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 22 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 22: Essential Captain
Player: Mohamed Salah (LIV)
GW22 Fixture: Brighton (A)
Player Price: £13.3 million +
Player Selection %: 42.7%
December's wicked fixture schedule is over and FPL players have been able to draw breath after a run of Gameweek's that either lived up to the hype, or greatly disappointed. Regardless of what side of the tracks you ended up on after Gameweek 21, the show continues this weekend with Gameweek 22, with a strong leading cast of players all in contention for captaincy this week.
Eden Hazard's appeal against lowly Newcastle is massive this week, despite a double-blank against Crystal Palace and Southampton but ultimately the pull and attraction to the recently anointed African Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah, is too much to ignore for 53% of players ahead of the Premier League's return tomorrow.
Liverpool return to action in the 3pm round of games as Klopp's side travel to Brighton, with a lot of time and breathing room passing since his side's 2-1 loss at Man City at the Etihad last Thursday. An FA Cup exit has since followed against Wolves, though the 2-1 defeat in the cup feature a second string of players so it's probably not worth mentioning the merits of the Fab Three given that only Salah and Firmino had cameo appearances.
What is noteworthy is momentum seemingly disappearing from The Red's in the last 2 games, with the City defeat crushing, and the Wolves cup exit perhaps expected, especially given how Liverpool have failed to turn up for FA Cup ties in Klopp's reign at the club.
Gameweek 22 should see a return to normality for Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah in red hot form in the league. The Egyptian's only 2 blanks in his last 6 fixtures has come against Man United (GW17) and Man City (GW21), though it has become common practise this season - Salaha has only scored or assisted against 1 Top 6 team from last season, doing both against Arsenal (GW20).
Aside from blanks against the Manchester clubs, Salah has nothing but double-digit returns against Bournemouth (21), Wolves (12), Newcastle (12) and Arsenal (12). Salah was also the lone goal scorer for Liverpool in their narrow 1-0 home win against Brighton (GW3) and it looks certain that the first team will be deployed against The Seagulls, a fixture that the visiting Reds won 5-1 last season.
Nothing but a perfect record in favourable fixtures has led to Salah back to the top of the FPL charts, and is the first player to reach 150+ points this season. With a rising ownership, and a probably price rise this evening, The Egyptian King is now thee essential Fantasy option until the Double Gameweek period.
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 22: Alternative Captain
Player: Raheem Sterling (MCI)
GW22 Fixture: Wolves (H)
Player Price: £11.3 million
Player Selection %: 10.2%
Below Liverpool in the pecking order of our captaincy picks is a mirror image of the Premier League table, with our alternative pick in the chasing Man City pack. Since Mohamed Salah's return to the Premier League, his form and points in Fantasy Premier League has been unmatched, with Raheem Sterling the only contender who has come close to Salah, and this season is proving no different.
We had to talk ourselves off a ledge with our other alternative contenders - Marcus Rashford (MUN) and Richarlison (EVE) - ultimately opting for a solid points magnet if he starts, and yet that word is imperative. Whilst Richarlison's side have gone massively out of form, and Rashford faces a tough encounter against Spurs at Wembley Stadium, the runway looks clear for Sterling to enter the FPL conversation once more.
Sliding ownership since a golden patch of form between Gameweek's 10-14 has left Sterling with 10.2% of owners, with many of those Fantasy players surely amongst a large crowd of inactive accounts. This means that entrusting the armband on Sterling against Wolves at home this weekend could provide a huge differential, and big dividend on your mini-league rivals.
The Englishman has provided assists in back-to-back league games, assisting a James Ward-Prowse own goal against Southampton (GW20) before teeing up Leroy Sane for the winner against Liverpool (GW21).
Sterling has played 90 minutes in the last 3 league games which means he's in line for some of Pep's rotational plan, though we envision that City field their strongest team against a Wolves side that managed a 1-1 home draw in the reverse fixture, and by no means is victory an assured feat this weekend.
This means that Sterling, who has been grabbing games by the scruff of their necks this season, should be well placed to be among the points this weekend. It's also common place to say, but this is still a Man City home fixture and this usually means big FPL points for a few of City's attacking roulette.
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 22: Wildcard Captain
Player: Troy Deeney (WAT)
GW22 Fixture: Crystal Palace (A)
Player Price: £5.9 million
Player Selection %: 4.6%
How do we at The Hype Train describe Troy Deeney? Worthy. The Englishman is, and has always been, worthy of our consideration for captaincy. Deeney is a goal scorer and the heartbeat of Watford. He hasn’t really got the plaudits because he hasn’t been a Kane or Aguero, but he has slowly showed everyone his class and pedigree in this league. When the going gets tough and Watford need a result, they turn to their Captain for picking up. Andre Gray fizzled out, so did Isaac Success, and they brought in Deulofeu, and then they paired him with Deeney, and the manager hasn’t looked back. Deeney has three goals and an assist from his last four games, and three of them returns came from the last game away to Bournemouth.
Deeney has been worthy of our consideration because each time we ignore him for a ‘better’ option he steps up and reminds us who he is. When we selected Chicharito in GW18 we didn’t consider Deeney, and he was the one to score, and the Mexican blanked on us. Of course he did. We aren’t making that mistake again and in a gameweek of uncertainty after the FA Cup games we are looking for certain starters, and right now that is Deeney.
Everyone looks at Palace hoping that Aaron Wan-Bissaka will provide them a return (wishful thinking, right?) but there are always plenty of disappointments and it wouldn’t be the worst return of the season to have Deeney continue his great form. It has been a long time since Deeney was the differential captain, making this a throwback week from many FPL managers.
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.