Sergio Aguero’s unfortunate Amsterdam collision saved many Fantasy managers from another weekend behind the sofa.
But the curveball of the Argentine’s motor vehicle mishap sparked a flurry of transfer activity late in the week, which has granted his former owners a wad of spare cash.
That, together with a weekend of contrasting fortunes for some major Fantasy assets has dictated the market trends as we ease into the second international break.
Continuing our series of weekly articles, we at whogottheassist.com are reviewing and commenting on patterns and behaviours in the market, looking at common themes and giving our view on the viability of the transfers taking place.
Kane gains from pranged Aguero and pinged Morata
The enforced departure of the unfortunate Aguero (sold by 129,000+ so far for this round) caused a spike in interest across all the premium striker options prior to the weekend matches.
Managers chose between Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku, the straight swap to Jesus, the in-form Alvaro Morata or the gamble on Alexandre Lacazette’s Emirates form ahead of Brighton’s visit.
All bar Jesus enjoyed a pre-Gameweek rise in price, but the replacements suffered mixed fortunes.
Kane’s third consecutive away brace in the Premier League provided reassurance for those nervy of the early armband.
That prompted a rise to 12.6 on Monday morning and more than 203,000 new owners so far.
People are continuing to cast Aguero aside for the Spurs hitman, with 45,000+ making that swap since Saturday’s deadline.
Not surprisingly, a huge swathe of Kane’s new ownership has also streamed from Morata. It’s the Gameweek’s second most popular swap, with 59,000 transactions.
The latest in a long line of de-railed bandwagons, Morata lasted just 34 minutes in the Gameweek 7 clash with Man City, having gone into that match backed by 519,000 new owners.
Indeed, cruelly, it was Morata who went into Gameweek 7 as the most favoured replacement for Aguero. More than 206,000 managers moved from the stricken City striker, only to see their replacement break down early on Saturday evening.
Morata was the most bought last week, the most sold this. Over 204,000 managers have ejected him from their squad. Confirmation of his twanged hamstring – a grade two tear – has only accelerated the sales since Saturday’s early withdrawal.
Chelsea have strong fixtures to come but, according to reports, Morata could face anything from two to four, or even eight, weeks on the sidelines.
However, not content with the Spanish FA’s scans and prognosis, Chelsea are reportedly running their own tests. Only when we have confirmation will we know the length of Morata’s absence, if indeed he is to miss Gameweek 8. Morata himself has only recently taken to Instagram to stress that he is still targeting that match against Palace, only for the post to be edited sometime later.
However, the impact on the market has already been significant, although Kane has not been the most popular benefactor of the Morata fallout.
Jesus has seen his stock boom, despite claiming just an assist from Gameweek 7.
He has picked up 132,000 new owners since the deadline, with many pinpointing him as a route into the highly productive City attack with Aguero sidelined. Over 62,000 have made the swap from Morata, with the two strikers sitting in the same bracket at 10.4 and 10.5.
In contrast, Lacazette has simmered following a fruitless 70 minutes against Brighton. He has suffered over 33,000 sales and almost an identical number of acquisitions. Over 12,000 of those selling have swapped straight to Kane, with 8000+ moving to Jesus.
Romelu Lukaku went into Gameweek 7 bolstered by a gain of 248,000 managers. They were rewarded with just a single goal against the listless Crystal Palace, causing disappointment for those who were anticipating a double-digit haul.
That has significantly reduced interest in the Belgian, who is heading for a modest increase in ownership ahead of the Gameweek 8 deadline. Currently, 45,000+ have acquired Lukaku for the Liverpool visit, with almost 39,000 releasing the United striker.
Over 17,000 have swapped for Kane as their replacement, with Jesus again picking up traffic here, claiming 8,400 new owners.
The volatile trading of the big-hitting forwards is set to run and run, with the funds tied up in these players allowing for many combinations.
One thing is certain: Kane is currently dominant, with Jesus also enjoying a renaissance with his fixtures and his monopoly on a City starting role.
However, we should not discount the impact that another Wembley blank for Kane, or news of an early Aguero return, would have on the market coming out of Gameweek 8.
Mkhitaryan bosses less than impressed
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s 1.7 million owners would have identified the Palace home match-up as a source of points for a player who has been United’s creator-in-chief so far.
However, the disappointing 65-minute blank that followed has prompted many to dispense with the playmaker’s services, with over 75,000 having sold him since Saturday.
Over 13,000 have made the straight swap to the cross-city creator David Silva, whose strong fixtures after the break look a key attraction for buyers: he has over 85,000 new owners so far.
We wrote just two weeks ago that Mkhitaryan was the first player to rise 0.5 since the start of the season, but with fixtures stiffening, consecutive blanks and the rising attractiveness of other similarly priced options, the bubble looks to be bursting.
Defenders make their point once more
Another double-figure performance by Spurs’ Ben Davies has seen interest in the Welshman spike once more, with 109,000+ new owners gained since Saturday.
A key asset sold off by those moving on Davies is Eric Bailly, who has been dumped by more than 46,000 so far after his unexpected rest against Palace. More than 10,000 of those have gone straight to Davies.
It was a week where a few defences – Arsenal, Bournemouth, City and United – also kept a clean sheet, but one player who deserves to be singled out is Burnley’s unsung hero Stephen Ward.
His assist and all three bonus points elicited 12 points as the Clarets shocked Everton at Goodison Park. Ward now ranks top for points per million value and is in the top ten for transfers-in, with over 63,000 new managers prompting his rise to 4.6.
As we’ve seen with West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi, with the cheaper defenders it’s very much the case of being in the right place at the right time and, in this price bracket, there may well be a shelf life involved.
However, Burnley’s current form is strong, and Ward might even give his new owners a 0.2 profit, as enjoyed by Hegazi’s early adopters.
Not a dazzler, Bobby
The final encounter of the weekend delivered early disappointment as news filtered through that Roberto Firmino – seemingly the ideal third striker in the early Gameweeks – was benched for Liverpool’s trip to Newcastle.
Firmino has lost his place in 90,000+ teams so far, with Harry Kane (21,000 new owners from Firmino swaps) Jamie Vardy (17,000) and Jesus (almost 10,000) the main beneficiaries of the Brazilian’s gradual decline.
Vardy is a replacement in the same bracket, but with Aguero and Morata funds also in the mix, managers could be conducting significant surgery and using their stack of cash to step up from Firmino.
We will continue to see movement in the market as managers redistribute funds they may have released from selling Aguero and now Morata.
The impact of this will reverberate in the market for weeks to come.
The upcoming international break also seems to be a time that many have decided to pull out their Wildcard, though just 66,000 have activated so far.
We’d caution those managers not to expect the explosive rises we’ve seen previously from day-to-day.
If anything, this is the time to avoid continuing falls from the likes of Dele Alli, Mohamed Salah and Firmino.
Selling off and buying again at a cheaper price – if indeed you want to retain their services – might be a route to explore. That could work with Salah and Firmino – they have United and Spurs as their next two with a favourable run of fixtures to follow.
Selling with the Wildcard could pave the way to bring them back at a considerably lower price ahead of Gameweek 10. Though, of course, there is a risk that both will overcome the current Liverpool malaise and deliver.
Finally, one word of advice: when swapping players in and out with the Wildcard active, be sure to double check player prices before confirming sales. You may not have realised that a player has accrued a rise in value during your ownership, meaning that you will have to pay 0.1 more should you wish to reverse the decision before Gameweek 8.