Fantasy Premier League managers are set for perhaps the trickiest captaincy debate of the 2019/20 season so far.
Gameweek 18 features a blank for Liverpool while Manchester City and Leicester go head-to-head at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
That has all but ruled out most of the usual candidates for the captaincy, forcing Fantasy managers to look elsewhere for the armband.
With a whole host of options mentioned this week, the Captain Sensible article is here to help you work out who you should be backing.
We’ll be assessing the statistical form of Premier League players over their last four matches and will compare them against the defensive numbers posted by their upcoming opponents.
As this article uses data from the Fantasy Football Scout Members Area, only those who are signed up either through a monthly or season-long package will be able to access it in full.
After weeks of domination by Jamie Vardy (£10.1m), the captain poll is topped by Marcus Rashford (£9.1m) for Gameweek 18, although it’s not a particularly large lead for him.
The Manchester United forward has earned backing from 18.1% of the voters ahead of a trip to Watford on Sunday afternoon.
Despite a blank against Everton last time out, Rashford has attacking returns in five of his last six Premier League outings, amassing a total of five goals and two assists in that time, helped, of course, by his role in Manchester United penalties.
Watford may have shown some defensive improvement against Liverpool, in their first match with Nigel Pearson at the helm, but they have still struggled against the so-called top-six this season.
In six matches against such opposition in 2019/20, the Hornets have conceded at least twice on five occasions, including most recently at Anfield in Gameweek 17.
Not far behind Rashford is Son Heung-min (£10.1m) ahead of Spurs’ meeting with Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
Despite blanking at Manchester United and Wolves in his last two away trips, the South Korean has attacking returns in every home match under Jose Mourinho so far.
He registered two assists when Bournemouth came to north London in Gameweek 14 and got himself a goal and assist in the Gameweek 16 crushing of Burnley.
Chelsea make the short journey north in Gameweek 18 still without a clean sheet on the road this season. In fact, they have conceded 17 times on the road, only Everton (18), Watford (19) and Aston Villa (19) have let in more goals on their travels so far.
Kevin de Bruyne‘s (£10.3m) incredible 19-point haul against Arsenal means he is the only asset from Saturday evening’s hard to call clash between Manchester City and Leicester receiving much consideration for the Gameweek 18 captaincy.
13.6% of our voters have declared the Belgian the best candidate for the armband this week in spite of the Foxes’ defensive record.
Brendan Rodgers’ men will come to Manchester having still conceded the fewest goals this season (11) and the highest number of clean sheets (seven), three of which were secured in their last four away trips.
Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) heads up the chasing pack as Wolves travel to Norwich. The Canaries have the second-worst defensive record this season, having conceded 35 goals in the first 17 matches of the campaign.
That said, Daniel Farke’s men did manage to restrict Leicester to a 1-1 draw last time out. Either way, Jiménez, backed by 7.9% of the voters, has attacking returns in eight of his last 10 Premier League outings, a fairly impressive level of consistency.
Richarlison (£7.9m) is not far off the Wolves man, with the support of 7.6% ahead of Arsenal’s visit to Goodison Park. The Gunners remain defensively poor while the Everton man has goals in four of his last six.
Jack Grealish (£6.2m) has certainly not alienated Fantasy managers after missing a penalty at Sheffield United last week. 5.4% of our voters have backed him for the Gameweek 18 captaincy as Southampton, without a clean sheet since Gameweek 5, come to Villa Park. The midfielder has four attacking returns in his last three home starts.
4.5% is where we find Vardy ahead of the clash with Manchester City. It is possible that the forward has been somewhat unfairly overlooked by voters this time around.
Vardy has attacking returns in each of his last nine outings while Manchester City have kept just one clean sheet at home since Gameweek 8, Wolves, Southampton, Chelsea and Manchester United all finding the net at the Etihad Stadium between then and now.
Dele Alli (£8.7m) and Harry Kane (£10.9m) are both backed by 3.8% ahead of facing Chelsea. The midfielder has proved more reliable under Mourinho, returning in all but one match, while Kane has blanked three times.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) has four attacking returns across his last two away matches (Norwich and West Ham), which has encouraged 2.9% of our voters to back him for the captaincy when Arsenal travel to Everton.
Danny Ings (£6.4m) was arguably unfortunate not to get a hat-trick against West Ham so has been handed the backing of 2.9% in the poll for a meeting with Aston Villa, who have conceded more penalty box shots than any other side this season.
Raheem Sterling (£11.8m), John Lundstram (£5.2m), James Ward-Prowse (£5.9m) and Tammy Abraham (£8.0m) are the only other options with more than 1% support in the poll.
Player statistics – Last four matches
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