There are only two Gameweeks remaining of the 2018/19 season, with very little time left for Fantasy Premier League managers to improve their overall rank or claw back a mini-league deficit.
This is the time of the season when “differentials” really come to the fore, with a carefully chosen, low-owned Fantasy asset carrying the potential to boost an FPL manager’s OR.
While looking at overall ownership within the game is one way of filtering out differentials, the fact that there are now millions of inactive FPL teams skews the figures somewhat.
Ownership within the top 10k is therefore a more reliable barometer and also provides a clue for those in and around the top 10,000 as to who their rivals are currently backing – or overlooking – in the season run-in.
We have used data mined from Ragabolly‘s site, livefpl.net, for this analysis.
The players with an ownership of 10% or more in the top 10,000 are as follows:
Obviously there is something of a hangover from Gameweeks 34 and 35 within those figures, with the majority of the players in the list having had at least one Double Gameweek in the past fortnight.
Sorting clubs by fixture difficulty on our Season Ticker for Gameweeks 37 and 38 gives the following:
Manchester United’s double-header against Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City is perhaps the most-appealing pair of fixtures in Gameweeks 37 and 38 but there would be understandable reservations about their players on current form.
Their Gameweek 36 match against Chelsea on Sunday can act as an audition of sorts but the nature of the fixtures beyond that may be enough to convince some FPL bosses to take one last punt on a United player.
Paul Pogba (£8.5m) and Marcus Rashford (£7.3m) are already above the 10% threshold and will likely see their ownerships rise further despite their indifferent form but Romelu Lukaku (£10.6m) is in genuine differential territory, currently only owned by 0.46% of managers in the top 10k.
Security of starts is an issue with the Belgian and he was indeed benched in midweek, while he is without a goal since Gameweek 29 – although he has had seven big chances in his last six appearances.
Luke Shaw (£5.0m), owned by just 0.53% of the top 10k, is perhaps a more appealing option given that United face the lowest-scoring teams in the Premier League in Gameweeks 37 and 38.
Cardiff pretty much have to win against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 37 to stand any chance of avoiding the drop, which will force the Bluebirds out on the front foot against Roy Hodgson’s side.
The likes of Wilfried Zaha (£6.9m) and Christian Benteke (£6.3m) – owned by 3.79% and 0.08% of the top 10k respectively – could have a field day against Cardiff then, particularly as Palace have been much better away from home this season.
Bournemouth are the visitors to Selhurst Park on the final day of the season and have conceded more away goals than all bar relegated Huddersfield and Fulham in 2018/19.
Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal enjoy two “blue” fixtures in Gameweeks 37 and 38 but much uncertainty surrounds their respective managers’ team selections in the run-in, with those three clubs in Champions League or Europa League semi-final action around their remaining Premier League games.
Eden Hazard (£10.9m) is still an eye-catching omission from our above list, however, with the Belgian sitting in just 8.19% of top 10k squads.
The likes of Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.4m), David Luiz (£5.8m) and Gonzalo Higuain (£9.0m) also all have ownerships of less than 5% within this group of elite managers.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) would be a high-risk, high-reward punt.
The Gabonese striker is the second-highest-scoring FPL forward and sits in just 2.93% of top 10k squads but second-guessing Unai Emery’s team selections is nigh-on impossible and Aubameyang – for one reason or another – has only started in four of Arsenal’s last ten Premier League games.
Out of Europe, Manchester City’s focus is very much on the league.
Bernardo Silva (£7.7m) and David Silva (£8.5m) are cut-price routes into a City attack that has not failed to score in the last 19 Gameweeks.
Owned by 7.61% and 0.39% of the top 10k respectively, the two Silvas have posted modest returns this season but sit in the top 12 midfielders for expected goal involvement (xGI) in 2018/19.
Casting our net further, the in-form Ryan Babel (£5.5m) and Shane Long (£4.6m) are two budget options who have been racking up the returns of late and who both enjoy two “blue” fixtures in Gameweeks 37 and 38.
No midfielder under £8.5m has a better points-per-match average than Babel this season, while Long has scored four goals in his last five games.
The pair were owned by 1.86% and 3.16% of the top 10k respectively at the point of the Gameweek 36 deadline.
West Ham United have started delivering some much-improved performances recently and were excellent at Spurs on Saturday.
Not one of the Hammers’ players was owned by more than 4% of the top 10k as of this weekend, with Marko Arnautovic (£6.7m), Felipe Anderson (£6.9m) and Michail Antonio (£6.7m) all owned by less than 0.6% of these managers.
Anderson and Antonio sit in the top ten midfielders for shots in the box and efforts on target in the last four Gameweeks and face a now-safe Southampton and FA Cup finalists Watford in their last two games.
Finally, a word on Everton. While the Toffees still have a trip to Spurs to come, Marco Silva’s troops are one of the Premier League’s form teams at present and were much the better side against Palace yesterday.
Like West Ham assets, all of Everton’s players are owned by less than 4% of FPL managers.
Lucas Digne (£5.3m) is part of an Everton backline that has kept seven clean sheets in their last nine games, while Richarlison (£6.4m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.4m) have scored more goals this season (13 each) than any midfielder under £10.0m in FPL.