Captain’s Log – FPL Gameweek 1


Written by @IamtheMarkus. Follow him on twitter for regular FPL insights!

Having peaked with 642 points from captaincy alone last season I’ve opted to write about my thinking this year as the season progresses.
I’m fully aware this could go horribly wrong vocalizing my captain picks this year, as this could well be a very public car crash if I’m ranked 3m come Christmas. At least you might get some amusement from that and a sense of who not to pick each week...


So what’s my playing style? 

I’m probably not what many would call an elite player due to my love of a hit. I also tend to set next week’s initial © as soon as the current GW starts! The manager all-time rank here places me at 5623 which is nice given the numbers involved! For reference, last season I took a mere 100 points in hits and I loved it. So I tinker….a lot. I finished circa 66k last year, overall I’ve a mixed history with five decent ranks, three middling ranks and one ‘eye-brow raiser’ in that first year. 

Year

Rank

2011/12

  1,093,256

2017/18

    272,262

2012/13

    195,496

2018/19

    155,744

2019/20

      66,055

2013/14

      43,608

2014/15

      22,216

2015/16

      22,030

2016/17

      13,146


One thing seems consistent and that is that my rank is more often than not gathered through my © points.

Throughout this season I will endeavour to document my captaincy thoughts and probable* choices as we progress. My thoughts will tend to focus around players I own but I will try to include a pick or two that I don’t own but fear and am jealous of if you’ve got them in your squad.

* I am as prone to flip-flopping on a Saturday morning as any of you, so try cut me a little slack if I change from my article date by the time the deadline does roll around!

 

Captain’s Log Ahead of GW1

Ahead of the off, my gallery is a sea (ocean) of possible teams and I think I’ve got one of every variation. Including an Ings | Joelinton | Antonio variant that should never see the light of day. Since we can’t have them all & since I too am still drafting, at best for now I will name some likely candidates in my thinking.

We are just about through the Internationals and thankfully no big names have been thrown into isolation jail, so I don’t think the names I’m considering will shock you to your core…

For GW1, I usually start off considering a ‘Team Talisman’ and/or those with high ownership. For myself, GW1 is not about being clever with a mighty savvy differential pick it is about getting a decent above average score to start the season off on the right foot. High ownership in GW1 weighs on my mind as if they grab a goal or two everyone around you moves and you remain rooted. With my own squad not set, I’ll take a look at a likely captaincy contender from each fixture/side in my early thoughts for at least ownership if not © 

Future weeks will be largely about the one/two options that I have in my own squad and one/two captaincy options that I will be jealous of not being able to afford.

TLDR; My initial © will probably be Auba / Salah.

 

Aubameyang – TSB ~ 42%

Not even the early kick-off curse will likely sway many (and myself) from picking one of last season’s highest scorers. A goal in the cup and a brace against Villa the other day makes for encouraging viewing. He tends to favour playing against teams that end up in the bottom half of the table too. Likely to keep penalties too.

Pro(s): Talisman, Promoted Team, likely golden boot chaser, V. High Ownership

Con(s): Early KO

 

Ings –  TSB ~ 26%

What a (Talis-)man! A magnificent return to fitness and form last year, a delight to watch. Unlucky not to take the Golden boot, perhaps he may get a few extra penalties shared this year. Popular amongst those who like a good value forward many, will expect a return against a defence that has seen better days. Only two braces last year so may not bring the haul you desire.

Pro(s): Talisman, Against a usually poor defence, High Ownership

Con(s): Rarely braced last year

 

Zaha – TSB ~ 7%

On his day he can be a star, but a poor set of returns last year and generally how Palace played last year should be enough to warn you off. However with some new youthful signings injecting some energy into the starting eleven and currently only 4 fit defenders means Palace will have to score in order to get anything from the early few GWs. He has looked pretty lively in preseason too, so until the transfer window closes I think we will see him motivated. Playing Saints’ so will likely ruin at least one of your clean sheets.

Pro(s): Talisman, Playing for a transfer, Differential, Home fixture

Con(s): Sometimes MIA, League Rivals will mock you.

