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Captaincy Picks 2019/20: FPL Gameweek 9

Picking the right captain in FPL can make or break your season and has a massive impact on your final overall rank come the end of the season. We attempt to ease the burden of any potential captaincy stress by offering a host of worthy selections ahead of each Gameweek - an Essential that is voted by the FPL Community, an alternative of our choosing, a Dark Horse who might spring a surprise, and a lowly selected Differential - to cover the bases. All aboard.

Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 9 Deadline

For the 2019/20 Premier League season, the FPL deadline will be one hour before the commencement of the week's first game. Our website provides a real-world countdown timer for the the upcoming Gameweek, whilst you can read our latest Fantasy articles from the season on our 2019/20 FPL weekly hype sub-section.


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 9: Essential Captain

Player: Tammy Abraham (CHE)

Position: Forward

Fixture: Newcastle (H)

Player Price: £7.7 million +

Player Selection %: 42.2%

Captaincy poll results:

Reason for victory:

The return of Premier League action this weekend after international action has seen us FPL left with a chunk of favourable home fixtures, with the league's top-two, Liverpool and Man City, both away from home. This has impacted on our captaincy poll, with Bournemouth's Callum Wilson and Chelsea's Tammy Abraham the front-runners for selection ahead of Gameweek 9.

If you'd have suggested that this would be the state of our FPL captaincy picks at the start of the season, the person making the suggestion would have been laughed out of the building and deemed a fraud, but here we are, contemplating a Forward in Callum Wilson who has started the season with 7 out of 8 returns, and ahead of him, a cheap Chelsea attacker who sits near the summit of the goal-scoring charts with 8 goals from 8 games.

The added variety in the form of other attacking players, for us personally as content creators, is welcoming, as there's only so much you can say about Mohamed Salah or Raheem Sterling before you can just copy and paste your views from the previous week because football fans know what to expect at this point from the poster boys of the league, so it is refreshing to not only state that, but to pull focus on another light, even if momentary.

Only Sergio Aguero (61) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (55) have more points to start the FPL season than Abraham (54). Tammy is also the best-performing player that is under the £10.0 million mark in value, even though this should be the case. Kevin De Bruyne has been taken out by over 300,000 Fantasy players and has resisted a price fall over a three-week period, solidifying our instincts that this game's pricing structure isn't done by a functioning stock market, as much as it is implemented by a random person pushing a button who has been told to retain player prices as much as they can, instead of letting the game's transfer system actually matter.

Back on track, Chelsea are in the middle of a green patch and welcome a Newcastle side who have shipped 11 goals on the road this season, including 5 against Leicester during Gameweek 7's decimation. The Magpies, if they keep all 11 players on the field of play, can be tricky customers, with Steve Bruce's side once in a while showing Rafa Benitez levels of defensive discipline, with Newcastle shutting out Spurs (GW3) and Man United (GW8) from the 'Top 6' last season already this season, though given how Poch and Ole's seasons are going so far, we're not too surprised that teams are picking at the bones of a poor start.

Abraham was recently on England duty and made his competitive England debut, meaning he's now tied to the Three Lions for life, he has to do what every other Forward does on a weekly basis, outscore Harry Kane in FPL, but be benched to him on international duty.

The Chelsea Forward scored in Chelsea's most recent 4-1 win at Southampton during Gameweek 8, his first goal in two matches after blanking, and speaking from experience as a Newcastle fan myself, it'll be a long afternoon for those who aren't angered enough that they make the trip down from the north, with Mount and Abraham's form a cause for real concern this weekend.

The FPL player populace has spoken though and for once we agree that Abraham (or Wilson, just for good measure) are fully deserving of their candidacy this week. Personally, I'll be captaining one or the other, though don't ask me until 11:31am which, because I won't know until a few minutes before the deadline myself.


Our Alternative selection for captain typically commands a smaller FPL ownership percentage than our Essential poll winner, though this pick is usually reserved for The Hype Train's own gut instincts on who could be captaincy inspiration for the upcoming Gameweek.

Gameweek 9: Alternative Captain

Player: Raheem Sterling (MCI)

Position: Midfielder

Fixture: Crystal Palace (A)

Player Price: £12.1 million

Player Selection %: 38.2%

Reason for selection:

Raheem Sterling has just 1 attacking return, a goal in the 3-1 away win at Everton during Gameweek 7, in the last 5 Premier League games for Man City... So the question is, Rob, why on earth would you consider Sterling as a captaincy pick given that Pep's team are crumbling defensively, with City travelling to a difficult away ground to face Crystal Palace, a side that beat the back-to-back Premier League champions? Well it's simple.

There is no logic to this game that is FPL.

Every statistic under the sun right now tells you right now to bank on Abraham, Wilson and Kane (why god, why?) this Gameweek, but in truth, there's just a pit in my stomach that is telling me that all of Sterling's owners that captain him this week will say something along the lines of 'so happy I kept the faith'.

FPL has been reduced to faith as logic and patterns have resulted in this author with a reality of 6 captaincy blanks in a row, with Sterling, Salah and Aubameyang (last week against Bournemouth) all favoured, without success. This is why Abraham and Wilson are such popular pick right now to take the armband this week, even though they play for teams that at any moment could have an off day because they don't have the billions that City have used to hand them an advantage in the league. That said, the big Fantasy guns aren't doing their job at justifying their inflated prices, leaving a captaincy vacuum to contend with.

Why Sterling then? Instinct means nothing in this game and at a dime Sterling could score a brace, so why not this week? Call it lazy, but there's isn't too much more to this game in its current state. VAR hasn't heightened points, it has stripped players of potential. Big hauls aren't regular and algorithms that many people in the FPL Community are ripped up and redrawn on a daily basis. What I know is that sooner or later, the law of diminishing returns will catch up with Sterling and his current dry patch in the Premier League.

