Five days after Fantasy Premier League was launched for the 2019/20 campaign, we are taking our first look at the ownership figures to see which assets are popular among the Fantasy community.
We’ll be doing this on a semi-frequent basis throughout the summer to see which trends are developing as injuries, new signings, pre-season form and international tournament minutes shape our thinking.
As is always the case at this time of year, the ‘auto-pick’ selections are skewing the figures towards mid-price assets (£5.5m goalkeepers, £6.0m defenders, £7.0m midfielders and £7.5m-£8.5m forwards).
Nevertheless, some early patterns are forming.
Alisson (£6.0m), the top-scoring FPL goalkeeper of 2018/19 and the Golden Glove winner to boot, is the most popular asset between the sticks, perhaps as Fantasy managers seek out a cheaper route to a Liverpool defensive double-up following price rises elsewhere.
David Button (£4.0m) is the go-to bench fodder option currently but teammate Mathew Ryan (£4.5m) is the most popular budget shot-stopper, with the Seagulls faring well on our Season Ticker in the first six Gameweeks.
A price rise for Lukasz Fabianski (£5.0m) hasn’t deterred 11.9% of FPL managers from drafting in the West Ham custodian, while Jordan Pickford (£5.5m) – who kept ten clean sheets in 18 league starts this calendar year – narrowly trails behind the Poland international.
Of the goalkeepers we know are first choices at their respective clubs, Vicente Guaita and Martin Dubravka (£5.0m) are proving the least popular, sitting in just over 1.0% of FPL squads.
Price rises for Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m) haven’t translated into a fall in demand, with these three Liverpool defenders among the four most-popular assets in their position and each boasting an ownership of at least 30%.
Perhaps surprisingly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m) is still proving en vogue despite a £1.5m price hike.
There are many factors that will be shaping this – a nostalgia for his displays last season, a move to Manchester United and a higher rate of ‘casuals’ playing the game at this stage of the year – but a 34.1% ownership is still eyebrow-raising, given his dearth of attacking returns last season.
As we have discussed, £6.0m-rated options such as Matt Doherty, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy will be benefiting from auto-pick selections with still over five weeks to go until Gameweek 1.
Lucas Digne‘s (£6.0m) popularity can’t just be attributed to his price tag, however, given that his ownership is head and shoulders above any other defender available at £6.0m.
Martin Kelly (£4.0m) is the bargain-basement defender that over one in five FPL managers has opted for, either just as bench fodder or perhaps with a hope that he will fill the void left by Wan-Bissaka at Selhurst Park – although Kelly was deputising more at centre-half in the season run-in.
Jamaal Lascelles (£4.5m) is the most popular “nailed” defender available for less than £5.0m, sitting in 10.3% of squads, with Issa Diop (£4.5m) – linked with a move to Manchester United this summer – not far behind on 9.0%.
Seamus Coleman and Oleksandr Zinchenko (both £5.5m), two cheaper routes into the Everton and City defences, sit in just 3.3% and 2.5% of FPL squads respectively.
A small price drop for Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) has perhaps aided the Egyptian’s appeal in the Fantasy community, with the Liverpool winger the most-selected midfield asset at the time of writing.
Price rises for Raheem Sterling (£12.0m) and Sadio Mane (£11.5m) haven’t aided their cause but they are still among the top five most popular players in their position.
Kevin De Bruyne (£9.5m) sits in only 11.8% of FPL squads despite a price cut and, interestingly, Fantasy managers are moving increasingly for Bernardo Silva (£8.0m).
Wilfried Zaha‘s (£7.0m) ownership figure will, as we have emphasised, be inflated due to auto-pick selections.
As with Digne, though, his popularity can’t just be attributed to his cost – a positional reclassification, coupled with speculation over a possible move to a ‘big six’ club, will no doubt be boosting interest.
Decent early fixtures for Bournemouth and Everton have seen many keep faith with Ryan Fraser (£7.5m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£8.0m) despite price hikes, while Jack Grealish (£6.0m) is proving relatively popular at this early stage – the Villa midfielder currently sits in 10.4% of FPL squads.
Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United midfield assets are largely being overlooked, with not one owned by more than 7% of Fantasy bosses.
Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) is currently the most-owned FPL asset in any position.
While auto-pick selections have to be taken into account, the fact that he is way ahead of Callum Wilson (£8.0m), Marcus Rashford (£8.5m) and Romelu Lukaku (£8.5m) – all players who feature in heavily in auto-pick squads – speaks volumes as to his popularity.
Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) and Harry Kane (£11.5m) are owned by more than one in five Fantasy managers but the big hitters in attack are generally not as popular as their midfield counterparts, as we expected.
A decent number of Fantasy managers are turning to Josh King and Diogo Jota (both £6.5m) as a cheaper way of covering Wilson and Jimenez, while Gerard Deulofeu (£6.5m) is still fairly sought-after despite his positional change.
Alexandre Lacazette and Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) both feature in 7.6% of FPL squads, as does Teemu Pukki (£6.5m).
Shane Long (£5.0m) is the most-owned budget forward option but the recent signings of Danny Ings (£6.0m) and Che Adams will no doubt dent his appeal regarding game-time.
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