Fantasy Premier League: Captain Picks for Matchweek 10
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.
As usual, an acceptable game for our captain is either scoring or assisting one goal, preferably scoring. This past week, we only succeeded with one choice, Romelu Lukaku. Arsenal failed to score any goals in a nil-nil draw, and Chelsea scored four goals, with Diego Costa somehow not being involved in any of them.
We don't have any big showdowns this week, but there are some matches that should be good for fantasy. The most exciting match to me is Tottenham versus Leicester on Saturday. Harry Kane should make his return from injury, and Leicester has been a substantially worse team on the road. If you are looking for a real scare on Halloween, tune into the afternoon match between Stoke and Swansea.
As one of the most in-form players right now, Lukaku gets the promotion to the top spot in the captain picks. While Lukaku didn't score last week, it's always difficult to predict how strikers will fare against Burnley. They are great at sitting back and defending for most of the game, occasionally lashing out on a counter attack when their opponent commits too many players forward. Everton managed 65% possession against them and still lost the game. Burnley scored two goals from three on target shots, compared to Everton's one from eight on target. Lukaku wasn't touching the ball in his usual danger zones this game, we saw Mirallas and Barkley pushing forward the most. In fact, Lukaku only had two shots, one was on target, while he had five key passes. His wingers combined for 10 shots that game.
This weekend, West Ham travels north to face Everton. The Hammers have been in good form recently, with two consecutive clean sheets, and only allowing one goal in the game prior. However, Everton is a much better opponent than they've faced recently, and when West Ham is away from London, they allow 2.5 goals per game. Everton has been on a four game winless streak, but they've still managed to score in the past three games. West Ham also fielded a relatively strong team midweek against Chelsea in the EFL Cup, so it's likely that Everton will have the fresher legs in this match. The oddsmakers agree that an Everton victory is the most likely outcome (-125), but on this slate that's only the seventh-best odds.
As I mentioned earlier, Lukaku is in possibly in the best form of anyone in the Premier League right now. He's scored or assisted in five of his past six EPL matches. In those six games, he's logged six goals and two assists. This leads him to being the favorite to score in Sunday's match (-105). One of the benefits to captaining Lukaku is he generally plays as the focal point for his team on offense. When someone is scoring, he is usually involved. This gives him a much higher likelihood of capturing the bonus points for his matches. In fact, in the four games he's scored, he's gotten at least the two-point bonus in every single game.
Romelu has been the most added forward this week on the fantasy Premier League site, being added 90,000 times. He's now owned by 30.9% of teams, placing him fourth behind Agüero, Zlatan, and Costa. While our next two captains have easier matchups this week, I think Lukaku's form along with his importance to the Everton attack make him a top captain choice this week.
As our top choice last week, Alexis (and Arsenal) failed to score on Middlesbrough. Victor Valdes, the Middlesbrough keeper, had a great game, saving six shots, and finishing with the highest rating in the match (8.2) according to WhoScored.com. Alexis was no slouch, taking four shots, three of which were on target. Unfortunately Middlesbrough stayed compact and was able to see out the game to a scoreless draw.
Their opponent this weekend, Sunderland, is nowhere near as defensively sound. They also have the third-worst possession percentage in the league, at 41.7%. This leads to them having the league worst average team rating (6.53) according to WhoScored.com. Arsenal, on the other hand, currently have the best average team rating (7.08). They also have the third-best possession (56.7%) and take the third-highest percentage of shots inside their opponent's 18-yard box (63%). Lastly, they spend 33% of the time in their opponent's third, the best mark in the league. Arsenal should dominate the possession this game, and that should give them many chances on goal. As a result, they have the second-best odds to win this week (-250).
While Alexis blanked last week, he still has scored three goals and assisted two more over the past five games. There are reports that Walcott may miss Saturday's match, which could result in a number of possible changes to the starting XI. If Walcott doesn't start, the most likely outcome to me is that Giroud will start up top, and Alexis will play on one of the wings. This does lessen his value some, which is a concern. That being said, Alexis was played at the wing almost exclusively prior to this season, and that never stopped him from scoring. The next most likely formation change would be Oxlade-Chamberlain replacing Walcott on the wing. The reason I doubt this is that the Ox played 80 minutes midweek, while Giroud only saw 24. Regardless, Alexis is still the joint-favorite to score in this game (-105).
After only registering one assist and no goals over the past three weeks, it shouldn't be a surprise that some owners are panicking. He's currently been transferred out by 19,000 managers this week. He's also being transferred in by a similar number. It's clear owners are not sure what to make of Alexis right now. A matchup against Sunderland could be a great way for Alexis to get back on track. The 23.8% of owners who are currently rostering him must be hoping so. The combination of Lukaku's form and the positional uncertainty is what bumps Alexis down to second in my rankings, but he is still a very good option this week.
Agüero makes his return to the captains picks, purely on his talent and the matchup. Agüero had another lackluster game last weekend against Southampton. He managed three shots, but none were on target. Iheanacho was brought on after a De Bruyne injury at the 46th minute, and he led the line for the rest of the match, taking four shots with one on target.
The reason Agüero is here is that Man City travels to West Brom this week, a team City should be able to beat handily. West Brom have the worst possession in the league (40.1%) while City hold the highest mark (60.2%). City spend the most time in their opponent's third (33%) while West Brom spends the third-most time in their own third (31%). City also take the highest percentage of shots in their opponent's six-yard box (9%). All this points to a dominating victory for City, and anything short of that will be a disappointment. I'm a little surprised by City's odds to win for this one (-225), which I assume is due to their poor form and the fact that it's an away match.
Agüero's slump of three games without a goal isn't as bad as it appears on the surface. He's faced Tottenham and Southampton, two teams with very good defenses. He was also a late substitute against Everton, and missed a penalty in that game. With Iheanacho playing the full EFL cup match against Man United on Wednesday, it's highly likely that Agüero will be starting the game this weekend, and we won't see Iheanacho until the 60th minute or later. That gives Agüero plenty of time to break out of his funk and get on the scoresheet. The oddsmakers see him as the favorite to score in this match (-120). Those odds are among the best in the Premier League this weekend.
Agüero is one of the most transferred out players this week, seeing 61,000 owners cutting the cord. I'll never tell someone to hold onto a player who's currently slumping, but Agüero is still owned by 43% of owners, and he finally got through the tough part of his schedule. His next four matchups are against bottom-half teams, and you'd be crazy to think Agüero won't score in at least a few of these upcoming matches. I'm still taking the wait-and-see approach with captaining Agüero on my own team personally, but I'm not so worried about him that I'm transferring him off. For an owner looking to gain some ground on their opponents, Agüero would be an exciting captain differential this week.