A quarter of Fantasy Premier League managers have already deployed their first Wildcard of the season.
And there is similar usage for that chip among the emerging top 10,000 in the overall rankings.
After the first four Gameweeks, 25.4% of managers worldwide have used their Wildcard to get a new squad, 6.2% of those doing so ahead of Gameweek 4.
Unsurprisingly, the Wildcard is the most fashionable of the chips thus far, with the Triple Captain (10.2%), Free Hit (6.1%) and Bench Boost (4.4%) less so.
These statistics arguably highlight just how much goes on outside the Fantasy Football “bubble” that we are sometimes guilty of reading too much into.
Wildcards have been hotly debated on these pages, and in the Twittersphere, for some weeks now. And yet, it is perhaps refreshing for those still holding onto that chip that they are still in the vast majority.
The same is even true inside the current top 10k, as early as the season is.
As you can see, just 25.1% of managers at this level have pulled the trigger on the first Wildcard. 6% of those did so for the most recent round of action.
But there are still plenty of mitigating factors forming part of the top 10k at this stage of the campaign, which is evident from the chip usage outside of the Wildcard.
21.1% of these managers have already made use of the Triple Captain, 8% the Free Hit and 7.5% the Bench Boost. Each of those respective totals is somewhat higher than the corresponding usage at an overall level.
Still, we should not take too much away from the managers inside the top 10k after the first four Gameweeks on account of the chips.
As you can see from the table above, more than half of those who began the campaign well have done so without the help of any chips.
And no more than 30.5% made a fast start through the use of one.
These managers are mostly relying on Mohamed Salah (£12.2m) for Gameweek 4, 37.5% of the top 10k captaining him for Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa.
The Egyptian scored four goals on the road last season but was joint-top among Liverpool players for assists away from home (six).
Despite the captaincy debate proving a hotly contested one this week, and Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m) edging the FFS poll (21.4% to 17.8%), Salah has commanded a considerable majority of armbands among the top 10k.
Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) is the second-most-popular captain at this level for Gameweek 4 but his backing of 11.7% is still 25.8 percentage points lower than Salah.
De Bruyne was not far behind the Leicester man, but his 11.7% backing for the captaincy in the top 10k were left bitterly disappointed with a second successive blank in Manchester City’s 1-1 draw at Leeds.
The 7.7% of top 10k managers who went for the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.5m) were rewarded accordingly, as he netted in Everton’s Gameweek 4 hosting of Brighton.
Even though Spurs face an unpredictable big-six clash with Manchester United, 5.2% of the top 10k have captained Harry Kane (£10.5m), who has averaged seven points per game thus far.
The early top 10k template makes for interesting reading, most notable how fractured midfield is at this level.
Salah is comfortable the most popular asset in that position, owned by 73.7% of managers, but that is 39.8 percentage points more than the second-most-fashionable.
James Rodríguez (£7.7m), who registered another home double-figure haul against Brighton, is that man, but he hardly has much clearance from De Bruyne and Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m).
Meanwhile, it is intriguing to note that, despite confusion over his fitness situation, 19% have held onto Son Heung-min (£9.0m) ahead of Gameweek 4 and the international break.
The fact that Liverpool have just one clean sheet in three matches so far has not stemmed interest in their defence.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m), Andrew Robertson (£7.0m) and Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) are three of the most popular in their position, while Tyrick Mitchell (£4.1m) remains the most fashionable in his price bracket.
Statistics taken from LiveFPL.net
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