fantasy premier league captain tips – the 2014/15 captain conundrum and your GW1 team



I almost stopped writing captain articles last season or at least just revert to putting down 1 line – give the armband to Suarez.  It was almost like the old days when Ronaldo played in the premier league and you almost forgot where the button for the captain change was on the FPL site.  Unfortunately in 2014/15 with no one outstanding individual player who can be relied on week after week then again we will have to think about the captain situation each week.  However that doesn’t just affect your ongoing decisions you need to think about it for your GW1 squad. 

fantasy premier league captain tips – the 2014/15 captain conundrum and your GW1 team

The basics

I can probably make a simple phrase as a guide to the captain strategy.  Pick a top top player, in good form, with a good fixture.  However there’s more to it and in this article we’ll look at the nuances.  I’ll go through some of the thought processes to give you some ideas on picking a captain.  I’ll also look at some ideas to help you in structuring your GW1 team.

Top players come from the top 4 challenging teams

Picking a team from a top 4 challenging group that plays a lower placed team is a good place to start when picking your captain.  You will then have the biggest chance of goals being scored and therefore your chosen player scoring or assisting.  I’m taking these top 4 challenging teams as being Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, Spurs and Man Utd.

Of the top 10 goal scorers last season only Bony and Jay Rodriguez were out of those teams.  Of the top 9 assisters last season only Lambert and Lallana were out of those teams.

Striker vs Midfielder

It’s a basic fact (if you don’t believe me take a look at any bookmaers scoring odds) that on any given week a striker is more likely to score than a midfielder.  Out of the top 10 premier league goal scorers last season 9/10 were forwards in FPL.  Thats obviously a big generalisation and on most days Ramsey is obviously going to have more chance of scoring than Carlton Cole but as an overall philiosophy it’s true.   Obviously scoring isn’t everything as assists also bring in points but it’s goals that also attract the bonus points. Also the top assists amount was 14 from Steven Gerrard.  14 is a low amount to goals and 14 goals would not even get you into the top 10 goal scorers.

That’s why I personally think that when forming your forward line you should be thinking about each player or at least 2 as players that you would hand the captain’s armband too.  If I had 2 players in my forward line that I would be nervous in handing the armband to then I would be questioning whether at least 1 of them should be in my team

Flat track bully vs Mr consistency

This is just a personal choice and depends how much risk you want to take with your captain choice.  You may want to always go for the big haul or if your’e more conservative you want the most likely player to return either a goal or assist.

There are some players who aren’t that consistent but score heavily against low ranked opposition.  I call these flat track bullies.  It’s a cricket analogy for those in the US.  There are others who are consistent and don’t rely on big hauls against the lower place teams.

Some can do both

The best examples of flat track bullies last year were Suarez, Rooney, Giroud as strikers and  YYT and Hazard for midfielders.

I define consistency as the % of games that a player got a goal or assist.  The most consistent last year were Suarez 81%, Sturridge 72% Aguero 68% and Rooney 62% as strikers.  As midfielders the most consistent were YYT 66%, Gerrard 64% and Walcott 62%.

As you can see some players are in both.   Suarez, Rooney and YYT were in both categories.  You can see why Suarez was the natural choice.  Not only did he return in virtually every game but he could score heavily against poor opposition

I will analyse these factors over the season in my captain articles.

Game time risk

Unfortunately the top players that you want to choose as potential captains are often the most rotatable.  This probably isn’t so much the case in the early stages of the season but will be once the Champions League is in place.   Rest on a Saturday for a game against Burnley  so a player is fresh for  Tuesday game against Bayern Munich is going to be a possibility.  This is another reason why Suarez was such a gem last year as Liverpool weren’t in Europe and exited from the domestic cups relatively early.  This meant there was no reason for him to be rested. Man Utd is in a similar position this year which will mean RVP and Rooney have the potential to be good captain options throughout the season.

Man City with 4 strikers (albeit Negredo is injured) are probably the biggest rotation risk for the Champions league.  Pellegrini has also shown a desire to win the domestic cups as well, further clouding rotation.  Chelsea have less rotation options but could rotate if Lukaku stays.  Liverpool only really have Sturridge but if Remy signs they may rely on him to rest Sturridge.  Arsenal at the moment still only have Giroud but have shown that they will rotate with Podolski and now maybe Sanchez to rest Giroud.

Rotation isn’t necessarily the end of the World as then a vice captain can kick in.  However then the propensity for the player to be a late sub and then getting 1 point comes in to view.  That can only be read on how that particular manager deals with rotation during the season.

Injury risk is another factor to take into account when assessing captain choice.  Unfortunately clarity before a game isn’t always there and it’s a case of assessing the risk that the injury could involve a 5 minute substitution in the end or whether it involves a total rest for the game.

A players particular charcteristics

If a player doesn’t score well against poor opposition (Lukaku was an example of that last year at times) or if they ony score well at away from home for example (Hazard has had this issue in the past)  these are other factors to be thought of.  We cover these in the captains article each week.

Penalties/Set pieces

Having players who take penalties and/or are heavily involved in corners and direct/indirect free kicks obviously give more chance of a return.  RVP, Aguero, Hazard, Arteta, Baines, Gerrard and Adebayor are the likely penalty takes from the top 4 challenging teams.  I will be doing a set piece and penalty takers table for your assistance.

