FPL Captain Choices: Gameweek 16

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for GW16 and reveal the results of our captain poll, who will you choose?

Gameweek 15 was largely about the Haz and Haz nots.

If you had Hazard, especially as captain, you had a decent gameweek, if you didn’t however, well, let’s just say no manner of putting up a Christmas tree and decorating it was gonna help cheer you up!

He bagged a brace against Newcastle to add to his recent devastating form, painting himself as a ‘must own’ along side the irrepressible Salah.

Elsewhere, it was an all too familiar feeling for those that trusted Kane yet again with the armband, as he blanked again in a game Spurs were expected to do well in – it was however a little unfortunate, as Davinson Sanchez got himself sent off early on in the second half.

Other popular choices did okay, with Morata getting on the scoresheet and grabbing himself 2 bonus points and Salah getting an assist, but it wasn’t anything spectacular.

Lukaku continues his slump in form with another blank in a game where United bagged 3 and the Man City assets disappointed, after struggling to overcome Moyes’ West Ham in a 2-1 win.

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With Kane proving unreliable currently and Lukaku’s form having gone well off the boil, managers are looking away from these heavyweights for the armband and it’s beginning to cause a split in the %’s of captain choices.

This makes the game inherently more interesting, but if we can’t trust the most expensive player in the game, who can we trust?

Results of the Poll

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Harry Kane – 42% of the votes

After a few weeks knocked down the pecking order, Kane returns to the top of our poll.

Faith has not yet been completely lost in Harry Kane, but I canvassed the community’s general opinion and it seems that Stoke could well be Kane’s last chance for a lot of managers;

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However, Watford was the last straw for some, as Kane seems to be the perfect makeweight for Hazard if you haven’t already got him;

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If you read our captain article regularly then you’ll know exactly how poor defensively Stoke are, as they’re defensive stats have been posted on more than one occasion, but for those who don’t know, here they are, updated;

  • The worst team for conceding big chances (35).
  • 5th worst team for conceding shots inside the box (123).
  • Only West Ham (32) have conceded more goals than Stoke (30).

This is likely why Harry Kane has topped the poll this week and is still being trusted, despite being underwhelming in terms of FPL recently.

Not just that, but he himself isn’t exactly playing bad – he has 3 goals in the last 4 games in all competitions and is still putting in the underlying stats in the last 4 gameweeks;

  • 21 goal attempts (10 inside the box).
  • 24 penalty area touches.
  • Minute per attempt ratio of 16.4.

So that shows he’s still performing, the problem right now isn’t Harry Kane, it’s the team.

In the last 4 gameweeks, he’s only had 2 big chances, which suggest the creative players aren’t giving him those clear-cut chances and instead, he’s trying to carve the chance out for himself from range, rather than it being put on a plate for him.

It could be feasible that they put every mental and physical effort into qualifying top of their UCL group and the result of that left them feeling a little jaded and fatigued.

Beating Real Madrid and drawing with them at the Bernebau, as well as beating Dortmund home and away, is no easy feat and would have taken everything out of them and perhaps the Premier League got pushed to the back of their minds so that they could focus 100% on qualifying top of their UCL group.

With Kane and other key players such as Eriksen rested on Tuesday night, they should be back in full gear against Stoke and with the Premier League now at the forefront of their priorities, now the UCL is out of the way, they could easily dismantle Stoke like City did in GW8.

However, we’ve been here before and just because we think, ‘He surely has to smash it this weekend’, doesn’t necessarily mean he will, as we’ve experienced on numerous occasions so far this season.

A vast majority of us will be preparing ourselves for the inevitable self-loathing come full time on Saturday.

Eden Hazard – 36% of the votes

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It’s still important to note here, that Hazard is still only owned by 12.3% of overall FPL managers at the time of writing and as such, is still a differential captain, but given his devastating form, he has forced his way into our thinking for the prime captain candidates each week.

His brace and maximum bonus in the gameweek just gone, means he has 5 goals, 3 assists and 12 bonus points in the last 7 gameweeks, including the week prior where he only played 9 minutes.

