CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

captain-america

Captain picks are arguably the most crucial part of FPL and they provide us with the biggest and most tormenting gamble each and every gameweek.

You can get lucky and pick Sanchez in GW14 where he scored 23 points (46 points to you lucky FFUKers that captained him) or get unlucky and pick Aguero in GW8 where he didn’t start, came on for the last 35 mins, missed a penalty and scored -1 (-2 points to those people that captained him as I did). I drank a lot that day.

This article aims to provide you with a little insight into the stats so far this year and talk through a few different strategies.

adam-lallana-philippe-coutinho-liverpool

I tracked back through my captain picks and it makes for depressing reading. Out of 18 GWs, I have correctly chosen the right captain just 5 times! 5! I’m probably being a touch harsh on myself as 6 times I was pretty close and only lost out on a few points. On 7 occasions though I lost out on approx. 10 points each time. I blame Aguero. I’m still haunted by his 5 goal-25 points appearance last season where I didn’t have him as captain (I don’t think I even had him in my team which is worse) and so now refuse to not have him in my team and not captain him.

My captain picks have given me an extra 122 points so far this season (thanks lads) however if I had chosen the correct captain every single week, I would have got an additional 90 points on top of this. This would put me SECOND in the league, climbing 19 places. To put this in perspective and again highlight the importance, Stuart Newton’s (1st) captains have given him an extra 161 points, that’s 40 points more than me which is an average gameweek. Fair play to Stuart, he has chosen correctly 6 times which isn’t great but he keeps going for the next best thing only missing out on 3 occasions of circa 10 point hauls. What’s your secret?!

west-ham-v-arsenal-alexis-sanchez-celebrates-scoring-a-stunning-hat-trick-567262

Paul Baker (83rd) did an excellent piece on Captain Picks last season where he came to the conclusion that you want to pick a midfielder playing at home playing a bottom club. Well I thought it was a good time in the season to revisit this and see if it holds true this year. (Also worth mentioning Paul won the league last year so probably best to ignore this article and just do what Paul said last year).

Looking back at the first GW18s there are some similar patterns.

Top player Points
GW1 Coutinho 15
GW2 Stuani 13
GW3 Sanchez 16
GW4 Son 19
GW5 Chadli 21
GW6 Lallana 15
GW7 Koscielny 15
GW8 Stanislas 21
GW9 Shaqiri 15
GW10 Gundogan 18
GW11 Hazard 19
GW12 Ake 15
GW13 Llorente 15
GW14 Sanchez 23
GW15 Vardy 17
GW16 Lallana 19
GW17 Van Aanholt 15
GW18 Alli 15

Few things to note:

  • Surprisingly no Ibrahimovic and no Aguero (yes him again, more to come on him later).
  • Only two players feature twice, Lallana (what a season he’s having and he’s a bargain) and Sanchez.
  • Liverpool and Arsenal both have players that feature 3 times.

ibra-confused

Let’s start by looking at two key bits of Paul’s analysis, home or away and position.

Out of the 18 GWs, the top player has been playing away 10 times so bit of a difference there to last year. However out of the 18, 12 have been midfielders with only 3 forwards and 3 defenders. Even if we take Sanchez out of the occasion as he is classed as a midfielder, it’s still been a midfielder over half of the occasions. Also if we remove the defenders (because what crazy person captains a defender?!), midfielders then make up 15 out of 18 players (why do I keep choosing Aguero?!).

I would also echo’s Pauls comments on playing a bottom club, 13 of the 18 have been where the player is playing a bottom 10 club. Hull have been on the receiving end 3 times!

STRATEGY 1 – Choose a midfielder with a home fixture.

However this is all brilliant if you have balls made of steel/you are completely mental and would actually captain Stanislas or Shaqiri but who really does this?!

So let’s take a closer look at some of the regular captains to see if there are any patterns within this elite group. No, De Roon is not one of them Pete.

Sanchez Costa Hazard Ibra Lukaku Coutinho Aguero
GW1 2 5 10 9 0 15 9
GW2 3 5 4 13 1 2 13
GW3 16 5 11 2 2 2 2
GW4 1 12 1 5 17 1 0
GW5 10 6 2 5 12 7 0
GW6 14 1 2 2 2 14 13
GW7 3 12 3 1 8 2 2
GW8 5 9 8 1 8 3 -1
GW9 3 2 8 2 5 10 1
GW10 13 7 14 2 12 8 16
GW11 2 9 19 12 2 11 6
GW12 1 9 4 0 2 2 2
GW13 14 5 2 9 1 1 12
GW14 23 12 9 7 1 0 -1
GW15 5 8 3 2 12 0 0
GW16 7 2 0 11 2 0 0
GW17 5 6 3 12 2 0 0
GW18 3 0 10 15 8 0 0
# 1 4 3 1 4 3 3 2
Average points 7.1 6.6 6.3 6.3 5.6 5.8 6.2
Total points 130 115 113 110 97 78 74

Things to note:

  • Sanchez and Ibra have been top scorers 4 times
  • Despite being the 3rd highest scorer, Hazard has only been top scorer once.
  • If you take out the weeks Aguero scored -1 for random factors, his average is 7.1. (Can’t wait for him to come back)
  • Coutinho top scorer 3 times despite missing the last 5 weeks

I think a lot of this comes down to what do you want from a captain? What would you be happy with?

