Fantasy Premier League: Captain Picks for Matchweek 3
If you are going to win your leagues on the Premier League's official fantasy website, it's imperative to pick the right captain. That's why we'll be detailing the top captain choices for your teams each and every matchweek.
You'll construct a roster of 15 players with a £100 million salary -- two keepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards -- and choose a starting XI each week.
A key part of the process is selecting your captain and vice captain. Your captain will have his points doubled for the week, and your vice captain's points will double in case your captain doesn't play.
Last week, our top two choices, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Agüero, each scored a pair of goals, one of which came via the penalty spot. They both also gathered the maximum bonus points for their matches. Eden Hazard did have a good outing, managing an assist, but he paled in comparison to the big two.
This week we are back to a usual schedule as the first game is a Saturday kickoff between Tottenham and Liverpool. Here are the captains to target for Matchweek 3.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Manchester United
This is slight shakeup this week with Ibrahimovic moving up to the top spot in the rankings. It's amazing what adding a €105 million midfielder does to your team's appearance. Paul Pogba was everywhere last week, leading the team in touches and helping Manchester United take all three points.
One very promising sign from that game was Ibrahimovic's average touch position. In the Matchweek 1 game against Bournemouth, Ibrahimovic had to play deeper to receive the ball, and as a result, both Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney had an average touch position closer to goal. Last week, however, Zlatan was being fed by both Pogba and Juan Mata quite a bit. This led to him tying Martial for the most advanced average touch position on the team.
Last week, Zlatan had three shots, with two of them on target. This was against a Southampton side that has only spent 22% of the season in their own third, which is the fourth-lowest mark in the Premier League.
United's opponent this weekend is Hull City, a team which leads the league in time spent in their own third (37%). While Hull has shown some defensive prowess -- allowing just one goal to the defending champions Leicester and recording a clean sheet against Swansea -- neither team boasts the attacking abilities of Manchester United. Hull has also allowed 20.5 shots per game, the second-worst rate in the league. If Hull spends a similar amount of time in their own third on Saturday, we could see quite a few United chances on goal. Zlatan is favored to score (-105), which lends itself to United having the best away odds on the slate at -224, per bet365.
Ibrahimovic is also the most transferred-in player for this week with almost 250,000 managers adding him to their fantasy squads. This now makes Zlatan the most owned player on in the fantasy game, bumping his ownership to 53.7%, which is up from 44.8% last week. That huge surge in ownership, along with the likely game script we will see in this match, makes Zlatan the top choice this week.
Sergio Agüero, Manchester City
Agüero finds himself in the unfamiliar second-ranked spot this week after back-to-back weeks of being our top choice. This is through no fault of his own as both world-class strikers are deserving of the top spot. For the foreseeable future, it certainly seems like the captain choice will come down to picking between Agüero and Zlatan.
Agüero had a great performance against Stoke last week, putting up four shots, three of which were on target. City manager Pep Guardiola also decided to rest Aguero during their midweek Champions League playoff game. This is good news as Agüero had played 262 minutes over eight days.
Manchester City welcomes West Ham United to the Etihad on Sunday, which should be an exciting match. Aside from Chelsea, Man City has the best odds to win this weekend at -350. As you’d imagine, them being favorites to win is strongly linked with Agüero’s odds to score (-187). If Agüero has a better chance to score and City has a better chance to win, why is Zlatan ranked ahead of Agüero?
There is a slight risk of West Ham playing well and restricting Agüero’s chances. Sure, they haven’t had the best start to the season, but reports say that Dimitri Payet should start this week, and he is crucial to the Hammers' success. He is one of their top passers from last year, averaging 42.3 total passes per match, including 4.0 key passes. That figure was second in the Premier League, behind only Mesut Özil.
West Ham has spent 29% of their games in their own third, which ranks 8th in the league, but they are 11th in shots allowed per game (12). While Agüero is always a danger to score, it'd be easier to trust him if he were facing a team like Hull instead of West Ham.
The other reason is purely due to ownership. Agüero is the fourth-highest transferred-in player this week with over 162,000 managers adding him. That bumps his ownership to 52%, which is up from 46.8% last week. This is certainly a big jump, but it's not as large as Zlatan’s. It’s not an easy decision by any means, but it's hard to top Ibrahimovic against a newly-promoted side.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Hazard again closes out our captain picks for the week. While he didn’t score a goal last week, he did register one assist and four shots, two of which were on target. He also had three key passes and six dribbles past an opponent.
Hazard is looking like he did during his Player of the Year season, and that’s great news for fantasy owners. With the way he’s currently involved, you can count on him as a reliable source of points. He’s tied for first in fouls against with seven this year. These can potentially help set up dangerous free kicks or penalties, the latter of which he is responsible for taking.
While Hazard’s goal-scoring odds this week aren’t great at (+125), Chelsea’s odds to win are a ridiculous -400. Burnley has been absorbing pressure like no one else this season, facing 43 shots while only allowing one goal. It’s highly unlikely they will keep up that rate of shot stopping all season, and if this is the week they falter, you'll definitely want a piece of Hazard.
As the past two weeks have shown, if you are looking for safety and consistency, then you will want to captain Zlatan or Agüero. If you want to pivot from the common choices and try to gain back some lost ground or extend your lead, then Hazard is the best of the rest.