Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) has a firm grip on the top 10,000 Fantasy Premier League managers in Gameweek 22.
Ahead of a midweek meeting with Brighton, the Egyptian is, by far, the most heavily backed captain of the latest round.
As a result, his effective ownership inside the top 10k is sure to be ominous for anyone without Salah.
As you can see from the pie chart above, a whopping 80.8% of the top 10k handed Salah the captain’s armband for Gameweek 22.
That is a particularly staggering figure, especially in contrast to the latest Fantasy Football Scout captain poll, in which Salah won with just a 44.6% share.
The fact that previously popular premium assets such as Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m), Harry Kane (£11.1m), Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) and Sadio Mané (£11.9m) are all facing injury problems appears to be a factor here.
But it is certainly telling that the top 10k were more certain of a big haul for Salah than Fantasy Football Scout voters this week.
The Egyptian’s majority compared to the other popular captains is also massive.
Just 7.2% of the top 10k captained Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) for Gameweek 22, making for a gap of 73.7 percentage points.
Bruno Fernandes (£11.4m) was close behind the Manchester City man with the backing of 7.1%, despite earning roughly double that share in the latest Fantasy Football captain poll.
Such is the extensive support for Salah, the fourth and fifth-most captained options for Gameweek 22 were picked only by 1.2% and 0.9% of the top 10k respectively.
Ahead of a trip to Burnley, those assets are João Cancelo (£6.0m) and Ilkay Gündogan (£5.8m).
Salah’s overall power to do damage to non-owners in the top 10k is gargantuan for Gameweek 22.
Thanks to ever-increasing backing and the glut of captain armbands, his effective ownership at this level has come in at 173.0%.
Fernandes is the only other player with over 100% effective ownership among the top 10k midweek although he is still 69.4 percentage points behind Salah in this department.
And following his 15-point haul against Leicester, Patrick Bamford (£6.6m) ranks third on this metric but still trails Salah and Fernandes by a significant amount.
The impact of a long injury list and out-of-form premium assets is also highlighted in the overall template of players inside the top 10k after the Gameweek 22 deadline.
Between the two most recent rounds, Salah’s ownership in the upper echelons of FPL has risen by 20.7 percentage points, the biggest shift in the template this week.
That came in a Gameweek where he was transferred into 600,000+ new squads, the top 10k playing their part in that trend.
Son Heung-min (£9.7m) may have been one of the players discarded in favour of the Egyptian as his top 10k ownership dropped from 57.9% to 50.2% between Gameweeks 21 and 22.
Despite his first blank since Gameweek 18, Gündogan’s ownership in the top 10k remains relatively stable, dropping only by 1.2 percentage points after Tuesday’s deadline.
With Salah at the heart of so many transfers this week, the defensive and forward positions have not seen too many fluctuations between Gameweeks 21 and 22.
Bamford has increased his share of managers in the top 10k by just over 11 percentage points, although that number is sure to be influenced as much by those who used his points to get a green arrow as well as those who signed him.
Meanwhile, Michail Antonio (£6.6m) has earned an increase of 2.9 percentage points despite his blank against Liverpool but Dominic Calvert-Lewin‘s (£7.6m) stock is already travelling in the opposite direction.
51.5% of the top 10k owned the Everton man for Gameweek 21, just 45.8% of them still in possession of him after Tuesday’s deadline.
It was another slow week for the chips among the top 10k with the Wildcard used by just 0.4% of them for Gameweek 21.
Chip Use Overall
However, it is worth noting how many managers worldwide pulled the trigger on a new squad in midweek.
1.9% used the Wildcard overall for Gameweek 21, roughly 150,000+ in total, perhaps influenced by the recent slew of injuries to highly-owned players.
Either way, it is certainly quite interesting to see any chip used more extensively by the rest of the world than in the top 10k this far into a campaign.
Even though the Wildcard was not widely used in the top 10k this week, it is still worth considering any emerging trends from those that did.
The template here largely brings Wildcarders in line with the main top 10k template with a few exceptions.
John Stones (£5.2m) appears to have lost favour following his Gameweek 21 benching, Cancelo and Rúben Dias (£6.0m) the more trustworthy options from this point onwards as far as Wildcarders are concerned.
And Stuart Dallas (£4.8m) appears to be more the popular sub £5.0m option for those looking ahead, interesting considering the absence of Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m) in this Wildcard template.
Meanwhile, the apparent lack of trust in Everton players is made clear by the fact that Callum Wilson (£6.7m) is the third-most popular forward – not Calvert-Lewin.
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