Elite FPL managers have shown they are not afraid to lean on the cheapest players in the game to achieve squad balance.
By analysing the movements of a group of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their name, we can find out what the best of the best do to prepare their sides.
Freeing up funds by going for some of the lowest value options is a clear and present tactic of this group.
The above chart shows that £7.5m Trent Alexander-Arnold is the favourite of the elites, with 88 per cent of them backing the Englishman in GW4.
But affording the league’s most creative right-back is only possible by backing effective bargains in the same area of the pitch.
This much is clear when considering the popularity of Tino Livramento (425 elite owners in GW4), Konstantinos Tsimikas (367), Shane Duffy (184) and Daniel Amartey (161).
All four started the season at just £4m, but have managed minutes on the pitch and even a few contributions.
Southampton’s Livramento has played 90 minutes in all four games so far, achieving his first clean sheet in GW4, while Liverpool’s Tsimikas achieved two clean sheets and an assist before falling out of the starting XI.
Brighton’s Duffy, meanwhile, has two clean sheets and a goal, while Leicester’s Amartey also has a clean sheet to his name.
Tsimikas and Amartey have both missed games in recent weeks, prompting their elite ownership to drop, but both have shown the value of backing bargains at the right time.
In the forward position, top bosses made it clear that they think Cristiano Ronaldo will be a hit this season.
Almost 600 of our 1000-strong sample added the Portuguese ahead of his Manchester United return, and they were rewarded for their £12.5m investment with a brace and 13 FPL points.
The data shows that Bruno Fernandes (£12m) and Danny Ings (£8m) were the players our elite bosses sold in order to squeeze Ronaldo into their squads, with the pair seeing their top ownership decline by 527 and 617 respectively.
The 36-year-old scored more FPL points than Fernandes and Ings combined in GW4, while he also registered a Threat score of 90, hinting that his brace was well-earned.
While Ronaldo proved an effective transfer ahead of the weekend, our group’s most popular player poses a problem ahead of GW5.
Not only was Michail Antonio unable to add to his impressive tally of four goals and four assists so far this season, but he also managed to get himself sent off in West Ham’s 0-0 draw against Southampton.
Owned by 96.5 per cent of our 1000 managers, Antonio will miss his side’s next game against Manchester United.
However, with the striker set to return for games against Leeds and Brentford, it will be interesting to see if our elite bosses show patience, or sell the £7.9m man before his price drops further.
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