Fantasy Premier League managers ranked inside the top 10,000 appear to have been rather conservative with their transfers for Gameweek 23.
Ahead of Double Gameweek 24, there was less fluctuation in the template than we usually see among the upper echelons.
That could indicate that the number of managers with two free transfers for the Double Gameweek could be significant.
For the first time in 2021, there were no names to enter the top 10k template for the latest round.
As things stand, just five of these players have two fixtures in Double Gameweek 24, namely João Cancelo (£6.0m), John Stones (£5.2m), Rúben Dias (£6.1m), Ilkay Gündogan (£5.9m) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m).
Meanwhile, Alex McCarthy (£4.6m) and Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) are the only top 10k template options with two fixtures in Double Gameweek 25.
Even among these unchanged 15 players, there were some interesting ownership alterations.
Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) came into Gameweek 22 owned by 92.1% of the top-10k but only 83.9% of them possessed the Egyptian after Saturday morning’s deadline.
Some managers may have sold Salah to get their hands on Son Heung-min (£9.7m) for Sunday’s meeting with West Bromwich Albion.
His ownership at this level has increased by 2.2 percentage points between the two most recent Gameweek deadlines.
Even with a clean sheet against Burnley and Double Gameweek 24 around the corner, Cancelo, Stones and Dias each saw their ownership in the top 10k drop for Gameweek 23 by 0.3, 3.0 and 1.35 percentage points respectively.
A combination of form and fixtures helped Bamford, Michail Antonio (£6.7m) and Calvert-Lewin increase their stock in the upper echelons.
Two fixtures in Double Gameweek 25 helped Bamford to an ownership-rise of 1.4 percentage points for Gameweek 23.
Antonio’s went up by 7.2 percentage points although his new owners were dealt just a two-point score against Fulham.
And, ahead of facing Fulham (home) and Manchester City (home) next time out, Calvert-Lewin’s top 10k ownership has grown from 45.8% to 47.9% between Gameweeks 22 and 23.
Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) was the top 10k’s favourite captain option for Gameweek 23.
After winning the Fantasy Football Scout captain poll, 44.6% of those in the top 10k handed him the armband for Saturday evening’s meeting with Everton.
His latest attacking returns will be welcome for those managers, although they may still have half an eye on the runner-up Son.
24.1% of the top 10k are banking on the South Korean bucking the trend of his recent form and capitalising on a West Brom defence that has conceded at least twice in each of their last seven Premier League matches.
Those who captained Antonio for his uninspiring outing at Fulham will certainly be disappointed but might take some crumbs of comfort from knowing they were not alone.
The West Ham forward convinced 20.6% of the top 10k to captain him for Gameweek 23, almost certainly influenced by Fulham’s recent lapse from their defensive improvements which, of course, proved to be only a temporary one, based on their 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Bamford (4.3%) and Salah (2.2%) are the extreme differential captains this round as they prepare to face Crystal Palace and Manchester City respectively.
This week’s captaincy statistics made for some interesting figures in the effective ownership department.
Fernandes was the only asset above 100% for effective ownership in the top 10k, his total ending up at 143.5%.
Antonio was in second place with 96.7% while Bamford (88.5%), Salah (84.0%) and Son (76.3%) complete the top five.
Gameweek 23 was a quiet week for chips among the top 10k, just 0.4% of them deploying their second Wildcard.
That was the most popular of the chips with 99.3% of the top 10k electing not to use one ahead of Double Gameweeks 24 and 25.
Chip Use Overall
For the second Gameweek in a row, the Wildcard has received more attention outside the top 10k than inside it.
When we look at the worldwide chip usage for Gameweek 23, we can see 1.6% of all managers played their second Wildcard.
That works out at roughly 127,000+ managers pulling the trigger on a new squad this weekend.
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