Sergio Agüero has been one of the most popular fantasy players over the last few years, but his injury history has been an issue and already we have seen those issues cause fantasy owners a worry.
While Agüero has been good, another player with a checkered injury history has gotten off to a storming start in Chelsea’s Diego Costa. Costa has been amazing this year and leads the position by a stunning 14 points after seven weeks! Plenty of Premier League strikers have struggled this year, but we have also had our fair share of surprises so far and below we’ll take a look at both sides of the good and bad of fantasy.
As with the Defenders, Midfielders and Goalkeepers, I will be looking at the Strikers not only by their fantasy points score but by adding in some analysis based on the fakepremierlg performance rating (FPR) which looks at how consistently players have helped fantasy teams over the first seven weeks. In addition, once I again I will try and outline so match ups where teams are playing weak defences over the next month and there may be the potential for their team to score some goals.
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The Top 5
Diego Costa (Chelsea) 54 Points (Nine Goals): Costa has been the man in fantasy this year leading the league in fantasy scoring whilst also sitting joint first in FPR across all positions. Averaging 1.3 goals a game, he has got off to a start that has kept all Chelsea and Fantasy players alike. Right now he is match up proof, but beware as he missed a large part of last season with a hamstring injury and has been struggling with a hamstring so far this season.
Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester) 40 Points (Five Goals): Leonardo has been the surprise of the season this year for me. Many across the league expected he would have to play second string to the Nugent/Vardy combination that was so successful last season, but right from day one Ulloa has been the number one choice. He has yet to register less than two points in a game week and in four weeks he has actually registered at least six points, giving him an FPR of 1.57, leaving him ranked 4th.
Saido Berahino (West Brom) 39 Points (Five Goals, Two Assists): Berahino has been a little more hit and miss than those above him, but two double digit weeks mixed in with four weeks scoring two points and a six pointer means he currently sits 3rd overall in fantasy points among strikers. Ranked 9th in FPR means that he has been a solid fantasy choice week in week out if you took the late gamble on him in drafts. Expect the really good weeks to be hit or miss but the starting job is now his to lose.
Graziano Pellè (Southampton) 39 Points (Four Goals, One Assist): Coming into the season many people felt that Pellé might just be a place holder waiting for the return of Jay Rodriguez. When Shane Long was added, Pellè’s position was seen as even more vulnerable. Oh how we were all wrong. Graziano has lit the south coast on fire playing 90 minutes in every game this season and registering at least two points a week, leaving him ranked 4th in FPR.
Sergio Agüero (Man City) 37 Points (Five Goals): Aguero is the only man in the league who has managed to match the consistency of Diego Costa this season. All be it in less spectacular style as he has an FPR of 1.71 despite only starting five games and playing a combined 31 minutes in the other two. He has yet to deliver a week below league average and for that reason people that drafted Agüero have had a safe player week to week who has the potential to go on and hunt down Costa at the top of the charts.
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Robin van Persie (Man United) 20 Points (Two Goals): Even after a down year last season much was expected of van Persie with the arrival of a manager who respected him enough to make him captain in the World Cup. However, van Persie has disappointed fantasy owners, missing the first game of the season and then scoring 14 of his 20 points in just two game weeks, leaving him with a FPR of 1.00. While this still places him 18th among strikers, you didn’t draft van Persie looking for an average fantasy player; you were looking for a difference maker and we have yet to see that.
Wilfried Bony (Swansea) 15 Points (One Goal and One Assist): Bony was a fantasy sweetheart last year. Coming from obscurity having been left in Michu’s shadow to start the year, he produced a really nice fantasy season at a dirt cheap price. Therefore, naturally this season fantasy owners jumped on him hoping he could reproduce that number one striker form, but right now he ranks below the likes of Austin, Jutkiewicz and Jovetic, who had mixed years due to form and injury. You cannot cut bait on Bony yet because if he turns it around there is a real top quality striking option there. In salary cap leagues you should look to replace him with a more reliable, cheaper option (Bony also has an FPR of 1.00 this year).
Rickie Lambert (Liverpool) 10 Points (One Assist): Lambert’s move to Liverpool this year filled me with sadness because it was always going to mean a downturn in a top end fantasy striking option. However, I still expected him be at least useful this year. Instead, Lambert has played less than 135 minutes (one and a half games!) all season and has only scored above two points once (his solitary assist). His FPR of 0.50 highlights just how rotten he has been for fantasy owners. Right now I am on the verge of dumping him with Sturridge due back soon.
Loic Remy (Chelsea) 10 Points (One Goal): Remy’s fantasy value took a massive hit when he was signed by Chelsea and was made a reserve/bench player who doesn’t stand a chance while Costa is on the field. The advantage Remy owners have over Lambert is that it seems like Remy will be the better half of a time share between himself and Drogba if Costa were to go down. And that job in this Chelsea team is incredibly valuable. Don’t expect him to be as good as Costa if he steps in at any point, but if you own Costa you should try to own Remy as his handcuff just in case.