Ownership and captain popularity

Again this is a personal choice relating to the amount of  risk you want to take.  In simple terms if you choose a captain with low ownership who isn’t going to be a popular choice and everyone else is picking a high ownership captain then you’re taking alot of risk.  If yours does well and the other doesn’t then you’ll be on for a huge jump in your ranking.  Conversley if your’s fails and the popular choice with high ownership succeeds then your ranking will fall off a cliff.  A popular captain choice with high ownership is the safe way to proceed.  Personally I believe there are a number of ways to move up the rankings without taking huge risks.

Structuring your GW1 team for captain options

This season it looks unlikely that we will be able to just give the armband to 1 player and then leave it for the season.  So our captain options are something to be taken into account.  I would say you want 2 if not 3 players you would give the captain armband to.  I have looked to solve it in someway through RVP and Aguero.  Both are big name players who will rotate home and away perfectly.  Both are consistent returners (although RVP was down to 57% last season).   Both also take pens.  However there are negatives at the moment.  Both have had injuries and long World Cups and may not even make it into my GW1 team.   After that my big players are Hazard and Ramsey.  I’m not wildly comfortable giving the armband to either to be honest.  Hazard is too inconsistent although hopefully this year he will have pens.  I’d much rather have a third option in Costa or Sturridge but I’ve gone for Remy as my 3rd if he looks like he will be nailed on for Liverpool (assuming his transfer goes through) as he is very cheap for a Liverpool striker.

The other consistent returners were Rooney, who needs his positional risk sorted before he is an option for me, YYT who could be an option, Gerrard who may get less penalties without Suarez and Walcott who’s injured.  So the captain options this season are tricky at least for the GW1 selection

I hope that gave you something to think about for your GW1 team.  As I said weekly captain articles will cover most of these issues.  As I talk about individula players then I will cover GW1 captain options structure.  Any comments positive or negative please share them
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fantasy premier league captain tips

fantasy premier league captain tips




11 thoughts on “fantasy premier league captain tips – the 2014/15 captain conundrum and your GW1 team”

  1. thanks for your thought process. it is going to be a more challenging season with respect to captains that is for sure. I have RVP, Sturridge and YTT in my first draft so I have a good choice of captains. Unfortunately this does not leave much for the remaining 12 players so not sure what to do yet. Still plenty of time to change before GW1 and then there is the wildcard when I realise I have missed the early bandwagons.

  2. I can’t see Sturridge getting as many points this season without Suarez. I still think he will score goals but without Suarez’s assist and being on the end of them to score, I don’t think Liverpool will score as freely as last season. Would love to be wrong and watch them be in the title race.

    Captain RVP for week one at the moment. Can’t see him not playing under Van gaal

  3. “Gerrard who may get less penalties without Suarez” hahahaha made me laugh :’)

    Great article as always, captain choice is definitely tougher this year than last for sure, I’ve gone for Rooney

  4. Hi – what’s your league access code for the official EPL game this year? I’ve tried the one under your access codes and it’s coming up invalid. Great site by the way – looking forward to seeing more of your articles.

  5. Joined the Telegraph and Bud leagues, thanks for PINs. Look forward to reading your articles. Always well thought out buddy!

  6. Guess not.

    “The card you entered cannot be used for this payment. Please enter a different credit or debit card number.”

    Is it only paypal?

    • Hi mate, thanks I have to confess I’m not sure. I’ll look into it. Appreciate the thought though – thanks

  7. If you take a look at past matches dec 20 2014 when most of these matches took place; although QPR played WBA at home, Austin still scored 3 goals mind you. With his current form, playing away at WBA could lend you one to two goals. It seems that QPR splits the WBA defense pretty easily unlike other midfield based teams who lock up and struggle at WBA back line.
    OK ONCE AGAIN, dating back to the last match when QPR played AV at home, Charlie Austin Netted twice. Again they are away this time but much of the same is expected with Austin’s current form being excellent. Expect at least 15 points from austin this week if not more. Any less will be a crying shame. Austin had two goals last week so he could go for 1 or 3. LOL thats usually how it works but with them being away i’m expecting 9 points from kane. Its a safe caiptain. Giroud will likely struggle to net against liverpools tough defense and strong free kick defense. I’m predicting 1-1 tie and giroud not even getting past the 5 point mark this week. I would also look at transfering Giroud out as you are advancing through game week 32. Arsenal has a bye week 33 and then plays chelsea gw 34. THen i would pick him back up because the ease of arsenal’s matches will give him an advantage. Don’t caiptain Silva this week unless you want to score major POINTS! Man Citys last match vs the CP went 3-0 And silva netted 2 times with Yaya toure netting once.
    It’s up to you to gamble on who will score you the MOST points this week and not just 5-9 points. I’m going with silva because it’s a bigger gamble to go with Austin as his team is away twice which is exhausting for a teams form. Also Giroud is not worth the gamble of having a low scoring mid-field burn out match against liverpool. Enough said Silva is my caiptain this week. OOh and Hazard. Don’t bother. His form will likely shoot over to his counter-part Oscar as seen in the past and with COSTA advancing, Hazard will more likely fall into the background. Save him or Costa for GW 34 with the CHE DW!

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