Premier League fantasy football 2018-19 tips: who to captain for Gameweek 1
The double points you get from your Fantasy Premier League skipper can make all the difference, so pick wisely – and have a look at our suggestions
So you’ve got your Fantasy Premier League squad, or most of it, ready for Friday night’s deadline, but an even more important question looms – who should I pick as my captain?
The double points you get from that player could make the difference between a good week and a bad week when it comes to FPL.
Over a whole season, those extra points can seriously add up if you choose the right skipper. But who to bestow this honour upon?
Check out our suggestions below – but if you’re still stuck for who to choose in your overall squad, then have a look at our tips for goalkeepers and defenders, our midfielder suggestions, and our picks for forwards.
Mohamed Salah (£13 million, 303 points last season) is the obvious choice, and why not? He scored 32 goals for Liverpool, had 12 assists and 26 bonus points in 2017-18. His overall tally of points was a Fantasy Premier League record.
He’s been selected by more than half of fantasy users (52.8 per cent), and probably captained by most of them too.
Listed as a midfielder, Salah gets one more point per goal than a striker does, as well as a point if Liverpool earn a clean sheet (they had 15 last season).
But … and it’s a small but … what if Salah doesn’t hit the ground running again? What if second-season syndrome strikes? What if he has lingering issues with that shoulder injury suffered in the Champions League final?
While it’s unlikely Salah will have a stinker, Fantasy Premier League is never straightforward from one season to the next.
The merits of Harry Kane (£12.5 million, 217 points) are obvious. More than 31 per cent of players have put the Tottenham striker in their squad, and will be expecting a similar return to last season when he got 29 goals, two assists and 31 bonus points.
He’s scored at least 191 FPL points in the last four seasons, so there’s no worries over his consistency, and he’s coming off the back of a great World Cup with England where he won the Golden Boot.
Our beautiful addition to the family! Vivienne Jane Kane. So proud of @KateGoodlandx for having the most amazing water birth with no pain relief at all #mygirls #hypnobirthing pic.twitter.com/a6BM4CkFM1
— Harry Kane (@HKane) August 8, 2018
There are a couple of caveats to be aware of, though – he’s just had his first baby with partner Kate Goodland, which coupled with his efforts in Russia could see him miss the first couple of games for Spurs.
And he’s also yet to break his “August curse” – the 25-year-old has never scored a goal before September in a new season.
Worth the gamble you’d think, though. Just make sure you have enough cover up front, or pack your midfield for Gameweeks 1 and 2.
Kevin De Bruyne (£10 million, 209 points) made more assists than anyone last season – an astonishing 18 – and got eight goals to boot.
Like Salah, his goals are worth an extra point and he gets bonus points for clean sheets, of which Manchester City had more than any other team (19).
However, De Bruyne only returned to training with City on Monday after being given three weeks off following Belgium’s run to the final weekend of the World Cup.
He’s unlikely to start against Arsenal on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium, so probably a better bet to wait a while before you hand him De Bruyne the armband.
Only Salah has been selected in more FPL teams than Roberto Firmino (£9.5 million, 181 points). The Liverpool duo combined to deadly effect in 2017-18, and you can expect more of the same.
With 15 goals, eight assists and 29 bonus points, the Brazilian is firmly established as Liverpool’s main striker and should be fresh despite going to the World Cup because he bizarrely was left out of the starting line-up.
Liverpool face a less-than daunting fixture against West Ham at home on the opening weekend and you can expect Firmino will be fully involved.
Sergio Aguero (£11 million, 169 points) used to be FPL royalty until Pep Guardiola took over at Manchester City.
Guardiola has chopped and changed his main striker, with Gabriel Jesus often getting picked ahead of Aguero, but the Argentine still hit 21 goals last season, with six assists and 22 bonus points.
And Aguero looks like he wants to prove a point to any doubters, if his two goals in the Community Shield against Chelsea at Wembley are anything to go by.
Fantasy users seem to be getting on board, too – he’s been selected in 25.9 per cent of teams. Salah and Kane may have another challenger in the Golden Boot race again.
Talking of potential top scorers, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11 million, 21 per cent) has every chance of being in the race, which means he should be under consideration for fantasy captaincy.
The Arsenal striker had 87 points with 10 goals, four assists and 12 bonus points despite only signing in January and playing in a third of the club’s Premier League fixtures.
That’s a fine points-scoring rate – just imagine what he can do in a whole campaign, with a solid preseason behind him.
Aubameyang is likely to be the focal point of Unai Emery’s attack, and plenty of fantasy users are expecting big things.
You might also want to consider Christian Eriksen (£9.5 million, 199 points), who has one of the finest FPL records in recent seasons among midfielders.
