In Fantasy Premier League (FPL), selecting the right captain can make or break your weekly points haul. Captaining the correct player can lead to substantial point differentials and catapult you up the rankings. However, this art of captaincy extends beyond simply choosing the highest-scoring player. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of picking a successful Fantasy Premier League captain, unveiling the strategies and factors that elevate managers from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Captaining Consistent Performers
One of the fundamental principles of captaincy selection is opting for players who consistently deliver returns. Rather than being swayed by short-term form or individual fixtures, focus on those players who consistently produce points over the long haul. Analyse their underlying statistics, goal involvement, and consistency metrics to identify reliable performers who consistently deliver high returns. Players who chose to captain Erling Haaland in the 2022-23 season certainly reaped the benefits of this approach as he returned 5 points or more in 25 out of the 34 gameweeks where his club Manchester City had at least one fixture. What makes this consistency even more remarkable is that he didnít play a single minute in three of those gameweeks, in which case a vice-captain would have come in (more on that later!)
Form vs. Fixtures: Striking the Balance:
The captaincy decision often boils down to a choice between a player in fine form or one with an enticing fixture. Striking the right balance between the two is crucial. An example of making the most of an easy fixture is Harry Kaneís performance in the last gameweek of last season, where he scored 16 FPL points against a leaky Leeds United defence. Analyse fixture difficulty, assess the player’s form over a sustained period, and consider the player’s historical performances against similar opposition. Sometimes, the allure of a favourable fixture can outweigh short-term form, while at other times, a player’s exceptional form cannot be ignored regardless of the fixture. It’s a delicate balance that requires astute judgement and an understanding of each player’s unique circumstances.
Differential Captaincy: Unleashing the Game Changer
To gain an edge over your competitors, consider differential captaincy. This strategy involves captaining a player with low ownership but high potential for explosive returns. Look for players with favourable fixtures, emerging talents, or those who excel against weaker opposition. Differential captaincy can significantly boost your rank if the gamble pays off, as it differentiates you from the masses and potentially brings a surge of points. While most players last season went with Erling Haaland as their captain of choice, sometimes going with Harry Kane, Mo Salah (or even Callum Wilson in Double Gameweek 36 of last season) resulted in amazing point hauls for those brave enough to choose differently.†
The Influence of Home and Away Fixtures
An often overlooked aspect of captaincy selection is the impact of home and away fixtures. Some players thrive in the comfort of their home ground, while others excel on the road. Erling Haaland for instance averaged 8.9 points in home games last season, which dropped to 6.5 points in away games. The corresponding numbers for Mo Salah were 6.84 and 6.05 while those for Harry Kane were 7.15 and 6.65 respectively.† Evaluate players’ home and away records, their goal-scoring or assist records in different settings, and their historical performances against specific teams. Consider these factors to leverage the advantage of a player’s preferred setting and maximise your captain’s potential.
Analysing Fixture Swings and Tactical Approaches
Fixture swings, where a team enjoys a run of favourable fixtures, present golden opportunities for captaincy selections. Analyse upcoming fixtures, identify teams with a promising run of games, and assess the tactical approach of those teams. Look for players who thrive in a particular style of play or exploit weaknesses in opposing defences. Captaining players from teams with favourable runs and tactical advantages can unlock consistent points returns.
Using your Vice-captain as Insurance
Choosing a vice captain in Fantasy Premier League is an equally crucial decision, providing an insurance policy in case your primary captain fails to play even a single minute – which is a real risk in the world of Pep-roulette. When selecting a vice captain, consider players who have a high chance of playing and possess a consistent track record. Assess their upcoming fixtures and form to ensure they have the potential to deliver a strong performance. By carefully selecting a vice captain, you enhance your team’s resilience and increase the likelihood of securing valuable points.
The art of picking a successful Fantasy Premier League captain goes beyond surface-level analysis. It requires a deep understanding of player performance, form, fixtures, and intangible factors like leadership and confidence. Balancing form and fixtures, exploring differential options, considering home and away records, and analysing fixture swings are all part of the intricate captaincy puzzle. Successful managers possess the ability to identify the right captain based on meticulous analysis, foresight, and a sprinkle of calculated risk. By mastering the art of captaincy, you can consistently unlock higher point returns and gain a significant advantage over your other competitors in your mini-leagues.
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