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 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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GW30 was a straight two-horse race battle for the highest captained player, between Sergio Agüero and Mohamed Salah amongst live teams, with Salah just about taking it by 0.2%.

Despite a convincing 3+ goals scored by both City and Liverpool, both Agüero and Salah could only manage an assist, leaving both sets of backers relatively disappointed overall.

Elsewhere, 7.4% of managers weren’t put off by Pogba’s late negative points swing in his last minute penalty miss and yellow card, leaving captainers with -2 points. He disappointed again and only returned a single point.

The true winners this week were those who backed Raheem Sterling or Sadio Mané against the supposed better options in Agüero or Salah. They were handsomely rewarded with a hat-trick from Sterling and a brace from Mané.

The 3.7% of managers who showed faith in Hazard were well rewarded too in the last minute of Chelsea’s match at home against Wolves, where Hazard equalised late on to earn them a draw, picking up all 3 bonus points in the process and a nice 10 point haul.

In the upcoming blank Gameweek, it’s the Liverpool assets who take centre stage, but who is the man you should be going with? Is there any reason at all to go against the Liverpool forwards? Let’s delve into the stats and find out.

Results of our poll

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 15.29.21

Mohamed Salah – 70% of the votes

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

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

Sadio Mané – 19% of the votes 

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 23 penalty area touches
  • 12 total goal attempts.
  • 11 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 6 big chances.
  • 5 goals.
  • 0 assists.

Jamie Vardy – 7% of the votes

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 22 penalty area touches
  • 13 total goal attempts.
  • 12 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 6 big chances.
  • 5 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Other highly owned considerations

Eden Hazard

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 29 penalty area touches
  • 12 total goal attempts.
  • 9 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 2 big chances.
  • 3 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Bobby Firmino

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 Gameweeks:

  • 19 penalty area touches
  • 8 total goal attempts.
  • 7 goal attempts inside the box.
  • 4 big chances.
  • 2 goals.
  • 1 assist.

Captain Differentials

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  1. Callum Wilson – Callum Wilson, after being out for a lengthy spell, came back with a bang last week with a goal and an assist in Bournemouth’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Huddersfield. In his 21 starts, Wilson has returned in 13 of those games, scoring 11, and bagging 9 assists, including 4 double-figure hauls. A very reliable asset so far this year and someone who can be explosive, providing a very decent differential captain for the blank Gameweek.

The Captain Metric says…

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 14.32.27

… Mohamed Salah.

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 – Sadio Mané has scored more points than Vardy and Salah in the last 5 Gameweeks.
  • Team form – Mané and Salah’s Liverpool have created the most amount of big chances (18) in the last 5 Gameweeks in comparison to Leicester.
  • Fixture difficulty – Jamie Vardy’s opponents Burnley, have conceded the most amount of big chances (11) in comparison to Salah and Mané’s opponents Fulham however, it is Fulham who have conceded the most amount of goals (13) of any team over the last 5 Gamewekes.
  • Likelihood of scoring – According to the bookies, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané are more likely to score than Vardy.
  • Expected goals/assists (xGI) – Jamie Vardy has the highest expected goal involvement of the 3 candidates over the last 5 Gameweeks.
  • Home/Away Goal Conversion – Jamie Vardy has the best goal conversion rate for this weekends fixtures, after bagging 7 goals from 21 shots away from home.
  • Reliability % – Despite poor form, Mohamed Salah is the most reliable asset, with him returning in 17 of his 30 matches where he’s been available to play, whilst Vardy has returned in 13 of his 26 matches. Despite great form, Sadio Mané is the least reliable overall, with 13 returns in his 28 matches.
  • Explosivity % – Mohamed Salah has returned the most amount of double-figure hauls with 7 – Salah’s 7 have come in his 30 matches. Mané has only had 4 double-figure hauls so far in his 28 matches, whilst Vardy is the least explosive with only 2 double-figure hauls in his 26 matches.

My view 

Mohamed Salah is going to be backed heavily despite his poor form, down to size of ownership and the fact that quite a few live managers may have already doubled up at the back with Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Robertson and Alisson all providing good to great value thus far, occupying the 3 spots from Liverpool.

Even though Sadio Mané is the in-form Liverpool attacker at present, he’s still less reliable and less explosive, typically, than Salah.

The bookies have them at both the same price of scoring anytime (3/4) in their match against Fulham, who have conceded the most amount of goals (13) of any team in their last 5 Gameweeks and over the course of the season so far (68).

So for me, it simply has to be one of these two that takes your captains armband.

Mané will end up being enough of a differential to Salah this week if you’re looking to make up some ground, but the thing you have to consider is, do you want to back against the masses (and it will be a sizeable %)?

Our metric has Salah winning out, but only just, with both Mané and Vardy posting decent metric scores.

When it comes down to it, it depends what you value the most. Is it the bookies odds? Is it form? Is it how reliable they have been? Is it simply how they come across on the eye test when you’ve watched them?

Whatever it is, I don’t think you can go far wrong with backing one of the Liverpool forwards against the worst defence in the league. There’s enough in that game for them both to post a decent haul, it just comes down to your situation and what you feel is the most valuable variable in making that final call.

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For me, it comes down to form and the fact I’m behind where I want to be in rank, so with that, I’m going with Sadio Mané.

If you want to go with a bigger differential, I can’t look past Callum Wilson.

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

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