The top 10,000 Fantasy Premier League managers were largely content to come into Blank Gameweek 29 without a full starting XI.
With just four matches to choose from, and Free Hits mostly at a premium, this weekend’s average squad size at this level was 10.3 players from a possible 12, according to LiveFPL.net.
Those two numbers include the doubling-up effect of a captain’s armband, meaning the top 10k are, on average, 1.7 below a full complement of starting players for Blank Gameweek 29.
Still, they are still at more of an advantage than managers in the rest of the world.
Even including the doubling-up of a captain, the average number of active players among overall teams is just 6.0 for Blank Gameweek 29.
In light of the disadvantages in each camp, hits appear to have been relatively prevalent.
According to LiveFPL.net, the average adjustment to a top-10k squad this weekend, when factoring in this rank bracket’s hits, is -1.95.
Meanwhile, when we factor in all hits worldwide, the average squad score carries a deduction of 1.36 points.
As mentioned before, very few managers in the top 10k were able to legislate against the Blank Gameweek with a Free Hit.
80.2% of them had already used that chip before Friday’s evening deadline.
Still, 9.5% of them deployed the Free Hit for Blank Gameweek 29. Unsurprisingly, that was the most attention any chip received this week with 1.9% of the top 10k opting for a Wildcard.
Robert Sánchez (£4.5m) was the most fashionable goalkeeper among the top-10k Free Hitters, chosen by 66.5% of them for Blank Gameweek 29.
Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) was behind only Harry Kane (£11.5m) for ownership in these squads making him the most-popular defender ahead of Stuart Dallas (£5.1m) in second place.
It is also interesting to note that, despite plenty of attention in the Fantasy community this week, Joël Veltman (£4.4m) did not crack the top-five most-popular defenders among top-10k Free Hitters.
Gareth Bale (£9.6m) sits in 91.9% of these squads while Leandro Trossard (£5.8m) made it into 45.0% of them.
There appears to be a fair amount of uniformity across the midfield in the top 10k’s Free Hit teams, Jesse Lingard (£6.1m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.5m), Raphinha (£5.6m) and Bale all owned by at least 80% of such managers.
A look at the main template among the top 10k tells an interesting story about which players were held onto at this level.
Kane, Michail Antonio (£6.7m) and Patrick Bamford (£6.7m) were the most popular forwards in the top 10k Free Hits but Ollie Watkins (£6.6m) remains in 53.3% of all teams at this level.
Son Heung-min (£9.5m) looks unlikely to be involved in Blank Gameweek 29 due to injury but a positive update about his Gameweek 30 chances has led to 50.3% of the top 10k retaining his services for now.
Meanwhile, John Stones (£5.3m), Ruben Dias (£6.1m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) and Ilkay Gündogan (£6.2m) all have no match in Blank Gameweek 29 but have held onto a place in the top 10k template.
The Blank Gameweek 29 captaincy was arguably even more one-sided than pre-deadline polls suggested.
Kane managed 48.9% of the votes in our most recent ballot but the top 10k were more convinced of his credentials.
78.1% of them have placed their armband on the Spurs forward, who has five attacking returns in the last four matches.
Backers of Friday-night goalscorer Raphinha will be pleased with how Blank Gameweek 29 has gone so far.
5.8% of the top 10k captained him for the trip to Fulham, a brave decision in light of the heavy support for Kane, although it was one that has already come with some reward.
2.3% captained Aubameyang, 2.0% handed the armband to Bale while 1.8% chose Lingard as their skipper.
As predicted, Kane’s effective ownership for Blank Gameweek 29 was ominously significant.
Combining his ownership in the top 10k with a large following of captains, his effective ownership is 172.6%, just under 100 percentage points more than second-placed Raphinha (80.6%).
Leeds’ trio of key Fantasy assets were well inside the top-five for this particular statistic, completed by Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez (£5.4m).
BLANK GAMEWEEK 29 SO FAR…
Bamford was at the heart of Friday night’s opening match of Blank Gameweek 29.
For the first time since Gameweek 21, the Leeds forward produced more than one attacking return, scoring and assisting at Craven Cottage.
However, after overcoming a hip injury to appear on Friday, Bamford was forced off in the 77th minute with a possible new complaint.
Raphinha continued his impressive form, adding his 12th attacking return of the campaign, an eighth since Gameweek 20.
Meanwhile, Ademola Lookman‘s (£5.1m) role in set pieces was finally rewarded, enabling him to secure a fourth assist of the season, although it was his first since Gameweek 18.
Joachim Andersen (£4.5m) was the Fulham defender to own for Blank Gameweek 29 it turned out, the Danish international netting his first-ever goal for Fulham in the first half.
Provisional bonus points
- 3 – Patrick Bamford
- 2 – Jack Harrison
- 1 – Raphinha
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