The Fantasy Premier League (FPL) returns on Boxing Day. Gameweek 17 will mark the second stage of the 2022-23 Premier League season, which was split into two by the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this winter.
As Premier League football returns to our screens after more than a month and a half, FPL managers will be eager to get their teams right. The key to doing this will be utilizing their unlimited transfers wisely. They will be keen to get off to a good start once again, and an important part of that is the captaincy call.
While making Erling Haaland perma-captain has been talked about a lot, there are still plenty of other viable captaincy picks to take a punt on. Let's look at the top five FPL captaincy options for Gameweek 17.
#5 Kevin De Bruyne (MCI) (MID) (£12.6 m) | vs LEE (A)
The second-highest point-scoring FPL midfielder behind Miguel Almiron, Kevin De Bruyne is a decent differential armband option for Gameweek 17. He was benched for the reverse fixture at Elland Road last season, but did score twice in the 7-0 win against Leeds United at the Etihad.
De Bruyne has been in sublime form this season, scoring three goals and providing 10 FPL assists. While Erling Haaland will no doubt be backed by the masses, the Belgian midfield maestro provides an appealing alternate option.
#4 Mohamed Salah (LIV) (MID) (£12.8 m) | vs AVL (A)
Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, and Roberto Firmino are all unavailable for Liverpool's clash against Aston Villa in this Gameweek. This means it will be up to Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez to find the back of the net for Liverpool.
Salah has recovered from his slow start to the season and after a good rest period during the World Cup, he should be fit and fresh to star for the Reds. With Emiliano Martinez not set to start between the sticks for Aston Villa, it provides an excellent opportunity for Salah to find the back of the net.
He also loves playing against Villa, having recorded five goals and two assists against them in seven matches.
Liverpool's lack of attacking resources and Unai Emery's ability to organize a solid defense has led to me ranking him lower than some others. However, Salah is still a top FPL captaincy alternative to Erling Haaland.
#3 Marcus Rashford (MUN) (MID) (£6.7 m) | vs NFO (H)
Marcus Rashford seems to be ebbing with confidence after putting in a fine performance at the World Cup. He is Manchester United's most in-form attacker and has been fantastic at Old Trafford this season.
Erik Ten Hag's side will want to start the second half of the season with a statement performance. A home game against Nottingham Forest gives them that opportunity in this Gameweek.
All four of Rashford's goals this season have come in home matches. If his goal and performance in their recent EFL Cup win over Burnley was anything to go by, we can certainly expect him to find the back of the net in Gameweek 17.
#2 Harry Kane (TOT) (FWD) (£11.5 m) | vs BRE (A)
After a heartbreaking exit from the FIFA World Cup, it'll be interesting to see how Harry Kane performs for Tottenham Hotspur.
From a purely domestic standpoint, he has had a terrific season. It has been overshadowed by Erling Haaland's goalscoring brilliance, but Kane's tally of 12 goals and three FPL assists in 15 starts is incredible.
He is the second-highest point-scorer in the game. Against a Brentford defense that hasn't looked solid for much of this season, he will be backed to pick up some FPL points.
#1 Erling Haaland (MCI) (FWD) (£12.2 m) | vs LEE (A)
Who else but Erling Haaland for the top spot?
Well-rested after not featuring in the World Cup, the Norwegian will be raring to go in the Premier League. Haaland is probably the only FPL must-have right now, and captaining him has almost become a formality.
Manchester City put eleven goals past Leeds United across their two games last season. While the latter have improved defensively, they will likely find it hard to stop a rampaging Haaland from finding the back of the net.
His goal against Liverpool also showed that he has retained his sharpness from the first half of the season and was a warning sign for Leeds.