Picking a Captain to double down on in the Fantasy Premier League is the most important question asked ahead of each of the 38 Gameweek's in the Premier League season. There's a lot of self-help out there for FPL enthusiasts, with our Hype Team providing three major considerations for the armband for each and every 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. Captaincy can make of break a Gameweek so strap in tightly, it's time to lose your marbles. All aboard.
Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 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
CAPTAINCY HYPE: 2017/18 SEASON PERFORMANCE
In each Captaincy Hype article we track our progress throughout the 2017/18 FPL season. Below you can check how our Captaincy selections have performed by week to week in the Fantasy Premier League.
Essential: Romelu Lukaku (Man United vs. West Ham) - 13pts
Alternative: Roberto Firmino (Watford vs. Liverpool) - 12pts
Wildcard: Josh King (West Brom vs. Bournemouth) - 2pts
Essential: Romelu Lukaku (Swansea vs. Man Utnited) - 6pts
Alternative: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace) - 1pt
Wildcard: Steve Mounie (Huddersfield vs. Newcastle) - 1pt
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs vs. Burnley) - 2pts
Alternative: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man United vs. Leicester) - 5pts
Wildcard: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea vs. Everton) - 12pts
Essential Total: 13 (1), 6 (2), 2 (3) = 21 points
Alternative Total: 12 (1), 1 (2), 5 (3) = 18 points
Wildcard Total: 2 (1), 1 (2), 12 (3) = 15 points
CAPTAINCY HYPE: THE ESSENTIAL PICK
Our Essential picks for captain are selected each and every week on our main Twitter account, @RealHypeTrain, with four highly selected FPL options battling it out for alpha status amongst fellow FPL players.
Gameweek 4: Essential
Player: Romelu Lukaku (MUN)
Player Price: £11.7 million +
Player Selection %: 58.1%
Each and every season we can't wait to rid the international football fixtures from our memory and thoughts during the Premier League season, and this season has been no exception. At the top of the list for FPL players to consider, many of whom who will have activated their first wildcard of the season, as per FPL tradition, is who is best equipped to be their captaincy pick for Gameweek 4, a round of games which on paper offers some complicated fixtures.
When selecting players who are highly owned by FPL players for our essential captaincy poll there is a potential grain of doubt in each four of our selections, and this is across the board.
- Arsenal aren't in form and none of their players are highly selected to be considered an essential.
- Man United, Chelsea, and Spurs, all face challenging away fixtures, the teams with most captaincy selections.
- 2 of last season's top 6 collide, with Man City hosting Liverpool, in the first match nonetheless.
- Bottom half sides can be a volatile captaincy pick, and most find themselves with lowly selected players.
We settled on Kane, Lukaku, Chicharito, and Firmino, this week in the titular role of essential captain. It's no longer august, which means Harry Kane is in contention again after failing to score in the opening three matches. Nevertheless with many expecting an immediate upturn in Fantasy fortune, Spurs travel to an Everton side that are restricting sides to a few chances at goal, which doesn't fill us with hope of his Gameweek 4 potential. Similarly, Romelu Lukaku travels to a Stoke side who are shutting up shop at Stoke, but with Man United who are scoring goals for fun, might not be restricted to a few chances. West Ham's Javier Hernandez has started with 2 goals against Southampton, but suffers from playing for a West Ham side who have lost all 3 Premier League matches so far, and entertain a Huddersfield team who are yet to concede. That said, Chicharito offers the most potentially compelling fixture of the four and will tempt a few of his 28.5% ownership. Lastly, Roberto Firmino and Liverpool travel to Man City, who have been largely tipped to win the league, so there is a pessimism to captain Firmino, even though Liverpool have a good record against Man City and are guaranteed goals with their current team.
Who of the four picks ultimately prospered?
Man United have scored 10 goals from their opening 3 matches and are primed for more goals with a good run of fixtures this early in the season. Lukaku will be at the heart of the attack again, with the only question mark lingering one of Lukaku's capability from the penalty spot. Fortunately Lukaku was outvoted last week by Harry Kane, who was the best option with 2 points against Aguero, who managed just the 1 point, and a scoreless Lukaku.
Stoke frustrated Arsenal last time out at the bet365 Stadium, with Jack Butland at the heart of the action during Gameweek 2's 1-0 victory over the Gunners. Butland was pressed into making 6 saves, and claimed all 3 bonus. On the surface this is potentially compelling for owners of United's attacking players, with United braced to attack the goal more than Arsenal could. With Lukaku locked at the top of the scoring charts in the Premier League, this is a game which can see the Belgian add to his tally this season and really make a statement with four consecutive league victories.
Stats and Information: Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku has started the FPL season with 19 points from the opening 3 games, with Lukaku managing 3 bonus points (all against West Ham during Gameweek 1).
