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 36 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 36: Essential Captain
Player: Sadio Mane (LIV)
GW36 Fixture: Huddersfield (H)
Player Price: £10.0 million
Player Selection %: 34.3%
The final Double Gameweek of the season has come and gone in a flash, and now faced with just 3 remaining fixtures of the season, FPL players are rolling the dice with the end of season run in, with Liverpool the favourites to capitalise on points to close the campaign.
Sadio Mane was paired against Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Heung-Min Son in our captaincy poll earlier today and blew his opposition out of the water with a Huddersfield tie incoming.
The Main Mane has been Liverpool's big match winner this season, with the Senegalese international netting 18 goals and claiming 3 assists this season. Mane's goal in his last outing at home was the winner against Chelsea.
In the Premier League, Mane has 10 goals in 13 appearances and 1 assist in that time. Just shy of 90,000 transfer in so far before the Gameweek 36 deadline, Mane is the most popular bandwagon pick this week, so there's a very good chance your competitive mini-league rivals will be putting the armband on Mane.
With Mohamed Salah in New York this week after being recognised in Time's most 100 influential people of the year, with John Oliver writing a beautiful piece about Salah being a better person than he is a footballer, a few posts about Salah eating pizza in the big apple has fuelled speculation in certain corners that The Egyptian King will be rested.
Liverpool travel to the Nou Camp on Wednesday, so a Friday night fixture isn't the end of the world and everyone has probably blown Liverpool's team selection out of proportions. What we expect is the big players all playing and then getting hooked once the job has been done against The Terriers.
We would love to Triple Captain Mane in this fixture, though the Champions League fixtures so throw a seed of doubt about the minutes for Liverpool's triple pronged attack.
Already relegated Huddersfield look set to be rolled over this weekend, with Mane getting the backing of the people, so why not bank on one final haul to close the 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 36: Alternative Captain
Player: Jamie Vardy (LEI)
GW36 Fixture: Arsenal (H)
Player Price: £9.0 million
Player Selection %: 9.7%
When selecting our alternative captaincy pick this week, our eyes lit up seeing that Leicester host Arsenal this week, though as an advisory caution we weren't so thrilled to see Leicester's last 3 games of the season:
Arsenal (H), Man City (A), Chelsea (H)
Leicester have the opportunity to be the deciding factors in both the race for the Champions League race between Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United, as well as the Premier League title race between Man City and Liverpool.
The man to spell danger for the Top 6 to close the season is of course Jamie Vardy, a league winner in his own right during the miraculous 2015/16 season with Leicester.
The English forward, full of pace and invention, needs no introduction for us seasoned FPL players. Vardy is actually in the running for the Golden Boot this season as an outside horse with 16 goals to his name this season.
The Forward has scored 3 goals against Top 6 opposition this season, against Man United (GW1), Chelsea (GW18) and Spurs (GW26) - with all fixtures coming away from home.
The main reason why Vardy is such a consideration for this week is that visitors Arsenal are in a downturn in form and are struggling away from home. The Gunners were swept aside at home in a 3-2 defeat against Crystal Palace, before being washed away in a weak performance during a Gameweek 35's 3-1 away loss at Wolves.
With Europa League semi-finals to contest against Valencia, the best route for Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League may very well be by winning their first European competition ever (the year after Arsene Wenger leaves the club, naturally). Add in a doubt to top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and you have a different build up play from Arsenal entirely, which is centred on over-loading the centre with ball-playing midfielders.
Leicester will be eyeing this fixture as their most winnable fixture remaining, so like with Mane, why not bank on Vardy?
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 36: Wildcard Captain
Player: Ryan Babel (FUL)
GW36 Fixture: Cardiff (H)
Player Price: £5.5 million
Player Selection %: 0.8%
There are some huge fixtures this week. Manchester United and Chelsea are fighting for a place in the Champions League against each other, and both are in terrible form. Meanwhile, Liverpool will be hoping on Burnley taking points from Manchester City whilst having to navigate Huddersfield on Friday. Arsenal are also putting their top four hopes in jeopardy after a loss to Wolves, and they must put it right against Leicester. Further down the table there is Brighton’s struggling pursuit to keep their place in the Premier League, and to do so they must beat an in-form Newcastle to give themselves some breathing room.
There are lots of fixtures with the spotlight shining brightly on them, and yet nobody is talking about another relegation fixture between two of this year’s promoted teams. Fulham vs. Cardiff is a game that could define the Bluebirds entire season, and if they manage to beat Fulham it could give them a life-line to condemn Brighton to relegation. Cardiff have been playing better football than Brighton this season, they have been massively unlucky with big refereeing decisions against them, and it is debatable that they may not even be in the relegation zone if there was VAR to correct the officiating errors.
All the pressure of this fixture is firmly on Cardiff, and to spite the loyal fans, Fulham go into this game with nothing more to lose and look at what a lack of pressure has done to their recent form. The Cottagers comfortably beat an Everton who just brushed aside Chelsea and Manchester United, and further to that they also went to Bournemouth and held on to beat them whilst keeping quiet in-demand fantasy assets such as Brooks, Wilson, King, and Fraser. A key reason for this upturn in form after it is too late for them is finally figuring out their best team, it is a shame they are already relegated because the supporters are now raising their arms asking where these types of performances where when they needed it the most.
At the centre of this post relegation revival has been Ryan Babel, the Dutchman who has a history in the Premier League with Liverpool. Sporting a head of bright red hair, it is ironically fitting that a player who stands out this much is flying under the radar of fantasy managers. Fulham are done, and players are looking at premium assets to push them across the line, or maybe edge those crucial head-to-head games. A lot of the writing community in the FPL regard low ownership players such as Lacazette or Lukaku, you know, the big names that play for the big clubs.
Ryan Babel has three returns from his last five, in the process scoring three and providing an assist, and giving Fulham a real wildcard. Babel is vastly experienced and since his time at Liverpool he has really matured his game, the Dutchman is a calming presence in a team and his inclusion since January has made the difference, albeit at the wrong time. If Fulham had a player like Babel at the beginning of the season, they may not have already bought their ticket back to the Championship.
Cardiff go with everything to gain, whereas Fulham are playing with no worry and a sense of freedom. Their players are also fighting for their right to stay in the Premier League. There may be suitors for Babel next season, he has the goal scoring prowess that would be welcomed in most bottom half clubs, and if you remember he made good on his promise to score past Virgil van Dijk and his former team. Fulham have the form, and the players to condemn Cardiff, grabbing their feet as the Bluebirds kick and scream back down to the Championship to once they came.
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.