In the first instalment of a regular series @Hibbo_FPL aims to analyse the form of highly owned players which FPL managers can successfully oppose. This article will focus on some higher risk moves for those aiming to break the template and make a late charge towards top 10k.
Effective Ownership King:
Ilkay Gundogan (£6.2m) is the most popular Manchester City asset owned by 91.04% of the current elite top 10k. Given his positive net transfers and dominance of captaincy polls the German international is forecast to be the leading effective ownership player for Double Gameweek 27 with an EO upwards of 140%.
Gundogan became a highly sought after FPL commodity as, in the absence of Manchester City’s best attackers, he was given carte blanche to join the attack. Boosted by the acquisition of spot kicks the former Dortmund man was the embodiment of fantasy gold. To illustrate Gundogan ranks top amongst all players for FPL points (120) since Gameweek 13.
|Gündogan (M) MCI (GW13-26)||15 (1)||35||17||26||12||7.22||11|
The Argument Against:
During this purple patch Gundogan demonstrated assassin levels of accuracy converting 31.4% of his shots however this does not scream sustainability. To provide context last season’s leading marksman Jamie Vardy, who is well known for being economical, converted 25.8% of shots to goals.
As FPL managers we have become accustomed to “Pep Roulette” and our excitement dissipating when our Man City options are benched. Rotation was evident last time out against Wolverhampton Wanderers with Gundogan rested as Man City continue their fight for four trophies.
The return from injury of recognised strike duo Sergio Aguero (£10.3m) and Gabriel Jesus (£9.2m) will limit the forward areas that the German has exploited. Furthermore, Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m) will likely be deployed in the no.10 role and is fancied to resume penalty duty.
Recently Man City fielded a recognised striker against West Ham United and Borrussia M’gladbach and the German did not record a single attempt at goal. The return of Aguero and Jesus meant the German’s well timed runs were sacrificed and his brief was the role of midfield metronome.
Challengers to the Crown:
It was bizarre to see possibly the best player in the division, Kevin De Bruyne (£11.8m), barely on the radar of FPL managers in Double Gameweek 26 with less than 5% effective ownership. With the Belgian struggling to recapture the best form of last season FPL managers discovered better value at Man City.
However, De Bruyne ranks best in the division per appearance for big chances (0.8) and second for key passes (2.9). Shot volume is not an issue either with the Belgian maestro ranking second amongst all players for shots per appearance (3.3). However, DeBruyne has struggled for accuracy converting just 4% of shots to goals this season.
With Man City in a commanding league position De Bruyne represents a hot differential in Double Gameweek 27 for brave souls willing to diversify their Man City portfolio. Free from the burden of early season pressure I am backing him to rediscover his best goal scoring form.
Whilst not exactly an orthodox Double Gameweek 27 captaincy pick Ruben Dias (£6.1m) could be the practical choice given the randomness of Pep Guardiola’s squad selection. To date the Portuguese centre back has bucked Pep’s trend for rotation only missing out against Tottenham in Gameweek 24 due to illness.
The possibility of two clean sheets seems viable given the opposition. This season in seven games against “big six” opposition Man United have scored a single goal. Furthermore, in the last six matches Southampton rank second worst in the league for xG (4.67) and third worst for shots on target (16).
Dias has been on the receiving end of three big chances this season and ranks joint top amongst defenders for bonus points (12) since Gameweek 10 when Man City tightened up. With 37.4% top 10k ownership Ruben Dias could represent a solid captaincy option likely to play both games.
Depending on your chip strategy I believe there could be logic in opposing Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) in the short term. When sorted by attack over the next three gameweeks Man United rank bottom of Fantasy Football Hub’s ticker. Unsurprising, considering fixtures against a teak tough Man City, in-form West Ham United, and blank in Gameweek 29.
Despite the glittering start to his Man United career Fernandes has been criticised for failing to deliver on big occasions. Moreover, Bruno’s output supports the narrative that he is a flat track bully. Fernandes has scored one goal and recorded no assists in seven games again the best sides in the division this term.
|Bruno Fernandes (M) MUN (Versus Big Six)||0.15||0.15||2.62||0.92||0.31|
|Bruno Fernandes (M) MUN (Versus The Rest)||0.70||0.65||3.40||1.30||0.65|
For those taking the plunge Heung-Min Son (£9.5m) represents the best straight swap. Crucially, Son has a fixture in Gameweek 29 for the 82% of top 10k managers navigating without the benefit of the free hit. In Double Gameweek 26 Son registered a 14pt haul but could have had much more only for his wayward finishing.
The South Korean marksman turned provider topping the division amongst all players in Double Gameweek 26 for big chances (5) and key passes (9). Crystal Palace visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next and have conceded the most shots in the division over the last six matches (71).
Jesse Lingard (£6.0m) has hit top form since moving to West Ham United notching three goals and two assists in five games. Since arriving Lingard ranks top amongst all players in the division for shots on target (9) and a plum home tie against Leeds will certainly appeal.
Despite a fixture in Gameweek 29 prospective suitors will require cover for his Gameweek 28 blank against parent club Man United. With 0.5% ownership in the top 10k, a fixture in Gameweek 29, and a nice run of fixtures to the season end investing in Lingard could put you ahead of the curve.
In conclusion, while these potential moves may be considered higher risk we have reached crunch time in the season. Those far from their overall rank season goal will want to fight aggressively against the template. However, those with top 10k in reach may want adopt a risk adverse approach.
In Double Gameweek 27 the majority will play “tight” with a single dominant effective ownership captain. Gundogan will be the shield pick for FPL managers happy to let their differentials do the talking. Whilst I respect the wisdom of the crowd I feel that the German can be opposed by those seeking that chunk rank rise.
In the short term backing against Bruno Fernandes and a Man United attack stuttering in the absence of Paul Pogba has merit. For the 52% of top 10k teams still have to play the second wildcard selling Fernandes despite any lost value could reap reward in points.
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.