FPL GW3 Captain Picks: No obvious choice

The second gameweek of the new Fantasy Premier League season is over, and it is time for us to focus on the following gameweek. In this article, we will look at the best captain picks for GW3.

If you are familiar with our captaincy decision-making process, we always pick a reliable player as our captain that has an easy fixture.

With a reliable player – we mean a player that is able to score 200+ points in a season. Usually (but not always), a midfielder, because he has a higher points ceiling due to extra point for a goal and extra point for clean sheet.

Basically, we follow three criteria when selecting our captain for the next gameweek and all criteria have different weights:

  • 1. The fixture (60 %)
  • 2. Player reliability (30 %)
  • 3. Underlying stats (10 %)

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Who is your captain?

This poll has ended (since 28 days).

Who is your GW3 captain?

Other
40.38%
Son
20.19%
Fernandes
15.38%
Salah
8.65%
Kane
5.77%
Vardy
3.85%
Lukaku
2.88%
Grealish
1.92%
Mahrez
0.96%
De Bruyne
0.00%
Mané
0.00%

Standout captaincy fixtures for GW3

So, at first, we narrow down our list of fixtures to find out standout captaincy fixtures in the following gameweek.

There are tricky fixtures in GW3. There is no clear captaincy candidate like Salah and Fernandes in the previous two gameweeks.

So, we expect captaincy to be spread around in the gameweek 3.

We consider the following three matches to be the best fixtures to pick the captain from in the GW3:

  • Norwich vs. Leicester
  • Wolves vs. Manchester United
  • Tottenham vs. Watford

Captain picks for GW3

We have one very reliable captaincy option from all three games. Players that are able to deliver points on a weekly basis. Players that can score 200+ points during a season.

Great fixture only leverages their ability to deliver the results in the following gameweek.

Captain picks for GW3:

  • Jamie Vardy
  • Bruno Fernandes
  • Heung Min Son

Let’s look at all three picks in detail.

Comparing defenses

Let’s dive into data a bit and let’s compare defenses of oppositions. We have only two weeks of data available, so this is very tricky. We used Premier League data from Understat to perform this analysis.

If you are not familiar with Expected Goals statistics, read our article about xG here.

TeamGoals concededxG concededShots againstShots ag. in Penalty Area
Norwich84.233617
Wolves22.391711
Watford42.922411

Wolves and Norwich are both among the last 5 teams in the Premier League table without registering a single point. However, both teams have tough fixtures in the first two gameweeks of the season.

Norwich conceded 8 goals in the first two matches, more than any other team. But they faced Liverpool and Man City, so we should be considering that as well. However they xG against of “only” 4.23 suggests that they should have conceded less in those matches. Norwich also conceded 36 shots, which is more than double that Wolves conceded. 

On the other hand, Wolves defense looks pretty strong. Despite tough fixtures, they conceded only 2 goals, 2.39 xG against, and 17 shots. Based on this, we expect a tough game for Manchester United at Molineux. 

Comparing attacks

Now, let’s look at the attacking stats of teams of our captain contenders. Again, we have just two weeks of data available right now, so our conclusions are likely to be distorted.

TeamG scoredxGShotsPenalty Area Shots
Leicester21.291410
Manchester City63.93120
Tottenham22.792110

Last week we pointed out that Manchester United massively overperformed their xG and really should have scored less against Leeds. In the second gameweek of the season, they wasted a lot of good chances against Southampton, so their xG and actual goals scored started to level out.

Still, no team scored more goals than them this season and only 4 teams registered more xG than Manchester United in the first two gameweeks. Attacking numbers are looking good for Manchester United players, however, the fixture against Wolves will be challenging as we have already mentioned in the previous section.

On the other hand, the attacks of Leicester and Spurs do not look that impressive. Only a few goals and not a lot of shots. However, both teams have good fixtures against weaker defenses.

Especially the Foxes were struggling in the attack in the first two gameweeks. 

Comparing players

Now, let’s look at the stats of each captain contender.

PlayerGAxGxAKp90Sh90
Vardy100.460.161.033.09
Bruno Fernandes300.880.712.53
Son Heung Min100.450.050.543.77

In gameweek 2, Bruno Fernandes failed to repeat his superb performance from the first game of the season. He was far from a goal, with only two shots worth of 0.09 xG against Southampton. But besides that, he produced two key passes that were worth 0.59 xA against Saints. 

Son Heung Min did not impress either in the previous gameweek, registering only two shots worth 0.18 xG against solid Wolves defense. He has also medical issues during warm-up and is going to be assessed before the next deadline.

But it is Jamie Vardy who was struggling the most from all three players in GW2. Ha failed to register a single shot or key pass against Hammers.

Conclusion

Underlying stats could not give us a clear answer on who to captain. 

We will use an elimination method to determine our GW3 captain.

The first one who is going to be eliminated from our captaincy equation is Jamie Vardy. Leicester was struggling in the attack in the first two gameweeks, despite favorable fixtures and that really put us off Vardy as our captain.

Wolves were solid at the back in their previous two matches, so we expect a tight match for Manchester United with few goals. We could be wrong, but this game does not look like a fixture where Manchester United players could score a double-figure haul, so we exclude Bruno Fernandes from the captaincy equation as well.

Now, we have only Son Heung Min left. There is nothing that would put us off from him as our captain. If he is fit, he is our number one captain pick for GW3. He faces a newly promoted side at home. Watford defensive numbers in a very small sample size of two weeks are not that bad, but also not that good either and we expect Son to do well in this fixture.

But keep an eye on his fitness. If it looks that he is not fit for the GW3, we have Bruno Fernandes as our backup captain.

Note: As there is no obvious captain pick in GW3, captaincy is going to be spread around and a lot of FPL managers are looking at players like Antonio to be their GW3 captain pick. Antonio could easily do well against Crystal Palace and he is likely going to be one of the key players for this season.

However, we do not include him in our captaincy picks, because he does not fit into the decision-making process we use when selecting a captain. He has the fixture on his side, he has great underlying numbers, but we do not consider him to be a reliable FPL pick that could score 200+ in a season.

If he blanks, it won’t surprise us. But it would surprise us if some of the more reliable picks blanked. 

Ask yourself: would you be more surprised if Antonio blanks against Crystal Palace or if Son blanks against Watford?

We have a clear answer for that.

Good luck in GW3!

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