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 4-0 West Ham) - 13pts
Alternative: Roberto Firmino (Watford 3-3 Liverpool) - 12pts
Wildcard: Josh King (West Brom 1-0 Bournemouth) - 2pts
Essential: Romelu Lukaku (Swansea 0-4 Man Utnited) - 6pts
Alternative: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace) - 1pt
Wildcard: Steve Mounie (Huddersfield 1-0 Newcastle) - 1pt
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs 1-1 Burnley) - 2pts
Alternative: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Man United 2-0 Leicester) - 5pts
Wildcard: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea 2-0 Everton) - 12pts
Essential: Romelu Lukaku (Stoke 2-2 Man United) - 6pts
Alternative: Alvaro Morata (Leicester 1-2 Chelsea) - 6pts
Wildcard: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth) - 1pt
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs 0-0 Swansea) - 2pts
Alternative: Gabriel Jesus (Watford 0-6 Man City) - 6pts
Wildcard: Eden Hazard (Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal) - 1pt
Essential: Sergio Aguero (Man City 5-0 Crystal Palace) - 11pts
Alternative: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal 2-0 West Brom) - 13pts
Wildcard: Benjamin Mendy (Man City 5-0 Crystal Palace) - 0pts
Essential: Romelu Lukaku (Man United 4-0 Crystal Palace) - 6pts
Alternative: Dele Alli (Huddersfield 0-4 Spurs) - 2pts
Wildcard: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal 2-0 Brighton) - 6pts
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs 1-0 Bournemouth) - 2pts
Alternative: Jamie Vardy (Leicester 1-1 West Brom) - 2pts
Wildcard: Raheem Sterling (Man City 7-2 Stoke) - 15pts
Essential: Gabriel Jesus (Man City 3-0 Burnley) - 1pt
Alternative: Eden Hazard (Chelsea 4-2 Watford) - 5pts
Wildcard: Tammy Abraham (Swansea 1-2 Leicester) - 2pts
Essential: Sergio Aguero (West Brom 2-3 Man City) - 0pts
Alternative: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield) - 4pts
Wildcard: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal 2-1 Swansea) - 2pts
Essential: Sergio Aguero (Spurs 1-0 Crystal Palace) - 2pts
Alternative: Mohamed Salah (West Ham 1-4 Liverpool) - 15pts
Wildcard: Riyad Mahrez (Stoke 2-2 Leicester) - 7pts
Essential: Romelu Lukaku (Man United 4-1 Newcastle) - 6pts
Alternative: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool 3-0 Southampton) - 16pts
Wildcard: Glenn Murray (Brighton 2-2 Stoke) - 1pt
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs 1-1 West Brom) - 8pts
Alternative: Gabriel Jesus (Huddersfield 1-2 Man City) - 4pts
Wildcard: Callum Wilson (Swansea 0-0 Bournemouth) - 2pts
Essential: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea 1-0 Swansea) - 1pt
Alternative: Mohamed Salah (Stoke 0-3 Liverpool) - 13pts
Wildcard: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal 5-0 Huddersfield) - 8pts
Essential: Mohamed Salah (Brighton 1-5 Liverpool) - 5pts
Alternative: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle) - 8pts
Wildcard: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester 1-0 Burnley) - 6pts
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs 5-1 Stoke) - 12pts
Alternative: Eden Hazard (West Ham 1-0 Chelsea) - 2pts
Wildcard: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool 1-1 Everton) - 1pt
Essential: Harry Kane (Spurs 2-0 Brighton) - 2pts
Alternative: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool 0-0 West Brom) - 3pts
Wildcard: Alexis Sanchez (West Ham 0-0 Arsenal) - 3pts
Essential: Eden Hazard (Chelsea 1-0 Southampton) - 6pts
Alternative: Jamie Vardy (Leicester 0-3 Crystal Palace) - 2pts
Wildcard: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle) - 3pts
Essential: Raheem Sterling (Man City 4-0 Bournemouth) - 13pts
Alternative: Jamie Vardy (Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool) - 10pts
Wildcard: Charlie Austin (Southampton 1-1 Huddersfield) - 6pts
Essential Total: 13 (1), 6 (2), 2 (3), 6 (4), 2 (5), 11 (6), 6 (7), 2 (8), 1 (9), 0 (10), 2 (11), 6 (12), 8 (13), 1 (14), 5 (15), 12 (16), 2 (17), 6 (18), 13 (19) = 104 points
Alternative Total: 12 (1), 1 (2), 5 (3), 6 (4), 6 (5), 13 (6), 2 (7), 2 (8), 5 (9), 4 (10), 15 (11), 16 (12), 4 (13), 13 (14), 8 (15), 2 (16), 3 (17), 2 (18), 10 (19) = 129 points
Wildcard Total: 2 (1), 1 (2), 12 (3), 1 (4), 1 (5), 0 (6), 6 (7), 15 (8), 2 (9), 2 (10), 6 (11), 1 (12), 2 (13), 8 (14), 6 (15), 1 (16), 3 (17), 3 (18), 8 (19) = 81 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 20: Essential
Player: Mohamed Salah (LIV)
Player Price: £10.0 million +
Player Selection %: 58.5%
Between the months of August and November all domestic football fans take the role of Oliver Twist in Charles Dickens's novel. The aged tale has a young orphan asking for more food for supper as his workhouse superiors are sparing with their portion sizes, and until breaking free Oliver usually goes hungry at night.
