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The players the FPL’s top 1,000 managers relied on in 2019-20

Manchester City v Liverpool – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: Dave Thompson/NMC Pool)

With the Fantasy Premier League season over, the top 1,000 can rest easy having secured their place among the game’s elite.

But how did they get there? The answer is that they relied on the right players for large parts of the season.

These were the men that the top 1000 invested in and stood by to achieve FPL acclaim.

A table showing the most popular picks among the top 1000 Fantasy Premier League managers in the 2019/20 season

King pair

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold during the Premier League match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool

(Oli Scarff/NMC Pool)

It will come as little surprise to see that Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold were the players the eventual top 1,000 relied upon most, with De Bruyne owned by the top 1,000 86.3% of the time, and Alexander-Arnold hitting 75%.

The reliability of both players is as key a factor in their success as their ability – in 35 appearances this season De Bruyne returned at least a goal or an assist 23 times, while the Liverpool man achieved at least a goal, an assist or a clean sheet on 23 out of 38 appearances.

Between them the pair scored 461 FPL points during the 2019-20 season, with a combined 17 goals and 38 assists, scoring bonus points no fewer than 28 times combined.

Both made for great captaincy options too, with De Bruyne hitting double figures in terms of FPL points on 10 separate occasions, and Trent doing so on seven occasions.

Backing both throughout the season was key to the top 1,000 finishing where they did.

Forwards who didn’t break the bank

Southampton’s Danny Ings gives a thumbs up during the Premier League match at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton

(Neil Hall/NMC Pool)

The two aforementioned players were both expensive acquisitions, so where did the top managers save money? The answer lies up front.

Danny Ings, Raul Jimenez and Jamie Vardy were all selected regularly by the top 1,000 and all cost less than £10million despite their excellent returns.

Between them the trio managed 62 goals and 602 FPL points – to buy all three at the start of the season would have cost a combined total of £22.5m, less than a quarter of the original budget.

The trio missed just three league games between them this season also, giving their prospective managers assurance that they could be relied upon.

The Button theory

Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper David Button makes his way on to the pitch prior to the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton

(Gareth Fuller)

Brighton goalkeeper David Button was included in the eventual top 1000’s squads 40.7% of the time, but there’s a chance many football fans won’t have heard of the Seagulls’ stopper.

That would be entirely understandable as Button played zero minutes in the league this season, but his price proved appealing enough to many managers attempting to make the most of their budget.

Button cost just £4m at the start of the season, and finished it having fallen to £3.9m – as one of the cheapest players in the game, managers bought the goalkeeper and left him on the bench to free up funds elsewhere, choosing first-choice goalkeepers who were nailed-on number ones in their side.

If such a tactic worked for this year’s top 1,000, perhaps it could work for you next season too.

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