P90 Points scored per 90 minutes at home/away based on this week's opponents QG%Percentage of games played where the player scored 6 or more points xPct The percentage of his team's goals a player has accounted for, multiplied by the expected goals for this weekRating Based on the player's rankings in the other three categories.
Well this is getting a bit boring. So much so that I doctored the minutes limit to 500 so Cisse would at least provide a talking point at the top of the rankings.
In truth, there is absolutely no way I would consider Cisse unless I was truly desperate to make up points and knew for a fact that my opponent was going with Van Persie or Rooney. Some of the gloss has come off of Swansea's excellent defensive reputation but they remain a good team at home and are rarely turned over for more than the odd goal. Is he a good play? Sure. But I can't recommend captaining him, no matter what his 'form' is.
The majority of factors favor Van Persie, who continues to account for an astounding percentage of his teams' goals and knock out quality game after quality game. The one (major) factor against him though is the fixture as City haven't conceded more than a single goal away from home for 6 gameweeks. There's a possibility that they will need to loosen the reins to try and get the win and thus could be exposed at the back, but however you cut it, this is a tricky game for the Gunners. Van Persie did of course score at home against both United and Spurs recently so we're not exactly down on him for the week, but the odds are certainly lower than they have been in other easier games of late.
Rooney's last 6 home fixtures have seen him notch scores of 6-13-13-6-1-12 with the 1 pointer coming in a rare appearance off the bench against Wigan. He faces a QPR side who are going in the wrong direction, shipping 10 goals in the last four road appearances. They're obviously fighting for their lives so won't roll over easily but I'm not sure they have the quality to match United, even if Ferguson rotates a couple of bodies with Wednesday's game in mind.
It's that rotation which causes me to pause before underlining the Rooney pick, as he comes with a bigger risk of being rested given the apparent weakness of the opponent on Saturday. That said, there haven't been any indications from management that Rooney will sit and despite the busy Easter schedule, they don't have any other fronts to challenge on, and the potentially crucial Manchester derby is still weeks away so it would appear overly cautious to rest Rooney at this point.
Second favourite in the FFS captain poll is Antonio Valencia, which is an understandable position given his recent returns. However, picking him ahead of Rooney seems a touch reactive to me. It goes without saying that the winger is in form and his average over the past four gameweeks is outstanding (10.7, only trailing Cisse's 12.3). With that in mind, you can see the value behind picking Valencia but despite his tremendous form, his 8 week average still trails Van Persie and Rooney and is only a hair above Sigurdsson and Walcott. Key passes are fairly predictive of assists and Valencia is averaging three a game over the past 10 weeks, better than anyone but Luka Modric. The fact that 5 of his 21 key passes have been converted to goals tough, is a slight concern (the conversion rate noted earlier in the season was around 1 every 10) so we can probably expect some regression there, though you also need to factor in the quality of his crosses and the players he is passing to so I wouldn't suggest the slow down should necessarily be sharp.
I'm not sure how many readers play fantasy sports over at ESPN but those who do will be well aware of one of their main fantasy personalities, Matthew Berry. He likes to point out that when it comes to picking players at the top of a draft you really get into minor nit-picking as in reality they are all excellent players. I feel the same when it comes to captain picks and it's hard to go against someone like Valencia without sounding like I'm down on him. That is far from the case (indeed he's locked into my own team) but just that, all things considered, I'm not sure I see enough to escalate him ahead of teammate Rooney, unless you are desperately seeking differentiation, and even there there are probably better ways to go, such as . . .
Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has a couple of interesting stats to his name for this week. Swansea have generally been better at home this year but Sigurdsson has managed just two assists and no goals in five appearances at Liberty Stadium. There doesn't appear to be anything in his tactical deployment which would impact those splits, so it's probably more a product of small sample sizes than a sustainable difference. If you buy that, then Sigurdsson becomes an interesting play, having accounted for a league leading 59% of his team's goals when on the field. That gives him an xPct of 0.909, second only to the other-wordly Van Persie (0.945). As with Valencia, his production looks less sustainable than the elite players, at least when it comes to goal scoring (he's scored 6 goals on 11 shots on target). Again, I wouldn't over think the captain decision and pick Sigurdsson over either Rooney or Van Persie, but if you do want to go in a different direction I actually like Sigurdsson over Valencia as (a) he comes with a lower ownership percentage and thus is a stronger differentiator and (b) if Swansea have success and Sigurdsson contributes he's almost guaranteed the 3 bonus points where as Valencia will always struggle to compete with Rooney.
So I'm afraid it's a similar story this week with Van Persie and Rooney being a touch above the rest of the class. I'm pleased to say that of last week's top eight ranked captain picks, all but one notched at least an assist with half (Adebayor, Balotelli, Dempsey and Valencia) getting into double digits. The problem was that the one exception was Rooney who was second only to Van Persie and one of only two players I seriously considered. The point being, these rankings are proving to be somewhat reliable though they're never going to lead to perfect results. I just hope they might either help you break a tie or ease your tensions that in reality these matchups are often a toss-up and you're unlikely to go far wrong if you continue to make informed decisions. For the record, I'll be going with Rooney this week, so act accordingly.