Fantasy Premier League managers are faced with a perplexing captaincy decision for Gameweek 31+.
With Manchester City playing Chelsea, and Liverpool preparing for the mean defence of Crystal Palace, there is no standout candidate.
But this is the sort of Gameweek that Fantasy Football Scout readers relish. The lack of a comfortably popular captain provides Fantasy managers with an excellent opportunity to capitalise on how widely spread the armbands will be in Gameweek 31+.
To identify the best options to do this, we have looked at every key option’s recent form as well as the weaknesses (or not) of their upcoming opponents.
As this article uses data from the Fantasy Football Scout Members Area, only those with a valid subscription can access it in full.
The dilemma of the Gameweek 31+ captaincy is reflected perfectly in the results of our latest poll.
As you can see from the image above, no option has streaked ahead of the rest of the pack, indicating the massive opportunity Fantasy managers have to make real ground on their opponents.
Bruno Fernandes (£8.7m) is the man who tops the pile but not by much. 19.7% of the voters handed their support to the Manchester United midfielder, who continued his pre-lockdown form in the Gameweek 30+ draw with Spurs, scoring a second-half penalty.
Since joining the Red Devils, Fernandes has been involved in six of his team’s nine goals, averaging 7.8 points per game.
Throw penalties into the mix, plus a Sheffield United defence short of key personnel, and things look good for Fernandes. Dean Henderson (£5.3m) is ineligible to face his parent club, John Egan (£4.6m) is suspended following his Double Gameweek 30+ red card and Jack O’Connell (£4.6m) still a fitness doubt.
Despite the potential low-hanging fruit from this game, the interest in captaining Marcus Rashford (£8.9m) is comparatively low, just 4.9% backing the Manchester United forward for the armband in Gameweek 31+.
Despite missing out on Double Gameweek 30+ entirely, Mohamed Salah (£12.7m) sits second in the captain poll for the upcoming round of action.
15.3% have handed their backing to the Egyptian as Crystal Palace head to Anfield. His home form was certainly in fine fettle when lockdown struck the Premier League. Salah found the net in five of his last six Anfield outings, scoring six times, assisting once and averaging 8.7 points per game in that run.
However, Liverpool’s attacking assets will have to compete with a stubborn Crystal Palace defence midweek. The Eagles have now kept four clean sheets in a row. There may be some hope for Salah owners behind that statistic though. Those clean sheets kept by Roy Hodgson’s men between Gameweeks 27 and 30+ were recorded against Newcastle (home), Brighton (away), Watford (home) and Bournemouth (away) – hardly the same level of quality on offer at Liverpool.
Raúl Jiménez (£8.2m) is fortunate enough to be the next forward to face Bournemouth, who looked exceptionally poor in their Double Gameweek 30+ defeat to Crystal Palace.
Their defence has been in poor shape both before and after lockdown, conceding at least twice in five of their last six and with just one clean sheet on the road since Gameweek 11.
By contrast, Jiménez has been the right kind of consistent. The Mexican’s goal at West Ham was his third in the last four Gameweeks, and sixth in the last eight.
Meanwhile, the Wolves forward has become increasingly reliable against the lesser sides in 2019/20. 12 of his 20 attacking returns this season have come against those outside the traditional ‘big six’.
Son Heung-min (£9.7m) heads up the differential options with 8.7% backing in the captaincy poll.
The South Korean was in an excellent scoring groove before his Gameweek 26 injury, netting four times in the three matches before then.
Of course, he was occupying the centre-forward role vacated by the now-fit Harry Kane (£10.8m) at the time, but facing West Ham in Gameweek 31+ is certainly a favourable fixture. David Moyes men have kept just one clean sheet since Gameweek 21, conceding at least twice in six of their last eight. Furthermore, even though the Hammers are well-known for upping their game against their local rivals, they have conceded 1.8 goals per match against London opposition this season, more than their overall average for the entire season (1.7 goals conceded per game).
8.2% of our voters must have been pleased with what they saw of Jamie Vardy (£9.7m) against Watford, as they have picked him out as the best captain candidate for Gameweek 31+. The midweek round of action pits him against the Brighton defence, that has kept just one clean sheet on the road since Gameweek 7. But the question remains over whether Vardy can recapture his earlier season form. His two goals against Aston Villa in Gameweek 29, remain his only strikes since Gameweek 19.
Sadio Mané (£12.5m) remains a part of the discussion with his 6.2% backing and relatively decent form since return from injury pre-lockdown. While he could not carve out anything for his Double Gameweek 30+ owners, the Senegalese international still averages 6.2 points per game since returning to action in Gameweek 26. But, like Salah, he still has to contest with Hodgson’s well-organised Palace defence midweek.
Kevin De Bruyne‘s (£10.6m) Double Gameweek 30+ double-figure haul is enough to convince 6.1% of our voters to captain him despite a tricky (on paper anyway) meeting with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. But no FPL midfielder has more attacking returns against ‘big-six’ opposition than De Bruyne, his total of eight coming from four goals and four assists in seven matches.
Harvey Barnes (£6.2m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m), Richarlison (£8.3m), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.5m) and Sergio Aguero (£11.8m) are the only other options with more than 1% backing for Gameweek 31+.
Player statistics – Last four matches
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