Picking a Captain in the Fantasy Premier League is among the most important 38 decisions any person will make throughout the course of the season. There's a lot of self-help out there for FPL enthusiasts, with our Hype Team providing three major considerations for the armband Gameweek. We'll be detailing the Essential choice for captain, a popular Alternative that's pushing the consensus, and a Wildcard pick to add to the chaos. Strap in tightly, it's time to lose your marbles. All aboard.
Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 18 Deadline
For the 2016/17 Premier League season, the FPL deadline will be one hour before the commencement of the week's first game. The Premier League website lists each FPL deadline, you can always ask on social media, and you can also view a real time countdown on our Weekly Hype page.
In a change from last season, the early Saturday kick off time has now been moved back to 12:30am, meaning the weekly FPL deadline will also be moving 15 minutes back.
The transfer deadline for GW18 is Monday 26th December at 11:30am.
CAPTAINCY HYPE: SEASON PERFORMANCE
To help track our progress throughout the 2016/17 season, below you can check how our Core Captaincy selections have done by week to week in the Fantasy Premier League.
Essential: Sergio Aguero (Man City vs. Sunderland) - 9pts
Alternative: Jamie Vardy (Hull vs. Leicester) - 2pts
Wildcard: Nathan Redmond (Southampton vs. Watford) - 10pts
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Crystal Palace) - 5pts
Alternative: Roberto Firmino (Burnley vs. Liverpool) - 2pts
Wildcard: Fernando Llorente (Swansea vs. Hull) - 2pts
Essential: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Hull vs. Man United) - 2pts
Alternative: Eden Hazard (Chelsea vs. Burnley) - 11pts
Wildcard: Romelu Lukaku (Everton vs. Stoke) - 2pts
Essential: Eden Hazard (Swansea vs. Chelsea) - 1pt
Alternative: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal vs. Southampton) - 1pt
Wildcard: Tom Heaton (Burnley vs. Hull) - 2pts
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Sunderland) - 9pts
Alternative: Romelu Lukaku (Everton vs. Middlesbrough) - 12pts
Wildcard: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace vs. Stoke) - 2pts
Essential: Sergio Aguero (Swansea vs. Man City) - 13pts
Alternative: Sadio Mane (Liverpool vs. Hull) - 7pts
Wildcard: Troy Deeney (Burnley vs. Watford) - 2pts
Essential: Alexis Sanchez (Burnley vs. Arsenal) - 3pts
Alternative: Philippe Coutinho (Swansea vs. Liverpool) - 2pts
Wildcard: Marcus Rashford (Man United vs. Stoke) - 2pts
Essential: Sergio Aguero (Man City vs. Everton) - -1pt
Alternative: Diego Costa (Chelsea vs. Leicester) - 9pts
Wildcard: Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace vs. West Ham) - -1pt
Essential: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough) - 3pts
Alternative: Theo Walcott (Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough) - 3pts
Wildcard: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea vs. Watford) - 2pts
Essential: Alexis Sanchez (Sunderland vs. Arsenal) - 13pts
Alternative: Romelu Lukaku (Everton vs. West Ham) - 12pts
Wildcard: Troy Deeney (Watford vs. Hull) - 2pts
Essential: Sergio Aguero (Man City vs. Middlesbrough) - 6pts
Alternative: Charlie Austin (Hull City vs. Southampton) - 7pts
Wildcard: Wilfried Bony (West Ham vs. Stoke City) - 2pts
Essential: Sergio Aguero (Crystal Palace vs. Man City) - 2pts
Alternative: Jermain Defoe (Sunderland vs. Hull City) - 11pts
Wildcard: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. West Ham) - 13pts
Essential: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool vs. Sunderland) - 1pt
Alternative: Diego Costa (Chelsea vs. Spurs) - 5pts
Wildcard: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea vs. Crystal Palace) - 10pts
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Swansea) - 13pts
Alternative: Alexis Sanchez (West Ham vs. Arsenal) - 23pts
Wildcard: Victor Anichebe (Sunderland vs. Leicester) - 2pts
Essential: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal vs. Stoke) - 5pts
Alternative: Diego Costa (Chelsea vs. West Brom) - 8pts
Wildcard: Divock Origi (Liverpool vs. West Ham) - 9pts
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Hull) - 2pts
Alternative: Diego Costa (Sunderland vs. Chelsea) - 2pts
Wildcard: Marcos Alonso (Sunderland vs. Chelsea) - 7pts
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Burnley) - 2pts
Alternative: Diego Costa (Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea) - 6pts
Wildcard: Marcos Alonso (Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea) - 6pts
Essential Total: 9 (1), 5 (2), 2 (3), 1 (4), 9 (5), 13 (6), 3 (7), -1 (8), 3 (9), 13 (10), 6 (11), 2 (12), 1 (13), 13 (14), 5 (15), 2 (16), 2 (17) = 88pts
