Gameweek 37 Captain, Your Most Important Decision This Season

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The time is finally upon us. Some live in fear of it, some rejoice at its potential, and some simply thought it was a myth. It is of course the 7 day long FPL behemoth that is, Gameweek 37.

If Gameweek 37 were a blockbuster movie there would already be queues of people camping outside of cinemas in borderline offensive Maya Yoshida costumes. It is the final chapter of an epic saga in which thousands of mini-leagues will be won and lost, top 10k dreams become reality, and the well prepared will surely be rewarded with triple figure scores. But to ensure once and for all that Gameweek 38 need be nothing more than a light hearted epilogue where it turns out John Terry was alive all along, we must give ourselves the best chance of seeing off our rivals once and for all, and for this we must shine the spotlight towards our actor in a leading role, the captain.

Many of you will have been planning for this gameweek meticulously since late February, and rightly so, but whether you like it or not all of the preparation could be put to waste at the click of a (C). In last season’s big double gameweek the two most popular captains were Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero, who managed incredible 25 & 26 point hauls, but third in the captaincy polls was United’s Anthony Martial who managed a total of…3 points. It doesn’t matter how good your DGW squad was, if you were a Martial captainer, those around you would have gained upwards 20 points on you (assuming you also owned Aguero).

Whilst it might be wishful thinking to expect a 20+ score from any of this years’ front runners, the point still stands that you don’t want to be the guy with 8 point Sanchez while all your mates are sitting on 40 point Hazard, which is why I’ve done a little research to ensure we’ve got a closer idea of who is the right man for the job.

I’m going to do my best to give you a comprehensive and impartial look at just who is the best of the 6 most popular captaincy shouts this week. You might want to put the kettle on, because there is a lot to consider…

The statistics used:

To quickly clarify, here are the stats I’ll be using and the shorthand I’ll be referring to…

  • ‘Expected points’ – The expected points from a fixture will be an average from their last three games against teams in the same third of the league as their fixture, including only home games if it’s at home and vice-versa i.e. Hazard’s expected points away at West Brom will be his average points from Chelsea’s last away 3 games against teams ranked 8-14 (bou, sto, whu).
  • ‘Form’ – The average points obtained from the last 6 games, DGW scores count as two games e.g Sanchez’ last 6 games 2, 7, 2, 2, 3, 11.
  • ‘Predicted (C)’s’ – percentage of votes received on r/FantasyPL’s GW37 captaincy poll at the time of writing.

Diego Costa vs West Brom (A), Watford (H)

fantasy football captain gameweek 37Expected points – 7 (3 & 4)
Form – 5.7
Predicted (C)’s – 5%

Surrounded by transfer speculation, the pseudo-spanish striker may well be making his Premier League swansong in the remaining three games of the season. With more media interest in his relationship with China than Donald Trump, it is surprising that Chelsea’s top scorer has managed to revive his goalscoring form over the past few weeks, scoring 3 in his last three.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (coincidentally Costa looks like a man who fits that category), you’ll know that Friday night sees the blues playing away to West Brom for a chance to mathematically secure the Premier League title.

This news is a double edged sword for owners of Chelsea players as it ensures a full strength squad for the first game, but should they grab the three points then Conte is free to round up 11 fat blokes from the pub round the corner to line-up against Watford and it wouldn’t make one bit of difference.

This means that despite a juicy looking DGW for Chelsea, any player is at risk of suddenly becoming a SGW player, which is a problem you do not want your captain to have.

Until the game against Southampton a few weeks ago, Costa had failed to score twice in one game all year, meaning despite his consistent point scoring, he rarely commands a captain-worthy score. He’s scored 10+ points on 4 occasions this campaign which is by no means a bad amount, but looks paltry compared to Sanchez and Hazard who both have reached double figures a huge 9 times.

Costa is a great player to have in your squad this week but I personally don’t fancy him to outscore the other big boys, and if they are to win the league, surely it’s time to give Michy a runaround against Watford?

Captain rating: 6th (better options elsewhere, low ceiling, rotation risk)

Eden Hazard vs West Brom (A), Watford (H)

fantasy football captain gameweek 37Expected points – 10 (6 & 4)
Form – 7
Predicted (C)’s – 10%

I won’t bore you with superlatives for this man, we’re all aware of his ability and his devastating points potential, but unfortunately similar to Diego, he might be taking the day off on Monday.