 

Antonio – TSB ~12%

West Ham are a bit of an enigma, they upped their output at the tail end of last season thanks to this man and Soucek. IF he remains fit, it is likely his name will be involved. In fact, in the reverse of this fixture in July both did get on the scoresheet. West Ham have been a bit of a mixed bag in the preseason (although I’m mostly referring to the defence) plus the vibe after the recent transfers may well lead to more dour performances in the early weeks.

Pro(s): Talisman, Low ownership

Con(s): Don’t know which WH will turn up.

 

ASM – TSB ~18%

The star of the Newcastle mids, rapid and will likely scare the WHU defenders into making a mistake or three during this game. Oddly, Newcastle’s newer signings last year were more productive without the crowd heckling them and seemed to be integrating better. A kind price of 5.5 meaning he will be sitting in people’s midfields. That said, it is Newcastle… 

Pro(s): Talisman, medium ownership, 

Con(s): Newcastle can be hot/cold, may well assist the assist.

 

Salah – TSB ~30%

One of the highest returning players in the past years, a poor pre-season of 4 games and no returns has probably kept his ownership numbers low
Likely to have penalties too with Henderson not quite up to starting games yet.

Liverpool without the crowd may be a different animal but you would expect Klopp’s team to continue much in the same vein. Leeds have been much praised in how they went about being promoted last season and how they have generally performed in the year prior as well, the pre-season friendlies have not shed too much kind light on their defence and I don’t personally know enough to pick any of their assets intelligently enough.

Pro(s): Talisman, Promoted Team, likely golden boot chaser, High Ownership, GREEDY

Con(s): Mystery Leeds, No crowd to spur LIV on

 

Vardy – TSB ~ 16%

A lackluster end of season by his and Leicester’s standards, a price rise and some new names in the forwards list means interest in Jamie feels a bit lower than normal. A new contract, a fixture against a promoted team and an encouraging fixture in GW2 as well makes me tempted to own him. If he hits the ground running, he is a great contender for the armband as he braces a little more often than his peers. The mixture of lower ownership and his usual efficiency, means that, if in form, he is a savvy pick.

Pro(s): Talisman, Promoted Team, likely golden boot chaser, low to mid ownership

Con(s): Unknown form 

 

Kane – TSB ~ 16%

A season of mostly injury woes coupled with the Jose factor probably has led to the price drop and somewhat low ownership for the former golden boot winner.
Whilst Kane didn’t exactly inspire much confidence on the International front, he does have another game on the 8th before this fixture on the 13th to show what he can do. If spurs play to their potential and he gets back to the form we saw at the end of last season, he will be up there with the other golden boot contenders.
Whilst Son (price & goal involvement) is very appealing as well, I’m expecting Kane to edge the match up over the course of the season. 

Pro(s): Talisman, likely golden boot chaser, low to mid ownership

Con(s): Didn’t look his brilliant best in first International fixture

 

Werner – TSB ~ 45%

The new boy has an appealing price point with an impressive record in the Bundesliga. In the preseason repeat of this game, he took an early opportunity for Chelsea’s only goal smartly, but with many new players in the squad, Chelsea may not quite be at the rhythm required for sweeping opposition away. He took his goal well on International duty too against Spain’s DDG. For some, a placeholder for Martial, but he is expected to be Chelsea’s top GS by end of season.

Pro(s): Likely golden boot chaser, V.high ownership

Con(s): MNF

 

Jiménez – TSB ~ 20%

Okay, not that clever, but Mr Consistent for Wolves no doubt. Whether this remains to be seen with Doherty gone and Traore coming back into the fold late due to Coronavirus, time will tell if they will struggle with a lack of creativity on the RHS. If Wolves score, more often than not, his name will be shouted over the tannoys. A personal peeve of the MNF which often hits me much like the early Saturday KO curse. Silva has joined no doubt as an understudy/heir but this will likely encourage Jimmy to raise his game.

Pro(s): Talisman, medium ownership

Con(s): Playing a usually resilient** defence, MNF, only 1 brace last season.

**Sheffield’s defence may not be what they were last season with Henderson staying in Manchester.

 

Overall

I’ll probably be in the Auba camp on day 1. There’s a decent mood around Arsenal right now and with the mixture of ownership, his preseason showings and just general finishing ability making it a relatively straightforward pick. Of course, it’s a long week one if he blanks but that’s the potential curse of the early ko.


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