Alternative Total: 2 (1), 2 (2), 11 (3), 1 (4), 12 (5), 7 (6), 2 (7), 9 (8), 3 (9), 12 (10), 7 (11), 11 (12), 5 (13), 23 (14), 8 (15), 2 (16), 6 (17) = 119pts
Wildcard Total: 10 (1), 2 (2), 2 (3), 2 (4), 2 (5), 2 (6), 2 (7), -1 (8), 2 (9), 2 (10), 2 (11), 13 (12), 10 (13), 2 (14), 9 (15), 7 (16), 6 (17) = 74pts
CORE CAPTAINCY: THE ESSENTIAL PICK
Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Player Price: £11.4 million
Player Selection %: 35.5%
It’s that time of the week again… No, not Zlatan time just yet, it’s that dreaded time where FPL managers troll through their main captaincy choices thinking which one of their popular picks are going to let them down. Stand forward Harry Kane, the latest blunder in a growing list of Essential Captaincy options that have failed to return any major points. Failing to score or assist against Hull and Burnley, despite Spurs scoring 5 goals in this time, it’s becoming a weekly feature of the Fantasy Premier League this season, with the standout favourites failing to amass more than 3 points from 9/17 occasions, with just 8/17 successes. With Kane it is a little more surprising, given that he performed well as the top Captaincy pick for homes games against Crystal Palace and Sunderland in the first 5 games of the season, and then later when Spurs beat Swansea 5-0 at White Hart Lane. Our Alternative picks are quickly speeding ahead of the so-called Essentials, a gap that had widened further due to Kane’s inability to get points on the fantasy board.
FPL Captain Essentials: The Successes (8)
GW1: Sergio Aguero (Man City vs. Sunderland) – 9pts
GW2: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Crystal Palace) - 5pts
GW5: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Sunderland) - 9pts
GW6: Sergio Aguero (Swansea vs. Man City) - 13pts
GW10: Alexis Sanchez (Sunderland vs. Arsenal) - 13pts
GW11: Sergio Aguero (Man City vs. Middlesbrough) - 6pts
GW14: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Swansea) - 13pts
GW15: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal vs. Stoke) - 5pts
FPL Captain Essentials: The Failures (9)
GW3: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Hull vs. Man United) – 2pts
GW4: Eden Hazard (Swansea vs. Chelsea) – 1pt
GW7: Alexis Sanchez (Burnley vs. Arsenal) – 3pts
GW8: Sergio Aguero (Man City vs. Everton) – -1pt
GW9: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough) – 3pts
GW12: Sergio Aguero (Crystal Palace vs. Man City) – 2pts
GW13: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool vs. Sunderland) – 1pt
GW16: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Hull) – 2pts
GW17: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Burnley) – 2pts
Step forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the next name to be etched onto the potential Wall of Fame/Shame. Leading up to this week, our 4 essential picks are all at home. What can go wrong, right?
The case for Zlatan is relatively straight forward simply through the process of elimination and the opposition in the way of Man United, and a return of David Moyes.
Arsenal have been hot and cold, and Sanchez’s points have died down in recent weeks.
Sunderland have only won one away game this season (3-1 at Bournemouth).
Aguero is rightfully suspended. Man City are playing Hull City away, the Argentine would have been nailed on in the Essential spot otherwise due to fan support.
Costa is also suspended, finally meeting his maker on the suspension tightrope.
Hazard is a potential injury risk, and an apparent no-go for this weekend.
Trust is Liverpool midfielders is surprisingly low, even though Mane’s been on fire.
Zlatan’s got 7 goals from 7 games and is on form, which is a huge contrast to his competition for the weekend.
Zlatan’s value still has a lot of room to rise.
The Swede is on penalty duty for Man United, but you’ve got to go back to Gameweek 2 for United’s last penalty (vs. Southampton).
Man United’s Next 5 Fixtures
GW18: Sunderland (h)
GW19: Middlesbrough (h)
GW20: West Ham (a)
GW21: Liverpool (h)
GW22: Stoke (a)
Notes on Ibrahimovic
Zlatan has scored 11 goals and managed 2 assists this season, with 95 points so far this season, with 18 of those points being bonus points.
Ibra has scored his 11 goals in 8 games this season.
Zlatan went 6 games without scoring; a barren run stretching between Gameweek’s 4-10. He made 90 minutes of every game during that time.
Zlatan has yet to be substituted this season and has only missed 90 minutes of football, which was Gameweek 12’s home draw with Arsenal.
Zlatan has 35 more points than the next top points scoring player for United in the FPL, which is David de Gea on 60pts.
Ibra’s highest value this season was during Gameweek 5’s 3-1 loss to Watford.