Lukaku's 19 points for Man United from the opening 3 FPL outings is the same as fellow United stars, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial.
Romelu Lukaku's penalty miss against Leicester during Gameweek 3 was the first penalty miss of the season, with Kasper Schmeichel saving well from the Belgian forward.
Lukaku's penalty against Leicester was just the 4th spot-kick awarded this season, and the only one awarded during Gameweek 3.
37% of the FPL captained Romelu Lukaku during Gameweek 3's 2-0 victory over Leicester, a result which yielded zero FPL points for Lukaku after his penalty miss.
Whilst on international duty for Belgium in their recent World Cup qualifiers, Lukaku scored 4 goals from 2 matches, which saw Belgium qualify for the showpiece event in Russia next summer. Lukaku first scored a hat-trick against Gibraltar at home in a 9-0 victory, and then scored the winning goal for the Red Devils against Greece in a 2-1 away victory.
At Everton last season Lukaku did not score in either of the Toffees fixtures against Stoke, despite playing the full 180 minutes against the Potters.
Lukaku has scored 4 Premier League goals against Stoke in total. His last against the Potters came on February 6th 2016 in a 3-0 win for Everton at Stoke, with Lukaku netting once.
An Everton player, Wayne Rooney, scored the last goal for Man United at Stoke, scoring a well-placed free-kick in a 1-1 draw.
Man United drew both matches with Stoke 1-1 last season.
CAPTAINCY HYPE: THE ALTERNATIVE PICK
Our Alternative selection for captain typically commands a smaller FPL ownership percentage, but can be reserved for The Hype Train's own gut instincts on who could be captaincy inspiration.
Gameweek 4: Alternative
Player: Alvaro Morata (CHE)
Player Price: £10.1 million +
Player Selection %: 13.0%
With Romelu Lukaku snatching the essential captaincy spot ahead of Gameweek 4, perhaps unconvincingly so with a small margin, there was never any doubt who we wanted to back in the Alternative spot for this weekend's matches. Chelsea's Alvaro Morata has found early steam and goals this season, scoring and assisting twice in consecutive home matches. Morata's yet to find the net away from home, but that shouldn't be off-putting to a swarm of FPL players who have taken their free transfer and banked the services of the Spanish international who is only second to Roberto Firmino in the Forward's standings after three games played.
Morata's fine form has transcended to international matches as well. Morata came on as a 72nd minute substitute for Andreas Iniesta, against Italy in a 3-0 home victory during a crucial World Cup qualification match. Morata scored the third goal on the 77th minute, just five minutes after his arrival. Morata then played the full ninety minutes against Liechenstein on Tuesday (05/09/2017) in an 8-0 away victory, with Morata scoring on the 15th and 54th minute, a victory which guarantees the Spanish national team a play off position as a minimum.
With eyes focused on the Premier League once again this weekend, Leicester's poor fortune of fixtures gets no easier with the new Champions visiting town, with the Foxes missing midfielder Danny Drinkwater on a permanent basis after joining Chelsea on transfer deadline day. After defeats to Arsenal (GW1, 4-3 loss) and Man United (GW3, 2-0 loss), Craig Shakespeare's side are looking increasingly vulnerable to the financial and outfield capital that sways the fortune in the favour of the-now established 'Top 6' in the Premier League. The only upside for Leicester faithful is a 2-0 home victory against Brighton during Gameweek 2, but Brighton have struggled for goals and form in their maiden top-flight campaign.
Chelsea coped well on their first away outing this season, defeating Spurs 2-1 at Wembley thanks to a brace from goal-scoring full-back Marcos Alonso, with Alvaro Morata and Willian linking up constantly on the counter-attack in a 3-6-1 formation (with Willian playing behind Morata). The emphasis will be on Chelsea continuing their good Premier League form, with a defeat to Burnley looking all but a blip in the past, for now. With Morata looking every bit the real deal in the early goings of this season, we'd not be surprised to see the forward add to his goal tally this weekend, especially with Eden Hazard potentially lined up for a return as well, after featuring for Belgium in World Cup qualifying wins against Gibralter and Greece.
The safe bet ahead of Gameweek 4 is Lukaku, but the real danger-man to keep an eye on is Morata.
Stats and Information: Alvaro Morata
Alvaro Morata has opened his FPL account with 24 points from 3 Premier League appearances, scoring and assisting against Burnley during Gameweek 1, a match which Morata started on the bench, and also matching his attacking returns during Gameweek 3's 2-0 home victory over Everton.
Morata's start against Spurs during Gameweek 2 at Wembley was only the 50th league start for the Spanish intentional in his career.
In European World Cup qualification, Morata scored 3 goals in 2 matches recently. Morata came on as a 72nd minute substitute for Andreas Iniesta, against Italy in a 3-0 home victory. Morata scored the third goal on the 77th minute, 5 minutes after his arrival. Morata then played the full 90 minutes against Liechenstein in an 8-0 away victory, with Morata scoring on the 15th and 54th minute.
