Fantasy Premier League: Captain Picks for Matchweek 5
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 was another disappointing outing for our captain choices. Eden Hazard didn’t get onto the stat sheet, and a late yellow added insult to injury for those who captained him. Alexis started off on the bench, came on as a late sub, and was held off the stat sheet. Thankfully, our ever-present choice, Zlatan, knocked in a goal against Manchester City last weekend.
This week kicks off with another great early matchup, when Liverpool travel to London to face off against undefeated Chelsea. As usual, a familiar face appears as our top captain choice this week.
Zlatan clearly took offense at being the third choice last week and proved to us why he needs to be your captain this week. In the Manchester Derby last week, he registered a shocking 10 shots, with 3 of them on target. He now has four goals in his first four matches in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho decided to give Zlatan a rest for United’s Europa League matchup against Feyenoord, where Zlatan was brought on as a late sub, but he ultimately failed to prevent that shocking defeat. Although he was subbed on at the 62-minute mark, he still managed three shots with one on target.
United travels to Watford this week, where United (-162 moneyline) are the favorites to win, according to bet365. Watford spend the second-most amount of time in their own third, at 33%. They also concede an average of 16.5 shots per game, the third-most in the league. Interestingly, United have the fifth-most shots per game, at 16.5, so there should be plenty of chances for United to score. Ibrahimovic is the most likely goalscorer on United (+100), and it’s clear that owners are taking notice.
Zlatan continues to be added to fantasy squads, another 47,000 this week. He is the most owned player on the site, at 63.3%. That is a ridiculous number, and that ownership percentage alone makes him a very risky player not to captain. This early in the season, we should look for captain choices to help keep pace with the leaders, not to take risks on captain pivots.
We get some fresh meat this week in Lukaku. For those of you who weren’t paying attention last week, Lukaku had an amazing game, scoring three goals and hitting the woodwork once as well. A total of 9 shots, 6 on target, led him to a crazy rating of 9.59 on WhoScored.com. Lukaku is a historically streaky player, and generally you won’t want to own him when he’s not on form. Last season, he scored 18 goals. He averaged a goal per game during a 13 game period between September 28th and December 28th.
With a great chance to score (+105) and Everton the likely winners (-149), bet365 seems to think he’s about to go on a run. This week, Everton welcomes Middlesbrough to Merseyside. Middlesbrough is off a rocky start since their promotion to the Premier League, allowing the ninth-most shots per game and spending the third-most time in their own third (30%). Everton, however, averages the most shots on target in the league, at 7.8. They also boast the fourth-best possession number.
Any time a player puts up a hat trick, you know that he will be heavily added by reactive owners, and Lukaku is no different. This week, he’s been added more than 148,000 times and is now up to 13.1% owned. The hard part is figuring out whether he’s a flash in the pan or rounding into form. One thing to note is this will only be Lukaku’s third start for Everton, after missing Matchweek 1 and being a substitute in Matchweek 2. Last week, against Stoke, Lukaku had a good game, rating a 7.54. It just didn’t translate to the score sheet. He will definitely be a common captain choice but is still a second-tier option to Zlatan.
Our final choice is also a new name to the column, Diego Costa. Last week, I made the decision to captain Hazard over Costa, as the offense had been running through Hazard for the first three weeks. After Costa scored both goals last week and Hazard finished with one fantasy point, it's time to reconsider. With four goals over four games, Costa has been a consistent performer for Chelsea. Without European football, Chelsea is able to manage Costa’s fitness, and it’s reflected in his performances.
Liverpool is a more challenging matchup than he’s faced lately, so today’s matchup will be a real test to see if Chelsea (and Costa) are title challengers or flat track bullies. Both teams are very possession oriented, with Liverpool (58.4%) and Chelsea (57.8%) owning the second- and third-highest numbers in the league. One would expect Liverpool to play more defensively on the road, but it remains to be seen who will dominate the ball.
Chelsea averages the second-most team shots per game, at 6.8. They also spend the most time in their opponent’s third at 34%. After allowing three goals to Arsenal in the opening week, Liverpool has tightened up defensively in recent games, allowing only one goal against Tottenham and Leicester.
Chelsea is favored to win (+125), and Costa is the most likely goalscorer in this game (+125), according to bet365. Pairing that data with his fantasy ownership -- 118,000 adds and the rise to 23.6% owned -- Costa is quickly becoming an intriguing captain choice. For owners who don’t have Zlatan, Costa is a solid choice this week. If he keeps up his scoring, we will be seeing a lot more of Diego in our weekly captain articles.