Zlatan’s the 5th best player in the FPL this season, with only Mane (102), Hazard (103), Costa (115), and Sanchez (127) ahead of the Swede. He’s the only player in the top 5 who hasn’t reached 100 points this season.
Only Sanchez (12) and Costa (13) have scored more goals than Zlatan (11).
Zlatan is the 3rd most expensive player in the FPL, with Sanchez and Aguero priced higher.
Zlatan is the 7th most owned player in the FPL at 35.1%, and believe it or not, but another United is owned by more. David de Gea’s ownership is 35.5% heading into Gameweek 18.
CORE CAPTAINCY: THE ALTERNATIVE PICK
Player: Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Player Price: £9.4 million
Player Selection %: 21.2%
Liverpool’s season is about to be well and truly tested as we head into 2017. Man City, Man United, and Chelsea are to come in their next 6 games, and it will be a defining period for the Anfield club. If they’re serious and capable of winning the one domestic trophy that has eluded them to date, they’ll need big performers at the right time. Fortunately for Liverpool they’re welcoming back Coutinho very shortly, even as early as the Man City game for Gameweek 19. On their day the Reds have a flurry of options capable of breaking the spirit of any team in the league, and perhaps most consistently this season, Sadio Mane has been the difference maker for Klopp’s side as they try to maintain distance to Chelsea at the summit of the Premier League table.
As per in our Captaincy articles, it’s almost become tradition that we favour the least selected player from our Essential poll. This week Mane’s been overlooked by both Sanchez and Hazard, and most prominently by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Given that logic in the FPL dictates that the most obvious choice, as it has been for most of the season, will almost certainly fail to live up their lofty expectations, it usually falls to the unflavoured to make you say – “I wish I had the balls to captain him!”
Liverpool’s Next 5 Fixtures
GW18: Stoke (h)
GW19: Man City (h)
GW20: Sunderland (a)
GW21: Man United (a)
GW22: Swansea (h)
Mane’s one such example of a player openly neglected in a captaincy capacity. After all the Liverpool winger and drifting forward is the least selected player from the top 5 players this season. Costa, Sanchez, Hazard, and Zlatan (who has less points than Mane), are all selected by a bigger percentage, and we believe it is down to the pattern of transfers that the FPL has taken. If you had Mane in from an early stage you didn’t have this problem, but if you didn’t, a different path has been taken. When Coutinho was injured, Walcott and Hazard became popular options again. The upgrade to Mane was less likely as FPL players believed Liverpool would slip off the pace and lose matches, whilst Firmino was a cheaper option, and most recently Origi. To add to the headache of transfers, cheap midfielders such as Allen, Phillips, Zaha, and more, all fall in and out of form. Add this to the struggles of the forward line this season, which has seen Aguero and Zlatan struggle for large parts of the season, whilst Negredo’s been in and out of form, Austin injured there’s been a lot of moving around. It’s been a case that Mane’s £9 million plus price tag is too much a weight to bare when trying to balance a team with other obvious hitters such as Hazard, Sanchez, Costa, and a few pricy defenders from Chelsea and Arsenal.
Liverpool are facing a Stoke side who will want to play at Anfield, at a time when Liverpool are on cloud nine after securing a last gasp winner in the Merseyside derby at Everton – a fixture in which both Arsenal and Man United both failed to win. Who got the winner? It was none other than Mane.
What Mane possesses is the innate ability to drift into the box at the right time, and enough blistering pace to naturally put defenders at the edge of the box. He’s got all the qualities of a natural forward and has good link ups with Lallana and Sturridge. His instructive dart into the box and sudden pace off the line is the difference between winning and drawing matches. Mane’s the match winner Liverpool need right now, even though he potentially faces just 2 or 3 more Premier League games, with the home visit of Man City or the away tie at Sunderland as the last time we’ll see Mane until mid-February. Stoke will offer a tough fixture, similar to the tie Liverpool fared with Sunderland, and if we’re backing one man, it’s Mane.
His stock is rising and its best we make the most of the Mane Hype Train before he inevitability departs us for the African Cup of Nations.
Notes on Mane
Mane has a total of 8 goals, 6 assists, 104 FPL points, with 8 bonus points within that 104 points total.
Mane was the 4th player to reach 100 points this season after Sanchez, Costa, and Hazard.
Mane is the 11th most selected player in the FPL with 21.1% ownership heading into Gameweek 18.
Mane is the lowest owned player from the top 5 players this season. However, Mane is the most selected Liverpool player, with Lallana in second on 17.1% ownership.
Mane’s scored 8 goals in the Premier League this season, the same number as Defoe, Benteke, Hazard, and Walcott.
Coutinho, Lallana, and Mane, are anchored on 6 assists this so far this season.
