The week in Fantasy Premier League: Assessing the Captaincy candidates

It’s finally here - the last Double Gameweek of the season.

It’s finally here - the last Double Gameweek of the season.

It’s the week where those prudent FPL managers who held on to their chips look to be rewarded for their patience, as they finally overtake their more trigger-happy rivals.

Unfortunately, much of that will depend on making the right move in an area that has plagued all but the most successful managers this season - picking the right captain.

Do you go for consistency or explosive potential? Stick to what you know or go maverick?

When it comes to that all-important captain for DGW37, three obvious candidates have emerged.

 

Oh captain, my captain….

 

In any other season, 7.2 points per match would make Raheem Sterling (MCI, 9.1) a bona fide FPL superstar. In truth, we've all been far too reluctant to captain him this season - the 2.6% of active managers who trusted him with the armband last week certainly reaped the rewards.

He’ll play in GW37, and he’ll score points, we all know that - it’s really just a question of how much.

He may be Man City's top FPL points-scorer, but the prospect of rotation simply cannot be ruled out when it comes to Sterling.

This twinge of uncertainty has led many FPL managers to consider Gabriel Jesus (MCI, 10.2) for the armband.

The Brazilian has been unspectacular this season, but with Aguero sidelined, he’s as nailed-on a City asset as you could hope to find these days.

He’s been returning in every full match he’s played since GW30, but with just two double-digit hauls to his name this season, his limited “points ceiling” is putting some of the more ambitious managers off.

That's the least of our concerns when it comes to Harry Kane (TOT, 13.0).

Unfortunately - be it injury, fatigue or sensitivity to social media - the Spurs man has not looked at his brilliant best of late, and that’s reflected in his underlying stats when compared to those of Sterling and Jesus.

Comparison courtesy of Fantasyfootballfix.com

Almost 30% of active players have yet to play their Triple Captain chip, most of whom presumably with Kane in mind once they saw what seemed like lucrative DGW37 fixtures.

But now a trip to West Brom - who have somehow become one of the form teams in the league - isn't as appealing as it once was. Facing a Newcastle side who have conceded just four goals in their last six matches isn’t exactly fertile ground for hat-tricks, either.

Although Kane and Jesus have exactly the same amount of goals (3) and goal attempts (11) to show for the past four matches, Jesus has done it in 92 fewer minutes than Kane.

His quality of chances was also superior, with Jesus (right) shooting in the box and on target more often than the Spurs man (left).

Comparison courtesy of Fantasyfootballscout.co.uk

Stats, form, fixtures - when it comes to captaincy, everything screams City. It’s just not that simple though, is it? This is Harry Kane we’re talking about.

Remember what happened the last time he was being written off?

Of course you do. I was around GW18. “Kanexit” they called it, and it turned out to be every bit as illusory as its real-life inspiration. His back-to-back hat-tricks sounded a death knell for many an FPL season.

In the end, the choice comes down to each individual FPL manager’s aims and circumstances - who they already have, what their budget is and who they believe their rivals will choose.

After that, it’s in the lap of the FPL gods. Go with your gut, and you’ll have fewer regrets.

Once you’ve that sorted, it’s time to look at the rest of your squad, and see if you can’t catch one of those surprise package players that seems to pop up at the end of every season.

 

Spotting that star differential

Maybe you're aiming for a mini-league win or overall rank. Or maybe your team of overhyped charlatans is beyond redemption and you just want to have a bit of fun. Either way, late season is a great time to take a few chances on players!

Two goals against Bournemouth have capitulated Dusan Tadic (SOU, 6.2) into our thoughts as Southampton have given themselves a fighting chance of escaping the drop.

The Serbian has long been a figure of fun in FPL circles, having become a living embodiment of how underlying stats can deceive us. Having said that, he's in form, motivated and well-priced. Just don't go into this believing it to be anything other than what it is - a punt.

Utility man Danilo (MCI, 5.0) is a temptingly cheap route into Man City’s defence should Kyle Walker’s injury keep him out of their remaining games.

Previous owners were dismayed when he was usurped by Kevin De Bruyne's baby brother earlier in the season, but this shouldn’t be a factor this time with Danilo filling in at right-back.

Let’s be clear though - he’s an awful defender (think Alberto Moreno in a light-blue shirt) - but City’s strong defensive home record should see him stumble into a few points nonetheless.

Aaron Cresswell (WHU, 4.9) is a player who languished on countless FPL wishlists, as we wait for him to hit form and fulfil his attacking potential. With four shots on target in the last four Gameweeks, including a stunning free kick to beat Ederson in the Man City goal, that time could well be now.

  

He may not offer the prospect of a Double Gameweek, but it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Wilfried Zaha (CRY, 7.0) outscore most similarly-priced midfielders in 90 minutes alone.

Much like West Ham's Marko Arnautovic (WHU, 7.0), being saddled with what seemed like the sole responsibility of dragging his team out of relegation has inspired a new seriousness and focus in his game.

For those looking for a left-field captaincy pick, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS, 10.2) has produced attacking returns against every team he has faced outside the Top Six so far.

He faces a Burnley side who have safely qualified for Europe (barring the dubious prospect of a two-game goalfest from Big Sam's Everton), before he takes on that criminally lethargic Leicester defence.

Now that Arsenal are out of Europe, managers will be looking at Aaron Ramsey (ARS, 6.8). His minutes have been carefully managed however, and given that he'll have less than 72 hours to return from Spain and prepare for Burnley, his starting place is anything but guaranteed.

Keep him in mind for GW38, though.

 

QUICK TIP

Statistically speaking, there will be managers who forget to either make their transfer, play their Triple Captain chip or activate Bench Boost before TODAY’S 7pm (GMT) deadline for arguably the most important Gameweek of the season.

Just make sure you’re not one of them.

 

BUY

 

The next time you watch Manchester City players being applauded onto the pitch by the very team they’re about to torment, you’ll be wishing you had more of them in your FPL team.

Recent games have seen City top any table of attacking statistics you care to mention. All of their players have some risk attached, with the possible exception of Jesus, but you just have to pick your favourite and have faith that he’ll deliver - even if he has to do it in the kind of gametime that would have you quickly replacing someone else.

 

TRY

 

Jordan Ayew (SWA, 5.3) is certainly ticking plenty of late-season FPL boxes.

A cheap, nailed-on, penalty-taking striker in a motivated team, he’s set to face Bournemouth and Southampton in DGW37 - teams who have both conceded an average of at least two goals per game in their last six.

If you can forgive the blanks in his previous two GWs (which were against City and Chelsea, to be fair) he could free up funds and earn his keep in your team at the same time.

 

GOODBYE

Watford and Bournemouth may not technically be safe from relegation, but their players are very much “on the beach” regardless.

Without a Double Gameweek, they don’t even have the Law of Averages to help them luck into some points. Their season’s over, don’t let them end yours too.

Top of the League

Can anyone catch Kevin Fahy and his Repeal Madrid side in the Official Irish Examiner League? A healthy 61 points from his wildcard team in GW36 put him 27 points ahead of nearest challenger Seamus O’Dowd.

It will be a battle of the chips this week, with Kevin set to play his Bench Boost, and Seamus likely to unleash his Triple Captain chip. Who will come out on top?


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