A significant portion of Fantasy Premier League managers inside the top 10,000 overall rankings re-shaped their squads for Gameweek 16.
9.3% of those deployed the first Wildcard at the last chance of asking for the final Gameweek of 2020 – with Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) very much a key figure.
Thanks to the data on LiveFPL.net, we can analyse which other assets played a part in this squad shuffle, especially thinking of the upcoming Blank and Double Gameweeks.
Firstly, we can see that, as the Gameweek 16 deadline passed, 92.0% of top 10k managers had used the first Wildcard.
That means that just over 8.0% of those at this level proverbially ‘wasted’ it by leaving the chip unused.
Could that indicate a degree of inactivity even among the top 10k, or were there that many managers happy enough with their existing squad not to need it. Imaging that luxury is enough to make anyone envious.
As you can see from the bar chart above, we can see that, after 16 Gameweeks, 5.0% of the top 10k achieved their lofty rank without the use of even one chip.
64.6% have deployed one, almost certainly the Wildcard based on the rule of probability, while the relative lack of managers to have used more than that suggests we should see plenty Triple Captains, Free Hits and Bench Boosts when the Blank and Double Gameweeks come around.
As mentioned already, Salah was the key man on top 10k Wildcards, selected by 95.9% of these managers, the most of any asset.
He is marginally more popular than Bruno Fernandes (£11.1m) and Patrick Bamford (£6.5m), included in 95.8% and 94.6% of top 10k Wildcard squads respectively.
Despite blanking in five of the last nine Gameweeks, Son Heung-min (£9.7m) is not far behind the trio in terms of Wildcard support, chosen by 88.0% of these managers.
Back-to-back home matches against newly-promoted opposition are sure to have influenced that decision, as well as a fixture in Blank Gameweek 18, taking Spurs to Villa Park.
Midfield is certainly an area where the top 10k have been as unanimous as possible in terms of selection, Tomáš Souček (£5.1m) selected by 70.2% of Wildcarders at this level ahead of a Double Gameweek line-up of Burnley (home) and West Bromwich Albion (home).
Apart from Bamford, the top 10k were less emphatic in the overall choices up-front. It is certainly noteworthy that Harry Kane (£11.0m) was considerably less popular in these Wildcard squads than Son with 55.7% inclusion.
Also interesting is the fact that Che Adams (£6.1m) has picked up the support of 41.7%, the value offered by a striker facing Leicester (away) and Leeds (away) in Double Gameweek 19.
Premium defenders struggled to get much of a look-in for top 10k Wildcarders, none of the top-five most-fashionable assets in this position costing more than £5.0m at the time of writing.
James Justin‘s (£5.0m) remarkable powers of recovery have helped him start and play 90 minutes in every match for Leicester this season, even between Gameweeks 15 and 16.
The top 10k have cottoned onto that, especially those Wildcarding, 62.0% choosing him ahead of a Double Gameweek 19 line-up of Southampton (home) and Chelsea (home).
Charlie Taylor (£4.5m) and Stuart Dallas (£4.7m) are in just shy of 60% of top 10k Wildcard squads, with Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m) and Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.8m) also extensively included.
In terms of what these selections mean for future chip planning, the fact that so many popular Wildcard assets are Double Gameweekers indicates the Free Hit could receive extensive attention in Blank Gameweek 18.
In terms of how that compares with the template for the rest of the top 10k rank bracket, there are some notable exclusions.
Jack Grealish (£7.8m) is in 53.8% of squads at this level but did not feature in the Wildcard template.
The same goes for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m), currently owned by 62.8% of the top 10k.
Meanwhile, it is clear that the Wildcarders at this level used the chip to bring their defence in line with the overall template, the same five players appearing in each matrix we have compared.
Finally, Salah is the most dangerous asset in the top 10k for Gameweek 16, backed by 54.3% for the captaincy.
That brings his effective ownership at this level to 142.8%, 46.1 percentage points higher than the second-placed in that category: Manchester United midfielder Fernandes.
It is also interesting to note how the stock of Spurs attackers has fallen, especially in the captaincy debate.
A home meeting with Fulham stood out to many as a key game for those in possession of Son and Kane – less so now.
Spurs’ own slump is likely a contributing factor as well as Fulham’s improved defensive displays.
As a result, Kane and Son were captained only by 19.8% and 13.5% of the top 10k respectively.
Statistics taken from LiveFPL.net.
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