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

    Watkins > Aguero (c)?

    One week punt

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

      I like it. If Pep hints at an Aguero start I may do it myself on WC.

  2. royals forever
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    2 months, 11 days ago

    Your help is needed please

    What would you do this GW

    Play
    Aina (4-4-2)
    Watkins (3-4-3)

    Rest of Team

    Johnstone

    Dias Mee Stones

    Sterling Jota Fernandes Lingard

    DCL Kane

    Martinez Raphinha Dallas

    Any ideas would be welcomed

    1. ebb2sparky
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      My guess is both score 2 points. I'd probably go with Watkins though given Liverpools defence

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

    Bench order: Saiss, Bamford, Coufal?

    Rest of the team is:

    Leno
    TAA, Rudiger, Azpi
    Gundo, Jota, Salah (c), Bruno, Neto
    Iheanacho, Kane

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

    Best cheap (under 4.8) defender for the remainder of the season (not Coady, Phillips or Holding)

    1. Fit_to_drop
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Rudiger

  5. Better Call Raul
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 11 days ago

    Anyone going with Mount on a wildcard ? Got him in my draft currently

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

      I am. Good form, good fixtures and I need some differentials.

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

      switching between Mount and Pierera. Both I think could be good, a bit worry about Mount getting subbed off every time they are winning comfortably though

    3. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Currently but might switch to Maddison ... that’s my most pressing decision currently.

  6. GOONER
    • 9 Years
    2 months, 11 days ago

    My front 8:

    1- Bruno
    2- Son
    3- Jota
    4- Gundogan
    5- Lingard
    6- Kane
    7- DCL
    8- Vardy

    Who to bench?

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

      DCL

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

      2

  7. Fit_to_drop
    • 1 Year
    2 months, 11 days ago

    Klopps comment could be to do with his formation. He is married to 4-3-3. Needs to show a bit more flexibility in his thinking.

  8. trasbash
    • 3 Years
    2 months, 11 days ago

    Also (sorry), odds of Laca and Saka starting this weekend?

  9. winchester
      2 months, 11 days ago

      *bottomed
      hey there lads! have 1,7m itb and 1ft / WC and TC available - Not sure if I should use ft or wc.. Would it be wise to save Wildcard for later? cheers.

      pope (martinez)
      dias cresswell dallas (targett veltman)
      bruno lingard raphinha son (gundo)
      dcl kane bamford

      a) raphinha -> jota
      b) hit the WC chip

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

        B I would WC that

    • GE
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      WC - gtg or change something?

      (0.3 itb)

      Mendy
      TAA/Dias/Rudiger
      Salah/Bruno/Son/Lingard/Jota
      Kane/Nacho

      Bench: Forster, Shaw, Holding, Vydra

      1. Fit_to_drop
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 11 days ago

        No GTG

      2. Sting in the Tail
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        I’ve gone Az instead of Dias and you can afford a better bench than me

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

          Triple Chelsea keep/def?

      3. Eh, just one more thing ...
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Yup ... almost identical to my team .. only difference is I have Coady vs Holding.

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

          Wow, can’t afford him

    • Paddy Gooner
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      A: Pope or
      B: Patricio or
      C: Any other GK

      ???

      I'm using wc, other GK is Lloris who I'm saving for DGW 32 so whatever keeper I use now will have for remainder of season.

    • Little Red Lacazette
      • 4 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Best GK this week? Money not an issue.

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

        Mendy

      2. DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Ed

      3. Fit_to_drop
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Pope

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

        Pope, Ederson or Allison

    • Dotherightthing
      • 5 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      pick one
      A Semedo,
      B Coady
      C Saiss? Thank you

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

        Coady

    • Manani
      • 9 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Money no issue,

      A. Laca
      B. Iheanacho

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

        Gotta b Laca against Sheff surely

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

          long term? Im not planning on transferring that spot any time soon

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

        Laca

      3. Eh, just one more thing ...
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Laca could be benched. Nacho for me.

    • Plagued by indecision
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      I think this is good as it gets for me on wildcard now...

      Martinez
      TAA / Shaw / Rudiger
      Lingard / Bruno / Son / Jota / Salah
      Iheanacho / Kane

      Subs: Steer / Holding / Masuaku / Davis

      Thoughts?

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

        Thats better 🙂

        1. Plagued by indecision
          • 10 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          cheers!

    • HIAFL (Howe to Train your D…
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      WC TEAM:

      Mendy Forster
      Taa Rudiger Fofana Coady Mitchell
      Salah Sterling Bruno Jota Neto
      Kane Iheanacho Vydra

      0.0 itb

      Gtg?