In the context of the Premier League season, despite there being a helping of games, the international football period usually deprives die-hard fans, and FPL players of the sustenance that they need to survive the season ahead. Then December arrives and we are inundated with midweek fixtures and a hectic Xmas and New Year period that fuses into one big mess of entertainment - and for FPL players it is a period that can define a season.
FPL Gameweek 19 was kind to many players if you avoided the likes of Eden Hazard, and fixtures heading into Gameweek 20 there is another helping of favourable fixtures when deciding our essential captaincy picks.
We pitted Hazard, Lukaku, Salah, and Kane, against each other, deliberately omitting a Man City player from the poll. Ultimately, despite a hat-trick against Burnley, the allure of Mohamed Salah was too hard to ignore.
Amongst the festivity of the Christmas period, there is an even greater glee for football fans across the world as their favourite teams line-up every 3-4 days to do battle in the Premier League. It's a joying occasion for fans of the Premier League, a period of time that moves so quickly that if you turn away for even a split second, it can runaway from you in an instant.
Less than 72 hours ago I sat in a similar position, attempting to write our Gameweek 19 captaincy article with a sense of hope and optimism, but much like my Xmas spirit, we just couldn't get pumped to evaluate another round of universally disastrous captaincy picks.
Ask most, if not all, FPL players right now about their captaincy selection and they will use nouns such as disgust, betrayal, and hatred, or adjectives such as unlucky, to describe their season so far.
Even as a player who sits within the top 50,000 Fantasy players, there has been little joy to be had with the armband dilemma, with Harry Kane being a constant disappointment in home matches, and Eden Hazard languishing when entrusted by the masses. To our surprise, however, the trio of Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah, and Charlie Austin, all scored and performed admirably in our last captaincy article, highlighting how quickly the mood of Fantasy players can turnaround or be reflected in one Gameweek's eventualities.
On a personal note there is much relief regarding the outcome of out Gameweek 20 essential poll, with Mohamed Salah running out the eventual winner over Harry Kane. Spurs's 3-0 win against Burnley was setting up a milestone for Kane to break, with the Englishman one goal away from scoring more goals in a calendar year than any other player in Premier League history - 2 goals at Wembley in Spurs's final outing of 2017 could see Kane score more goals than any other player in Europe's 'big 5' leagues (La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and the Premier League).
The last hurdle is a home tie against a Southampton side who could be without their own talisman, Charlie Austin, but the previous hurdle was hardly an obstacle. Burnley lacked 3 of their 4 regular defenders, with Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, and Stephen Ward, all ruled out. A Hurrikane hat-trick has potentially lured FPL players back down the well-worn path that we have experienced in recent months, with Kane potentially setting FPL players up for disaster under the Wembley arch. Burnley were there for the taking, and even though Southampton aren't the same defence unit of season's past, too many home matches for Spurs at Wembley are eerily similar - close contests with a single goal in it.
Should Salah get the nod (which would be lunacy to think otherwise given his form), there is no more doubting the Egyptian's points potential in the Premier League. Leading the scoring charts with Kane, Salah managed a massive 145pts in the first half of the season, and if his form spans out until the end of the season, we could be looking at a 300pt player.
The top performing FPL players over the last three seasons haven't dreamed of such numbers. Eden Hazard scored 233pts in 2014/15, Riyad Mahrez (LEI) managed 240pts in 2015/16, Alexis Sanchez (ARS) scooped 264pts.
