This is the final round of fixtures before the World Cup, and you could have fun rolling the dice on your FPL Captain Picks. City kick-off game week 16 at lunchtime on Saturday, and whilst logic will say to go with Erling Haaland, an ongoing foot problem, combined with the game kicking off first, is enough to put me off, and I'll be considering another asset, who has the potential to perform better. But first…
FPL Captain Picks GW16:
- Erling Haaland
- Darwin Nunez or Mohamed Salah
- Harry Kane
- Wilfried Zaha
- Miguel Almiron
Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks
I don't want to dwell too much on why the Premier League's top goal scorer should wear the armband this weekend. Erling Haaland is the obvious pick, although I urge slight caution as Pep admits his striker is 'still not perfect' despite his recent improvement.
The 22-year-old has averaged 8.2 FPL points since GW9, and the striker has the highest expected returns (80%), plus a 73 per cent likelihood of getting on the scoresheet.
Darwin Nunez or Mohamed Salah
I'll start this analysis by stating: 'I do not believe you should captain either of these players!' However, many managers within the FPL community are giving serious consideration to Salah, although Nunez is the better differential pick, in my opinion. But for what it's worth, I won't be championing either for the armband, and I certainly won't be using one of my Fantasy Football Transfers to bring in either.
Liverpool have struggled for consistency throughout the season, and a win at Tottenham has not solved those ongoing issues. Personnel is the primary problem here, with Jurgen Klopp heavily rotating his side for domestic games and European competition, although you would expect that most of his Big Hitters will be rested in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. But there are no guarantees, and I prefer to nail my colours to someone with a little form and consistency.
I agree with the majority that a home fixture against a managerless Southampton side that has lost five straight at Anfield is very tempting. Liverpool have reserved their best performances for The Kopp, and despite only four wins, they are still producing good underlying numbers.
Nunez has averaged 1.2xGI per 90 since the international break, and his aerial threat offers a perfect target for the fit-again Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. This is particularly pertinent given that the Saints have the Premier League's second-lowest ariel duels win ratio. Form and tactics should suit the Uruguayan, with Liverpool ranked second for the win (80%) and Southampton 19th in terms of keeping a clean sheet (8%).
The England captain is doing all he can to ensure Tottenham remain competitive, and he is just about keeping Spurs' season alive. The remainder of the squad, either due to poor form or fitness, have been average at best, and Kane is the only Lilywhite worthy of consideration. Since week 9, the striker has managed an impressive 1xGI per 90, almost matching his season average (1.1), and only Erling Haaland has more FPL points (91).
This weekend Tottenham host Leeds United, a side that has conceded an encouraging 12 goals in their previous six matches while averaging 1.8xG against. The visitors' questionable defensive capabilities are a trade-off, with Leeds' focus on the press and their attacking play, which could tactically play into Spurs' hands. Tottenham's conservative approach to football this season has not been pretty on the eye, but it's a style Antonio Conte is happy to persevere with. While others have figured out a game plan to combat this, if Jesse Marsch insists on the high press, his side will leave with no points.
Goal-wise, the numbers favour Kane (59%), with a return expected three-quarters of the time (76%). He has the third-best predicted points for this game week.
The Palace winger served a timely reminder to those that ditched him last weekend with his second double-digit return of the campaign (12). He was one of the most transferred-out players in Round 15, but a goal and an assist at West Ham must've hurt those who lost patience.
Palace are on the road again this weekend, and they should be confident of another three points at the City Ground. They face bottom side Nottingham Forest, who have relegation-level stats to match their meagre points haul for the campaign.
Zaha appeals, with a 40 per cent chance of scoring and a 1-in-2 likelihood of providing an attacking return.
This is the pick I am most excited about - a player in the form of his life from my hometown club. Almiron has been one of the main benefactors under the stewardship of Eddie Howe, scoring seven in his last seven games while averaging 9.85 FPL points per 90.
The predicted data seems to overlook Newcastle assets every week despite the side having great underlying numbers, but the form certainly backs this pick. Callum Wilson has been my regular go-to in black and white, but his disrupted preparation due to illness means I have gone for the next best option. The projected data gives Almiron a low 18 per cent likelihood of finding the net, which is way off considering his exceptional form.
Since the international break, Almiron has averaged 0.6xG per 90, with Newcastle only second to Manchester City for xG, having amassed a table-topping 20 goals. Secondly, St James' Park is becoming a fortress – only one defeat in 2022 to Liverpool (April) – and Graham Potter will not be looking forward to a trip up north with his side winless in four.
Thomas Tuchel was sacked two months ago, and despite an initial [slight] bounce, the Blues' performances have been relatively poor. Chelsea are in the bottom half for xG conceded under Potter, averaging 1.6 against, numbers which will encourage Newcastle.
Therefore, I see little risk in captaining the winger, as he is the most in-form player, lining up for one of the best attacks in the league.
Best FPL Tips For Gameweek 16:
FIRST PUBLISHED: 11th August 2021