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

        Yep

    • JakeTheRed
      • 6 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      A) Jota & Ramsdale
      B) Lingard & Mendy

      for the rest of the season

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

      Raph antonio > salah vydra -4? Salah cap.

      1. HIAFL (Howe to Train your D…
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        yup

        1. Disturbed
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Cheers

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

        Go for it

        1. Disturbed
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          Cheers

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

      Hi Guys - does anyone know when everton DGW likely to be?

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

        37

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

          35?

    • Andre_The_Giant
      • 1 Year
      2 months, 11 days ago

      KDB & Targett out for:

      A) Salah and Philips
      B) Jota and TAA
      C) Hold KDB for this week

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

        B

    • DV8R
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Thoughts on Reguilon until GW33? Likely to start both games in the double?

      1. HIAFL (Howe to Train your D…
        • 3 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        spurs defense is the problem

      2. Utopsis
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 11 days ago

        I'll be getting him - even though he and Spurs can't defend for toffee, he's a very offensive full back

    • FPL_WILDCARD
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      40 points off top in my ML. Dilemma, who to captain this week of:

      A) Gundogan - fairly sure he starts but heavily owned

      B) Jota - differential captain pick in my league but concerns about Klopp benching again with Real Madrid game in mind

      C) Kane/Bruno - safest picks for mins but so heavily owned

      D) Lingard - for the bants

      Currently on Jota but would really appreciate some feedback! Thanks

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

        A with B vice

      2. Del Griffith
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        I take it you dont have Salah then as he's arguably the stand out captain this GW. Take a punt on Jota if you dont own Mo.

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

      KDB(c) and Antonio to Sterling(C) and Iheanacho(-4)? Worth it??

      1. Tinkermania
        • 1 Year
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Considering the likelihood of starting being nearly 100% for Raz and Nacho, well worth it!

    • chaser123
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      2 months, 11 days ago

      Do people think Son will go down tonight? Or is it all wildcards making him look like he's gonna drop?

      1. _Ninja_
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Doubt he'll go down now

        1. chaser123
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          2 months, 11 days ago

          That's bad news for me.... anywhere I can save 0.1m to enable the Gundo to Son move next week?

          Mendy Forster
          TAA Coady Rudiger Veltman Holding
          Salah Fernandes Jota Lingard Gundogan
          Kane Iheanacho Davis

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

        He's been on -99 or so for a week now. No drop.

    • Nay08
        2 months, 11 days ago

        Philips is true a really good value. but is it still can be called good value if he just gonna spend the time on our bench all (or at least most) of the time?

        because I don't feel comfortable playing a 4.0 week in week out. as he only relies on CS point. he doesn't have a good attacking threat.

        1. Nay08
            2 months, 11 days ago

            I mean maybe, having a 4.0 bench with a high chance of playing all the time is good. not much to lose. but just wanna hear what everyone thinks

          • Utopsis
            • 1 Year
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Shelve the value for a second - there is no difference between him and any other CB (eg Dias), who is over 2m more. Same goal threat, probably similar CS chances with fixtures taken into account. And that extra 3.3m will help you strengthen elsewhere. Basically he's probably the best value for money CB in the game.

            Now, between him and TAA is a tough one. Are TAAs assists / goal threat worth 3.3m? Still battling with this one myself.

            1. Nay08
                2 months, 11 days ago

                you put that in good words. thanks man.
                i also still tinkering about it haha

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

            Hi All

            Will Holding start against Sheffield United or should I perhaps transfer for someone like Lowton?

            Thoughts please?

            Thanks guys!

          • Louis Van Gaalstones
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 6 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            If people are bringing Vydra in on WC, are you benching him this week?

            1. HIAFL (Howe to Train your D…
              • 3 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              playing instead of inheancho

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

              West Ham is a good fixture and he’s considered a heavy hitter. Why would you bench him?

            3. Bullet Eder
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 5 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              Can't decide whether to start him or Shaw.

            4. Eh, just one more thing ...
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              2 months, 11 days ago

              Possibly starting him ... Newcastle few injuries and might bench Maddison

          • DA Minnion (In Bielsa we tr…
            • 8 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            Have this for a minus 4.
            Should I just go ahead and wildcard or save it.
            Forster
            Azpi Dias Shaw
            Raphinha Son Bruno Salah Lingard
            Kane Mitrovic

            Bamford Coufal Dallas Martinez.

            Thoughts appreciated.

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

              Its getting close to WC time

          • Paddy Gooner
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

            A: Pope & Coady
            or
            B: Patricio and Mee

            ????

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

              A

          • tabby98
            • 5 Years
            2 months, 11 days ago

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

            £0.1m ITB

            On a WC, What would you change?