In the top 5 midfielders list this season, there are 2 Liverpool midfielders (Mane, Lallana), 2 Arsenal midfielders (Sanchez, Walcott), and 1 Chelsea midfielder (Hazard). Overall, Liverpool have 4 of the top 10 best midfielders this season, with Arsenal also bolstering that to 3.
With just 8 bonus points this season Mane is ranked as joint 31st in the bonus points standings. Other players on 8 bonus are Koscielny, Daniels, Cahill, Zaha, Chadli, Sigurdsson, Phillips, Rondon, and McArthur.
CORE CAPTAINCY: THE WILDCARD PICK
Player: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Player Price: £6.4 million
Player Selection %: 8.9%
Guess who’s back, back again, Alonso’s back, tell a friend. It’s another week in the FPL and another week where Chelsea defensive options are looking lucrative options with Bournemouth and Stoke at home over the next 2 games. With Costa suspended and Hazard walking the injury tightrope, their most likely points options came in defensive. Marcos Alonso and Azpilicueta are the ideal duo to bank on, providing a mixture of bonus points and attacking returns. Azpi’s not a defined Wildcard player through, with ownership at 19.2% at this stage of the season. Alonso then takes the reigns this week, and it’s no surprise that after two clean sheets away at Sunderland and Crystal Palace, that our Chief Writer @TheHypeTrainSam has retained Alonso in this Captaincy position for a third straight weekend of football.
It’s easy points at this stage of the season, with left wing back Alonso proving to be the Mr. Reliable this season and an early contender to be in our Team of the Season come the end of the campaign. Alonso’s got the same feeling as that of Christian Fuchs from last season – an attacking full back who will chip in with the occasional attacking return. See below for Alonso’s FPL returns to date.
Alonso’s FPL Returns
GW6 – Arsenal, away: 1 point (only played 36 minutes)
GW7 – Hull, away: 6 points (clean sheet)
GW8 – Leicester, home: 6 points (clean sheet)
GW9 – Man United, home: 8 points (clean sheet, assist, yellow card)
GW10 – Southampton, away: 6 points (clean sheet)
GW11 – Everton, home: 13 points (goal, clean sheet, bonus point)
GW12 – Middlesbrough, away: 6 points (clean sheet)
GW13 – Spurs, home: 2 points (blank!)
GW14 – Man City, away: 6 points (assist, bonus point)
GW15 – West Brom, home: 6 points (clean sheet)
GW16 – Sunderland, away: 7 points (clean sheet, bonus point)
GW17 – Crystal Palace, away: 6 points (clean sheet)
Chelsea’s Next 5 Fixtures
GW18: Bournemouth (h)
GW19: Stoke City (h)
GW20: Spurs (a)
GW21: Leicester (a)
GW22: Hull City (h)
As an owner of Alonso myself, I've become one of the small brigade of people in the world that wishes they utilised the Chelsea defender in more than just a defensive capacity. As a player without Costa or Zlatan, my instinct is swaying towards putting the armband on the likes of Sanchez and Mane, but no matter what, to put the Vice Captaincy on Alonso. Our Chief Writer, Sam Austin, does a stellar job running down the importance of lowly selected players in the FPL - their form may come and go, but the points are there. Points are there for Alonso and he isn't having to do all that much and is rewarded. Captaincy struggles are real, but in Alonso, there is definite room to grow should the Essentials and Wildcards just down right fail.
Notes on Alonso
Overall, Alonso has 60 points this season, with 9 clean sheets, 1 goal, and 2 assists.
Despite 9 clean sheets, and a goal against Everton, Alonso has only picked up just 3 bonus points for Chelsea this season.
Alonso has the same number of FPL points (73pts) as Heung-Min Son at Spurs.
The Bolton legend was signed after Gameweek 3 of the season, and didn’t feature against Swansea or Liverpool in week’s 4 or 5. His first appearance, lasting 36 minutes, was against Arsenal for GW6. Alonso’s since played 90 minutes in the last 11 Premier games.
From the 11 games he’s started this season, Alonso has 8 FPL returns, including 9 clean sheets, 1 goal, and 2 assists.
Alonso is averaging 6.1 points per game, the 6th best average in the Premier League.
Alonso’s price in the FPL has been rising by an average of 0.1 million for the past 5 Gameweek’s. During the close of GW9 Alonso was priced at £5.9 million.
Only Azpilicueta, Cahill, and Walker, have more FPL points than Alonso, having all played an additional 5 games. This means that 3 of the top 4 defenders all play for Chelsea.
When playing for Chelsea, Alonso has conceded just 2 goals. Those goals in question were against Spurs and Man City, 2 fixtures Chelsea ultimately won.
From the top 5 defenders in the FPL this season, Alonso is owned by the fewest.
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The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015 specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, television, live music, festivals, and any relevant topic in the public eye.
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