Fantasy Premier League managers inside the top 10,000 have largely steered away from Manchester City and Liverpool players for the Gameweek 12 captaincy.
Close a third of them handed their backing to Jamie Vardy (£9.4m) ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Leicester on Saturday afternoon.
That makes him the most popular captain option in the upper echelons of the worldwide Fantasy rankings, as well as the winner of Fantasy Football Scout’s latest poll.
Also turned to by a portion of top 10k managers is Tammy Abraham (£7.9m) who has earned a 24.9% share at this level.
However, when we look at how the armband has been distributed at a worldwide level, we see a completely different story.
It is the Chelsea man who tops the charts overall for the first time this season, backed by 1,048,621 managers for Gameweek 12.
That is nearly double the amount who have turned to Vardy, who was handed just 674,657 armbands ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Arsenal.
Between them is Raheem Sterling (£12.1m), captained by 750,830 despite his tricky trip to Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
Furthermore, a portion of top 10k managers are not letting the perhaps unpredictable nature of Anfield’s upcoming contest scare them in their decision making.
Sadio Mané (£12.0m) is the third-most-popular captain at this level of the rankings going into Gameweek 12, 8.4% of them handing him the armband.
You can understand why these managers have made such a call, considering how cast aside Liverpool options were this week.
You have to go back to Gameweek 3 for the last time that Mané blanked at home so if he delivers, he could prove a powerful differential for these brave managers.
It does appear as if Gameweek 12 was one which failed to produce too many seismic changes in ownership among the top 10k.
That should not necessarily be too much of a surprise as managers start to settle into upper echelons.
Perhaps the biggest shift here revolves around early contender for 2019/20’s Fantasy asset of the year John Lundstram (£4.8m).
Going into Gameweek 11 he was the most-popular defender, sat in 64.9% of top 10k teams and that’s still the case following the most recent deadline.
However, there has been a massive jump in ownership at this level, the Sheffield United man now the most popular top 10k asset, in 88% of such teams.
That huge jump may be a combination of factors, including some owners riding a 21-point haul into the top 10k as well as 300,000+ transfers in since the end of Gameweek 11.
Martin Kelly (£4.1m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2m) and Diego Rico (£4.3m) remain three of the other four most-fashionable defenders, keeping their place in the so-called template from Gameweeks 11 to 12.
The new addition, creeping in at the expense of Andrew Robertson (£6.9m), is Çaglar Söyüncü (£4.8m), his 14-point haul a huge development in Gameweek 11.
Despite just one attacking return since Gameweek 8, Kevin de Bruyne (£10.2m) remains the most popular top 10k midfielder, in 73.1% of teams.
The big story in midfield is Mohamed Salah (£12.3m) dropping out of the five-most-popular options.
He was in 25.1% of top 10k teams for Gameweek 11 but has been replaced in this template of sorts by James Maddison (£7.4m).
As expected, the forward line most preferred by the top 10k remains at Vardy, Abraham and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m), although the latter is long way off the popularity of the former two.
It is interesting to see that the Wildcard template among the top 10k is not too dissimilar from the overall most-popular options, despite just 1.42% of them wielding the chip.
As you can see from the graphic above, the two most important options that don’t quite chime with the overall make-up of the top 10k are Christian Pulisic (£7.3m) and Raùl Jiménez (£7.3m).
As already mentioned, the Wildcard is beyond extensive usage at this point in the campaign, as 65.1% of top 10k managers have deployed it already.
It looks as if the Free Hit was the most popular for Gameweek 12, although was only used by 1.71%.
The use of this chip does make sense within the context of Gameweek 12 though, considering Liverpool and Manchester City’s hugely important meeting at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
As you can see from the graphic above, those two clubs still make up a massive portion of top 10k squads.
On average, managers at this level own 2.5 players from either side, combining for five.
That means on average, a third of Fantasy squads among the top 10k will be playing at Anfield this weekend – perhaps too much of a daunting prospect for those Free Hitters.
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