Since joining Tottenham in 2013, he’s always bagged more than 20 bonus points, and has hit double figures in terms of goals twice with 11 last season – remember, midfielders get an extra point per goal compared to strikers.
He’s been reliable for assists too, getting 10 in 2017-18 and double that the previous campaign.
Eriksen also benefits from Tottenham’s mean defence, getting a point for every clean sheet (17 last season, 16 the year before).
With Son Heung-min away with South Korea at the Asian Games, and Dele Alli set to be rested early on, Eriksen could be your man if you’re looking to captain someone from Spurs for Gameweek 1 – and he could potentially fill his boots at Newcastle, who have had a turbulent preseason.
We would be amiss not to mention Leroy Sane (£9.5 million, 179 points), who was one of the stars of FPL early on last season.
Sane was bizarrely left out of Germany’s World Cup squad, despite scoring 10 goals and making 15 assists in Manchester City’s title-winning campaign.
All the better for Guardiola, who will be thrilled one of his star men is refreshed and ready to go from the off.
He’s only been selected by 15.9 per cent of teams, so could give you an early advantage over your colleagues and friends if he gets off to a flier at Arsenal on Sunday.
Raheem Sterling (£11 million, 229 points) has got to be in the conversation too, if we’re looking at Manchester City – only Salah scored more points than him last season.
He didn’t have the best of times at the World Cup, which could have a knock-on effect on his confidence, but Guardiola certainly knows how to get the best out of him.
For someone whose finishing is supposedly so suspect, 18 goals and 17 assists ain’t too shabby. He had a healthy total of bonus points (19) too.
He’ll likely be another of City’s stars who sits out Gameweek 1, though, given his involvement in Russia, so maybe hold off a week or two if you want to give Sterling the armband.
It may seem to strange to consider captaining a goalkeeper, but David De Gea (£6 million, 172 points) is no ordinary goalkeeper.
The Spaniard is often a one-man wall making United’s suspect defence look far more solid than it actually is – he made 115 saves last year, and was almost solely responsible for a large number of United’s clean sheets.
De Gea has been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League for years now, and it doesn’t look like United’s defensive issues are going to be solved any time soon, if their late scramble to bring in a centre back on deadline day is anything to go by.
Always reliable, there’s no shame in playing it safe and captaining De Gea.
It seems FPL users are hedging their bets on selecting Eden Hazard (£10.5 million, 173 points) in their squads, given his admission after the World Cup that he’d like to leave Chelsea, with Real Madrid his preferred destination.
But with Thibaut Courtois off to the European champions, there’s little chance new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will sanction the sale of a second of his star players to Real.
Hazard seems resigned to this – he doesn’t appear to be agitating for a move as much as his Belgium teammate was.
He’s got two years on his contract so Chelsea are in a decent position to keep him, which means he may just get his head down like he did at the World Cup, where he was one of the stars of the tournament, and try to put himself in the shop window as best as he can.
Hazard is coming to the peak of his powers now, and still got 12 goals, six assists and 24 bonus points despite not being too bothered last season at Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Jamie Vardy (£9 million, 183 points) is still a solid choice for captaincy. He hit 20 goals for the second time in three seasons, and is always good for bonus points (28 last season, with 24 in 2016-17 and 30 in 2015-16).
The Leicester striker only got two assists last season but had eight in each of the previous two campaigns, and 12 the season before that. However, Vardy may not be involved at Old Trafford on Friday given his England exploits.
You might also consider Vardy’s ex-teammate Riyadh Mahrez (£9 million, 195 points), who has bolstered Guardiola’s already-frightening attack at Manchester City.
There is plenty of competition for places but Mahrez is set to start the season, and if he gets off to a flier against Arsenal on Sunday then he could be hard to dislodge. He had 12 goals and 13 assists last year despite being unsettled.
If he can recapture his form from Leicester’s title-winning season in 2015-16, when he scored 17 goals, made 11 assists and earned a whopping 38 bonus points, then he may be a shrewd choice for captain.
He’s an outside bet, but Romelu Lukaku (£11 million, 162 points) has a season at Old Trafford under his belt now and could kick on and nearly double his tally of 16 Premier League goals if he puts his mind to it.
He started 2017-18 like a house on fire before losing his confidence, much like the Manchester United team as a whole.
Jose Mourinho trusts him and will throw him in as soon as possible, though the Leicester match looks too soon.
If Alexis Sanchez rediscovers his form and Paul Pogba finds more consistency, with Fred also added to the creative mix, then Lukaku could thrive on the improved service.
He has only hit more than 20 league goals once in a season, but he showed at the World Cup that he has more to his game, and is reliable for assists and bonus points.