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Gameweek 23 Differential Focus

1 Feb. 2024

If you are the sort of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) manager who enjoys going against the grain – or takes satisfaction from finding hidden gems before the crowd – then lowly selected players (differentials) can often provide value and offer a source of points which won’t be shared by many other managers. As long as the player picks are justifiable, differentials can give you an edge over your mini-league rivals.

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In this article we look ahead to Gameweek 23 and find players from each position who are currently selected by less than 10% of managers, but could reward their owners in the upcoming Gameweeks.

Caveat: this article was written on Thursday 1st February with Gameweek 22 fixtures still left to play.

DEF: Alex Moreno

  • Cost: £5.1m
  • Selected by: 1.5%
  • Next Fixture: SHU (a)

Moreno stats

Don’t allow an unfortunate own goal against Newcastle distract you from the fact that Alex Moreno (£5.1m) could be a great buy for Gameweek 23. Aston Villa will be looking to shake off the disappointment of their 3-1 defeat to the Magpies, and a visit to Sheffield United could be just the tonic.

Moreno has been one of the most attacking defenders in the last six Gameweeks. According to Opta Stats Sandbox he has had 3 shots on target (joint first) and racked up an xG of 1.06 (5th best).

Sheffield United on the other hand have conceded more shots (378) and more xGC (46.96) than any other team in the Premier League this season. Going forward the tale is much the same, the Blades have accumulated the lowest xG (21.46) and the fewest number of shots (202). This means Moreno could have opportunities at both ends of the pitch to secure points.

Aston Villa’s longer-term fixtures still look very good, so Moreno is a not just a one-week punt, but a potential lock in your back line.

MID: Brennan Johnson

  • Cost: £5.8m
  • Selected by: 0.7%
  • Next Fixture: EVE (a)

Johnson Heat Map

Spurs seemed to be back in their groove with a 3-2 win against Brentford last night, although it was a certainly a tale of two halves with the hosts struggling in the first half. 1-0 down at the break, Pochettino made a double change bringing on both Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (£5.2m) and Brennan Johnson (£5.8m) almost instantly changing the game. Indeed, after just 11 minutes Spurs found themselves 3-1 up.

Johnson, while rarely getting the full 90 minutes, is an important part of this Spurs side and has four goal involvements in the last five Gameweeks. His underlying numbers support his attacking threat, with 9 shots and an xG of 1.64 in the last six Gameweeks.

With no wins in their last five, Everton find themselves back in the relegation zone and once again rueing their 10-point deduction. If you are prepared to deal with the fact that Johnson won’t get the full 90 minutes, then he could be a great differential at the weekend.

FWD: Chris Wood

  • Cost: £5.0m
  • Selected by: 1.8%
  • Next Fixture: BOU (a)

Wood shot map

While this new-look Bournemouth side looks great going forward, they remain suspect at the back, having conceded 9 goals in the last four Gameweeks. This could be a great opportunity for Nottingham Forest’s Chris Wood (£5.0m) who has scored more goals (5) than any other forward in the last six Gameweeks.

Fixtures GW23-25

Short-term fixtures look pretty good for Forest, although a look at the Fixture Planner, warns of an increase in difficulty come Gameweek 26.

By Matt Whelan


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