The Fantasy Premier League has hit double digits of weeks played. With just under a quarter of the season already played, FPL players that pay attention to the climate of the game understand the trends and the hype. After six weeks of low-scoring point’s returns, the last 3-4 GW’s have provided higher average scores. At the forefront of thought every week is the question of who to captain. With Aguero injured for more than a month and last season’s star man Eden Hazard misfiring, The Hype Train examines the best captaincy options for Gameweek 10, as well as the risky wildcard options.
The line-up for the BPL’s tenth week is different from the usual format us football fans are used to. There is no Monday game. There is no early kick-off on Saturday. Four games on Sunday, including two massive derby fixtures, are the headline of the weekend. We fantasy lovers get the action out of the way in two days, something that we in the Hype Team agree is the most enjoyable format. There is no long wait until Tuesday morning (or the early hours of the next morning) to find out your positions in mini-leagues and head to head leagues.
So here’s what we’ve got to look forward to this weekend.
Who are the obvious captaincy selections?
All player prices are correct on Thursday 22nd October 2015.
Leicester: Jamie Vardy – FOR – (7.0m +, 37.6% ownership)
FPL form (last five): 6, 6, 12, 9, 13
With nine goals this season, and point returns in every game except for a 2-1 away win at West Ham, how is Jamie Vardy doing it? He’s a broken wrist, has been busy on international duty and has become a beacon of consistency in every single game thus far this season.
Leicester have carved open more opportunities inside the box and out for Vardy. With 25 attempts in the last four GW’s (6-9) alone, Vardy’s managed 12 shots that were on-target, more than any other player. The ease in which the supporting players have provided opportunity after opportunity to Vardy should come to no surprise when Riyad Mahrez has provided 4 assists and managed 5 goals throughout the opening nine.
Vardy’s next opponents, Crystal Palace, on paper shouldn’t offer much resistance. With only two clean sheets this season, away at Watford then at home to West Brom in consecutive games. The general consensus from an enlightened football community is that the Foxes shouldn’t have any problem doing what most teams can against Palace. Score. That doesn’t guarantee a victory for Leicester, because Palace usually win, but even in possible defeat, Vardy’s potential is too much to ignore.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez – MID – (11.4m +, 33.6% ownership)
FPL form (last five): 3, 2, 16, 20, 10
46 points from three FPL outings is an astonishing return, no matter the player or price. Everyone knew Sanchez would start racking up the goals and assists at some time, but nobody would have expected 6 goals from 3 games. Very few would have predicted such great returns against an in-form Leicester and a strong Man United side. Next up is Everton at home, a fixture the London side won 2-0 last season with relative ease. Given that Arsenal are now a day removed from a memorable victory, the case for Sanchez isn’t that cut and dry, even though he’s the standout candidate.
Not only was Sanchez subbed from the game, Arsene Wenger has also come out and said that Alexis has pushed his body to the limit due to the fixture congestion with the international break. A word of warning to FPL players, ourselves included, is that captaining Alexis may run the risk of substitution, or at very worst, rotation altogether. The latter option, rotation, seems unlikely, due to Aaron Ramsey coming off with yet another hamstring pull.
Arsenal should win the game based off form, and yes, Sanchez is going to be at the tip of the action against Everton, but the warning clouds have gathered.
Spurs: The Hurrikane – FOR – (9.2m, 15.8% ownership)
FPL form (last five): 2, 2, 7, 0 2
Spurs might not be the most reliable side in FPL years gone by, or the most defensively reliable, but they’ve shown great potential in the league. Yet nothing substantial, other than a 4-1 home victory over Man City, has really given Spurs a lot of attention. The back four have become FPL options, which is a complete parallel to last season when Kane, Eriksen, and Chadli were always hot on the fantasy radar. Against Bournemouth away, a team we recently profiled on the Hype Train as a struggling entity, we think that Kane has a high enough ownership for him to be in deep consideration for the armband at the weekend.
What goes again Kane this week? It’s simple; the regularity of the Europa League sucks the life out of most teams that can’t handle the heat when they’ve got a series of injuries. Nacer Chadli’s recent six-week injury means the Belgian joins, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Alex Pritchard and Son Heung-min on the doctors table. Squad depth matters, especially in Europe. Without Chadli and Son in particular, Spurs will rely on Kane for the full ninety minutes away at Anderlecht. There isn’t ample cover for Kane, and no reason to take him off the field if Spurs can’t manage a sizable lead heading into the final third of the game. Then it’s the Cherries away three days later on the Sunday at 14:05pm.
Kane’s yet to hit the heights that Alexis has recently hit, or the consistency of Vardy, but he’s still a favourite, and Spurs will give the Hurrikane at least a chance or two to score. It’s just pinning the exact moment the rocket fuel powers Kane to another blistering run of form. Bournemouth may very well be that occasion.
The most likely vice-captain award goes to…
West Ham: Dimitri Payet – MID – (8.2m +, 31.6% ownership)
FPL form (last five): 16, 5, 8, 10, 7
The top scoring midfielder in the Fantasy Premier League is from West Ham.
Be honest for a moment. Who realistically thought that we’d be saying that around this time of the season, just around the corner from Christmas? We here had high hopes for the Frenchmen. Payet was an automatic choice for set pieces and assist making, what we couldn’t pin was how many goal scoring chances has come his way, and more importantly, how ruthless Payet would be in front of goal. 5 goals and 3 assists with 12 bonus points is an option that even The Scout believes is too good to ignore.
