The Gameweeks continue to tick by in Fantasy Premier League, even though a ball hasn’t been kicked in the English top-flight since early March.
FPL’s decision to leave the Gameweek deadlines as originally scheduled means Fantasy managers have had the capacity to use a plethora of free transfers during the downtime and we’ve been bringing you weekly updates on market trends, with the next one of those out later today.
One of the article requests we had recently (from Fantasy Football Scout user CK1) was to study what the top FPL managers have been doing with their free transfers during this quiet period.
With that in mind, we’ll take a quick look at the ins and outs of the top 20 managers in the overall FPL standings, our Fantasy Football Scout Members league and our Career Hall of Fame from Gameweeks 31-35 (we’ll generally omit mention any transfers in Gameweek 30, given that the majority would have been made before the postponement of the season a day before the deadline).
Overall FPL Standings
Overall leader Chris McGowan brought in Jamaal Lascelles (£4.3m) for Serge Aurier (£4.9m) in Gameweek 31, with world number eight Mark May also later drafting in the Newcastle United centre-half at the expense of Diego Rico (£4.2m).
Michał Pilichowski, who is tenth in the overall rankings, moved for Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.3m) in Gameweek 31 and transferred out Jack Stephens (£4.4m), meanwhile.
Kjell Magne Fuhr, who has an OR of 12, has interestingly moved for Marcus Rashford (£8.8m) and ditched Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.1m), while 20th-place Dave McHugh used two free transfers: Raul Jimenez (£8.1m) and Raheem Sterling (£11.7m) being sold, with Callum Wilson (£7.4m) and Sadio Mane (£12.5m) transferred in.
Dave is the only manager in the world’s top 20 who has made more than one move during the downtime, with all of our leading FPL bosses eschewing the chance to deploy a “slow Wildcard” with their free transfers.
The unfortunate Andrew Burguiere, who sits at 14th in the world, played his actual Wildcard in Gameweek 30, activating the chip a few days before we saw the Premier League suspended amid the coronavirus outbreak.
|Chris McGowan (1)||Lascelles||Aurier||31|
|Mark May (8)||Lascelles||Rico||33|
|Michał Pilichowski (10)||Wan-Bissaka||Stephens||31|
|Kjell Magne Fuhr (12)||Rashford||Auba||33|
|Dave McHugh (20)||Wilson||Jimenez||32|
Fantasy Football Scout Members League
The reason we plumped for our Fantasy Football Scout Members league over our free-to-all league is that it provides a completely fresh set of Fantasy bosses to look at.
Chris McGowan and Mark May, two managers we have already discussed above, are first and second in our Fantasy Football Scout league, for instance.
It will be also interesting to see, having studied the top 20 FPL bosses, how managers a little further back (their ranks range from 56th to 1,272nd) are approaching free transfer usage.
While there were only six Gameweek 31-35 transfers made by our top 20 overall FPL managers combined, a grand total of 41 such moves were made by the leading 20 bosses in our Fantasy Football Scout Members league.
Damjan Rupnik, leader of this mini-league, has used five of his free transfers, with three of them spent on his defence – although Matt Doherty (£6.3m) did account for two of them.
Pranil Sheth, aka Fantasy Football Scout contributor Lateriser12, has also kept up his aggressive approach to transfers, making five moves during the downtime.
Out have gone two Double Gameweek 29 players and a pair of Leicester City assets, with Manchester United pair Bruno Fernandes (£8.6m) and Anthony Martial (£8.0m) among the acquisitions.
The Red Devils have one of the more favourable run-ins, as we discussed in our recent Frisking the Fixtures article.
FPL Lewis’ decision to purchase a premium goalkeeper in the shape of Ederson (£6.0m) is perhaps influenced by Manchester City’s outstanding matches, too, given that they not only enjoy some appealing fixtures but also have one extra game to play than 16 other teams in the division.
Liam Bondin, 18th in the Fantasy Football Scout Members league and 1,121st in the world, has made six transfers, four of which have been used on his backline.
Fernandes was the most-bought player among this studied group, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.5m), Nick Pope (£4.9m) and Harvey Barnes (£6.2m) following next.