If you're in a lull with your picks, or torn between two dicey captaincy options, my experience of playing FPL suggests that you're better off just trusting the big guns if nothing else. You don't need several monthly paid subscriptions to tell you that City and Liverpool are always good for points, so why break away from a sure thing, even if it isn't? Sterling doesn't get our approval based on his form, he gets it based on the randomness of this game, its bizarre reporting from official accounts that, and because it would be typical ahead of two favourable home games against Aston Villa (GW10) and Southampton (GW11) that Sterling will turn on the magic away from home this weekend.


A new captaincy selection this season sees us introduce a Dark Horse pick, which will be a player who typically has a good scoring record against an opposing team, or a player in good form that is being overlooked due to other popular captaincy picks.

Gameweek 9: Dark Horse Captain

Player: Sadio Mane (LIV)

Position: Midfielder

Fixture: Man United (A)

Player Price: £11.7 million +

Player Selection %: 26.7%

Reason for selection:

The only real contentious fixture this week with any real stake in it is the big clash between fallen giants, Man United, hosting their city neighbours Liverpool, in an encounter which threatens to create endless Sky Sports debate videos about the fall of one team and the levels it will take to get to where the visiting side are now.

Liverpool have drawn on 3 of their last 4 encounters to Old Trafford, also losing the 3rd of the encounters 2-1 during the 2017/18 season, with Marcus Rashford scoring a brace. In fact, you have to go back to the 2013/14 season for Liverpool's last win at United, when Steven Gerrard scored a brace of penalties (and missed one) at the Theatre of Dreams. Based on history alone, this encounter should be dicey, but this season has proven that Man United are far enough removed from their legendary legacy in the Premier League on the pitch, that Liverpool should, at least on paper, be set for a first win in 5 years - a match that has big title implications for the Reds.

Part of ensuring a first win, with Paul Pogba and David de Gea both injured, no wins in 3 league games and morale at a seemingly new low, will be the form of Liverpool's attacking trio, with Sadio Mane the main threat until Salah takes the limelight.

Mane is Liverpool's top FPL player with 57 points, 2 more than Salah (55) and 9 more than Firmino (48). Salah, who is the slightest of injury doubts (but let's face it, he'll play), opens the door for Mane's consideration, with the Senegalese international netting a goal and assist against Leicester during a 2-1 home win in Gameweek 8. The goal and assist combo is more than Salah has amassed in the last 4 Gameweek's, with a shift in transfers favouring Mane over Mo.

United have issues in full-back areas, with Wan-Bissaka a doubt, Shaw a major doubt, and it'll likely be a makeshift defence with 3 of the 5 regulars out of commission. This is enough cause for celebration for Mane owners, and part of the season you should consider the midfielder for the armband.

We're tipping Liverpool to end the rot at United and provide a big statement win, with victories over Leicester and potential victories over Man United and Spurs leaving Pep Guardiola a sweaty mess as he plans to combat the Liverpool hype train.


Our Wildcard selection is one of the ten differential picks that is featured in our Weekly Wildcard Differentials article. This captaincy selection has a very small percentage of owners in the FPL, and is our left-field option.

Gameweek 9: Differential Captain

Player: Wesley (AVL)

Position: Forward

Fixture: Brighton (H)

Player Price: £6.1 million +

Player Selection %: 2.7%

Reason for selection:

Aston Villa have as many wins as Manchester United to start the season, which could be good or bad depending on who you ask. Villa Park has only seen one win so far this season which happened against Everton, and most recently the Villains went away to Norwich and dominated them by scoring five goals. Aston Villa officially ended the short-lived ‘Pukki Party’, showing the world that Norwich were exactly what Norwich are…a promoted team fighting for their Premier League future.

Aston Villa are also in the same fight, and surprisingly, the eye-test for Villa is encouraging. Teams stay up in the Premier League by being progressive and attack minded, and they have been involved in lots of entertaining and high scoring games like when they nearly beat Arsenal at the Emirates, nearly stunning Spurs, having a back-and-forth with Burnley, and most recently by blowing away Norwich. The outlook on Villa’s overall performances are good if you were a supporter of the club, and they have a striker that is capable of scoring goals in the Premier League. Wesley Moraes is that man, and the Brazilian has quickly taken to the world’s most competitive league.

Wesley has scored four goals this season, and against teams with defensive flaws. First was against Everton which speaks for itself, the second was against Arsenal which also speaks for itself, and then a double in the rout of Norwich which shouldn’t be surprising because Norwich is a promoted club. Villa also possess John McGinn who can score goals, and Jack Grealish is also capable of contributing towards Villa’s survival campaign. Hosting Brighton at the weekend does come with its own challenges, but with attacking players that can hurt the Seagull’s defence they have every chance of notching another result. Wesley is an out-and-out number nine; big, imposing, likes to occupy central defenders, and hangs on the edge of the nearest man.

The Brazilian is a hugely overlooked figure this when you have Bournemouth hosting Norwich, Wolves hosting Southampton, Chelsea hosting Newcastle, Leicester hosting Burnley, Spurs hoping for a revival against Watford, and City visiting Palace. There is also the big game between Manchester United and Liverpool which has all the spotlights shining on it this weekend. Villa and Brighton are just doing their thing at 3pm on a Saturday, and there will be lots of people looking at the fixture sceptically because Brighton and Villa are not very consistent. We are gambling this week on Wesley once again impressing in what has been a very promising start to the season for the Brazilian and for Villa in general.

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles.

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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All aboard.


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