Fantasy Premier League: Captain Picks for Matchweek 19
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 if your captain doesn't play.
As usual, an acceptable game for our captain is either scoring or assisting on a goal -- preferably scoring.
Who should you be looking to captain this week?
Zlatan has returned from his midseason slump and has put together quite a few quality games in December. His performance against Sunderland was well rounded on the offensive end, scoring a goal on four shots and providing five key passes, with two of them leading to goals.
Across all competitions, Zlatan has scored or assisted in 9 of the past 10 United matches. The only negative about making him a captain this week is Middlesbrough's defense.
In nine games away from home, Middlesbrough have only allowed multiple goals twice, holding Arsenal scoreless and Manchester City to one goal. United have looked dangerous in December, and have scored two or more goals in three consecutive games.
United have great odds to win this week (-400), tied for the best on the slate, but with that being said, the game is not projected to be particularly high scoring since the over of 2.5 goals is barely favored (-111).
Middlesbrough spends the second-least time in their opponent's third (23%), and the fourth-most time in their own third (30%). Despite those numbers, they only concede 13.3 shots per game, which is right around league average. While they have played well defensively, they don't offer much of an offensive threat to United.
The game should largely be United looking for ways to break down the Middlesbrough defense, and Zlatan is in the perfect form to accomplish that.
In the past seven Premier League matches Zlatan has appeared in, he's only failed to score once, adding eight goals and three assists during that span. Zlatan has also received the maximum bonus points in four of those weeks.
He's now the most owned player on the FPL site, appearing on 43.1% of teams, with an additional 97,000 managers picking him up this week. Not only does he have great form, high ownership, and a good matchup, he also has good odds to score (-150). This makes him an easy top captain choice.
Costa was suspended this past week, but he was relatively efficient in his last game at Crystal Palace. He scored the game's only goal on two shots, but didn't contribute much else. His upcoming home game against Stoke is an easy one, where Chelsea hope to secure their 13 consecutive league win.
While Stoke managed a good October, the rest of their Premier League campaign has been nothing to write home about.
In five December matches, they've won just once and allowed two or more goals on three occasions. They currently have the seventh-worst possession (47.4%), and concede 14.3 shots per game, the league's fifth-worst mark.
To make matters more difficult for Stoke, they spent the sixth-most time in their own third (30%) and the sixth-least time in their opponent's (27%), while allowing the second-highest percentage of shots from within their six-yard box (8%).
Chelsea, on the other hand, take the second-most shots inside their opponent's 18-yard box (62%). Although Stoke and Middlesbrough do have quite a few similarities (possession, action zones, record), Stoke is allowing substantially more goals (28 to Middlesbrough's 20). It seems unlikely Stoke will plug their leaky defense during the fixture crunch of late December, so we should be in for a multi-goal game by Chelsea.
It's no coincidence that Chelsea are the other team with great odds on this slate (-400).
Costa was having a heck of a consistent season prior to being suspended, scoring 13 goals in 17 games, while tacking on 5 assists. He's failed to score a goal or assist on one in only three weeks and is basically the definition of consistency this year. His only downside is generally having a fairly low ceiling.
A player like Alexis or Agüero can bring home 20-plus fantasy points when captained, but Costa's max is usually in the 12-18 point range. The odds are heavily in his favor to score tonight (-175) and he's the second-highest owned player right now (on 41.3% of fantasy teams). He's an even more popular add than Zlatan, with 171,000 teams transferring him this week.
Costa makes a fine captain this week, but the only concern is he isn't as crucial to the Chelsea attack as Zlatan is to United's. Chelsea could score four goals this weekend, but Costs is probably only involved in one or two. On the other hand, Zlatan is probably involved with three goals if United nets that many.
Costa may have the floor, but Zlatan definitely has the ceiling.