We explore the best options for the Fantasy Premier League captain for Gameweek 38 and reveal the results of our captain poll – 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 winner of the captaincy metric will be revealed later in the article.
It’s another tight turnaround after gameweek 37 , but the captaincy metric is back for the final gameweek of the season. The ‘big hitters’ of Salah, Kane and Bruno all failed by their lofty standards in midweek; only Bruno picked up an attacking return (a questionable assist) but did receive a yellow card. It was a good week to captain a differential, with the likes of Bamford, Antonio and Robertson all on fire.
Here we are, the final gameweek of the season. Many will have mixed emotions about this campaign but hopefully we will see a much more ‘normal’ season when 2021/22 gets underway again in August. Anyway, without further ado, let us go through some of the main captaincy contenders for gameweek 38.
Who are the main contenders?
Please note all data in the article is based on gameweeks 33 to 37 unless stated otherwise.
It goes without saying that Salah’s effective ownership will be off the charts this week. After (somehow) blanking against Burnley in Liverpool’s 3-0 win in midweek, Salah will be keen to get back among the action in the final gameweek of the season. They play Crystal Palace at home, in front of fans, which just feels like the perfect setting for another haul.
Just looking at his recent stats, everything but assists falls within the top 5 players in the league. It’s difficult to actually highlight a particular area of his game for praise, but six big chances puts him 1st, while he has had 47 penalty box touches (2nd). A few weeks ago Salah’s creative stats were bang average, but he now sits 2nd for xA (1.71), key passes (12) and big chances created (3).
If you’re trying to preserve rank or a ML lead, Salah is without a doubt the ideal captaincy choice this week.
While not quite as prolific as Salah when it comes to underlying data, Sadio Mane seems to be hitting his best run of form all season. His place looked under threat when Salah, Firmino and Jota all scored against Man Utd, but an injury to Jota has given him another opportunity. Like Salah, a home fixture against Palace is very appealing.
Mane sits just behind Salah for penalty box touches (40), and edges him out on a ‘per 90’ calculation showing his threat in and around the area. Creatively he looks great with 3 big chances created and 2 assists, but isn’t shooting as frequently as Salah. Still, certainly a very worthy differential pick this week.
West Ham have had a fantastic season and sit 6th in the table; on course for European football next year. They will be keen to finish the season in style, with Antonio looking in great form. The forward has scored three goals in his last four games, showing why West Ham rely on him being fit as much as possible. Antonio has an appealing fixture this week in Southampton, who have looked weak defensively and have nothing to play for in their final game.
Antonio has been provided with four big chances (5th) and has xG of 2.52 (4th) which puts him right up there with the top players in the league at the moment. Creatively he has very little to show for, but his job is to score goals and he’s doing it very well. Will he be your captain this week?
Two blanks in a row for Chris Wood, but the Burnley striker has been in great form for a number of weeks now and could be a great outside punt for captaincy this week. Burnley play relegated Sheffield United which has been a great fixture to target this season, although they have only conceded once in their last two games.
With five goals and six big chances, Wood is ranked 1st for both these metrics across the last five gameweeks. He is also 1st for xG (3.02) and 2nd for FPL points (36). We haven’t really considered Wood in our metric this season despite his great form, but his numbers deserve recognition and he could prove to be a great differential captaincy option in the final game of the season.
This week’s article has been packed with differential captaincy options, mainly because Salah is the standout pick from the highly owned group and many will be looking for a more aggressive route to points in the final game of the season. With that in mind, the final profile is Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold, who has been showing very consistent form over the past few gameweeks.
Having a defender ranked in the top two players for assists (3), xA (1.82), key passes (17) and big chances created (3) is phenomenal over a five game period; TAA is currently unrivalled as a creative force and that is why he has been included this week. Although he hasn’t scored, he has also taken 14 shots which is remarkable for a right back who is already creating so much for his team mates.
As already discussed, Liverpool have the pick of the fixtures against Palace this week at Anfield. Predicting clean sheets has been difficult with Liverpool this season, but Palace should struggle to create much in attack for them to be overly troubled. TAA will likely be more influential in the final third of the pitch, meaning any clean sheet points are just a bonus!
Who wins the Captaincy Metric?
The winner of the captaincy metric for gameweek 38 is Mo Salah, with Sadio Mane and Chris Wood taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.
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.
Unsurprisingly, Mo Salah comes out on top of the metric this week. Some incredible underlying attacking stats and a brilliant fixture to target make Salah the ideal captain from a statistical perspective. Of course, you may be looking at other options to make up ground and there are plenty to choose from.
Mane and Wood are the next best options according to the metric, both with similar form and fixture difficulty. It feels like a tough week to bet against Salah for captaincy, but these two should make worthy challengers. It isn’t inconceivable that Mane gets the lions share of chances against Palace this weekend, as we saw against Burnley in midweek when Firmino profited.
Team Connect picks
With plenty still to play for, some of the brilliant FPL managers from Team Connect have shared their own thoughts on captaincy this week. There has been lots of debate about captaincy within the team so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top!
“Salah looks like the pick of the bunch, but once again I will be rolling the dice with someone else. In a final attempt to make up ground, there are some very impressive looking differentials to choose from; Antonio, Mane and Wood could all do the business in their games. I’m very keen to target the Liverpool fixture with fans back at Anfield and the fact they still have something to play for, so Alexander-Arnold is my pick this week. I just have a strong feeling he will have an awesome last game!”FPL Rover (me) – Alexander-Arnold
“I can’t see past Salah this week. As much as I’d love to pick a differential, I can’t see anyone outscoring him. With top four and the golden boot to play for, alongside having fans back at Anfield, it’s hard to look past him this gameweek.”FPL Hindsight – Mo Salah
“Salah is the standout choice this week, but for those chasing rank it makes sense to look elsewhere. I’m throwing a ‘hail Mary’ at the top 50k by placing the armband on Michael Antonio. The West Ham man is top of all forwards for xG in the last six matches and is 2nd for shots in the box and big chances in that time. Opponents Southampton looked very leaky versus Leeds and as such I’m backing Antonio as the most likely asset to challenge Salah.”FPL T – Michael Antonio
“If you are trying to protect your rank you can’t look past Mo Salah for captaincy. With Liverpool fighting to ensure a Champions League spot, and in front of a passionate home crowd, Salah could go big. He is also desperate for the golden boot, and his main rival Harry Kane has a tricky game away to Leicester. Some may be tempted by Patrick Bamford with Leeds having a very appealing fixture against West Brom defence.
If you are chasing rank or want to climb your ML there are a few standout differentials. Mane, Firmino and Antonio are all very appealing. My safe captain pick is Mo Salah, whilst Antonio would be my differential choice. I will be on the Salah train come Sunday.”FPL Bluebird – Mo Salah
“I’m currently 26 points inside the top 10k and 36 off the top 1k so really looking for a differential upside in the last gameweek. Liverpool have the best combination of fixture and desire so I’m looking at their assets. Salah is the obvious choice but I want a differential this week, so I am looking at Roberto Firmino. He has 3 goals in his last 3 and scored 2 plus an assist in the 7-0 win over palace earlier in the season.”FPL Del – Roberto Firmino