Raheem Sterling‘s (£12.1m) popularity among the top 10,000 managers continues to shrink, although he punished his sellers in Gameweek 7.
Those that kept faith in the Manchester City midfielder were rewarded for their patience, not just in the form of points for their teams, but for the differential over those around them who moved him on.
After the Gameweek 6 deadline, Sterling sat in 48% of teams inside the top 10k, and was the third most popular midfield asset, behind only Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) and Kevin de Bruyne (£9.9m).
However, Saturday morning’s deadline has seen him drop to just 30% ownership in the upper echelons.
That makes him the fifth-most popular midfielder, behind Mason Mount (£6.6m) on 44.4% and Todd Cantwell (£5.0m) on 43.9%.
We knew that Sterling had been ditched by a large number of managers worldwide, but it is perhaps surprising to see his stock fall even among those in the top 10,000.
That said, it is probable that Sterling’s no-show in Gameweek 6 was responsible for shaking up the standings at that level initially as those without the midfielder were among that round’s highest-scorers.
Meanwhile, his performance at Goodison Park, in which he wasted a one-on-one chance with Jordan Pickford (£5.6m), may leave his owners in something of a quandary.
Despite that dreadful miss and a largely poor display, he still managed to get one effort over the line, spotted by goalline technology.
Not surprisingly, de Bruyne is now the most-fashionable asset in any position among the top 10k. The Belgian is currently in 85.8% of teams at this level – and celebrated his newfound popularity with two assists in the win over Everton.
As he continues to prove his value this season, John Lundstram (£4.4m) has risen to become the most popular defender among the top 10,000.
The Sheffield United man now sits in 64.6% of teams at this level having gone into Gameweek 7 as the top-scoring player in his classification.
This season’s most successful managers so far are generally looking for value in defence as the number of premium options being considered continues to fall.
Martin Kelly (£4.1m) and Diego Rico (£4.1m) are both in the top-five most-owned defenders among the top 10k, bringing the total of sub-£4.5m options to three.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2m) has also been on the rise, perhaps at the expense of his colleague Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m).
The right-back was in 32.7% of top 10k teams in Gameweek 6, his centre-back colleague in 36.7% of them.
However, they have swapped over now, Alexander-Arnold now the more popular at the top level. He is in 43.1% of teams in the top 10k, while van Dijk is in just 27%.
Such a switch will have stemmed from Alexander-Arnold’s propensity for attacking returns although, in Gameweek 7, he was outscored by van Dijk, who collected bonus points at Sheffield United.
Up-front, the picture remains fairly similar to before, although it may change for Gameweek 8 given the host of blanks for the popular strikers this weekend.
Teemu Pukki (£7.2m) remains the most fashionable in this position, while Tammy Abraham (£7.5m) and Sergio Aguero (£12.2m) complete the top three – all goalless in Gameweek 7.
Speaking of goalless, that’s exactly what most of the captains were in the top 10k, as most FPL managers experienced a rotten start to Gameweek 7.
Salah was the most skippered option in the upper echelons with the backing of 26.5% of managers in the top 10k.
He came close to attacking returns at Bramall Lane but forced a strong save from Dean Henderson (£4.5m) when he was played through.
Aguero was just behind the Egyptian on 23% backing among the top 10k, not even start Manchester City’s trip to Everton, featuring only as a 65th-minute substitute – although claiming a late assist.
Ahead of Chelsea’s hosting of Brighton, Abraham was backed as the differential option by 16.2% of the top 10k.
That selection of managers will have been most frustrated to see the forward not take Chelsea’s second-half penalty, dispatched by Jorginho (£5.0m).
Finally, we can see once again that each week brings more weight to the findings among the top 10,000 managers.
In the early stages of the campaign, there was a high proportion of those who had used chips extensively in the first few Gameweeks.
However, we are now seeing that nearly 40% of the managers at this level are yet to use a single chip yet this season.
Meanwhile, 39.9% of them have already used one chip and we can see from the detailed breakdown that the Wildcard is now up to 44.7% usage in the top 10,000 managers.
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