Several theories here:

  • Just doing something, anything (bit desperate if you ask me)
  • Goal
  • Scoring above 10 points
  • Being the highest point scorer in your team

eden-hazard

Let’s take Hazard, only top scorer once but if you had captained him every week you would have got an extra 113 points. Would you really be disappointed with this? I’ve gambled every week and only got an extra 9 points for all that stress and effort.

However Hazard has been quite hit and miss and it’s human nature that if a player isn’t scoring then you’re going to be less likely to captain him next week, other players have been much more consistent though.

So who has been the most consistent?

Table below shows by player how many occasions they have returned a certain amount of points.

Sanchez Costa Hazard Ibra Lukaku Coutinho Aguero
Score <5 8 4 10 8 10 12 12
Score 5-9 4 11 3 5 4 2 2
Score 10-14 4 3 4 4 3 3 3
Score 15-19 1 0 1 1 1 1 1
Score >=20 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

diego-costa-chelsea-west-ham_3765670.jpg
Mr Consistent

Costa has scored 5 or more points and huge 14 times, impressive Mr Consistent. Imagine that, you’re captain scoring points almost every week, sounds like heaven. However Costa has only achieved 10 or more 3 times and is yet to break 15 points so if you had captained him every week you would be pretty happy every week but only have an extra 115 points, doesn’t sound that good after all?

STRATEGY 2 – Captain one player all season and never change it. Let’s hope you pick the right player.

A lot of this comes down to the fun of the game though, it’s boring to pick the same person every week and we all want to achieve the maximum possible. So my final strategy to look at is rolling the dice with your top players, probably the most commonly chosen strategy and see if there are any patterns there.

Top Scorer Top points Home or Away Opposition ranking
GW1 Coutinho 15 Away 4
GW2 Ibra/Aguero 13 Home/away 10
GW3 Sanchez 16 Away 10
GW4 Lukaku 17 Away 18
GW5 Lukaku 12 Home 15
GW6 Sanchez/Coutinho 14 Home/Home 10
GW7 Costa 12 Away 20
GW8 Costa 9 Home 16
GW9 Coutinho 10 Home 9
GW10 Aguero 16 Away 9
GW11 Hazard 19 Home 7
GW12 Costa 9 Away 15
GW13 Sanchez 14 Home 12
GW14 Sanchez 23 Away 11
GW15 Lukaku 12 Away 10
GW16 Ibra 11 Away 17
GW17 Ibra 12 Away 9
GW18 Ibra 15 Home 18

So what does this tell us? Home and Away fixtures doesn’t impact much. Opposition ranking shows us that if they’re playing a team in the bottom half of the table they’re more likely to do something. Shocker. However it is interesting that Opposition in the top 6 of the league only features once, Coutinho vs Arsenal in first game of the season. That’s it. It’s also interesting to see Lukaku, Costa, Sanchez and Ibra all having back to back top points scorers. Maybe it’s all about form and confidence.

lukakuohno

Let’s look back at the top scorers table with any points of 6 or more marked with an x.

Sanchez Costa Hazard Ibra Lukaku Coutinho Aguero
GW1  X  X X
GW2

X

X

GW3

X

X

GW4

X

X

GW5

X

X X

X

GW6

X

X

X

GW7

X

X
GW8

X

X X
GW9

X

X

GW10

X

X X X X

X

GW11

X

X X X

X

GW12

X

GW13

X

X

X

GW14

X

X X X
GW15

X

X
GW16

X

X
GW17 X
 GW18 X X

Definitely more clumps than individual weeks. Broken down by player now:

Sanchez Costa Hazard Ibra Lukaku Coutinho Aguero
Total Weeks Scored 7 9 7 7 7 6 6
Isolated Weeks 3 0 3 2 3 1 2

So this says that Sanchez has scored in 7 game weeks and 3 of them have been isolated gameweeks. As you can see, more often than not players score points in clumps but what’s also interesting is that it’s rare to score points 3 weeks on the trot even for Mr Consistent, Costa.

STRATEGY 3  Captain one of the big guns who is on form and against a weak opposition but don’t captain them against a club in top 6 and not 3 weeks on the trot.

IN SUMMARY

If you’ve made it this far congratulations, your reward is the summary, don’t you wish you had just skipped down to this in the first place.

3 KEY STRATEGIES TO PLAY:

  1. Midfielder against weak opposition
  2. Play it safe, captain Costa (this isn’t just because I’m a Chelsea fan). Mr Consistent.
  3. Roll the dice on the top performers that are in form and against weak opposition (Captain obvious I know)

Personally I like Strategy 3 and will stick with it, not the most reliable but I’m a gambling man! Anyway this is irrelevant because Aguero is back next week so that’s my captain choice done for the season apart from the odd week where I brave ignoring him which will inevitably be the wrong decision.

sergio-aguero

 

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