I’m somewhat of a believer in players playing better or worse at certain times of the year, Harry Kane has never scored a prem goal in August, Wayne Rooney used to always become superman in October, and Eden Hazard always seems to turn it on in May. The big bummed Belgian has scored the Premier League’s title winning goal for the last two years now and looks a strong candidate to make it a third come Friday night.

If you’re more rational than I and accept that it’s all meaningless coincidence then you’ll be glad to know that his immediate form is also great. 4 goals and an assist in the last 6 matches has prompted managers to flock towards Chelsea’s main man, in an almost free-roaming left forward role enabled by the support of fellow FPL favourite Marcos Alonso sat behind him, Hazard is enjoying himself and never far away from creating a goal from nothing.

Similarly to Costa, Hazard may only play the West Brom match, however if they do get the win and claim the title, you’d put your house on Hazard being involved. If 180 minutes was assured I’d almost certainly recommend trusting Eden with the armband, but with rotation in mind, it’s best to ensure that he’s Hazard by name and not by nature.

Captain rating: 4th (potential to explode but not guaranteed two games)

Gabriel Jesus vs Leicester (H), West Brom (H)

fantasy footy captain gw37Expected points – N/A
Form – 6.2
Predicted (C)’s – 25%

The man who took just one surname and managed to feed the FPL community with 5,000 puns. Jesus is the most interesting yet difficult to decipher of all the candidates as his sample size of Premier League football is so small. The Brazilian wonder-kid has averaged a goal or an assist every 64 minutes on the pitch and seems to be teachers pet under Guardiola.

The City striker is just 20 years old and on occasion his youthful lack of physicality is evident, however his technique is extraordinary for his age. He seems to have only been around for 5 minutes but already we’ve seen his ability to poach goals, head from crosses, pick intricate passes and finish with the confidence of a man 10 years his senior. This man is without a doubt going to be a player to look out for next year, but can you trust him with the armband this year?

City’s fixtures and incentive to win during this double gameweek makes their star players the hottest property going into the weekend and with or without Aguero’s absence, it seems like Jesus will be leading the line. The cogs seem to be turning for the sky blues and this was evident in their 5-0 hammering of Crystal Palace last  Saturday. Although Jesus only came out of the game with 5 points, the positives are that the midfield artistes of KDB and Silva appear to be in top form, which means that the quality of service will not be a concern.

If someone came up to me in the street 6 months ago and said ‘Jesus is an exciting punt isn’t he’ I’d probably be heavily confused and discreetly call the police, but if they did it now, I’d have to agree with them. Age and inexperience would normally be a concern in trusting such an important decision in someone like Gabriel J, but from what he’s shown us so far, he’s not phased by the Premier League, and certainly not Leicester or West Brom.

Captain rating: a very close 2nd (great form and fixtures, has to be between him and Sanchez)

Harry Kane vs Man United (H), Leicester (A)

premier league fantasy captainExpected points – 7 (3 & 4)
Form – 6.1
Predicted (C)’s – 9%

It may be somewhat difficult to suggest anyone from Spurs this week as the lily whites suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to West Ham last week and could be forgiven for feeling a little deflated. While this might be the case, there are also a few other factors weighing in their favour, and in particular Mr. Harry Kane.

Sunday sees Spurs play a United side that have just progressed to the Europa League final, as a byproduct of their European success United now care as much about the league as Wayne Rooney cares about quantum physics, so I really wouldn’t be surprised to see Spurs roll over the red devils at home just like they do everyone else, especially because it will be Spurs’ final ever game at White Hart Lane.

It’s no secret that Spurs will do everything in their power to get one up on North London rivals Arsenal. The gunners said goodbye to their old ground Highbury with a 4-2 win against Wigan and a hat-trick from their talismanic striker Thierry Henry, so Kane is surely on course for 4 goals in a 5-1 win, that’s just basic logic.

In all seriousness, Kane could be a decent differential shout. Penalty duty and plenty of service in open play, combined with the incentive of trying to steal the golden boot from Romelu Lukaku, means regardless of Tottenham’s lack of fight, Kane will be doing his best to grab a few more before the campaign ends.

The aforementioned United game could easily be a landslide and ditto a Leicester squad with an injury struck defence, but let’s be honest; he’s exciting to have in your squad, but he’s not the best captaincy pick of these players.  

Captain rating: 5th (deceivingly good fixtures, but Spurs as a whole may be flat)

Kevin De Bruyne vs Leicester (H), West Brom (H)

de bruyne captain gw37Expected points – 8 (4 & 4)
Form – 6.8
Predicted (C)’s – <5%

We need to talk about Kevin.

