FPL Captain Metric: Gameweek 23

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Gameweek 23 and reveal the results of our captain poll and our captain metric – who will you choose this Gameweek?

BEFORE WE BEGIN: If you haven’t already seen, we released an article last year introducing the new ‘Captain Metric’, which explains the concept fully and it can be viewed here > https://fplconnect.blog/2018/08/07/the-captain-metric-explained-2/

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So GW22 threw up a 49pt average, but I feel for the Twitter community, that average was much higher. I saw many in the community and in my leagues comfortably achieving scores in the mid 60’s and low 70’s – a good week for FPL Twitter it would seem.

On the captain side of things, it was all about the increasingly reliable Mo Salah.

The majority of live teams backed him and despite Brighton putting up a brave fight, as most thought it would be, Salah managed to score the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, a feat that saw him finally achieve maximum bonus points for once, resulting in a lovely 11 point haul making it 4 double-figure hauls in his last 5 appearances.

Of the rest of the top 6 captains, the scores were fairly tame.

Only Hazard and Sterling managed an attacking return, and even then, it was only an assist, whilst Kane, despite having many attempts, could not find the net with David De Gea in imperious form.

West Ham played a blinder at the London Stadium and managed to keep Arsenal’s sharp shooter Aubameyang quiet and Agüero, down to an illness, was benched and came on for the last 14 minutes, unable to contribute further to the scoring.

With news earlier in the week breaking that Kane would be out for at least 6 weeks, FPL managers may need to rely on Salah now more than ever, but let’s see if there are other interesting options that may tempt us away from the Egyptian King this coming GW.

Results of our poll 

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Mohamed Salah – 75% of the votes

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 47 penalty area touches
  • 12 total goal attempts.
  • 12 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 7 big chances.
  • 4 goals.
  • 3 assists.

Sergio Agüero – 10% of the votes 

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks (includes 2x sub appearances):

  • 27 penalty area touches
  • 12 total goal attempts.
  • 10 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 4 big chances.
  • 2 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7% of the votes

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 27 penalty area touches
  • 17 total goal attempts.
  • 15 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 6 big chances.
  • 4 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Other highly owned considerations

Paul Pogba 

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 21 penalty area touches
  • 22 total goal attempts.
  • 11 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 3 big chances.
  • 4 goals.
  • 5 assists.

Marcus Rashford

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 33 penalty area touches
  • 21 total goal attempts.
  • 15 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 5 big chances.
  • 4 goals.
  • 2 assists.

Eden Hazard 

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 34 penalty area touches
  • 13 total goal attempts.
  • 11 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 5 big chances.
  • 2 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Differential captain options

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  1. Raheem Sterling – At just 10.6% ownership, at the time of writing, despite being the 3rd highest scoring asset in the game, Raheem looks as though he’s being overlooked right now. It’s not without reasonable logic however, as his drop in returns have coincided with United’s resurgence, making their more reasonably priced assets more attractive, but with City looking like they are back in top gear after a down spell, Sterling could once again start hitting the big returns. He’s had the most penalty area touches (52) of any player over the last 5 GWs and although his shot count is down (just 6 shots inside the box in that time), he has been creating a lot of chances (15) for his teammates. Up against a side that have conceded the second most amount of big chances (14) over the last 5 GWs and this has the makings of a powerful differential captaincy option.
  2. Fernando Llorente – A bit more of a punt, but with Kane out for at least 6 weeks and Son away for the Asian games, Llorente is Spurs’ only option now for a striker. Llorente can by no means give Spurs what Kane can and he certainly can’t do what Son does, but what he can do, is get on the end of crosses and stick them away. With Eriksen and Trippier, Spurs have two very accurate passing and crossing machines, and with this level of service and with the reasonable coming fixtures, it’s hard to think Llorente won’t represent value for money at £5.6m and be a decent differential captain option this weekend against a struggling defence in Fulham.

The Captain Metric says…

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Mohamed Salah (just about).

Down to a great number of people commenting on our captain poll thread with Pogba, we have decided to include him in the metric instead of Aubameyang.

Important Note: We have twigged the metric slightly once more. At the end of the metric, you’ll find two new relevant stats.

First one (Reliability %), basically gives us the percentage of games the player has provided a return (goal or assist) in out of the games he was available for selection (not injured) – so this includes games where the player has scored 0 because of being on the bench/rested, but not those where the player has scored 0 because he was injured or unavailable for some other reason, like personal circumstances for example. This can give us an idea of how likely the player is to return and how reliable he has been.

The second (Explosivity %), as the name suggests, gives us the percentage of games the player has ‘exploded in’, or in more accurate terms, has provided a double-figure return. In the same way as before, it can give us an idea of how likely a player is to return a double-figure haul and a clear view of how good he’s been at providing double-figure hauls in the past.

Breakdown:

  • Player form – Mohamed Salah has scored more points than either Aubameyang or Agüero in the last 5 Gameweeks, though it is important to note that Agüero’s form isn’t a fair reflection when comparing with the others, as he has had much less game time, with 2 of his 5 appearances being from the bench.
  • Team form – Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool have created the most amount of big chances (19) in the last 5 Gameweeks in comparison to Manchester United and Manchester City however, Spurs and Man United have scored the most goals (15) in that timeframe.
  • Fixture difficulty – Sergio Agüero’s opponents, Huddersfield, have conceded the most amount of big chances (14) in comparison to Salah and Pogba’s opponents.
  • Likelihood of scoring – According to the bookies, Salah is the most likely to score.
  • Expected goals/assists (xGI) – Mohamed Salah has the highest expected goal involvement of the 3 candidates over the last 5 Gameweeks.
  • Home/Away Goal Conversion – Mohamed Salah has the best goal conversion rate for this weekends fixtures, after bagging 7 goals from 32 goal attempts.
  • Reliability % – Mohamed Salah is the most reliable asset, with him returning in 14 of his 22 matches, whilst Sergio Agüero has returned in 11 of his 18 matches where he was available to play. Pogba is the least reliable of the 3 and has returned in under half of his games, with 9 in 19.
  • Explosivity % – Mohamed Salah has returned the most amount of double-figure hauls with 6 in his 22 matches. Pogba has 4 in 19 matches whilst Agüero struggles, with just 2 in his 18 matches.

My view 

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This week, it’s pretty simple; if you have Mo Salah, then captain him.

If Kane wasn’t injured then I would have likely argued his case this week against a much less resilient defence in Fulham, but with him being injured and the other options not looking all that enticing, it has to go on Salah.

He will get a huge backing, as our poll suggests, and if you do go elsewhere and he hauls and your captain fails, you are looking at a monumental drop in overall rank. It’s far too risky to go elsewhere in my opinion this week.

If you are still without Salah, then I would look to captaining a City asset.

I back Sergio Agüero to reclaim his striker spot over Jesus despite his good form, as he’s simply the much better striker of the two and has been very consistent when starting this year and has transitioned into the type of striker Pep wants his strikers to be.

Huddersfield  have been conceding a lot of big chances recently (14) and Man City look to be back at their best, which can only spell trouble for the Terriers this weekend and I back one of Agüero, Sané or Sterling to hit double-figures.

I really don’t think this is a good week for a differential captain but if you don’t own Salah, then you don’t have much choice. Raheem Sterling would be my pick for a differential captain, if not him, then Leroy Sané.

Stats obtained from members.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk
Odds obtained from williamhill.com

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