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 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
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 18: Essential Captain
Player: Raheem Sterling (MCI)
GW18 Fixture: Crystal Palace (H)
Player Price: £11.6 million
Player Selection %: 21.8%
Gameweek 18 offers a delicious selection of strong captain options, with Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea all in favourable fixtures this weekend, all which has made our essential captaincy poll very interesting... Or so we thought.
With Man City at home against Crystal Palace, FPL players can't seem to get over the appeal of Raheem Sterling ahead of a home encounter with Crystal Palace. Typically a fixture throughout the years which has featured goals and assists from David Silva and Sergio Aguero, the 2018/19 season has put the spotlight right on Sterling, who this week commanded a majority victory over Mo Salah, Harry Kane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with Eden Hazard missing out altogether.
The Englishman, Sterling, was recently dropped during Gameweek 17's 3-1 home victory over Everton, though it didn't stop the midfielder scoring with virtually his first touch of the game - a well placed header against his national teammate, Jordan Pickford.
Crystal Palace are fresh off a home victory against Leicester, with the Foxes recently losing on penalties to Man City in the EFL Cup quarter-finals. Sterling appeared as a substitute in the win on the road, though Sterling missed a penalty on the night on the way to securing a semi-final spot.
Half the battle with Sterling's clear victory this weak is how teams are measuring up. Aubameyang owners feel burnt after a blank away from against Southampton in a 3-2 loss, and now face a rugged Burnley defence who took until the 91st minute to crack against a very good Spurs side. Liverpool's trip to Wolves won't be plain sailing as Nuno's side are on a 3-game winning streak, whilst an away day at Everton poses some tricky hurdles for Harry Kane.
Over at Man United, they've got the advantage of an away day at Cardiff, though with Jose Mourinho out of the picture at United, there's absolutely no way of knowing what team will be fielded at the weekend. Lastly, Eden Hazard's home game against Leicester is accompanied by another pesky yellow flag, with Mauricio Sarri having to play down Hazard's injury fears all week - deja vu, anyone?
As for the subject of our essential captain, Raheem Sterling has only started 1 of the last 3 Premier League, with by the logic of FPL players equates to a run of games and big Fantasy hauls against lower table opposition.
Sterling's goal against Everton is his only attacking contribution in the last 3 games, though it was his first goal from the bench this season (if that nurses your concerns at all). Prior to Gameweek 15, Sterling had scored 4 goals and managed 5 assists in just 5 games and was the hottest of all properties for FPL players and it appears that the starts are aligning again this weekend.
With City chasing Liverpool, it'll be all hands on deck in securing an emphatic home win against a side who have conceded 3 goals in their last 2 away games (a 3-1 loss at Brighton and a 3-2 loss at West Ham).
The only recipe we need for a Sterling success this week is seeing his name on the team-sheet come Saturday afternoon. With City at home, the rest will take care of itself.
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 18: Alternative Captain
Player: Eden Hazard (CHE)
GW18 Fixture: Leicester (H)
Player Price: £11.0 million
Player Selection%: 35.1%
Our next stop down captaincy avenue takes us to a popular stop on the line, at the doorstep of a player who is all too familiar with Fantasy players this season. Eden Hazard just missed out in the list of our essential captains, but just like last weekend, the Belgian midfielder might be the best option of the lot with a home fixture against Leicester on the horizon.
There's a common misconception this season that Eden Hazard has been heavily inconsistent this season. The top FPL player this season has 116 points this season and should feature this weekend after being the hero for Chelsea in their 1-0 home win against Bournemouth in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.
Is Hazard a so called 'troll' - the word that you'll find amongst FPL Community members on a regular basis? One that delivers when you don't own him, but knocks it out of the park when you don't?
But is this actually true?
It'd be hard to prove in any court of law.
The midfielder has appeared in 16 of 17 league games this season, with 3 of those appearances coming as a substitute. 2 of those 3 occasions were to start the season after the World Cup during Gameweek's 1 and 2 (the other being Gameweek 11 against Crystal Palace). On each 3 of those occasions starting as a sub, Hazard has provided an assist.
Overall this season, Hazard has 17 attacking returns, 1 more than the number of appearances he has made in the Premier League so far this season. Hazard has provided an FPL return in 12 of his 16 appearances, with one small dry patch between Gameweek 9 and 13, in which the Belgian managed just 9 points over 5 games, 1 of which he didn't appear in.
Aside from that rough patch, it's been all roses for Hazard. He's currently on a run of 4 games with assists in each, providing 5 in total and 1 goal over these last 4 games.
Hazard registered his first double-digit score against Brighton during Gameweek 17 in the 2-1 away win at Brighton, scoring the winning goal at The Amex, his first league goal since Gameweek 8 against Southampton in a 3-0 away win.
Leicester will be fully aware that Hazard hasn't scored at home since a 1-1 home draw against Liverpool during Gameweek 7, though knowing and being able to do anything about Hazard's momentum of form might be a trickier task given that the crystal ball is out with FPL players.
With so many different top assets with favourable fixtures this weekend, the allure for Raheem Sterling this week will mean that Hazard will in some ways be a positive differential to have and bank on.
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 18: Wildcard Captain
Player: Danny Ings (SOU)
GW18 Fixture: Huddersfield (A)
Player Price: £5.4 million
Player Selection %: 4.4%
The on-loan Liverpool forward is the perfect fit for Ralph Hasenhüttl, in many ways the Austrian is a similar coach to Liverpool’s own Jürgen Klopp with a high tempo pressing style. It is why Naby Keita was an attractive option for the Reds and why they spent big money on him, and why they held an interest in Timo Werner…and with Ings a student of Klopp it is isn’t surprising to see the Englishman leading the Southampton team.
When the Austrian turned up, he must have been feeling fortunate to have a player of Ings’ quality at his disposal, and there are similarities between Ings and Werner, who was the main man at his former club RB Leipzig. Moving between the spaces was key to Werner’s success, and after watching Ings get in between the Arsenal defenders to score two well placed headers was like watching the same player. We think Ings is going to thrive at Southampton under the new coach, he has made himself immediately irreplaceable after sinking Arsenal, and with a much easier contest on the horizon against Huddersfield at the John Smith Stadium all eyes are on the Englishman to replicate his heroics against a relegation bound team.
Hasenhüttl loves his strikers working spaces, and Ings is a tireless worker who will play the way he wants, and against a stubborn defence Ings could be the key that opens that lock. We didn’t consider any other player for differential captain this week, that it how confident we are that this is a winning combination for Ings and Hasenhüttl.
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.
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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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