Fantasy Premier League managers will already have one eye on the end of Gameweek 13 when Bruno Fernandes (£11.0m) visits Sheffield United.
Manchester United are not in action until Thursday evening when their midfield maestro shoulders the responsibility of 1.2 million captain armbands.
No asset comes into Gameweek 13 backed by that many, although among the top 10,000 managers, he plays a secondary, yet not insignificant, role.
As you can see, Fernandes was seen as the best alternative to Kevin De Bruyne (£11.9m) for the Gameweek 13 captaincy, backed by 28.1% at this level.
The strength of the Portuguese international’s following makes for a gap of just 4.2 percentage points compared to Manchester City’s number 17, who was chosen as skipper by 32.3% of the top 10k – and blanked in a favourable home matching against West Bromwich Albion.
Meanwhile, at least 20% of the top 10k are expecting goals at Anfield on Sunday, despite predictions of Jose Mourinho spoiling the occasion with his big-game conservative approach.
That’s because 11.0% of these managers have captained Harry Kane (£10.9m), FPL’s highest-scoring asset with just one blank since Gameweek 2.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah (£12.3m) has blanked just once at Anfield this season, convincing 9.1% of the top 10k to captain the Egyptian for Gameweek 13.
Jamie Vardy (£10.3m) completes the top-five continuing as a niche captain at this level with 5.4% backing for the armband ahead of facing Everton.
Incredibly, De Bruyne is still something of a differential among the top 10k.
Despite coming into Gameweek 13 as the most popular captain in this rank bracket, three more players can boast higher effective ownership.
As already alluded to, Fernandes is the most significant of these, sitting in 61.1% of top 10k squads and his captaincy backing taking him to effective ownership of 89.2%
Kane (81.2%) and Son Heung-min (78.5%) remain powerful effective ownership weapons, each one at least six percentage points better off than De Bruyne in this department.
This season best-performing Fantasy managers are slowly losing patience with the Chelsea defence.
Ben Chilwell (£6.2m) came into Gameweek 12 as the top 10k’s most-fashionable defender – sat in 56% of their squads at the last deadline.
However, James Justin (£4.9m) has overtaken him for Gameweek 13, edging past by 0.01 percentage points, although Chilwell has still suffered a decrease of 5.6 percentage points of his own.
Kurt Zouma (£5.7m) and Reece James (£5.3m) also suffered mild decreases in popularity at this level, owned by 30.1% and 24.3% respectively for Gameweek 12 and just 29.7% and 23.5% after Tuesday afternoon’s deadline.
For the second Gameweek in a row, the midfield is the area of biggest fluctuation, although the top-four players in this position have held onto their places in the template.
Diogo Jota‘s (£6.9m) injury sees him drop out of the top five while De Bruyne finally creeps in with 39.6% ownership.
Assessing how the top 10k made room for him in their squads is difficult considering that Salah’s ownership has stayed the same between Gameweeks 12 and 13, Son dipped from 79.9% to 77.3%, while Fernandes and Jack Grealish (£7.8m) have all increased their popularity at this level.
There has not been any sign of sacrificing funds up-front to facilitate changes in midfield either.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.9m) suffered only a minor ownership decrease (from 72.2% to 71.1%), Kane’s has remained virtually stable and Patrick Bamford (£6.3m) became more popular, rising from 54.4% top 10k ownership to 57.6%.
Wildcards continue to fall slowly among the top 10k as another 1.2% of them pulled the trigger on a new squad for Gameweek 13.
Unsurprisingly, interest in the Triple Captain and Free Hit chips was low indeed, although there was a smattering of Bench Boost deployments.
In fact, roughly as many made use of the enhanced bench as did Wildcards this time out – an interesting decision considering recent announcements about Double Gameweek 19.
Continuing the trend of top 10k managers finally taking notice of De Bruyne, we can see that he is the most popular midfielder on Wildcarders at this level for Gameweek 13.
Only Kane was chosen more often by such managers for the midweek deadline, the general theme of these Wildcard selections clearly involving templating-up among the forwards and securing the key premium midfielders plus Grealish.
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