Danny Ings (Burnley) 6 Points: There was always going to growing pains for Ings and Burnley but I didn’t expect them to be THIS BAD. He was almost a non-entity on the field when he was fit and then he missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. A number of people will have taken a punt on Ings as their number two or three option, and, unfortunately, it is backfiring in spectacular style. You have to hang to him, though, with a return to action coming soon to see if he can turn his form around. But if he doesn’t start impressing soon he’ll become droppable.
High FPR Guys
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) 27 Points, FPR: 1.43 (Two Goals and One Assist): Lukaku’s stats don’t overwhelm on the face of it, and his performances have been fairly ugly at times. However, he has been a regular contributor to fantasy teams and he has 20-plus goal potential, meaning that fantasy owners shouldn’t panic that he isn’t currently a top ten option. Because by the end of the year he should be there or there about (he’s currently two points off 10th!).
Nikica Jelavic (Hull) 31 Points, FPR: 1.43 (Four Goals): Jelavic has really impressed so far this season chipping in with goals when his team have needed some impetuous. The arrival of Hernandez doesn’t seem to have reduced his playing time significantly and the way he has started the year means he should continue to play and be a consistent contributor for your fantasy teams.
Radamel Falcao (Man United) 18 Points, FPR: 1.50 (One Goal, Two Assists): An exciting addition to the Premier League, Falcao has shown glimpses of being the dominant player that he was in Spain, but we haven’t quite seen him hit his straps yet. He scored against Everton and if that kick starts him now is the time to make sure you have some fantasy stocks in Falcao. A potential top five finisher in an exciting team going forward means he has plenty of value.
Wayne Rooney (Man United) 27 Points, FPR: 1.50 (Three Goals, Two Assists): A solid start for the England and United captain came to a screeching halt after a bad tempered kick out saw him receive a red card. That means he missed last week and will miss two more weeks, and this is a risk with Rooney because he does have a short fuse and has been known to lash out and pay the price. That said, this is only his second red in nine Premier League seasons so it probably isn’t worth worrying about too much. However, United have a lot of attacking talent and missing time could easily cost him his starting place if others step up and LvG loses his patience. I still think Rooney will be top ten this year, but he can be frustrating.
Diafra Sakho (West Ham) 29 Points, FPR: 1.60 (Three Goals, One Assist): He didn’t start a game until week 4, but an assist in that week and a goal in each of the three following weeks has made him a top end option for you in fantasy. By now it is unlikely he isn’t owned, but if you can get him cheap then go for it because he looks a really good player.
Low FPR Guys
Didier Drogba (Chelsea) 4 Points, FPR: 0.00: A combined 25 minutes and no goals = no use in fantasy.
Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace) 11 Points, FPR: 0.60 (One Goal): Inconsistent playing time has seen Gayle struggle to be a regular fantasy contributor for you. His value peaked after a goal against Newcastle but since then he has logged just 95 minutes of playing time in four games, including two blanks in weeks 5 & 6. And until he gets regular playing time, his top end potential cannot be recognized for your fantasy team.
Shane Long (Southampton) 9 Points, FPR: 0.29: There just hasn’t been anything to shout about for Long this season. He hasn’t had the role I expected, playing the full 90 minutes just once all year. With Rodriguez coming back I can only see his role decreasing further and is borderline un-ownable for me right now.
Bafétimbi Gomis (Swansea) 7 Points, FPR: 0.40: Hasn’t be able to capitalize on the struggles of Bony and now that Bony has his goal, Monk will give him more chances. Gomis had his chance and has missed it and you could be waiting a while for it to come back.
Good Month Coming?
Itallics = Good Match Up, Underlined = Bad Match Up
Chelsea: Crystal Palace (A), Man United (A), QPR (H), Liverpool (A)
Liverpool: QPR (A), Hull (H), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H)
Swansea: Stoke (A), Leicester (H), Everton (A), Arsenal (H)
West Brom: Man United (H), Crystal Palace (H), Leicester (A), Newcastle (H)
Bad Month Coming?
Crystal Palace: Chelsea (H), West Brom (A), Sunderland (H), Man United (A)
Everton: Aston Villa (H), Burnley (A), Swansea (H), Sunderland (A)
Man United: West Brom (A), Chelsea (H), Man City (A), Crystal Palace (H)
QPR: Liverpool (H), Aston Villa (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H)
Stoke: Swansea (H), Southampton (A), West Ham (H), Tottenham (A)
West Ham: Burnley (A), Man City (H), Stoke (A), Aston Villa (H)
Again, I haven’t included injuries here because of the international break, meaning a lack of news about some players and rapidly changing situations surrounding others. As always any questions come find me on twitter following the link below!