The Captain Metric Explained…

First of all, I feel it’s my responsibility to let you all know that I don’t profess to have worked out some magic formula for picking a successful captain week to week – that, I’m afraid, does not exist.

Football is an unpredictable game and as a result of that, as is FPL, of course, so there are always going to be surprising outcomes, despite what this metric tells us, but what I believe it can do, is help us in those weeks where things are extremely tight between 2 or even 3 players, not to mention the relief of not having to agonise about it all week.

For example, this gameweek (GW24) you could flip a coin between Salah and Kane for the captaincy, as most of the FPL experts will probably tell you and in complete truth, it is very close, no matter how you look at it, but how do we differentiate between those two? How can we get to that definitive point where we say, ‘Yes, you’re my captain’?

We all like to play FPL differently. Some of us use our emotions and gut-feelings to tell us where to go, others, like to purely consult the stats and use logic and rationale to make their decisions, or you might use a blend of both.

As the name and featured picture suggest, this probably favours the stat geeks out there, but even for those that do consult the ‘gut-feeling’, what happens if you just don’t have a strong feeling either way?

Well I believe this can help when faced with that scenario.

So how does it work? 

Again, before I continue, I’d like to state that I haven’t really tested this out properly and this in fact, is going to be it’s test, if you like.

I also understand and accept that this metric is designed by myself and the stats and parameters that I have selected to use as such, are subject to my own personal interpretation of what I believe to be the most relevant in assessing a captain candidate.

Now that’s out the way, let’s get to it.

Basically, we’ll take the 3 key captain candidates that we identify in our poll, for example this week would be Kane, Salah, Sterling and Agüero (usually it’s 3), and we cross reference certain relevant statistics in a 3-way battle and whoever has the best stats, wins.

If the results end in a draw, then the kicker has been identified as ‘Player Form’.

This of course, is subject to your own interpretation but personally, I felt that ‘Player Form’ is the most relevant statistic of the 4 that I have identified, when it comes down to assessing a player’s chances to return you points.

Which stats/factors are used? 

So think about it yourself, what factors come into play when assessing your captain candidates?

I’m hoping that you’ll come up with the majority of what I’m about to reveal and I’m sure you did;

  1. Player Form – defined as how many points the player has returned in the last 5 gameweeks where the player has been involved in the match.
  2. Team Form – defined as how many ‘big chances’ (where big chance is defined by OPTA as a chance in which the player is expected to score) the team a candidate plays for has created over the last 5 gameweeks.
  3. ICT Index – the official FPL ICT Index designed by OPTA from a total combined score of the ‘Influence’, ‘Creativity’ and ‘Threat’ values.
  4. Fixture Difficulty – defined as how many ‘big chances’ the team a candidate is playing against has conceded over the last 5 gameweeks.

Of course there are other variables such as, how nailed-on to start the player is, set-piece duties, or the fact he’s a midfielder and gets an extra point for scoring a goal as well as clean sheet bonus, or even extreme circumstances like when we knew Stoke had no defence against Chelsea etc, but typically speaking, over the course of a season, those 4 variables should give us a solid spine of data to consult week to week.

Looking ahead

What now? 

So, from this point on, there’s going to be a captain article each week, as there has been, but instead of the usual format, we’ll have a screen shot of the captain metric results from a spreadsheet I’ve made.

Rather than throwing a load of information at you as I was doing previously, probably leaving you more confused than you were before, I will give you a brief summary of my own personal view of the captain candidates, as well as the 3 differential captain options and then the results of the captain metric itself – concise, definitive, simple.

I still strongly advocate going with your gut when you do have a strong feeling and of course, please play your own game, don’t take this metric as gospel, but if, like me, you’ve struggled to pick your captain successfully this year, then this might just help make it a little easier for you.







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