Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) has forged himself an increasingly significant role among Fantasy Premier League managers inside the top 10,000.
After a surge of ownership in Gameweek 12, and a goal against Spurs, the Egyptian is the most powerful asset at this level for Gameweek 14.
Despite pre-game rumours of a benching, which proved to be true, no player was captained by more top 10k managers this weekend than Salah.
28.6% of them backed him for the trip to Selhurst Park, the reward eventually coming after his 57th-minute introduction for Sadio Mané (£11.9m).
The fact that Salah still managed to record a 16-point haul from the bench puts some pressure on the other key captain candidates – all of whom play their Gameweek 14 matches on Sunday.
Harry Kane (£10.9m) came a close second in captaincy debate among the top 10k, backed by 25.1% of them.
That is an intriguing result considering the Spurs man was the third-most-popular skipper in the latest Fantasy Football Scout captain poll, backed by just 9.8% of our voters.
The top 10k and our readers also found some disagreement over Bruno Fernandes (£11.0m). Ahead of a home match against Leeds, the Manchester United man was the second-best captain according to the captain poll (20.6%).
A larger portion of the top 10k handed him the armband in the end (22.9%) but it is still a smaller contingent than Salah and Kane were able to muster.
The top 10k’s relationship with Son Heung-min (£9.6m) is also interesting to analyse.
84.5% of them possess the South Korean, making him the most-owned at this level, 13.9 percentage points above what Kane can boast.
However, only 6.4% of the top 10k were prepared to captain Son for Gameweek 14, roughly a fifth of how many were more comfortable handing Kane the armband.
As a result, despite the perceived advantages of midfield options compared to forwards, it means Kane is a more powerful weapon in the upper echelons than Son.
The Englishman boasts effective ownership of 95.7% for Gameweek 14, compared to 90.8% for his midfield counterpart. Although Salah leads the way this week. He is “effectively owned” by 96.5% and already 16 points to the good before Spurs have even kicked a ball.
That brings us right back to how dangerous Salah is proving to non-owners moving forward, especially in Gameweek 15.
The disparity between his effective ownership and the figures posted by Kane and Son are sure to be even larger during the Boxing Day fixtures.
That’s when Liverpool host the Premier League’s worst defence in West Bromwich Albion while Spurs travel for a much sterner test at Wolves.
As Fantasy managers prepare for the busy Christmas period, there was relatively little movement in the template, suggesting a number of those in the top 10k fancied rolling a transfer.
However, there was one massive shift in midfield, connected with, yes, you guessed it, Salah.
The Egyptian was owned by 54% at this level for the 2-1 win over Spurs but 68% of top 10k managers had him in their side for the 7-0 victory at Crystal Palace.
His seven-point score at Anfield in Gameweek 13 was probably not large enough to trigger that rise on its own, the fact that just over 280,000 managers worldwide signed Salah for Gameweek 14.
Examining the template more closely, we can pinpoint a few signs of where managers compromised to make room for him.
Fernandes saw his top 10k ownership drop from 61.1% to 55.2% and it looks as if Patrick Bamford (£6.3m) remains the man to downgrade to for such moves. His ownership at this level rose by 6.5 percentage points between Gameweeks 13 and 14.
With Blank Gameweek 18 and Double Gameweek 19 on the way, top 10k managers have left off the chips for this latest round of matches.
The Wildcard was used by just 0.7% of them, although this was still the most popular chip for Gameweek 14.
It will be interesting to see when those with first Wildcards still in their back pocket use them over Christmas.
23.3% of the top 10k are yet to deploy it and only have two more Gameweeks in which to pull the trigger.
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