Fantasy Premier League: Captain Picks for Matchweek 8
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 not a great week for the captain picks. All three of our choices were held off the scoresheet, despite some promising matchups. The most exciting game of this week doesn't occur until Monday, when Manchester United travel to Liverpool. Sadly, we have no captain picks from that game, as this is the first week we've left Zlatan out of the article. With a good showing this weekend, he'll be right back in our hearts, as well as this column.
Alexis returns as our top captain choice this week, even after failing to find the net against Burnley in week seven. That being said, he did take four shots, one on target, to go along with eight key passes! He even hit the woodwork with one of his shots. Although he didn't register a goal or assist, Alexis finished the game with an 8.59 rating on WhoScored.com, which was the best rating of all the attacking players in the game.
Arsenal face Swansea this week, which is a great team to face at home after a long international break. Swansea allow the fourth-most shots per game, at 16.9. 64% of the shots faced are from within the 18-yard box, the third-highest in the league, and they’ve only kept one clean sheet so far this season, back in Matchweek 1.
Arsenal, on the other hand, take the second-highest percentage of shots inside the 18-yard box, at 67%. Finally, Swansea spend the fifth-lowest amount of time threatening the opposition, spending a meager 26% of their matches in the opposition’s third. What this spells is a familiar picture for an Arsenal home game against a weaker opponent. We should expect a lot of Arsenal possession, with the game mainly taking place in the middle or Swansea third. With Giroud still sidelined with his toe injury, Alexis should retain his spot at the top of the Arsenal formation.
Arsenal have the best odds to win (-350) of the slate this weekend, and Alexis is also favored to score at least one goal this week (-125). The only concern I have about picking Alexis as captain is his fitness. Alexis played two full matches of international soccer during the break, the most recent being on Tuesday. While it’s almost guaranteed that he will be in the starting XI, I could see him being one of the players subbed off early if the game is in hand by the 60th minute. However, if the game is out of hand that early, odds are that Alexis played a strong part in that.
Alexis Sanchez is once again a popular transfer for managers this week. He’s been added another 79,000 times, raising his ownership up to 22.7%. He’s topped 10 fantasy points in three of his last five games and is head and shoulders above the other guys in this article.
Costa is another strong captain choice this week, largely due to his insane form. In his last Premier League match against Hull, Costa scored and assisted a Willian goal. He also had four shots, three on target, and three key passes. Not surprisingly, he was the WhoScored Man of the Match, with an 8.81 rating.
Diego and the Blues have a slightly harder matchup this week, facing the defending champions, Leicester. Luckily, Leicester have been beatable this season. Their average player rating on WhoScored is 17th in the league so far, a paltry 6.65. They average 45% possession, which is the sixth-lowest. Leicester have lost all three of their road matches this season, where they average 3.33 goals allowed. Those numbers have clearly not gone unnoticed amongst oddsmakers, as they are giving Chelsea very good odds to win (-175), with Costa the favorite to score in this match (-110).
Diego Costa is currently in the form of his life; he has scored or assisted in six of the seven matches this season. That kind of consistency is very comforting when choosing a captain. He continues to capture the notice of fantasy managers, as he’s been added 144,000 times during the break. He’s now owned by 30.3% of teams. For those of you without Alexis in your fantasy squads, or those who prefer a safer more consistent choice to the variance of Sanchez, Costa is a fine captain pick this week.
Our final captain choice this week is a column favorite, Agüero. While he let us down in Matchweek 7, he faced Tottenham, who have proven to be the real deal, and we can’t fault him too much. He certainly gave it his all, taking seven shots, four of which were on target. This week they face off against Everton, another defensively solid team.
Everton’s defense is no joke. They allow 10.3 shots per game, the fifth-lowest. They also force their opponents to take half of their shots from outside the 18-yard box, the second-best mark in the league. They’ve also never allowed more than one goal a game. It remains to be seen what will happen when Man City’s offense (which takes the third most shots inside their opponent's 18-yard box) meets this stout Everton defense.
The oddsmakers still believe in City, giving them large odds to win (-200). As you’d expect, Agüero is the favorite to score in this match (-187). His goal-scoring record of five goals in the five games he’s played speaks for itself. Sergio has been added by another 92,000 managers and is now on 43.9% of teams. In most weeks, Agüero’s talent will make him a popular captain choice for many owners, but after comparing his tough matchup to Alexis’ easy one or against Costa’s recent form, he falls down to third choice in my mind.