Fantasy Premier League

FPL GW26 stats: Top target Hwang BLANKS as managers Free-Hit

25 Feb 2024

Chip used by more Fantasy bosses than in any other Gameweek this season to navigate reduced schedule

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More than 750,000 Fantasy Premier League managers were left to rue a wasted transfer as the most popular recruit for Blank Gameweek 26 BLANKED on Sunday. 

With many popular players without a fixture in the reduced match round of just eight fixtures, Hwang Hee-chan (£5.6m) was brought in en masse as managers attempted to field full XIs. 

But having scored in six of 10 home appearances this season, Hwang failed to get a goal or an assist despite Wolverhampton Wanderers beating Sheffield United 1-0

Indeed, the South Korean was taken off in the second half to finish on just three points. It COULD have been even worse, though, after Hwang went down with an injury scare in the warm-up.

There were better fortunes for the second most-bought player, Ollie Watkins (£8.8m), who produced a nine-point haul in Aston Villa's 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest after scoring and picking up an assist.

Impressively, he's now delivered 29 attacking returns this season, five more than anyone else.

With Liverpool not in Premier League action this weekend, Watkins has overtaken Salah at the top of the Fantasy player standings.

BGW26 most-bought players
Player Transferred in by Pts
Hwang 750,610 3
Watkins 666,885 9
Saka 647,692 10

Bukayo Saka (£9.1m) completed both the top three recruits and the top three captains.

The Arsenal talisman is enjoying his best season to date, with his total of 169 points after 26 Gameweeks surpassing his previous high of 149 from 2022/23 Fantasy at the same stage.

He scored Arsenal's third goal in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United. That return meant he has now produced hauls in his last five matches as he earned 10 points.

Free-Hit chips at a high

A season-high 365,000 FPL managers played their Free Hit chip in the Blank Gameweek, to cope with Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur being postponed, and Liverpool's match against Luton Town being moved forward a few days into Double Gameweek 25.

By using their Free Hit chip in BGW26, FPL managers have been able to make unlimited transfers to cover the absence of highly-owned players such as Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) and Cole Palmer (£5.7m).

Then, for Gameweek 27, their squads are returned to how they were at the start of BGW26.

An additional 287,315 Fantasy bosses decided to play their second Wildcard, setting their teams up not only for this group of fixtures but also to help them navigate Double Gameweek 28 (DGW28) and Blank Gameweek 29 (BGW29).

BGW29 coincides with the FA Cup quarter-finals and, depending on results from the fifth round in midweek, several sides are expected to blank.

Chips used in GW26
Chip Total
Free Hit 365,953
Wildcard 287,315
Triple Captain 49,797
Bench Boost 17,362

Erling Haaland (£14.4m) was the most-captained player, with more than 6million managers handing him the armband for Manchester City's trip to AFC Bournemouth.

BGW26 most-captained players
Player Captained by Pts
Haaland 6,054,980 5
Watkins 955,608 9
Saka 472,191 10

The Norwegian earned the assist for the only goal of the match, scored by Phil Foden (£8.1m), to take his tally to five returns in five starts since recovering from a foot injury.

Haaland has dominated the shot statistics, placing first for shots, shots in the box and shots on target over that period.

But, after he became the most-Triple Captained player ever in Double Gameweek 25 (DGW25), Fantasy managers will be feeling a little disappointed that he has scored just once in his last three outings.

BGW26 most-sold players
Player Transferred out by
Jota 1,865,860
Porro 890,697
Nunez 760,175

The three most-sold players are all without a fixture.

And for Diogo Jota (£8.2m), a knee injury sustained in Liverpool's 4-1 win at Brentford is likely to keep him until after the March international break.

Who did the top 100 managers captain?
Player Captained by Pts
Haaland 81 5
Watkins 8 9
Saka 7 10
Hwang 4 3

Most of the top 100 managers will be left feeling frustrated with their captain choice as 81 opted to give the armband to Haaland.

However, eight Fantasy bosses will have been pleased with their choice as they handed the captaincy to Watkins, who earned 18 points with the armband.

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