He tops the transferred in stat so far this week having acquired roughly 128,000 new owners and it will only continue to rise, given the favourable fixtures Chelsea have for the foreseeable future.

Bringing him in is a no-brainer right now and despite West Ham’s resilient defence away at the Etihad on Sunday, I can see this game being a little more open with it being at the London Stadium and that will suit Hazard and Chelsea down to the ground.

In the last 8 games that Hazard has played against the Hammers in all competitions, he has scored 4 goals and notched 2 assists, so has a fairly decent record against them.

Given the respective form of both teams and the confidence currently being exuded from Hazard, he looks set to be another great captain pick this weekend, especially if you’re looking to climb the ranks.

Mohamed Salah – 19% of the votes

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Salah has been magnificent this season, but for the first time last gameweek, he was the top captain by live teams and was for once, underwhelming, in an overwhelming Liverpool performance overall.

Liverpool blew Brighton away 5-1 and Salah could only manage an assist.

He was taken off in the 80th minute before the 4th and 5th goals were added, so it’s unfair to say it was a complete let down, but even so, given his form, you would have expected him to get one of the 3 goals scored before he left the field, such is the stupidly high standard he has set himself now.

And this could well be a new problem, because he’s set this crazy high standard, we’re going to expect it every gameweek and it’s unrealistic for anyone (aside from Messi/Ronaldo, and even they’re finally showing signs of slowing down recently) to sustain this kind of high level of performance and output.

Similar to Kane in that, after his 7 goals scored in 2 gameweeks at the backend of last season, we now think he’s going to score 2/3 every time he has an ‘easy’ fixture on paper and it’s just not realistic.

It’s the merseyside derby up next for Salah in the PL and Liverpool et al. added another mightily impressive win to their current form, beating Spartak Moscow 7-0 on Wednesday, making it 15 goals in their last 3 games. 

Before big Sam came in, Everton at home would have been a no-brainer captaincy choice in favour of Salah, but the one thing big Sam knows how to do with his teams is defend and he will get Everton compact and they’ll be harder to break down now, that much is certain.

But is it enough to stop this free-flowing, extremely fluid Liverpool team? Can they really stop Coutinho, Salah, Firmino and Mane firing? I can’t see it.

Koeman had Everton well drilled defensively last year too and Liverpool beat them comfortably 3-1 at Anfield and that was without Mo Salah.

It’s a good one for Salah and on the day I expect them to have too much for Everton.

He’s the form player, playing in the form team – overlook him at your peril.

Differential captain options

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  1. Coutinho – At just 7.1% ownership, Coutinho could be a very powerful differential this weekend. Everton were lost, but they’ve recently found their feet and have picked up new management in the process. It won’t be an easy game with the way Allardyce gets his teams playing, but Liverpool are flying right now and have far too much quality for Everton. Coutinho was outstanding against Brighton and he’s the one to stop in this Liverpool team, if Everton can’t find a way to deal with him, then they’re gonna be in trouble come Sunday.
  2. Morata – Again, at 35.4% ownership, Morata is unlikely to be a differential captain this weekend against the Hammers, but those who have both Morata and Hazard, owners will surely be going to the Belgian based on the fact he plays up front with Morata and gets clean sheet bonus and an extra goal for scoring. So this will lessen the captaincy % for Morata this weekend and might make him a differential captain for his relative ownership. He got back to scoring last gameweek and has looked very good when partnered with Hazard up front. I expect him to continue his scoring against a weak West Ham team, but I think Hazard will steal the show again.
  3. Mahrez – Mahrez is currently owned by just 4.9% of managers and is up against a struggling Newcastle side next. He added an assist to his tally against Burnley last time out, which now takes him to 3 goals and 7 assists for the season, only de Bruyne and Silva have more (8). He’s ticking along very nicely at £8.4m and could be a great shout for a punt captain this week if you’re looking for one. Leicester are looking good under Puel and Newcastle were all over the place defensively on Saturday against Chelsea. Mahrez has the quality to add to his impressive tally against Rafa’s men and I think he will do so.

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