The value of your captaincy decision

After another captaincy fail this weekend – that’s 6/11 failures for me now – I started thinking about my armband choices over the season and the difference a successful pick makes.

Here are the stats for my team:

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Over the first 11 weeks, my captain points total to 90, while if I’d captained the best available option in my team, I would’ve scored 272! That 182 point swing would place me 6th overall in the entire game, so obviously an injection of realism is required, but this shows just how vital the armband is in our FPL teams.

There are of course other factors to consider, and sometimes you just get unlucky and pick the wrong player. Let’s look at a few examples where the top scorer was just never going to be captained:

  • In week 1 my highest scorer was Mounie – a new signing in a promoted team playing away from home.
  • Week 3 my highest scorer was Suttner. No explanation required.
  • In week 7 Davies was the highest scorer, in a week where Lukaku was at home to Crystal Palace.

But there are also examples where maybe I could’ve been a bit braver:

  • In week 10, scene of the Kane last-minute injury, I took a hit to get Lacazette in and captained him. This could have paid off, but I also could have saved the 4 points and taken a punt on someone like Kolasinac (team top scorer) in the knowledge that it was likely to be a low scoring week all round anyway.
  • In week 11, again the Kane temptation was too strong, despite 4 previous failings. Salah however, was another excellent option against a very poor West Ham team.

Those two decisions alone would have been a 54 point swing. 54 POINTS!

The cost of captains

I know there’s the often-mentioned and popular opinion that if you pay above a certain amount for a player (usually around the £10m mark), then that player has to be captain material. I agree with this, but what this point often misses is that it doesn’t mean you have to captain them every week.

Fixtures and form influence this too, but I often think that I, and FPL managers in general overlook very good (or low risk) captain options, consciously or not, based on price. Take Kane as an example – in the 4 weeks I captained him prior to GW11, he had returned an average of 3.5 points. Yet still I had no hesitation in placing it on him again despite him having a tough midweek game, and against another team who would sit deep and defend for their lives at Wembley.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t captain Kane – he’s a brilliant option – and actually this week is maybe a bad example as he was absolutely the stand out choice – I just think maybe the fear of missing out on a haul takes over sometimes and a step back to think about other options might not be the worst thing. It could make a HUGE difference to your season.

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