Swansea were victorious at Anfield last season in a thrilling 3-2 encounter, with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente pulling the strings in Paul Clement's first victory as Swans boss. Interim boss Leon Britton will have to repeat Clement's feat if he wants a first win as boss of the Welsh club, but such a result looks highly unlikely on the surface.
Liverpool are firm favourites for this Boxing Day clash, and we can see Salah and the 'Fab 4' at Anfield sending Reds fans home happy, which will keep the love affair between Salah and FPL players alive long into the New Year.
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 20: Alternative
Player: Sergio Aguero (MCI)
Player Price: £11.5 million
Player Selection %: 17.7%
With Mohamed Salah taking top spot in our captaincy billing this week, we deliberately left a Man City option out of the poll. Not only do we hate the idea of gambling on Man City's never-ending rotation policy, especially with 'the' pick for a Gameweek, but in the alternative spot we always go with our gut, and it is hard to stomach knowing that this spot may be reserved for a player who might not play.
That's the case with Sergio Aguero this week, fresh off a 16 point haul against Bournemouth at home, scoring twice and assisting Raheem Sterling, in the 4-0 victory at the Etihad.
With Pep Guardiola's duck-duck-goose system when picking players for his team selection, he is beginning to establish a pattern of potential favourites. Raheem Sterling is top of that list, whilst Aguero has been able, on the most part, to be that regular threat up top, even though the Argentine has only completed 90 minutes of football on 3 occasions since Gameweek 6 after his car-crash in Amsterdam.
Aguero has scored in 9/14 Premier League games this season, failing to find the net against Everton, Bournemouth, Southampton, West Ham, and Spurs. Aguero's scored against Spurs and the reversed Bournemouth fixture most recently, playing the full 90 minutes in both matches.
An away trip to my beloved Newcastle United isn't going to prevent or distil Aguero's potential in this alternative captaincy position. Aguero scored the last time he was at St James's Park, and it was during a Double Gameweek - the same one in 2015/16 in which the Argentine forward scored a hat-trick against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the same round of games. Aguero scored a dubious goal against Newcastle, and was a body-length offside, as he scored a header in an eventual 1-1 draw for Man City, a result that would matter little to Newcastle as they wouldn't survive the season.
Aguero's most notably recognised for his Gameweek 8 performance against Newcastle that same season, with the Forward scoring 5 goals in a 6-1 home victory against a demoralised Magpies side.
Gameweek 20 acts as the last round of games in which teams play the final clubs they haven't come across yet this season, with the reverse fixture taking place just a few weeks removed during Gameweek 24. Aguero and Man City will get very comfortable with Newcastle, and just like City's season, we're expecting a comfortable result, no matter how organised Rafa Benitez will set-out his Newcastle side, a team which has only beat West Ham in their last ten Premier League matches.
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 20: Wildcard
Player: Mesut Ozil (ARS)
Player Price: £9.3 million
Player Selection %: 2.7%
Two goals down to Liverpool, and a moment of brilliance from Arsenal saw the Gunners overturn the Reds momentum and saw them take a momentary 3-2 lead, courtesy of a clever Mesut Özil run and finish past Simon Mignolet. The German has been turning up and enjoying his football, despite accusations of his destination ahead of next season. Alexis Sanchez is also a consideration, but the Chilean isn’t the same force as last season (despite still being an asset). The Arsenal formation has reverted to a 4-2-3-1 that has enabled Özil and Wilshere room to control the game in midfield, with the German back to his favourite number ten position.
Mesut Özil Key Facts:
The last fixture between these two clubs at Selhurst Park was a 3-0 victory for the Eagles, which was a blip in the head-to-head form, with the Gunners unbeaten in the last fourteen fixtures, dating back to 1994.
Mesut Özil has scored back-to-back for the first time this whole season in GW18 & GW19.
Mesut Özil has picked up maximum bonus three times this season, all in fixtures that he has scored in.
Arsenal are undefeated in their last four Premier League games, keeping two clean sheets in the process, and scoring five goals (W1, D3).
Crystal Palace may be in good form, but Arsenal are in better form. The German is making good on his promise to Wenger to play out his contract with conviction, ahead of whatever adventure awaits him.
Want to know more about The Hype Train?
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.
As well as providing FPL articles on our website, we are a founding Contributor to the new Fantasy Football Hub, where you can find more unique articles, including weekly Power Rankings, from The Hype Team. You can support us and read exclusive members only content for just £2 per-month by clicking here.
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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