The question of captaincy is a little bit more difficult with Payet. Firstly, West Ham are playing Chelsea. A side so dominant in the last calendar season, until the turn of the 2015/16 season. There’s always a seed of doubt when captaining a player against Chelsea, because even in the major dip in form, they can still be a deadly unit on their day. It’s more likely that Sanchez or Vardy will get the armband, with Payet as vice.
On the flip-side, Payet’s been on the Hype Train since GW2 with a goal against Bournemouth and four since. Chelsea have proven to be frail, and are coming off the back of another unconvincing European fixture. Why not Payet?
Feel like taking a captaincy risk?
Gini Wijnaldum (NEW): 6.9m – 55 points
Man of the hour in the Premier League, Newcastle's Gini will look to build on all the momentum in the world after four goals at home to Norwich. Sunderland away will be a cagey, solid affair, and even though the back four of both teams are beyond dreadful, they'll do more to shut out one another. Newcastle's five straight losses against the Black Cats is a warning for Wijnaldum's captaincy potential, but for that very reason, he may just be the best wildcard shout of the week.
Kevin De Bruyne (MCI): 10.5m – 40 points
The big money Belgian has amassed an amazing 40 points in his first five FPL matches for City. De Bruyne’s yet to have a two point week – dreaded but oh so regular for the majority of players. Away at Man United, the second derby of the day on Sunday, its risky business to think of De Bruyne as captain quality, purely because United might be harder to beat than it’ll be for Alexis of Vardy to shine against opposition at home. Falling under the same edict as Wijnaldum, only the bold and the brave will nab a player like De Bruyne as captain, given the alternative choices at hand.
Diego Costa (CHE): 11m – 30 points
It’s been a season of low weeks, and incredible high points for Diego Costa. More often than not an FPL player is playing with fire including Chelsea’s main striker – the Spaniard has a notorious suspension risk hanging over his head every time he sets foot on the field. FPL players generally don’t feel comfortable knowing that one of their three forwards is most likely going to get one point for playing ninety minutes. On his day, as proven against Villa in GW9, with a goal and an assist, that there will be golden days, and that’s why so many bank faith with his talents. 9.9% own Costa because of the potential of striking big. We’re not holding our breaths away at West Ham, but compared to away form, the Hammers aren’t invincible on their own turf.
Andre Ayew (SWA): 7.2m – 48 points
What happens every time the FPL owners of Andre Ayew suddenly doubt his credentials to be a part of his or her fifteen man FPL squad? He scores. Ayew’s been red hot this season, even when blanking for points in our adored game. Best utilised on the right of midfield and pushing into the box every chance he can when Jefferson Montero has the ball at his feet on the left, Ayew played in the number ten role at home to Stoke. Though his usual self, the goal or assist was never coming, and it’s made people doubt the longevity of stay in FPL sides. A few more have lost doubt so he’ll probably score against the team his brother Jordan plays for, and will stay rooted until the next flavour of the month passes by.
Anthony Martial (MUN): 8.4m – 27 points
If you’re glued to the BBC Sport page on your work, at times in the week you’ll sometimes have to remember that it’s not Man United’s official website. The latest article talks about an actual Magic Martial, and how he’s been groomed for this level of success in the BPL since the very beginning. This eludes to a greater point about his hype. Yes, he is on the Hype Train itself, but perhaps we’re best rooted with a more grounded approach. Martial faces City at home, a big game with even bigger centre backs. Martial might be hard pressed for FPL points, but United have fared well against City at home under Van Gaal (based off last season’s 4-2 home victory) and it’s potentially viable that Martial will pick up his goal scoring form.
Saido Berahino (WBA): 6.2m – 32 points
An away looms for West Brom, travelling to East Anglia to take on a Norwich side that could have, and should have, scored as many against Newcastle as they conceded. West Brom go into GW10’s fixture as slight favourites because the away side know how to defend, on occasion, and have a top level BPL striker, compared to Norwich’s none (we’re still evaluating Mbokani, it’s unrealistic after two games to claim anything). Berahino is a huge half-time substitution risk away from the Hawthorns, for whatever reason, but the want-a-way bad boy striker might not have a more scoring-friendly side in front of him this season. Unlike De Bruyne, Martial, and Wijnaldum, West Brom aren’t facing terrible odds, even though Norwich are a decent side.
Bojan (STK): 5.3m – 21 points
The Potters have looked a much better side in the five games Bojan has been back from injury. The Spaniard hasn’t yet played a full ninety minutes, but he’s helped shape Stoke into that familiar side we knew last season. Dogged and determined in the middle, defensively mean, and with a flair of quality going forward. At the summit of Stoke’s potential, Bojan is on penalty duty, as we witnessed in South Wales, and is a prime contender for the scoresheet against Watford on Saturday.
Walcott (ARS): 8.6m – 34 points
Much has been made of Alexis Sanchez in the last two weeks. Walcott is playing as Arsenal’s main striking outlet, but Giroud’s come in for the Englishman in each of the last four BPL games. Walcott’s not had enough time to please the dwindling 6.3% ownership because Sanchez is on red hot form, and there is always the risk Giroud can come back into the fold. It’s likely that Theo will retain his place up top for the in-form Gunners, and that alone is reason to think about banking on Walcott. He’s a clinical finisher, and just needs more time up top to show it.