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. Taegugk Warrior
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Best MCI asset to bring in on WC...

    1. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Dias or Laporte, but Gundogan isn't a bad hold if you can tolerate it.

    2. A-L
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Gundo probably. Ederson not a bad option as more nailed than anyone. KDB is in my thoughts too but will probably replace Son or Salah for me. Alternatively Sterling for this week only and then onto Son

      1. A-L
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        But Dias above all!

    3. SharkyT
      • 7 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Dias or Ederson

    4. FantasyHero
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Think Garcia and ake gonna start playing their pl games as CBs lol

  2. A-L
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    WC GTG?

    Mendy | Forster
    Dias | Reguilon | Rudiger | Shaw | Phillips
    Salah | Bruno | Son | Jota | Lingard
    Kane | Iheanacho | Vydra

    Very template but don't really mind that

    1. Magic Zico
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Yeah template, I would shake it up a bit

      1. A-L
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        I'm not really looking for risk and think the midfield is hard to budge from. There's enough opportunity from this lot anyway. Any ideas how to shake it up? I think I'm set unless there are better value opportunities

        1. Magic Zico
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Salah Vydra Son are the opportunities to be maverick

          1. A-L
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Thanks mate. Son essential for me next week though. Salah was first in for me as well (and a slightly emotionally driven as a Liverpool supporter, so partly so that I can enjoy the rest of the season's matches). Mainly can't budge due to lack of appealing alternatives but appreciate the idea!

            1. Magic Zico
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              2 months, 5 days ago

              Sure, good luck! 😛

  3. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    2 months, 5 days ago

    Final decisions on WC.

    1. Lingard or Neto.
    2. Best cheap reliable for 5th def*? Holding, Veltman, Masuaku?
    3. Straight to Son for 2FT in 33, or a one week punt on Torres/Gundo?

    *Risking Alonso so want everyone to play through ideally.

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

      1. Coming round slowly to Neto but still prefer Lingard.
      2. Veltman
      3. Son for the 2 FTs (a play I never make myself but typically advise 🙂 )

    2. Ch0udini
        2 months, 5 days ago

        1. Neto
        2. Holding
        3. Bench Son, save transfer if that is an option.

        1. Richard Richard (AKA: Anzhi…
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Erm, could be benched for Shaw/Vydra/Veltman or Holding.

      • Raheem S. Archer
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        1. Lingard
        2. Holding
        3. 2FT in 33

    3. b91jh
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      On WC, thoughts on Auba(c) then change to Salah next week?

      1. Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Great punt!

      2. pingissimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Like it - think he starts and central he's a great option

      3. Krafty Werks
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Prefer Sterling in all honesty but could be a massive diff?

    4. S.Kuqi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Is KDB & Son -> Sterling(c) & Jota madness?

      1. Stupendous
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Nice but you'll need Son back next week

    5. Stupendous
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      We still think Dias starts every week?

      Not me. Don't think he even starts this weekend either.

      Punting on Mendy for a change!

      Ederson only guarantee

      1. A-L
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Why not go for Ederson instead of Mendy and Rudiger/James/Azpilicueta instead of Dias

        1. Stupendous
          • 8 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          City Mendy

          Ederson in net

          City double, Chelsea double

    6. McSauce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Team in bits this week.... think made the wrong sub I did Bamford --> Vardy and not Raph/Gundy to Jota

      Martinez
      Veltman Dias Shaw*
      Son Bruno Gundy Raph Lingard
      Vardy Kane (C)

      McCarthy Watkins Dallas Targett

      Captain Pick???

      A) Bruno
      B) Kane
      C) Gundy
      D) Vardy

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

        Think I'd start Watkins over Raph and would captain Bruno there. Argument for doubling down on Vardy I suppose but it's not a transfer I like

    7. fcsaltyballs
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Final call as going to be.... Mendy in net so who to pair with him:

      1. Rudiger
      2. Fofana

      1. nicoTours
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Had the same dilemma and went with Rudiger.

        FFS RMT tool sort of pushed me in that direction. In the set up I was using in that tool Fofana was benched twice in 4 matches while Rudiger was starting all of them. I don't know how close it will be from reality.

        1. fcsaltyballs
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          So did you go Fofana or Mendy?

