I explain the simple, yet potentially helpful, FPL captain metric I developed a while back in the hope of making the decision a little easier
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, many times last season, 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?
I 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, for gameweek 1 it would be Salah, Agüero and Zaha (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 – you may feel it’s the fixture that’s the most important and base it off that.
Which stats/factors are used?
So think about it yourself, what factors come into play when assessing your captain candidates?
I’d imagine the first 3 everyone came up with, but we have another couple that we feel, statistically, are relevant;
- 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.
- 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.
- Fixture Difficulty – defined as how many ‘big chances’ the team a candidate is playing against has conceded over the last 5 gameweeks.
- xGI (expected goal involvement) – defined as the calculated expected goal involvement of the candidate over the last 5 gameweeks.
- xGI delta (actual goal involvement) – defined as the actual goal involvement of the player 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 last season etc, but these things are subjective, and are extremely difficult to quantify – I will have notes on this underneath the table in the article discussing the various subjective variables each time too.
Typically speaking, over the course of a season, those 5 variables should give us a solid spine of data to consult week to week.