Alvaro Morata has been directly involved (scored or assisted) in each of Chelsea's 4 Premier League goals at Stamford Bridge this season.
Only Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has more points than Morata in the forwards charts. Firmino has 2 goals and 2 assists, an identical set of returns with Morata after 3 Gameweek's.
After Gameweek 2, a total of 85,745 players have transferred Morata into their teams, whilst 54,946 players have taken Morata out of their squads. Only a further 7,933 transfers (on a net average) were added to Morata's overall player ownership for Gameweek 3, which stood at 386,689 players.
Morata is the second most expensive player in Premier League history behind Man United's Paul Pogba.
CAPTAINCY HYPE: THE WILDCARD PICK
Our Wildcard selection is one of the ten differential picks that is featured in our Weekly Wildcards article. This captaincy selection has a very small percentage of owners in the FPL, and is our left field option.
Gameweek 4: Wildcard
Player: Alexis Sanchez (ARS)
Player Price: £11.9 million
Player Selection %: 2.4%
It's been a bad fortnight for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez. Here's a snippet of Sanchez's turbulent last few weeks:
- On his first Premier League appearance of the season, Alexis starts and loses 4-0 to Liverpool at Anfield
- A move to Man City on transfer deadline day breaks down, with Alexis remaining an Arsenal player with less than a year to run on his contract
- Alexis hinted on Instagram that staying at Arsenal this season was a 'sacrifice'
- Deemed an injury risk for Chile's World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Bolivia with an ankle injury
- Plays the full 90 minutes for Chile in a 3-0 home defeat to Paraguay in World Cup qualifying
- Plays the full 90 minutes for Chile in a 1-0 away defeat to Bolivia in World Cup qualifying, with Alexis's side not losing to the Bolivian's since the year 2000, a result which means Russia's showpiece event next year is looking increasingly unlikely
- Named in Arsenal's Europa League squad
In addition to a week from hell for Alexis, we've no even mentioned the deteriorating state of Arsenal football club right now. FPL players are looking to remove assets from the London club, not stick the captaincy armband on one. Under Wenger's management and a boardroom which is causing universal disruption with the fans and the quality of player you see on the pitch, even though it is early days of the season, there is a looming feeling amongst Arsenal supporters that this season might be another write-off.
If Sanchez is fit for selection against a Bournemouth side that have lost three Premier League matches on the bounce, which in itself is a doubt given the number of ankle problems he brings back from the Chilean national side, there is the potential at least for a first big Fantasy performance for the top scoring player last-season. Alexis has the ability to grab games by the scruff of the neck, and if it all goes according to Arsenal's script when they entertain The Cherries, FPL players could see a potentially big pay-off for the lowly selected 2.4% midfielder. Sanchez was a force last season due to commanding set-pieces, such as direct free-kicks and penalties, and if he play Sanchez should still be on that responsibility.
The only issue remains about his availability, which is a gamble after the international break. With Sanchez looking for a move, and rumoured to be already injured with an ankle problem, Arsene Wenger rotated Alexis this exact period last season, starting Gameweek 4 on the bench. There is the reality that this may be the case this week, with Wenger already proving that the big names aren't guarantees on the team-sheet, which was stamped by Alexandre Lacazette's benched appearance in the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Ultimately, temptation not to put Alexis in this position was too overwhelming, with us bowing to pressure to include the Chilean into the ten differentials picks for Gameweek 4 (for better or for worse), even though every grain and fibre in our bodies is telling us that banking on an Arsenal player right now, regardless of how they are, is a big mistake. With Sanchez however, we're talking about the one player, who if plays, can be the difference between The Gunners winners and losing. It's a chance we'll take, even if we're knee-deep in that dreaded international football rotation scenario which all FPL players hate with a burning passion.
Stats and Information: Alexis Sanchez
A total of 126,282 FPL players owned Sanchez for Gameweek 1. Sanchez didn't feature until Gameweek 3.
Alexis lasted just 61 minutes on his return to the starting 11 for Arsenal during their 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. Alexis finished with 2 FPL points and a lowly BPS score of 10.
Arsenal's next 3 home matches in the Premier League are against Bournemouth (GW4), West Brom (GW6), and Brighton (GW7). Their only away fixture in this time is to Chelsea (GW5).
As of writing, with just 2.4% FPL ownership, Alexis is the 9th most selected Arsenal player in the Fantasy game.
Alexis played the full 180 minutes of international football for Chile, losing 3-0 at home to Paraguay, and 1-0 away to Bolivia, during World Cup qualifying.
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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, live sport, and professional wrestling.
The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog 2016' by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), with the final presentation held at Old Trafford in Manchester.
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