Kevin De Bruyne (£10.8m) is set to hold massive sway over the outcome of Gameweek 34+.
The Belgian has been captained by a whopping 65.5% of the top 10,000 FPL managers ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Newcastle United.
It has been some time since a player enjoyed such a large majority in the scrap for the armband, which has made for effective ownership inside the top 10k of 161.6%.
By comparison, Bruno Fernandes (£8.9m) has received backing from just 19.9% of the top 10k for the midweek trip to Aston Villa.
The Portuguese international still enjoys effective ownership at this level of 112.7% but those who have handed him the armband will be sincerely hoping De Bruyne somehow underperforms, given how many have captained him instead.
As Fernandes and De Bruyne are the two players with over 100% effective ownership in the top 10k this week, those who went outside of the pair for captaincy will be feeling the nerves in Gameweek 34+.
After Fernandes, Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) is the third-most-popular captain option among this season’s best managers, backed by just 3.9% of them.
For all of Bournemouth’s poor defending since the restart, just 2.5% have decided to captain Harry Kane (£11.0m), and 2.3% went for Anthony Martial (£8.3m) ahead of the trip to Villa Park.
In fact, both Kane and Spurs colleague Son Heung-min (£9.8m) act as differentials for Gameweek 34+ as neither player comes into the round owned by more than a quarter of managers in the top 10k.
The South Korean is the more popular of the two, owned by 24.1%, while Kane sits on just 16.3%. Potentially exciting for those who have decided to play the fixture, as well as ominous for those not convinced by Spurs’ form.
As you can see from the table above, neither player was able to break into the loose template among the top 10k.
The most notable new faces are the budget options, namely Mason Greenwood (£4.6m) and Phil Foden (£5.4m).
The Manchester United forward’s brace was enough for him to form the perfect replacement for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.4m), who is still goalless since the Premier League restart.
Interestingly, Foden breaks into the template at the expense of Christian Pulisic (£7.2m), but not because the American dropped in ownership.
Before rewarding his owners in the Gameweek 34+ trip to Crystal Palace, Pulisic’s backing in the top 10k rose by 1.2 percentage points.
Foden’s support rose by a larger margin, resulting in 29.3% ownership in the top 10k for the upcoming meeting with Newcastle – although out of the two, Pulisic marginally edges effective ownership (28.3% to 28.2%) on account of receiving more attention for the captain’s armband.
Martial continues to turn the screw on his ownership, each week adding another steady increase, this time at the expense of Salah.
The Frenchman has risen from 42.2% top 10k ownership to 51% while Salah has dropped from 58.6% to 46.3%.
By comparison, there has been very little change in defence, as can be expected with the Gameweeks running out for Fantasy managers.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka‘s (£5.5m) one-pointer against Bournemouth has cost him roughly 5% ownership in the top 10k, with Serge Aurier (£5.0m) overtaking him as the fifth-most-popular defender.
The best Fantasy managers of 2019/20 have been somewhat sparing with their chips in Gameweek 34+.
Just 2% of them deployed their Wildcard for the midweek round, although it was the most popular chip played before Tuesday’s deadline.
It means that 6.3% of managers in the top 10k are saving the second Wildcard for use between now and Gameweek 38+, although they only have four more opportunities before the end of the campaign.
The Wildcard template for Gameweek 34+ is not hugely different from the overall squad picture in the top 10k.
The midfield five remain the same, with some slight ownership differences, while Emiliano Martínez (£4.3m) is, not surprisingly, preferred to David Button (£3.9m) as the back-up goalkeeper.
Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m) was included by 30% of Gameweek 34+ Wildcarders although he immediately disappointed as Chelsea conceded twice at Crystal Palace.
Of particular interest is the choice of forwards, especially as that position has proved hard to be excited by recently.
Greenwood was an overwhelming favourite of these Wildcarders, with Raúl Jiménez (£8.3m) doing just enough to stay in 53% of new-look squads. With little else of great options, it is Danny Ings (£7.3m) who proved to be the third-most-popular forward among Gameweek 34+ Wildcarders in the top 10k.
A smattering of the top 10k managers Free Hitted for Gameweek 34+, although still only 1.4% of them.
It means that the majority of those operating at this level, just over 56%, are waiting for the perfect time to play the temporary Wildcard, perhaps with Gameweek 38+ in mind.
As for those who pulled the trigger on it for the midweek action, there was a heavy focus on Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs.
Kane and Son both feature in the Free Hit template, as do De Bruyne, Fernandes, Foden and Greenwood.
Statistics taken from LiveFPL.net
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