If there’s one thing football fans know, it’s their own team – so how can we use this to get ahead in fantasy football?
FPL managers are asked who they support when they sign up to the game, so we’ve assessed a pool of 100,000 club devotees to ascertain which players are the most popular with their own fans.
After a summer of reading articles and watching pre-season, each club’s old faithful may have spotted something others missed.
FPL stars impossible to resist
At the top of this table of fan favourites, it will come as no surprise to see that FPL’s point-grabbing king Mohamed Salah makes 90% of Liverpool supporter’s teams.
Similarly, Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes (£12.1 million) – the top point scorer in gameweek one with a 20-point hat-trick haul – makes 85% of Red Devils teams.
The more eyebrow-raising figures start however with Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez (£4.5 million), who was selected by 75% of Seagulls squads.
This compares with ownership amongst the general population of around 24%, which is third-highest amongst ‘keepers in FPL but by no means a tally with as much conviction as those at the AMEX Stadium who know the Spaniard best.
There are similar tales of club confidence to be seen in up front amongst Aston Villa aficionados for Danny Ings (£8 million), the West Ham faithful for Michail Antonio (£7.6 million) and Brentford buffs for Ivan Toney (£6.5 million).
All of those mentioned so far have been touted as being potentials to bag points this season, but knowing their fans have so much faith in them only strengthens their lure.
What they know that we don’t
Perhaps the most interesting findings are where supporters disagree with the general population of fantasy managers.
For example, a whopping 47% of Leeds lovers have opted to select Raphinha in FPL, but amongst the general populace it is forward Patrick Bamford who is the most popular man from the Whites.
At £8 million, Bamford is more expensive than Raphinha (£6.5 million) and sits in 19% of all FPL squads – but, remarkably, he has only been selected by 18% of Leeds fans.
Raphinha amassed a respectable 133-point total last season – clearly Leeds fans are expecting much more from the Brazilian this year.
Elsewhere, Mason Mount (£7.5 million) is the most-owned Chelsea player in FPL, with 20% ownership.
But he only makes 12% of teams amongst his own supporters – with Kai Havertz leading the charge in a fifth of Blues’ teams.
After a strong end to last season, in which he bagged the winning goal in the Champions League final, Chelsea fans clearly believe the £8.4 million German will come good again – and with an ownership of around 9% in the general population, he could be a potent differential.
Further back, Ruben Dias (£6 million) is the most popular Manchester City player, in 26% of FPL squads, but just 15% of his own fans picked him.
Midfielder Riyad Mahrez (£9 million) is most popular amongst Citizens supporters, making 22% of their teams despite just a 9% general ownership.
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel tells a similar story, with his club-high 17% selection in FPL comparing with just 9% amongst Leicester fans.
By comparison midfielder Harvey Barnes (£7 million) was picked by almost half of Foxes managers, making him the team’s firm fan-favourite.
So often it is clubs’ own supporters who know which players are their hottest property – dare we ignore them?
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