Captain Obvious: Week 34

Welcome back for another round of FPL captaincy dispute!

And After That, there were 5.

That’s best folk, we are formally in the house stretch now, with just 5 rounds staying. For those kicking dream butt this season, these weeks will be anxiety-ridden. Not that I am having a season to extol myself, however I have actually in the past, and I have not forgotten that vertigo-inducing sensation of wishing to climb up that bit greater in the ranks to liquidate the season however likewise desperate to hold on to where you are, and not go on a cold streak to take a presently effective year into an average one. For you folks, I want you the very best of luck.

For everybody else, myself consisted of – this is really a restorative phase of the season. Disallowing something strange, the very best I can wish for is a leading 100k surface. It would take an ideal usage of my Bench Increase and nailing every captain for 5 weeks to even have an opportunity I would believe. Viewing as that being an enjoyable surprise that I would extol to my tomb were it to occur, I can merely drop that concept and go through the essential phases of coping with a mediocre season. I will most likely conserve some examples of when I understood the season was going to end in a frustrating rank for an end-of-season column, however let’s simply state I have actually currently had time to cope.

Mentioning dealing with truth, after a preliminary week of indulging in the no-Mourinho period, this previous week was another twist of the season’s knife for your modest author as Spurs were one video game from including an unusual prize to their rack (I understand, I understand…it’s “only the EFL Cup”) just to lose 1-0 on a late objective. City is among those tops that Spurs had really had success with under Mourinho and naturally I haven’t forgotten Tottenham’s Champions League magic technique to squeak past the People and make it to the CL Last. So, I had optimism that Ryan Mason and a current favorable outcome would trigger some magic. It was not to be.

Right, so we have another Friday night kickoff, which means time is limited, so instead of dwelling on the disappointments of the past, let us transition straight into the potential glory of the future with this Week 34 edition of Captain Obvious.

Jamie Vardy (10.2m)

Rostered % – 21.0% (rising fast)

Total points – 163 (13 Gs, 13 As, 20 BPs)

Opponent – Southampton (away)

Calm down, calm down…we will get to Kelechi Iheanacho soon enough. (Does it sound like a bitter man who made space to bring Vardy in on their wildcard a few weeks ago as a differential, when he could have saved millions, gotten more points and upgraded other areas if I went Iheanacho instead?…I thought it might) While there is no way to escape the fact that the rise of Iheanacho has seen Vardy’s production take a bit of a dip, he is still a Top 5 scoring outfielder in the FPL game for entirety of the season. With two of the four players above him squaring off face to face in a tough one to call (Bruno Fernandes’ Man United vs Mo Salah’s Liverpool), and Leicester’s overall form and fixture, Vardy still deserves his elite status on the captaincy short-list.

In fact, let me go ahead and spill the beans about Week 34 – you are looking at four names from two clubs. In my mind, it is impossible to imagine an actively-managed FPL side not including at least one of these four names. These four will be the ones most-captained this week, particularly in the 0-250k rank area, so it will come down to which matchup looks to have more goals in it, and which player you have from that side. There is your captain. If you have two (Vardy and Iheanacho, or Kane and Son), then you have two ways to go – let the stats decide for you or go with your gut…

If stats are your angle and you favor Leicester, you may want to spend your transfer this week to bring in the affordable Iheanacho if you do no thave him already, because he is clearly the hotter of the pair. Vardy was pretty quiet last weekend, not executing a single key pass to potentially add to his baker’s dozen of assists and managed just one shot on target. Still, this is Jamie Vardy. He has established himself worthy of armband consideration in the past (most players priced at 10m or more are thought to be captaincy-worthy by that price tag threshold alone), and we know he loves the flair for the dramatic. This Friday night kickoff is why I do not have much time to take a deeper dive, but you know Vardy knows he will be in the primetime spotlight. I will emphasize one last time though – the stats say Iheanacho is a better bet going into the weekend. That’s not to say that both can’t get it done. Is your gut saying it’s time for a primetime Vardy party? The hour is drawing near to decide.

Heung-Min Son (9.5m)

Rostered % – 46.6% (rising steady)

Total points – 199 (15 Gs, 12 As, 25 BPs)

Opponent – Sheffield United (home)

Much like Vardy may be viewed when compared to Iheanacho this week, I feel the same could be applied to the Son vs Kane decision. Here is a case where I personally DO have both players in my side and have to make a choice were I to back a Tottenham player. The atmosphere feels ripe for goals. Once again, there is a natural high and motivation in the side with Ryan Mason in charge to see out the season and I think the club will want to take out the frustration of losing a close cup final on the hapless, relegation-bound Blades of Sheffield United. Make no mistake, this time of season can be tricky, where shock results come out of each club’s situation and mental state, so I do not want to make it sound like it’s a stone-cold lock that Spurs will slice Sheffield United apart, but the Blades are really, really bad. This is the fixture that every club circles on their calendar and all but one has walked away with 3 points. The Blades, in their 15 games away from home, have fourteen losses and one draw – a 1-1 with Brighton. I cannot see how they suddenly get a outcome in North London this weekend.

So, what does Son have that Harry Kane does not? Well, if you happen to only have Son, then don’t let this question bother you. Both players are certainly capable of putting up a double-digit haul, so I would not perform major surgery and take hits to work Kane in your side just so you can captain him over Son. Son has a very small sample length of better form. Last time out, Tottenham were able to beat the Saints, with Kane missing due to injury while Son scored the match-winner. Son is also the better player of the two if you want to gamble on a more “potentially effective” captain. Kane is certainly going to get a larger percentage of the armband around the league. Those who rather go shield over sword probably want to back him, but if you have a lot of ground to cover with time running out, I like the idea of backing Son.