          1. nicoTours
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            I went for the helsea double up: Mendy & Rudiger.

    8. Lexi2014
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Play

      Dunk - Everton H

      Lowton - Newcastle H

    9. wonkeydonkey
      • 2 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Any decent WC & BB teams? I'm struggling to work out when to BB, especially if I am going with Forster & Vydra

      1. b91jh
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Mendy Forster
        TAA Coady Rudiger Fofana Masuaku
        Salah Bruno Lingz Jota Neto
        Vardy Kane Nacho

        Something like that?

    10. Fergiesarmy
      • 8 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      A) Phillips and Salah
      Or
      B) Taa and Jota?

      If A I will captain salah

    11. Please Answer Me
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Why are people picking Fofana over Coady? That extra 0.2 could be useful

      1. A-L
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Probably because Leicester are better defensively and have something to play for. Wolves just keep looking worse

    12. HD7
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 5 days ago

      Fofana or Shaw?

    13. Zlatan F.C
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Would you have

        A) Coufal and Fofana
        B) Shaw and Masuaku

        1. Thomas Magnum
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          A

      • yanky
        • 11 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        thinking of taking a hit after wc but i think its a decent plan— thoughts??

        Mendy
        TAA Rudiger Holding (Coady Veltman)
        Salah Jota Bruno Sterling(c) Saka
        Kane Iheanacho (Davis)

        plan is to do Sterling Saka > Son Maddison for -4 pt hit in dgw32
        Veltman not a strong option but is my gw33 cover since kane son davis will be benched

      • DV8R
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Who to drop to fit in Dias? Holding or Coady? On a WC.

        1. Whazza
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Holding

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

          Holding for me

      • JustPark
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Title could've been a little bit more sensitive tho..

      • Whazza
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Mourinho confirms Tottenham have no fresh injury concerns. Ben Davies and Matt Doherty are the only players sidelined. Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier come back into contention after missing the Newcastle game following their late return from international duty.

      • Thomas Magnum
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Which one?
        A) Wood
        B) C.Wilson
        C) Other up to 6.5 (Not Iheanacho)

        1. Krafty Werks
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          A

          1. Thomas Magnum
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Thanks!

      • Atimis
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Two questions left on WC:

        1. Holding or Masuaku?
        2. Mid punt for this GW - 9.6 budget - Mount, Gundo, someone else?

        1. Atimis
          • 4 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Also, would you include City def on WC or one of Pool, Chelsea and Lei plus Shaw should be enough?

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

          Masuaku, tough week for a punt, could look at either JWP or Periera maybe if you think there's goals in that fixture. I am keeping Dias but not for everyone, I think he should be covered with assets from teams you've mentioned.

      • The Red Devil
        • 6 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        start one-
        A- Martinez
        B- Sanchez

        1. Thomas Magnum
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          I'd start B because I think they have a better chance of a CS but worry if they both concede that Marti will make more saves

          1. The Red Devil
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            the part after 'but' is worrying

      • SharkyT
        • 7 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Yet another WC team to add to the list so apologies!!

        Mendy Forster
        Shaw TAA Holding Dias Azpi
        Salah Bruno Lingz Jota Mount
        Nacho Kane Vydra

        GTG? Have BB left so tried to get in as many starters as I can.

        1. RAFA THE GAFFA
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Looks good. Looking at similar. Downside is Forster, holding, Vydra for BB. Not idea I guess

      • Razor425
        • 4 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Thoughts on the below Wildcard:

        Leno, Forster
        Shaw, TAA, Rudiger, Holding, xxxx
        Salah, Jota, Son, Raphina, xxxx
        Kane, Ihenacho, xxxx

        Remaining spots to be filled by:
        1. Fofana, Lingard, Lacazette
        or
        2. Azpi, Madisson, 6.4m fwd
        or
        3. Alonso, Madisson, Bamford

        1. RAFA THE GAFFA
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          1 probably

      • RAFA THE GAFFA
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Would you WC this team? Possible WC team below... still got BB for possibly 32.

        Martinez
        Dias. Alonso. Digne. Coufal
        Bruno. Son. Lingard. Jota
        Kane. DCL
        (McCarthy. Raph. Bamford. Dallas)

        WC team;
        Mendy. Forster
        TAA. Rudiger. Shaw. Holding. Masuaku
        Salah. Bruno. Son. Lingard. Jota
        Kane. Iheanacho. Vydra

        1. Bojam
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          I think probably not this week. Have you got any FT's? Money ITB?

