FPL Captain Metric: Gameweek 32

We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for FPL Gameweek 32 and reveal the results of our captain poll and our new captain metric – who will you choose this FPL Gameweek?

Article written by FPL Rover.

BRAND NEW METRIC EXPLAINED: This article (hit the link) explains the concept and working fully >> https://fplconnect.blog/2018/08/07/the-captain-metric-explained-2/

Results of the Poll

The following underlying statistics are taken from FantasyFootballHub.co.uk. If you want to gain access to these stats yourself, register to become a member here >> https://fantasyfootballhub.co.uk/freetrial/.

Harry Kane

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 GWs (games where he was out injured/rested not included):

  • 5 appearances
  • 23 penalty area touches
  • 2 big chances created
  • 5 big chances
  • 5 goal
  • 2 assists

Heung-Min Son

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 GWs (games where he was out injured/rested not included):

  • 4 appearances
  • 12 penalty area touches
  • 1 big chance created
  • 2 big chances
  • 1 goals
  • 1 assist

Mo Salah

Underlying attacking stats the last 5 GWs (games where he was out injured/rested not included):

  • 4 appearances
  • 38 penalty box touches
  • 1 big chance created
  • 4 big chances
  • 2 goals
  • 0 assists

Captain Metric

The winner of this weeks Captain Metric will be revealed later in the article.

Given Spurs are the only team to play twice in gameweek 32, the chance of their players standing out for captaincy this week is rather high! Currently owned by 49.6% of FPL managers, and most likely a much higher percentage among the engaged players, Kane is probably already pencilled in as captain for many at this stage.

There are also a number of individuals who are performing at very high levels right now with a very appealing gameweek 32 fixture who are perhaps being overlooked for captaincy. With that in mind, is Kane the standout option this week and are Spurs’ fixtures the best to target?

Who are the top performers?

We have summarised the data from the past five gameweeks for selected players ahead of the gameweek 32 in the table below.

Key attacking stats for select captaincy candidates between Gameweeks 27 & 31

Please note the all data in the article is based on the past five gameweeks unless stated otherwise.

Starting with Harry Kane, it is clear to see that he is performing at a very high level when it comes to the underlying data. 0.88 xG90 is significantly greater than the other captaincy rivals, while he is also shooting more (4.5) per 90 than anyone else, level with Mo Salah. With one goal per 90, he appears to be slightly overperforming his xG, which is typical of a quality player in form.

The other Spurs forward option, Son, scored a timely goal against Man United last weekend. However, his underlying attacking numbers are much weaker than most of the other captaincy options. His xG90 of 0.28 is the lowest of the group, while taking just 2.2 shots per 90. It appears his creative contribution is stronger than his goal threat with xA90 of 0.28. It is hard to assess whether that goal will act as a platform for future returns, but the data suggests perhaps not yet.

One player who has looked a threat is Mo Salah, who is head and shoulders above the other options when it comes to penalty box touches; 9.5 per 90 eclipses Iheanacho’s 5.5. Admittedly Salah, like Sterling, has struggled to convert strong box presence into goals for long spells this season, but that could be changing for the Egyptian. This, combined with 4.5 shots per 90, are indicators that a big score may be on the way.

Another option to discuss is Kelechi Iheanacho, who finds himself in a rich vein of goal scoring form of late. This is no fluke either; he is getting 1.3 big chances per game which compensates for the fact he is massively overachieving his xG90. With Vardy playing a much more supporting role, as demonstrated by his impressive creative stats, Iheanacho may continue this great run of scoring into gameweek 32.

Which fixtures should be targeted?

It is worth noting that fixtures are staggered this week to accommodate the FA Cup semi finals, which means some players will feature in the cup after the deadline has taken place, but before their Premier League fixure.

Chelsea vs Man City and Leicester vs Southampton are those fixtures, so bear that in mind when selecting your team. Given selection, fitness and injury could all be a factor here, it may be unwise to captain a player from these sides this week.

Average xG (expected goals) for and against per 90 minutes between Gameweeks 27 & 31

The obvious place to start with fixtures is Spurs, who play Everton and Southampton. They play the Saints after their FA Cup semi final, which makes them a tasty team to target in that respect. Southampton are effectively safe from relegation so will be treating the FA Cup game more seriously than some of the other teams; Leicester included as they battle for the top four.

On paper, Spurs are showing better than average attacking threat; their xG90 is similar to West Ham and Liverpool who would be considered ‘in form’ right now. What is evident with Spurs is their fortunes vary drastically when it comes to playing top or bottom half teams.

Spurs form vs top half clubs | Source: FFScout & Understat.com (xG)

The results against top half sides highlight a real lack of attacking threat from Spurs in these fixtures. Just four goals scored and three big chances created in six games. Their first opposition, Everton, are a top half team who may make things difficult for Spurs given their injury issues in attack.