Harry Kane (11.8m)

Rostered % – 46.1% (rising steady)

Total points – 218 (21 Gs, 13 As, 37 BPs)

Opponent – Sheffield United (home)

Right, now we get to the two big fish this weekend, and perhaps the biggest decision every manager will make – do you take the established history of Harry Kane in the easiest fixture there is on paper, or do you take the inarguably hotter player in Iheanacho, who is still on only half the number of FPL teams that Kane is?

So, what is concerning and what is promising about Sir Harold? Well, probably the biggest concern to the casual player is his fitness. If paying attention to the Premier League only, you may not have realized that Kane has already returned to competitive action, returning for that EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester City last weekend. The result was not ideal, the attack could not find a way through, but Kane was there and should be ready to go for the Blades. Were there some concerns over lingering injury issues, I could see some concern in giving him the armband, for fear of a rest in a matchup that Spurs should still be winning convincingly behind him. But there are two factors that tosses that concern out the window – one, Tottenham still have work to do finish in a European competition place for next season, so there is plenty to play for as a club. Also, Kane is gunning for another Golden Boot, and he currently holds a one-goal edge over Mo Salah, so there is some personal motivation for him as the Blades could provide the perfect opposition to help Kane pad his current Golden Boot lead.

Kelechi Iheanacho (6.2m)

Rostered % – 23.7% (rising fast)

Total points – 76 (10 Gs, 1 A, 15 BPs)

Opponent – Southampton (away)

Well, consider me impressed. Last week, I did my best to try and find something to bring Iheanacho down to Earth, to show that he is indeed human. The one example I had was that he was too goal-dependent, not having registered a single assist on the season while his teammate Vardy was an example of a more well-rounded and therefore trustworthy captaincy option, as he had an equal spread of 13 goals and 13 assists…

Naturally, Iheanacho goes and collects his first assist of the season last weekend, along with yet ANOTHER goal, max bonus points and the highest round score of the week with the exception of Chris Wood and his hat trick for Burnley. The perfect captain is now complete. All that remains to be seen if this is one of those career-high runs of form or are we witnessing a player taking his game to the next level, and will remain an elite player for years to come. Time will tell, as it always does, but it would be great timing for the Foxes, as Vardy is nearing the twilight of his career and here comes Iheanacho, looking primed to take the baton and run with it for the next half-decade or so.

Before last weekend, Iheanacho had taken a whopping fourteen shots combined in his previous two league contests, while taking only two against Palace. Good news is – one of those two went in the net. Better news is – he was busy playing provider, setting a personal best on the season with four key passes, one that led to his aforementioned first assist of the season.

The form he is in right now, you do not worry about the opposition unless their defense is among the top elite, which Southampton’s is not. If anything, you begin to salivate over the prospective lucrative returns in a match that Leicester will bring it all while the Saints may not give near as much effort. We have already begun to see the effects of clubs who have already decided to hit the beach early with little left to play for last weekend, when Wolves were positively embarrassed by Burnley in a 0-4 spanking. Let us not forget as well in the past couple of season, while Southampton have had their runs of respectable form, they have also had some absolute stinkers, giving up half a dozen goals or more on a couple of occasions in the Ralph Hasenhuttl era. Will Iheanacho obtain elite, captaincy-level status for the long term? Let’s see how things pick up next season. But for now, there is every rational reason to give him the armband this weekend.

Other options – Even though, barring a late surge of historic proportions, this has actually been a disappointing season for your humble writer, if there is one strategy that I feel proud of committing to, its to ignore Manchester City options for the most part. Trying to dance around the rotation there simply does not justify the cost of their players for me, with the exception of Ilkay Gundogan’s run of form midseason. That said, a healthy Kevin De Bruyne is the City player that always deserves at least a mention, and he has a good shot at returning something against Palace this weekend.

This is a first – I am tossing a West Brom player onto the honorable mentions list. Hey…it’s a start. But as hot as Iheanacho has been or Jesse Lingard before last weekend, did you know the top player in FPL’s current form guide is Matheus Pereira. I really liked this kid’s video game and built a draft league team around him this season. That proved costly as it has taken a while for Pereira to settle in, but he is playing with confidence. Whether or not the Baggies stay up is one thing – Pereira is a PL talent, and will likely make a move over the summer if the Baggies go down. Despite being the top form player at the moment, I still probably would have not named him were it not for the fixture – at home against a Wolves side who put in a defensive nightmare last week. I would expect a change or 2 to Wolves based on that result, but if the majority of the club are just going through the motions like they did against Burnley, the Baggies may add to their recent “goal explosion”.

Playing at home to Fulham, I feel like Chelsea “should” have at least one name to point to for armband purposes, but the Blues are simply not set up right now to benefit fantasy gamers. There are too many players being moved in and out of the XI week to week and kind seems to jump weekly from one player to the next. Christian Pulisic has the most consistency in terms of production and playing time as of late, but it would be an ultimate example of “outside-the-box” thinking.

Otherwise, I am pretty pleased with the captaincy landscape today. The less options to choose from, the better, in my mind. So when I see fixtures like MUN v LIV and EVE v AVL, clubs who have their share of elite players, it makes it easy to dismiss the likes of Bruno Fernandes or Mo Salah. Of course, you want them to do something if you have them in your side, and they have the talent to explode at any moment in any game. But MUN v LIV has 0-0 or a late 0-1, 1-0 result looks the likeliest scenario from me. Mo and Bruno can take a week off from the armband debate.

Hit me up on Twitter @FuzzyWarbles and let me know your thoughts on who you’ve nominated for captain and why. Good luck with your selection this weekend and might your arrows be green.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.