The urge to bring in the Belgian is a classic conundrum of knee-jerk vs form. He was the star man in City’s resounding 5-0 win against Palace on Saturday with a goal and two assists, but are the 17 points making us all blind to KDB’s tendency to score low when the opposite is expected?

Discounting the Palace victory, De Bruyne has failed to score over 3 points in his last 5 games against sides in the bottom half of the table. He wasn’t necessarily playing badly, but his performances weren’t translating into points.

KDB is an interesting asset. £10m+ price tag but seemingly always a differential, capable of huge scores but impossible to predict when. He looked incredible last week and seems to play more advanced in Aguero’s absence, and the fixtures are almost ideal for Man City.

With everyone having their eye on Jesus, Kevin could be that high ceiling differential that clinches your mini-league. Just beware of the potential frustration of him making the ‘assist to the assist’ on 6 different occasions.

Captain rating: 3rd (great form and fixtures, high ceiling, low floor, v minor rotation risk)

Alexis Sanchez vs Stoke (A), Sunderland (H)

premier league fantasy football captain gameweek 37Fixtures – Stoke away, Sunderland home
Expected points – 17 (9 & 8)
Form – 4.5
Predicted (C)’s – 42%

He’s the game’s top scorer, has absolutely zero rotation risk, plays one team that are already on the beach, and another who have been relegated for a number of weeks. With all this into account you’d be forgiven for assuming that this week’s captain is an absolute no brainer and I should end the article now and go have a beer, but unfortunately for all of us, that just isn’t the case.

Fantasy Premier League addicts have formed an unofficial coalition with Arsenal fans’ WENGER OUT campaign as the droopy faced manager seems to be the main antagonist to our hopes of the Chilean scoring big.

If the league finished in December, Sanchez would have undoubtedly won player of the year. When playing in the centre forward role that he would make his own between autumn and winter, Sanchez scored 17 goals and 9 assists in 24 games (all comps). As a result of an infamous tactical change that bubbled up around the turn of the year, Alexis has been, for some reason, marooned out on left wing for several months where his attacking stats have completely diminished, and so has his points potential.

Sanchez’ game out on the wing typically sees him frequently whipping crosses into the box with sporadic levels of accuracy, and unfortunately when he gets it right it seems to always fall to Aaron Ramsey. Despite an emphatic ability to wriggle around defenders, picking the ball up either deep or out wide 90% of the time means that he now has far too much to do to provide himself consistent clear cut shooting opportunities.

He’s still dangerous in a counter attacking situation, where more space is provided to run into, but unfortunately the two fixtures on the menu will most likely see lots of deep defending, with apathetic opposition seldom searching for the net on the other side.

Whilst the negatives are enough to keep anyone away, the positives also make for a mouthwatering reading. Sanchez’ personality and attitude to the game is perhaps his most gleaming attribute among FPL managers, whether a Champions League Final or a pre-season friendly, Alexis will want to play every minute, and insist that he does everything he can to win.

Whilst teammate Mesut Ozil is a posterboy for primadonna modern footballers who are all flash and no effort, Sanchez’ only diva moments come when he is substituted in the 80th minute when the team are already 5-0 up. The guy just bloody loves football, and more specifically, winning.

Wherever the pooch loving powerhouse plays in these games, expect 180 minutes, an insistence to take any and every shooting set-piece, and maximum effort as Arsenal make a late challenge for top 4. With great apprehension, I really like this pick, as does almost half of the lovely user base over at r/fantasypl.

Captain rating: 1st (Safest option, if trying to catch a mini-league rival perhaps stay away)

Who to captain in Gameweek 37:

Food for thought I hope, but if I’m completely honest with you I’m still terrified. To recap here are (in my humble opinion) the best captaincy options this week.

1st: Alexis Sanchez
2nd: Gabriel Jesus
3rd: Kevin De Bruyne
4th: Eden Hazard
5th: Harry Kane
6th: Diego Costa

All are decent picks if you’re feeling adventurous and want to break away from the crowd, and of course there are several genius hipster shouts to go all in on (Alonso, Kompany, Giroud).

After a large amount of consideration, Alexis Sanchez will take the honour of having the armband over his sleeve, and hopefully a few tricks under them.

Thank you for reading and good luck this Gameweek.  

 

fantasy football tips

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