In this edition of his regular article series, @Hibbo_FPL examines the merits of two of the heaviest owned players in the template and explores replacements for Blank Gameweek 33 and beyond. This article will provide FPL tips to help managers to break the template and make a late charge towards the top 10k.
Harry Kane (£11.8m) posted the highest top 10k effective ownership (216.78%) in Double Gameweek 32 of any player this FPL season. This eye-watering percentage at the elite level was the sum total of player ownership (99.22%), captaincy (95.48%), and triple captaincy (22.08%).
Kane’s effective ownership created a unique scenario whereby even those who captained were negatively affected by his points. This anomaly was a combination of a factors: a double gameweek for one team involving a player of the season contender & triple captain chips in play.
Kane limped off injured against Everton in a game he lit up with two well-taken goals and is yet to return to training. Considering the Blank Gameweek 33 and the unknown severity of Kane’s injury – is the Spurs marksman expendable?
Ryan Mason wasn't giving much away on Harry Kane. The striker has missed training since rolling his ankle on Friday at Goodison Park. "Taking it day-by-day. Not sure about the weekend yet."
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) April 20, 2021
In terms of form, Harry Kane looks very much at his imperious best and a definite hold according to our OPTA stats tool. Since Gameweek 27 the Englishman ranks amongst all players top for shots (27), shots on target (11), shots in the box (16), big chances (7), and goals (7).
The fixtures for Spurs following Blank Gameweek 33 are particularly juicy from an attacking point of view and look conducive to holding Spurs assets according to our recently upgraded Fixture Ticker. Moreover, interim head coach Ryan Mason could continue his version of the new manager bounce against already relegated Sheffield United.
Strength in depth in the FPL forward position is sparse at present time with the template largely focused on two players. At the elite level, 78% of managers own both Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.1m) and Harry Kane making the Nigerian international very much part of the template.
The progression of Iheanacho has dented the appeal of Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) and on current comparison, the Nigerian international represents significantly better value. However, if Kane were to miss the Sheffield United game the upcoming Leicester City fixtures look ripe for an attacking double up.
Twelve goals & twelve assists from Jamie Vardy in the league is very respectable however the veteran sharpshooter has struggled for accuracy of late. It is a definite concern that Vardy hasn’t scored in the league since notching against Liverpool on 13th February.
Across all Hub goal threat metrics, Jamie Vardy has regressed since February but his creativity have dramatically improved. This hints that Vardy, in the presence of Iheanacho and the absence of Maddison, has become less sniper and more of a provider.
Vardy is largely a flat track bully with 73% of league goals since August 2018 coming against opposition outside the “Big Six”. Furthermore, in just 8% of elite teams Vardy could prove a hot differential making light of favourable fixtures with Maddison resuming creative duties.
Leicester rank best in the division over the next three gameweeks on the Hub ticker when sorted by “goals for”. Furthermore, Leicester hosts a Crystal Palace side this week that over the last six that ranks third worst for both shots conceded in the box (61) and big chance conceded (17).
According to Ben Crellin, Leicester City’s short-term schedule could be boosted further if their Gameweek 36 fixture away to Manchester United is placed into Gameweek 35. This would create a more compelling case for punting on Vardy with an additional two fixtures over the next three.
Here's what the FPL schedule is likely to look like if the GW 36+37 deadlines change when the GW 36+37 fixtures are pushed back by half a week.
The UCL and UEL Semi-final legs are in the midweeks either side of GW34 and the FA Cup Final would be on the same weekend as GW36. pic.twitter.com/f8af05Jjwa
— Ben Crellin (@BenCrellin) April 18, 2021
Heung-Min Son (£9.5m) is owned by 84% of elite teams but presents slightly less of a conundrum than his Spurs counterpart. The South Korean international has struggled for both actual & underlying form since early February however two goals in his last three matches suggests improvement.
Since Gameweek 24, across all goal threat metrics per appearance Son has regressed however his creative output increased. This latter period coincided with the return of Gareth Bale (£9.1m) which is worrying as the narrative suggests the Welshman will see more minutes under Ryan Mason.
Mason Greenwood (£7.1m) appeals with sub 1% ownership in Double Gameweek 32 very much fits the bill when it comes to breaking the template. With Anthony Martial (£8.6m) potentially missing the rest of the season with a knee injury Greenwood looks to be the main beneficiary.
According to our OPTA stats tool, Greenwood has notched four goals and an assist over the last three recording consecutive double-digit hauls. Since Gameweek 28, amongst all players, Greenwood ranks second for shots (17) and top for shots in the box (15). Furthermore, Greenwood has received four big chances and created three for his teammates.
Manchester United’s fixtures from an attacking point of view both Leeds and Aston Villa appeal while Liverpool presents a sterner test. Furthermore, Manchester United look likely according to Ben Crellin to have a Double Gameweek in 35 with the tie against Leicester City shifted forward but Blank Gameweek 36.
James Maddison (£7.2m) has recently returned having been sidelined since February following an operation on a recurring hip problem. Furthermore, the Englishman had been put on the naughty step for breaching Covid restrictions however Rodgers suggests that the fall-out was short-lived.
📢 Brendan Rodgers on James Maddison, Ayoze Perez, Hamza Choudhury: "It was a decision I made, an internal situation last weekend.
— Colm Hayes (@ColmVHayes) April 12, 2021
During the period Gameweek 19-25, the former Norwich City man notched four goals and three assists in eight matches. Over the period Maddison ranked second amongst all players for shots (25) and third for shots on target (10). Furthermore, over the period no player took more free-kicks than Maddison (24) according to our OPTA stats tool.
Given Maddison’s form before the injury, he could be ultra-differential with only 3% ownership amongst elite teams at the close of Double Gameweek 32. Leicester City certainly has the fixtures and very much the league’s form striker Kelechi Iheanacho.
In conclusion, providing Harry Kane is fit to resume against Sheffield United I feel that he can be held and benched. However, if FPL managers receive confirmation that Kane is to miss any more league fixtures an opportunity to short-term punt on Vardy would arise.
Many FPL managers within the community had a pre-determined plan to trade Son before Blank Gameweek 33 with a view towards rebuying. The focus for such managers would largely have focused on premium heavyweight options such as Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) or Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m).
For those searching for a more budget-friendly Son replacement, my choice would be Greenwood due to his recent underlying numbers. Furthermore, moving Son to a mid-priced option could provide much-needed funds to buy Trent Alexander-Arnold who I have been bullish on recently.
For those that have read, thank you. Keep an eye for more articles in the near future and good luck for the coming Gameweeks. Drop me a follow on Twitter @Hibbo_FPL.