Fantasy managers may be thankful or ruing, the fact that the Africa Cup of Nations has removed the Mohamed Salah perma-Captain that we have seen all season, and I, for one, welcome the opportunity to look elsewhere without FOMO (fear of missing out).

This subsequent period could see some real variety, as double game week fixtures throw up a host of viable options for consideration.

FPL Captain Picks GW23:

Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks

Harry Kane

Tottenham are on the up, and so is the England captain. Since arriving, Antonio Conte has had the desired effect, kick-starting Spurs’ campaign with the side having the second-best xG and xG conceded over their last six matches.

The results also reflect this: Tottenham are unbeaten in eight (five wins and three draws).

Kane himself has found some form, scoring on three occasions with his 17 shots in the box (ranked fourth-best) and his xG in the Top Five amongst all players.

However, the caveat, Spurs do not have the best double game week fixtures. They face London-rivals Arsenal on Sunday, who themselves are improved of late, while a trip to Leicester beckons three days later.

But Kane, in the absence of Heung-Min Son, goes into this game week with the highest xPoints, and with form plus data, expectations are high.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United, and especially Ronaldo, are seen as firm favourites for this game week with the Portuguese star on many managers radar with two very likeable matches.

However, as previously stated (see my FPL Transfer Tips), I have severe misgivings about going all-in on their assets.

The expected boom under Ralph Rangnick is yet to come to fruition, and with injury niggles and the quick turnaround, the United boss might rotate heavily between matches.

FPL Points Predictor Tool

But on the flipside, Ronaldo is still one of the greatest players of my generation, with a goalscoring record many could only dream of. And this double game week offers a big opportunity to record a mammoth haul.

Cristiano will face Aston Villa and Brentford with the second-highest likelihood of any return combined with the second highest chance of a goal.

However, the concerns I have outlined sow enough doubt for me to leave him alone for this round, although others may be tempted by the fantastic potential.

Dwight McNeil

A quick heads-up before I kick-off: Dwight McNeil (COVID) missed the FA Cup defeat to Huddersfield Town, and although he is expected to return, make sure you follow the team news updates ahead of this weekend.

Burnley play the two teams with the highest xG conceded over the previous six matches in Watford and Leicester.

And although the Clarets have not been exceptional in attack, and even without the soon to be departed Chris Wood, they should capitalise against two very porous backlines. McNeil offers the potential of a lot of bang for very little buck.

Both sides have been appalling in defence for the most part, and injuries, plus player unavailability, will only serve to tempt FPL managers even further. The Foxes, in particular, will appeal to McNeil due to their frailties in defending set-pieces.

He is their main creator and with Jay Rodriguez, Matej Vydra and Ashley Barnes all vying to make the No.9 role their own, players will be pushing to make a good impression.

This is a very maverick pick and very differential Dinnery, but the defensive data of the two teams means it is definitely worth a punt, and his 62 per cent chance of anytime return shows that an attacking output is probable. 

Diogo Jota

Just because a player does not have a double game week, it doesn’t mean they should be excluded from your thinking.

As explained, I believe that Harry Kane is a bit of a tricky pick, and Manchester United’s form, data and fixtures point to disappointment. On the other hand, Liverpool have a fantastic game, and they are in red hot form.

They have the highest xG per 90 of all teams this season, and their attack has been sensational, although there is no getting away from the loss of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup Nations, which is a huge problem.

However, it provides an opportunity for Diogo Jota to shine in a very appealing fixture. Brentford arrive on the back of a 4-1 hammering at Southampton, a result that means the Bees have conceded 16 goals in their last six away games.

Jota comes into this matchup with some fantastic data, having had lots of shots in the box and a high xG.

This is also reflected in the expected data, with the Reds frontman rated strongly for expected points (xP), plus a 60 per cent chance of a return.

Liverpool are massive favourites with the highest odds of winning and by far the best odds for 2.5+ goals at 42 per cent.

Best FPL Tips For Gameweek 23:

FIRST PUBLISHED: 11th August 2021

About the Author
Ben Dinnery Football Expert

Ben Dinnery is the founder of Premier Injuries, a website used to track and record injury data for the British Premier League.

Described by The Telegraph as the “country’s leading data injury analyst,” Ben provides statistic insight and data to a host of broadsheet outlets and some of the world’s leading media organisations.

A regular contributor on talkSPORT radio and BBC Radio 5 Live, Ben’s data is published globally through his work with Sky Sports, NBC Sports and ESPN plus a host of other leading media broadcasters.