FPL is fast approaching and millions of Fantasy Premier League players around the country will be putting the finishing touches on their teams ahead of Friday’s kick-off as newly-promoted Burnley and manager Vincent Kompany host the former defender’s old club Manchester City.
Striker Erling Haaland will be leading the line for many people’s teams no doubt and is an obvious choice for captain after scoring 272 points last season, more than any other player just ahead of Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Liverpool’s Mo Salah.
But Haaland hasn’t scored in his last six Manchester City games, so who else could be a tantalising option if you’re trying to outsmart those who will be plumping for the Norwegian to wear the virtual armband this weekend?
FPL: Three alternatives to Erling Haaland as your Fantasy Premier League captain
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1. Bukayo Saka
If Haaland isn’t your tipple for the captaincy this weekend, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka may well be second in line for many. When you combine his 202 points from last season, the fourth-best of any midfielder, and a home game against Nottingham Forest, there’s every chance Saka gets off to a solid point-scoring start at the Emirates on Saturday lunchtime.
The England international was a regular for both goals and assists last season and while Arsenal haven’t had the smoothest pre-season, they showed in the Community Shield against Manchester City they’re very much able to mix it with the best and look a sure bet to be challenging again this season.
Nottingham Forest escaped relegation last season but Arsenal will be heavy favourites to get off a winning start in this one, and there’s no doubt Saka will 100% be a starter as long as he doesn’t get injured between now and Saturday morning.
If you want an alternative who will also save you £1.5m, Leandro Trossard scored 154 points last season and his late cameo at Wembley might earn him a starting spot.
2. Kaoru Mitoma
Once an unknown import from Japan, Kaoru Mitoma was a name on the lips of almost every Fantasy Football player come the second half of last season as he became Brighton’s most prolific points scorer and went from strength to strength under new manager Roberto De Zerbi.
Mitoma has found the knack of popping up at key times with a goal or an assist and ended last season with 138 points, but could be expected to usurp that tally if the Seagulls once again live up to the hype under De Zerbi once the new campaign gets underway.
Many eyes will be on the AMEX this weekend because it’s Premier League newcomers Luton Town who are the visitors, and while the top division isn’t averse to throwing up an opening day surprise, Mitoma could score nicely here if it takes the Hatters a little bit of time to adapt to their new surroundings.
Both Solly March and Pascal Gross scored higher than Mitoma across last season and are valued at the same £6.5m tag, but Mitoma could be the main man this season if he continues his form.
3. Marcus Rashford
Due to an FPL quirk of most wingers being classed as midfielders by the Premier League’s own Fantasy system, Rashford is undoubtedly a good bet in the midfield of anyone’s team as Manchester United host a beleaguered Wolves on Monday night, fresh from losing their manager Julen Lopetegui less than a week before the season gets underway.
With Lopetegui constantly at odds with the Wolves board over summer plans, it’s a great opportunity for Erik Ten Hag’s side to get started with a bang in front of a home crowd under the lights keen to see their side close the gap to Arsenal and local rivals Manchester City.
Rashford scored 205 points last season, third in midfield behind only Mo Salah and Martin Odegaard and with new signing Rasmus Hojlund injured and Anthony Martial also not ready for action, Rashford is a dead cert to start and may even lead the line at some point if Alejandro Garnacho and Antony start either side of him.
A slightly cheaper alternative would be Bruno Fernandes, who scored just 29 points less last season and would save you half a million.
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