          1. Bojam
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Would you WC this team?

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

            Sanchez; Watkins; Coufal; Dallas

            0FT; 0.7ITB

            Thinking of playing the FH in 33. Keeping the WC for 34 might be useful.

            1. RAFA THE GAFFA
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 5 days ago

              Possibly not either. But I’m really unsure when is best. With BB I might just save the WC and play it the week before that and hope some doubles come round

              1. Bojam
                • 3 Years
                2 months, 5 days ago

                You think it makes sense to keep Bale for the DGW (32)? Could play him vs Utd this week or bench and play Watkins vs Pool. I know it doesn't mean much but Watkins got a hattie vs Pool earlier this year so you never know...

                1. RAFA THE GAFFA
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 5 Years
                  2 months, 5 days ago

                  Probably not worth a hit, who would you get?

                  1. Bojam
                    • 3 Years
                    2 months, 5 days ago

                    That's the thing. No obvious move at that price (would have about 10m to spend).

                    So play Bale or Watkins this week? Have Kane & Son as well so playing Bale seems like overkill, especially given that it could well be a boring 0-0. But benching a 9+m player seems wrong.

          2. RAFA THE GAFFA
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            I did Soucek to Jota with FT. Got 1.7m left

            1. Bojam
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 5 days ago

              If you were really worried about Salah then I think you could move Bruno out. Tough call but Salah has the better fixtures. Personally, I have more faith in Bruno's consistent returns I think.

        2. Bojam
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Not sure there is enough difference between the two teams to make the WC worth it. Sure, you don't have Salah but I'm not convinced that he's worth the money (yet). Maybe an upturn in form is coming but maybe not. DCL could easily match or outscore Iheanacho this week. Alonso could easily match or outscore TAA.

          1. RAFA THE GAFFA
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            What about Digne >> TAA (-4)?

            1. Bojam
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 5 days ago

              That's definitely worth considering. Even if it doesn't pay off this week, fixtures and form suggest it will be worth it for the rest of the season. Could wait a week though if you prefer not to take the hit.

              1. RAFA THE GAFFA
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 5 Years
                2 months, 5 days ago

                Yeah quite 50:50. Be good to have him in place for next few as you say. But then I have WC so a hit seems a little silly

      • LLoris
        • 2 Years
        2 months, 5 days ago

        Would you make any changes for my WC?
        Rudiger or Saiss?
        Esm or another 4.5M?

        Mendy Forester
        TAA Saiss Coady Holding Fofana
        Salah Jota Fernandes Son Esm
        Kane Iheanacho Vydra

        1. KLOPPS AND ROBBERS... the s…
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Saiss Coady not for me
          Esm fine

          1. LLoris
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Any other defender for you?

        2. Peteski29
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          I'd rather Rudiger over Saiss

          1. LLoris
            • 2 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Is Rudiger nailed?

      • OleBall
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Start Targett Bamford or Watkins?

        • KLOPPS AND ROBBERS... the s…
          • 6 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Ings anyone?

          Gives me a front 8 of
          Bruno, Jota, Son, Raphinha, Lingard
          Vardy, Ings, Kane

          1. Eastman
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Think he's a good choice yes

        • Peteski29
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Fairly set on WC, last decision though

          A) Martinez Dias 0itb
          B) Mendy Fofana 0.7itb

          XXX Forster
          XXX TAA Shaw Rudiger Holding
          Salah Jota Bruno Lingard Son
          Kane Iheanacho Vydra

        • Silecro
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Good to go? Will save WC for another week or two:

          Pope
          Dias, Dunk, Digne
          Bruno, Son, Gundo(c), Lingard, Raphinha
          Kane(vc), Vardy

          Martinez, Coufal, Bamford, Dallas
          0ft, 0.0 itb

          1. Silecro
            • 3 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            *Kane c, Gundo vc

          2. RAFA THE GAFFA
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            Yep

        • Eastman
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 5 days ago

          Madison or Mount?

          1. nicoTours
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            2 months, 5 days ago

            I went for the in-form player, Mount but it took me until 1am to chose between the 2 of them.