Spurs form vs bottom half clubs | Source: FFScout & Understat.com (xG)

On the other side of the coin, Spurs have put in some very dominant attacking displays against bottom half sides. In their last six games (vs bottom half teams), they have recorded at least 1.55 xG90 and created 19 big chances. They have scored 15 goals and recorded four clean sheets; very impressive numbers. Given Southampton sit in the bottom half and are one of the leakier defensive sides currently, Spurs could easily inflict a strong attacking display on them this week.

Having seen off the challenge of Man City last weekend, Liverpool are the latest ‘big’ team to try and take down an impressive Leeds unit. The motivation for Liverpool is perhaps stronger given City’s focus was elsewhere, and now Liverpool have been knocked out of the Champions League their focus must be on making the top four.

Leeds should provide Liverpool with a competitive game, but the data suggests Liverpool look a much stronger defensive team in recent weeks which could cause an issue for Leeds. Attacking-wise, Liverpool aren’t quite in the top tier of the league, but will rely heavily on their forwards to get the job done. Who those forwards are is hard to call following a mid week Champions League contest.

Perhaps the most appealing fixture of all is for Man United who face Burnley this weekend. Burnley, normally associated with resilient defending and hard work, have been surprisingly poor at the back in recent games, while Man United have picked up their own attacking threat.

Burnley recent form | Source: FFScout & Understat.com (xG)

In their last seven games, Burnley have conceded 21 big chances; three every 90 minutes. This presents a huge opportunity for Man United assets, despite playing just once this week. Nick Pope normally has a knack of keeping the score lower than it should be for Burnley, so his selection could prove vital should be be fit again after missing out against Newcastle.

Who wins the Captaincy Metric?

The winner of the captaincy metric for gameweek 32 is Kane, with Son and Iheanacho taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Both Kane and Son have had their team score amended to reflect two fixtures this week.

You can see the results for all candidates in the table below, broken down by their individual and team contributions towards the metric score. For a more detailed understanding of how the metric is calculated, please click here.

Please note: Individual bias (IB), highlights how balanced their score is between team and individual form. A score below 50% suggests the team has contributed the most weight to their score, while a score above 50% shows individual performances that outweigh that of the team.

As the only team to play twice this week, it is little surprise to see two Spurs players at the top of the metric. Kane comes out on top as a result of superior individual underlying stats and form. Son actually has the lowest individual score in the metric this week, but benefits from an additional fixture which should increase his chance of a return.

Of those who only have one fixture this week, Iheanacho came out with the highest individual metric score. The Leicester forward is in great form and continues to get regular chances while playing alongside Jamie Vardy. He plays West Brom this week, which looks nice on paper, but this game takes place after Leicester’s FA Cup game against Southampton this weekend.

Bruno Fernandes holds the highest metric team score outside of the Spurs duo, suggesting Man United have the best fixture to target this week both in terms of their own performance and the opponent they face (Burnley). Bruno hasn’t been in great form individually, but this fixture could be strong enough to target without the form behind it.

My view

In reality, the majority reading this article will have already decided to captain Kane this week. He has two fixtures and is looking in great form, which has been heavily supported by the metric analysis this week. In my opinion, if you simply wish to pick the best captaincy option this week, Kane is the standout player by far.

However, there is also a case to back against Kane this week given his effective ownership will be so high and therefore the likelihood of gaining any ground if he returns is slim. Picking any other captain this week will be a huge differential, but also a very big risk.

As someone who is some way off the 100k and looking to make ground, I will still be captaining Kane this week. Having played my wildcard in gameweek 31 my squad is nicely setup with a number of differential options with very nice fixtures, which I hope can provide enough returns to see another green arrow. Admittedly I may not make huge gains this week with my ‘safe’ captaincy pick, but I do not believe any other player outscores Kane and therefore I’d be setting myself up for a loss if I backed against him.

If Kane is off the table and I was pushed to choose another captain this week, Bruno Fernandes or Mo Salah stick out from those with a single gameweek, who play Burnley and Leeds respectively. With Liverpool being knocked out of Europe on Wednesday evening, focus is back on the top four and I’d expect them to really take it to Leeds with Salah leading the line.

Choosing Son over Kane is also an option, but his individual numbers are inferior to Kane so it would be a big call to back against Spurs’ main man over two fixtures. Still, the way this season is panning out, anything is possible!

Some other great articles by our writers this week

  1. Predicting the best players for GW32 (769th in the world)
  2. Assessing the non-premium midfielders
  3. Triple Spurs? Jota, Greenwood or Mount?
  4. Which defenders should we be targeting over the next few gameweeks?

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