a double digit return last week only for the sending off.

            1. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Ballsy

            2. Lionac
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Did this last GW. Regretted after Kane brace...

            3. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Very nice punt

          9. Garfield1001
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Coady, Saiss or Fofana on wildcard?

            Thanks

          10. Slim25
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Martinez
            Cancelo, AWB, Stones
            Bruno, Gundo, Salah, Lingard
            DCL, Kane, Bamford
            (Button, Raph, Soy, Veltman)

            2 Ft's 0.5m in bank.

            What would be the best option? Cheers!
            A: Cancelo & Soy - TAA & Holding
            B: Soy & Raphinha - Holding & Jota

          11. si
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 12 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Jesus or Kun?

            1. Cowboy John
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Kun. I'm surprised he's not getting more mentions on here...?

            2. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Kun

          12. Lionac
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Captain Sterling or Salah?

            1. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Salah

            2. MessiGOAT
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Sterl

          13. OptimusBlack
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Sterling C ?
            Yaaaay
            Nope

            1. MessiGOAT
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Sterli but expect nothing

          14. OptimusBlack
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            If you have Gündo would you
            A - Keep
            B- Sell

            1. drughi
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              keep, cheap way into city attack. Will probably miss some games but not likely to come on as a sub so as long as you have a good bench its perfect

          15. Hansel
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            A) Neto, ESR (8th attacker), Vardy
            B) Lingard, Madders, Bamford (8th attacker)

            1. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              A

          16. The 12th Man
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Gtg?
            Mendy
            Alonso,Rüdiger,TAA,Cresswell
            Fernandes, Son, Lingard, Jota
            Kane, Lacazette

            Lloris, Raphinia, Bamford, Shaw

            Will be captaining one of Fernandes,Alonso,Lacazette or Jota.
            Undecided.

            1. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              G2G

          17. manu4life99
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Start Shaw(tot) or Raphinha(mci)?

            1. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Shaw

          18. Drogo
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            I got Lacazette as captain and Kane as vice captain. Foolish?

            1. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              There are worse things you could do

          19. LLoris
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 24 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. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Sanchez is a brave move. Otherwise it looks good.

          20. Van der Faart
            • 9 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            WC Options

            A)
            Mendy/Forster
            Cresswell Dias TAA Digne Alonso
            Son Jota Gundo Saka Neto
            Vardy Kane Watkins

            B)
            Mendy/Forster
            Cresswell Dias PHILLIPS Digne RUDIGER
            Son SALAH Gundo Saka Neto
            Vardy Kane Watkins

            C)
            Mendy/Forster
            Cresswell Dias TAA HOLDING Alonso
            Son SALAH Gundo Saka Neto
            Vardy Kane VYDRA

            Please and thanks for any thoughts

            1. EmreCan Hustle
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              A

            2. LLoris
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              c

            3. ballsy_b
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              3 months, 24 days ago

              B is very good.
              Can you change Watkins?

              1. Van der Faart
                • 9 Years
                3 months, 24 days ago

                Yeah flexible on that.

            4. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Thanks folks, tough choice need need settle one and log out I think

          21. ballsy_b
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Deciding whether to replace Martinez.. on wildcard.

            Who to go for?
            A) Schmeichel
            B) Mendy
            C) stick with Martinez

            1. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Stuck on this top. Currently on B

            2. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              B

          22. Hansel
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Mendy Forster
            TAA Coady Holding XX XX
            Salah Son Jota XX XX
            Kane Nacho XX

            A) Shaw, Fofana, Neto, Vardy + ESR (8th attacker)
            B) Shaw, Fofana, Lingard, Madders + Bamford (8th attacker)
            C) Shaw, Rudiger, Gundo, Vardy + ESR (8th attacker)
            D) Rudiger, Fofana, Lingard, Vardy + ESR (8th attacker)
            E) Rudiger, Fofana, Pereira, Fernandes + Davis (8th attacker)
            F) Shaw, Veltman, Lingard, Vardy + ESR (8th attacker) :p

            1. Bleh
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              C if leading, B if chasing

          23. Bleh
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            Would you do any of these for a -4? 4.1 ITB.

            A. Martinez > Mendy
            B. Digne > TAA (Bruno > Salah next week)
            C. Digne > Phillips (Gundo, Antonio > Salah, Iheanacho next week)

            Sanchez (Martinez)
            Dias, Digne, Cresswell (Targett, Struijk)
            Bruno, Lingard, Son, Gundo, Jota
            Bamford, Kane (Antonio)

            1. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Id save

          24. JoeJitzu +42
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            No Wildcard... and 0.6 itb would you simply do Dallas to Rudiger?

            Pope
            Alonso Shaw Veltman
            Aubameyang (C) Son Fernandes Lingard Raphinha
            Kane Calvert-Lewin

            Martinez Watkins Dallas Lewis

            1. Atletico Junior
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Save the transfer

          25. Atletico Junior
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            First and only RMWC post, I apprrciate Any suggestions 🙂

            Mendy (Forster)

            TAA - Rudiger - Castagne (Holding, Shaw)

            Salah - Bruno - Sterling - Lingard - Jota

            Kane - Iheanacho (Vydra)

            Plan is Sterling to Son next GW

            1. JoeJitzu +42
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Strong WC, Front 8 must be the most popular picks seen on site.

            2. Van der Faart
              • 9 Years
              3 months, 24 days ago

              Lovely

          26. Cuchulain
            • 5 Years
            3 months, 24 days ago

            A) TAA + Neto
            B) Phillips + Jota + 2.1 itb