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FPL tips: James and Coutinho big captaincy winners for elite fantasy bosses

Burnley v Chelsea – Premier League – Turf Moor
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Hundreds of elite FPL managers were rewarded for their captaincy choices in the first half of double gameweek 28.

By analysing the movements of a group of 1,000 managers with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their names, we can see how the best bosses prepared for another bumper double gameweek.

And for those who backed Reece James or Philippe Coutinho with the captain’s armband, things could not have gone better.

A graphic showing the most popular captain picks among elite FPL managers ahead of gameweek 28

(PA graphic)

Let’s start with the Chelsea right-back, who was backed by almost 20 per cent of our elite sample.

James burst onto the scene earlier this season with a wave of goals and assists, but a hamstring injury saw him miss the Blues’ last five league games.

With a favourable double-header comprised of games against relegation battlers Burnley and Norwich, however, elite managers flocked to the fit-again England man.

They weren’t disappointed – James returned his fifth double-figure points tally of the season thanks to a goal and an assist in Chelsea’s 4-0 win against the Clarets.

On top of his 18-point haul, he is the top goalscoring defender in the league with five, but a muscle injury has cast doubt over his availability for the game against Norwich.

Chelsea’s Reece James (centre right) scores their side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Saturday March 5, 2022

(Martin Rickett/PA)

At Aston Villa, meanwhile, Coutinho returned 13 points thanks to a goal and an assist in his side’s 4-0 win against Southampton.

While Steven Gerrard’s side face the Saints and Leeds in their double gameweek, the Brazilian’s own form going into this round of fixtures was poor, with no goals or assists in three games.

His ability to turn it on at a moment’s notice, however, was not forgotten by 160 FPL managers, while any attacking returns against Leeds will only further vindicate their decision to back him.

Speaking of Leeds, the most popular elite captaincy pick of the week did not go to plan in the first phase, with Raphinha backed by more than 200 of our elite sample.

The £6.5m Brazil winger is the only Leeds player with more than 100 FPL points this season, but had only managed one goal in eight games ahead of GW28.

Leeds United’s Raphinha (left) and Leicester City’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture date: Saturday March 5, 2022

(Mike Egerton/PA)

While he delivered his best Threat score of the season (65) in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester, Raphinha was unable to improve his recent record, managing just two points.

More than a fifth of our top managerial sample then will be keeping a keen eye on Leeds’ second fixture of the gameweek.

A double gameweek wasn’t the only way into elite FPL managers’ hearts, however, with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah given the captain’s armband by 147 of our sample despite having just one game in GW28.

Salah’s electrifying form has seen him notch 19 goals and 11 FPL assists so far this term on his way to 212 FPL points, while he scored 28 points in DGW26 thanks to three goals and an assist.

The Egypt international scored just three points in the Reds’ 1-0 win against West Ham at the weekend – it is unlikely that will stop bosses giving him the captaincy again, however.

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