Bruno Fernandes‘ (£8.8m) blistering Gameweek 33+ display has put some early pressure on Fantasy managers who backed Mohamed Salah (£12.6m).
The Portuguese international came into the round as the second-most captained player inside the worldwide’s top 10,000, rewarding them with a 15-point haul, doubled up to 30, in Manchester United’s 5-2 win over Bournemouth.
In the end, it was 32.1% of managers at that level who handed him the armband for Gameweek 33+, raising expectations for Salah captainers.
As you can see from the image above, it was the Egyptian who earned the largest armband following for Gameweek 33+ ahead of a trip to Aston Villa.
Despite finishing second in the latest Fantasy Football Scout captain poll with 19.2% of the vote, just shy of 38% of the top 10k decided to captain Salah.
Such support for the Liverpool man from this season’s top-performing managers may encourage those who made the same decision, but the double-digit haul from Fernandes has certainly upped the ante.
Not least because of his effective ownership in the top 10k. Despite being pipped to the post by Salah for the most popular captain, fewer owners for the Egyptian at this level means Fernandes holds the largest sway.
His effective ownership in the top 10k for Gameweek 33+ stands at 120%, the highest of any player. Salah sits in second place on 97.8% effective ownership.
Anthony Martial (£8.2m) remains an exciting differential option for the armband, even at this lofty-level. Just 8.8% of managers in the top 10k captained Manchester United’s out-of-position FPL midfielder for the win over Bournemouth, yielding 28 points from that decision.
There was less traction for those who went with Marcus Rashford (£9.1m), however. The FPL forward, who operates on the flanks of the Red Devils’ attacking midfield, played well against Bournemouth, wrestling a penalty from Fernandes, but he managed only six points on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Sadio Mané (£12.5m) remains an extreme differential captain among the top 10k, earning just 4.7% backing for the armband at this level for Gameweek 33+.
As already mentioned, Salah still possesses plenty of potential to shake things up in the top 10k based on his ownership levels.
Kevin De Bruyne (£10.7m) and Fernandes are the overwhelming favourites in midfield, currently sat in 89.7% and 87.4% of top 10k squads respectively.
Accordingly, Salah is still playing third-fiddle to those two options with 58.6% ownership in the upper echelons of the worldwide Fantasy rankings.
The same is true of Martial to a similar extent. He now has double-digit hauls in each of his last two home matches since the Premier League restarted but less than half of the top 10k have him in their team. As the Gameweek 33+ deadline passed, the Frenchman was sat in 42.2% of teams at that level.
It is just Fantasy managers’ luck that the week which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m) creep into the template of most-owned players in the top 10k was the one in which he conceded twice.
Just under a third of these managers decided to include the right-back in their Manchester United contingent, based on their recent defensive improvements. However, despite keeping clean sheets in every home match since Gameweek 25, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men let in two goals as they beat Bournemouth 5-2. It will be interesting to see what happens to Wan-Bissaka’s ownership at this level, especially with other Manchester United options such as Martial and Mason Greenwood (£4.4m) chalking up double-figure hauls this weekend.
There has been relatively little transfer activity in the forwards department among the top 10k. Raúl Jiménez (£8.3m), Rashford and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.5m) were the three most-popular forwards for Gameweek 32+ at this level and, indeed for Gameweek 33+. That said, the Everton man’s ownership did drop off by 11.3 percentage points.
Wildcards continue to fall in the top 10k, with just shy of 10% left to use theirs before the end of the season.
7.6% of them overhauled their squads for Gameweek 33+ making the Wildcard the most used chip for the round.
However, there was still a smattering of Triple Captains, Free Hits and Bench Boosts.
2.4% went for the enhanced armband, Salah the choice for half of those managers – hardly a surprise ahead of a home match against Aston Villa.
With Manchester United and Liverpool both facing triple-up worthy fixtures in Gameweek 33+, it is no shock to see some traction for the Free Hit chip.
3.6% of managers in the top 10k went for temporary overhauled squads, very much with a view to covering the Red Devils and Jurgen Klopp’s men in key areas.
As you can see from the graphic above, the majority of these Free Hitters did so to include Salah in their squads.
Despite the Egyptian still only owned by roughly half of top 10k managers, he was the most popular choice on Free Hits at the same level, chosen by 85.4%.
The most common triple-up on Liverpool assets by these managers appears to involve the Egyptian, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.8m) and Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m).
Meanwhile, four Manchester United players made the cut for most-owned players in top 10k Free Hits, specifically Fernandes (84.8%), Rashford (65.2%), Martial (56.7%) and Wan-Bissaka (46.1%).
Also interesting is that these managers have largely used this opportunity to make the most of De Bruyne’s 90 minutes on Thursday evening to invest in Riyad Mahrez (£8.5m) instead, who made a 32-minute substitute’s appearance against Liverpool and has attacking returns in every start since Project Restart kicked off last month.
Statistics taken from LiveFPL.net.
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