Fantasy Premier League: Captain Picks for Matchweek 7
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, we only went one for three on our picks, but our number-one choice, Sergio Agüero, did score two goals. This week doesn't feature too many big games, aside from Manchester City traveling to North London to face off against the second-place Hotspur. Manchester have won every Premier League match they've played this season, but Tottenham are no pushover.
Alexis makes a return to our captain picks column, as he's been critical to the recent form Arsenal have been in. Arsenal has scored over two goals per game for the past four games, across all competitions.
Last weekend, Arsenal welcomed Chelsea to The Emirates, where they put on a clinic for 90 minutes. Alexis played 78 minutes, scoring one goal and assisting another. Overall, he had four shots, one on target, and two key passes, while playing his new position of center forward. On Wednesday, Arsenal played FC Basel in a Champions League match. Sanchez got a full game in, with an even better four shots, three on target, with a whopping four key passes. This led to his assisting both of the Arsenal goals that night.
On Sunday, the Gunners visit Burnley, who set up quite defensively. Sometimes this works out for them, like their shocking 2-0 game against Liverpool earlier this season. Given Burnley's Premier League stats -- third-worst possession (41.3%), third-most shots against per game (17), third-most time in their own third (30%), and highest percent of shots outside of the box -- it's pretty easy to see how this game will shape up. Burnley will keep nine outfield players behind the ball, and Arsenal will spend the whole game trying to break down the defense.
With great odds to win (-250), according to bet365, it's clear the oddsmakers agree with this assessment. Alexis is the most likely goalscorer in this matchup (+105), and even though players in other games are more likely to score, Alexis' combination of playmaking and goalscoring make him a captain choice with a good ceiling this week.
The only concern I have with Alexis is the possible rotation risk. He played most of the game last Saturday and then the full 90 on Wednesday. Giroud is back from his toe injury, and Lucas hasn't seen much gametime lately. That being said, Alexis has the energy of 10 men and will run himself into the ground. Arsene Wenger also has a history of not rotating his players when his team is in particularly good form, so my money is on Alexis starting.
As you might expect from these recent games, Alexis is a popular transfer target this week. He's been added 220,000 times so far, bringing his ownership up to 19.6%. He's scored or assisted in half of his six Premier League games so far this season, but those three games all have come in the past four weeks. The real benefit to someone like Alexis is that, for those three games, he was involved in at least two goals. While Alexis certainly won't be the most popular pick this week, that's due to his lower ownership when compared to the other two guys in this column.
What a return game for Agüero last week, scoring two goals, one from the penalty spot. Kevin De Bruyne was injured in last week's match against Swansea, and he seems to be out for a few weeks. Without KDB, Agüero is called upon to shoulder more of the creative burden in the squad. Man City had a shocking three-three draw against Celtic in their midweek Champions League match. Agüero only managed three shots, one on target in that game, and was held off the scoresheet.
This week's game against Tottenham is sure to be a great match. Tottenham will want to close the four-point gap in the table, so I hope we see two attacking sides on Sunday. Agüero will benefit from an open, flowing game, but he is facing the league's best defense. Spurs do concede the third-most fouls per game, so we could see Agüero getting on the end of a Silva free kick or maybe even smashing home a penalty.
Man City are +145 on the moneyline, but Agüero (-110) is the most likely goal scorer.
As with Alexis, there is a small risk Agüero doesn't start, due to playing 90 minutes on both last Saturday and Wednesday. I would be very surprised to see Agüero benched in such a huge game, so I don't think there is anything to worry about here. Sergio has been added 310,000 times already this week, which is probably prior owners who forgot to add him last week, along with a few new ones reacting to his two-goal affair.
He's now owned by 41%, up from 28.6% last week. Agüero has scored or assisted in three of his four games this season and received the three-point bonus for best player in all three of those matches. His talent alone makes him a top captain choice regardless of opponent, and with his ownership levels creeping up, he's becoming a must-own player again. If you don't have Alexis in your lineup, Agüero is a great choice this week.
Zlatan continues his streak of having appeared in every captain column. While we didn't see him on the scoresheet last week against Leicester, he was very involved in the game: five shots and two on target along with two key passes and three aerials won. He even had 65 passes, which is almost double his 36.5 season average. This trend continued in United's midweek match against Zorya in the Europa League. Zlatan had 61 passes, to go along with 5 shots -- 2 on target. He also scored the only goal of the game. Are we witnessing a change in Mourinho's tactics, or is this a coincidence?
United face one of the most out-of-form teams in the Premier League this week. Stoke have yet to keep a clean sheet and have allowed four goals in half of their games this season (Man City, Tottenham, and Crystal Palace). They also allow the highest percent of shots inside the six-yard box at 10%. It's very likely that United will be scoring multiple goals, and it's never smart to ignore Zlatan in a game like that.
Oddsmakers and I are in agreement that this game is going to be ugly if you are a Stoke supporter, as United have the best odds to win this week (-300). Zlatan has very good odds to score (-137). Odds like these make Zlatan a safe choice for captain this week.
Zlatan was only added by 20,000 managers, but that's understandable. He's owned by 54.1% of managers already and didn't score last week, and many managers are trying to free up transfer funds to acquire Agüero. So far, Ibrahimovic has scored or assisted in four of his six games. He's also played 90 minutes in every Premier League game this year. While he did play a full game midweek, I doubt this is the week we see Zlatan on the bench.
As we saw in the beginning of the season, the captain decision for most managers will be Agüero or Zlatan every week. If that's your decision this week, it comes down to form (Agüero) versus matchup (Zlatan). At 41% and 54% owned, those two are surely going to be the two popular choices.