It was a weekend where Mohamed Salah starred, Harry Kane blanked and Man City won…again.
For Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers there is now a degree of consistency emerging, with familiar faces topping the most bought assets yet again.
Perhaps managers are now looking at the bigger picture, rather than simply the previous Gameweek, as Leroy Sane and Phil Jones in particular continue to attract new buyers. For the first time, this suggests there’s now a template forming.
Romelu Lukaku’s form, however, seems for many to be in the distant past as sales persist for the Man United frontman. And yet last night’s price drop was greeted with great satisfaction by those who plan to swoop ahead of his three favourable fixtures. This is further indication of the uncertainty that remains in the forward positions.
Continuing our series of weekly articles, we at whogottheassist.com are reviewing and commenting on patterns and behaviours in the FPL market, looking at common themes and giving our view on the viability of the transfers taking place.
Salah leads the line
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was undoubtedly the star of Gameweek 11. In a consummate performance, a brace and 15 points sent him soaring to the top of the list for most transferred-in.
Over 113,000 managers have already bought the fleet-footed winger, as he edges ever closer to overtaking Henrik Mkhitaryan as the most transferred-in midfielder this season.
In support at the London Stadium was Sadio Mane, who assisted both of Salah’s goals. Priced the same as his team-mate, many managers might see the Senegalese as a differential in waiting.
As people bring in Liverpool midfielders in their droves, it is the Spurs options who are making way.
Dele Alli was absent on Sunday through injury, while Christian Eriksen blanked for a third consecutive Gameweek.
The north London derby at the Emirates Stadium is up next, perhaps making the decision that little bit easier for over 20,000 managers who have swapped out Eriksen to Salah. Meanwhile, Alli to Salah is the most popular trade of the Gameweek so far, with over 21,000 making that move.
The other popular midfield option is Leroy Sane. Despite being the only Man City attacking asset to blank against Arsenal, he is still the preferred option among Pep Guardiola’s charges, claiming another 66,000+ owners with a further price rise overnight.
Otamendi feeds the Phil Jones train
City’s heavily-owned defender Nicolas Otamendi picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign to trigger a one-match suspension. Considered too expensive at 5.9 to warm the bench, over 115,000 managers have already ushered him out.
Despite a yellow card, conceding and nearly scoring an own goal, Phil Jones has been the main beneficiary of the Otamendi fallout as 20,000+ have made that swap.
A rare poor match against Chelsea hasn’t put managers off bringing in Jones, the cheapest secure route into the Man United backline. Their upcoming run of opponents is clearly a factor.
Ben Davies is suffering heavy losses to Jones, with over 8,500 managers making that straight swap.
Many of the Welshman’s owners have finally lost patience with Mauricio Pochettino’s full-back rotation. Over on the right, Kieran Trippier is suffering the same fate.
Jones is not the only player benefitting from Davies and Otamendi sales.
Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta, after another double-figure haul, is also picking up transfers at pace.
Over 59,000 managers have acquired the Spaniard, who has developed a strong connection with his international team-mate Morata, having provided five of his seven league goals so far.
Managers swoop for Cheap Clarets
Back-to-back shut-outs by the Burnley defence, and a home match against Swansea City up next, have turned many a manager’s eye towards the Clarets’ backline.
Stephen Ward has the team’s highest FPL tally and is, consequently, the defender with the most acquisitions to this point.
He has already attracted over 73,000 new managers, making him the third most popular buy of the Gameweek.
Ward is an unfashionable name, occupying a position in the transfers-in table normally occupied by a heavy-hitter or a midfield bargain. But, again, the fall-out from Otamendi and Davies is at play here.
Team-mate Ben Mee is also attracting new owners. Priced 0.3 cheaper than the left-back, he has also picked up five more points (all from bonus) in the last couple of Gameweeks.
Ahmed Hegazi is still holding onto his crown as the most owned defender in the game, but he continues to haemorrhage owners.
Over 29,000 managers have sold the star of Gameweek 1 after another clean sheet fail by the West Brom backline, this time against a 10-man Huddersfield.
We are also witnessing movement in the goalkeeper position here, with over 7,000 managers ditching Ben Foster for the in-form Nick Pope.
Tony Pulis’ team face Chelsea next, so a clean sheet for the Baggies looks unlikely. It is, therefore, no surprise that the West Brom defence is being swapped for convincing Burnley counterparts.
Lukaku firesale burns on
Romelu Lukaku has sustained over 572,000 sales since Gameweek 8 and his ownership continues to dip.
He has endured 55,000+ transfers-out so far this Gameweek, despite having three strong fixtures to come. That ensured a rather belated price drop overnight.
Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Morata are the options being drafted into the premium striker role as Lukaku sales gather pace.
A goal from the penalty spot for Aguero has maintained interest in the Argentinian. Over 17,000 managers have swapped him in for his United rival this week. However, there still is that threat of rotation, and Aguero’s position is far from secure as he sets off on his travels with the Argentinian squad for two friendlies in Russia.
Morata is also making significant waves in the transfer market. His stock and value has yo-yoed in recent weeks, but it is now very much on the up following Sunday’s eight-point return against Man United.
In comparison, his team-mate Eden Hazard’s bandwagon is yet to gain any real momentum.
The Belgian has had as many sales as transfers-in, while, rather surprisingly, his 11-point return against Bournemouth in Gameweek 10 led to his ownership declining by 404 ahead of Saturday’s deadline.
Another two-week lay-off awaits FPL managers as we enter the third international break of the season.
Only 5,087,000 transfers were made last Gameweek – a season-low. The break will, therefore, benefit those managers who chose to bank and roll over their transfer.
So far, only 25,000 managers have also used this break as an opportunity to deploy their Wildcard. It’s a slow start and indicates that we’re going to see a decline from the 275,000 managers who used the refresh chip in Gameweek 4 and the 200,000 who activated in Gameweek 8. Time will tell.
The numbers suggest that many active managers have now used their Wildcard, or are reserving it for the manic Christmas programme when injury, suspension and rotation will surely be rife.
However, we may yet see more activity as the “international break injuries” mount up. The news that Harry Kane has been ruled out of the England squad will no doubt spark further activity, while Raheem Sterling is the latest significant withdrawal.
It was during the last break that Kane was being drafted in as a result of injuries for Morata and Aguero. However, as mentioned, managers are now returning for that pair in their droves – more evidence of the premium striker merry-go-round.
This trend is noticeable in defenders too.
Man United’s fixture shift meant many were selling Eric Bailly for Ben Davies over the last international hiatus. As we’ve seen, this United/Spurs trend is now reversed, with Jones hoovering up Davies owners.
Only Stephen Ward, it seems, has maintained consistent transfers-in as his ownership rises for the 11th consecutive week. Given the stability presented by Burnley this season, that seems rather fitting.