James Maddison (£7.5m) and non-playing goalkeeper David Button (£3.9m) were the joint-most-sold.
|Manager (league position)||In||Out||GW|
|Damjan Rupnik (1)||Taylor||Dunk||31|
|Nathan Woollaston (3)||Fernandes||Maddison||31|
|Miles Stephens (4)||H. Barnes||Maddison||31|
|FPL Lewis (5)||Fernandez||Kelly||31|
|Francis Mahon (7)||Alonso||Sidibe||31|
|Adam Warner (8)||Fernandes||Pepe||31|
|Mark Ainsworth (13)||Calvert-Lewin||Ings||31|
|Alex Nielsen (14)||Basham||Stephens||31|
|Chris Price (15)||Fernandes||H. Barnes||32|
|Martin Dixon (16)||H. Barnes||Maddison||31|
|Pranil Sheth (17)||Fernandes||Pepe||31|
|De Bruyne||H. Barnes||33|
|Liam Bondin (18)||Alonso||Robertson||31|
|Andrei Gluschkoff (19)||Williams||Rico||31|
Career Hall of Fame
We have opted to look at the Career Hall of Fame over the ‘live’ version as it provides yet another different cross-section of the Fantasy community.
These are the managers with a proven track record who may not necessarily be enjoying a good season in FPL, though there are exceptions.
A combined 46 transfers were made by the leading 20 managers in our Hall of Fame in Gameweeks 31-35.
Only seven of this group have been completely inactive, with the other 13 making at least one move.
Eight of these managers have used four or more of their free transfers during the downtime, with Rick Beamish, who sits nicely poised inside the top 40k, opting to change six of his squad – even though he has a second Wildcard still intact.
A transfer in of Nicolas Otamendi (£4.9m) was a particularly interesting move.
Sean Tobin, number one in our Career Hall of Fame, has also changed five of his squad, despite having the second Wildcard in hand.
Calvert-Lewin was bought by six of these elite managers and was thus the most-popular purchase, with United pair Maguire and Fernandes in joint-second.
Danny Ings (£7.1m) was offloaded by half a dozen managers, meanwhile, and is the most-sold asset of the downtime among our Hall of Famers.
Rico, who had lost his place in the Bournemouth side recently, suffered five transfers out.
|Manager (HoF Position)||In||Out||GW|
|Sean Tobin (1)||Maguire||Stephens||31|
|Stephen Harrap (4)||Abraham||Vardy||31|
|Marlen Rattiner (5)||Holgate||Robertson||32|
|Grant Barclay (6)||Ward||Rico||31|
|Alan Day (7)||Lundstram||Soyuncu||32|
|Tom Freeman (9)||Pope||Ryan||31|
|Matthew Jones (10)||Taylor||Rico||31|
|Andrew Hyde (11)||Lascelles||Rico||31|
|Simon Vazquez (15)||Lundstram||Pereira||31|
|Rick Beamish (17)||Maguire||Pereira||31|
|Richard Clarke (18)||Wood||Ings||31|
|Phil Roper (19)||Fleck||Perez||31|
|Callum Croal (20)||Calvert-Lewin||Aubameyang||32|
The lack of transfer activity among the top 20 overall FPL managers is perhaps understandable, given that these Fantasy bosses are in such a good position as things stand.
A shortage of concrete information about a restart and satisfaction with the squads that got them into such a good position are obvious reasons for the inertia, with transfers largely kept to a trouble-shooting minimum.
Managers further back in the pack have been more pro-active, however.
Fernandes, Calvert-Lewin and Pope have been the more predictable popular buys, although Maguire and Lascelles have also been attracting interest.
Ings, Rico and a cluster of Leicester assets are the ones being jettisoned in the largest numbers, meanwhile.
Notable has been the absence of many of the premium, £10m+ names, with a few exceptions.
A lot of the activity has instead focused on budget-to-mid-price assets, with lower-key moves, be it clearing out deadwood (eg Button, Rico), jumping onto value-for-money buys (Fernandes, Calvert-Lewin) or having one eye on the remaining fixtures (Maguire), instead preferred.