FPL Captain Metric: Blank Gameweek 31

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for blank Gameweek 31 and reveal the results of our captain poll and our new captain metric, who will you choose this gameweek?

BEFORE WE BEGIN: If you haven’t already seen, we released an article earlier introducing the new ‘Captain Metric’, which explains the concept fully and it can be viewed here > ‘The Captain Metric Explained…’

Well, for the second week running, the captain metric picks the highest scoring player of the 3 stand-out choices available in Mohamed Salah, albeit in extremely underwhelming circumstances!

It was a week to forget, especially in terms of the captaincy, unless you went with my differential captain suggestion of Riyad Mahrez, who hit double-figures again with a goal and an assist against the struggling Baggies.

Kane suffered what looked like a pretty nasty ankle injury with only half an hour played, with damaged ligaments a likely outcome and Agüero picked up an injury in team training leading up to their game with Stoke and ended up missing out.

Salah played his match against Mourinho’s men, but was masterfully kept quiet by a superb Ashley Young on the day and subsequently only managed 2pts, which strangely somehow managed to end up being the highest score out of the 3 highest captained players in the game.

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 16.55.29

Next up is the blank gameweek and will inevitably be an easy decision in terms of the captain, but lets delve into the stats and see if we can find any reason not to captain the irrepressible Mo Salah.

Results of the poll

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 17.15.30

Mohamed Salah – 75% of the votes

Underlying attacking stats over the last 4 gameweeks:

  • 30 penalty area touches
  • 14 total goal attempts.
  • 13 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 4 big chances.
  • 3 goals.
  • 2 assists.

Roberto Firmino – 13% of the votes 

Underlying attacking stats over the last 4 gameweeks:

  • 25 penalty area touches
  • 10 total goal attempts.
  • 6 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 3 big chances.
  • 2 goals.
  • 2 assists.

Sadio Mané– 9% of the votes 

Underlying attacking stats over the last 4 gameweeks:

  • 19 penalty area touches
  • 14 total goal attempts.
  • 10 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 5 big chances.
  • 2 goals.
  • 1 assist.

My view… 

Embed from Getty Images

 

I honestly just can’t see any reason why anyone would back against the player of February, Mohamed Salah, this week.

Those who are lower in rank will argue that they need to differentiate in order to make up the ground and that’s true in principle, but this isn’t the week to be trying to differentiate with your captain in my opinion.

Salah’s captaincy % by live managers is likely going to be above 70% and if your punt doesn’t pay off and Salah performs, then you’re looking at a ‘falling off Mount Everest’ type drop.

In this scenario, the majority of those who would be looking to go against Salah will likely back either Mané or Firmino in the same fixture – so it’s about assessing the likelihood of Mané/Firmino outscoring Salah.

So, in the 29 Premier League games that Firmino and Salah have played together in (percentages have been rounded up in each example)…

  • Salah has outscored Firmino on 17 occasions (59%)
  • Firmino has outscored Salah on 8 occasions (28%)
  • They have equalled each other 4 times (14%)

and if we take the last 10 Premier League games (before the last ten games, Mané was in and out of the team due to injury) that Mané and Salah have played together in…

  • Salah has outscored Mané on 7 occasions (70%)
  • Mané has outscored Salah on 1 occasion (10%)
  • They have equalled each other on 2 occasions (20%)

So, looking at it like that, if you go with Firmino over Salah, based on past performances this season, you’re looking at a 28% chance it comes off and a 10% chance if you go with Mané.

Are those odds good enough to take a gamble on considering the devastating effect (Salah’s likely huge captaincy %) could have if it doesn’t come off?

There will be far better opportunities to gamble on the captaincy in the last 7 GWs and this, low rank or not, represents way too big a risk in my opinion.

The Captain Metric says…

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 15.02.33

Mohamed Salah. 

Because the 3 main considerations were all from the same team, meaning 2 of the 4 stats would be the same results, I decided to add in the ‘xGI Delta’ stat.

xGI Delta takes how they actually perform (goals and assists) over a period of time and takes their xGI figure (expected goals and assists) figure away from it.

In the context of Salah for example, 7 (5 goals and 2 assists) minus xGI (expected goals and assists) 3.82 = xGI Delta (3.18).

In laymen’s terms, this essentially means that Salah has contributed just over 3 more goal/assists than he was expected to do so over the last 5 gameweeks, meaning he’s been over-performing.

Mané in contrast, has an xGI Delta figure of -1.32, meaning he’s contributed less goal/assists than he was expected to.

So, as you can see, Salah wins out by a huge margin, with far better scores to his captaincy rivals on the player form, ICT index and xGI delta stats.

So to answer the earlier question, no, there’s no reason not to captain Salah this week – the people say him and so does the metric.

Stats obtained from fantasyfootballscout.co.uk

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