Attacking points from the back figure prominently, while there are contrasting fortunes among the cast of potential Gameweek 28 targets. Here’s the Stock Check following Saturday’s events…
On the Rise
Patrick van Aanholt
Once again the Dutchman lived up to his reputation of a Fantasy asset that delivers to fixture, timing his first Crystal Palace goal for the plum home encounter with Middlesbrough. Van Aanholt subsequently paired his strike with a clean sheet and maximum bonus to deliver his second 15-point haul and his fourth double-digit return of the season.
The Eagles face West Brom and a Selhurst Park fixture with Watford to offer Van Aanholt opportunity for further returns, though both are wrapped around a Gameweek 28 blank.
With a toughening schedule to follow, the left-back may well be consigned to a peripheral role in our thinking until the Palace double Gameweek is confirmed.
The big centre-back put himself in the “mixer” at a set-piece and once again reaped the rewards. McAuley fired home from point-blank range after Artur Boruc’s comical attempt to clear Chris Brunt’s corner.
That gifted McAuley his sixth goal of the season, helping him to bonus points for the fourth Gameweek in five.
Meanwhile, Brunt was denied an assist with his delivery spinning off Steve Cook’s back before arriving at McAuley’s feet.
Shifted into a midfield role following the return of Jonny Evans to the defence, Brunt is overdue a return and has fixtures with Palace and Everton before his schedule stiffens considerably.
Seamus Coleman, Romelu Lukaku
Along with McAuley, Coleman has been the star defensive asset over the past month.
His cut-back for Idrissa Gueye’s opening goal for Everton earned him his fourth assist over the last six Gameweeks. Incredibly, Coleman has produced at least a goal, assist or clean sheet in eight of his last nine Gameweeks.
Unlike McAuley and Brunt, Coleman’s run-in continues to offer favourable match-ups, including forthcoming Goodison Park ties with Hull City and Swansea City, with Leicester City, Burnley and Watford also due on Merseyside over the season climax.
As for Lukaku, the striker delivered again to boost his growing reputation as a reliable heavy-hitter asset.
Subject to another price rise overnight, Lukaku’s owners may well be contemplating a temporary switch to Sergio Aguero should Manchester City book their double Gameweek 27. Everton go to Spurs over the next round of fixtures, although given his form, Lukaku would seem well capable of troubling even Mauricio Pochettino’s rearguard.
Pedro, Cesc Fabregas
The Chelsea midfielders have played second fiddle to Eden Hazard over the season, but it was the Spaniards who emerged from the 3-1 win over Swansea City with double-digit returns.
Recalled for the first time since Gameweek 19, Fabregas has now returned two goals and five assists in his last five Premier League starts.
It remains to be seen if his latest performance can cement a starting role: Nemanja Matic would seem likely to be recalled for the away trip to West Ham up next.
As for Pedro, he has lived in Hazard’s shadow all season. Owned by just 7.1% to the Belgian’s 32.9%, the winger has delivered three goals and an assist over his last five Gameweeks and has started five of the last six as he continues to hold off the challenge from Willian.
Fernando Llorente, Gylfi Sigurdsson
Largely overlooked in the shake-up for the missing fixtures in Gameweek 28, the Spanish target man revived his reputation with superbly taken header from another expert Gylfi Sigurdsson delivery.
That was his first strike since the Gameweek 22 brace at Liverpool, ahead of a favourable run of fixtures that sees Burnley arrive in South Wales next weekend, before a Gameweek 28 trip to Hull City.
With Andy Carroll still troubled by a groin problem and Salomon Rondon without a goal since Gameweek 16, Llorente offers the only real compelling option in the low-to-mid price bracket for Gameweek 28.
Meanwhile, Sigurdsson overcame the tough fixture to again deliver for his ownership. The playmaker has now returned a goal or an assist in six of seven starts under Paul Clement and appears to be as near as it gets to an “essential” asset for the Swans forthcoming schedule.
Josh King, Ryan Fraser
Although Bournemouth suffered another damaging defeat, the performances of King and Fraser did not go unnoticed.
The latter was a livewire throughout, earning the assist for King’s first-half penalty, he was awarded the maximum bonus points in the 2-1 reverse.
The 4.8 priced budget option, Fraser has started the last eight Gameweeks on the left-flank, earning four assists, two goals and five bonus points.
As for King, he underlined his potential as an “out of position” prospect by stroking home the Cherries’ early spot-kick. Assuming duties with Junior Stanislas out of favour and Callum Wilson sidelined, King is on the cusp of a price rise ahead of Bournemouth’s Gameweek 28 fixture with West Ham.
Deployed in the striker’s role, or shifted to a No 10 position when Benik Afobe is introduced, King has supplied four goals in five Gameweek starts and will surely be vital over the season run-in if Eddie Howe’s side are to stave off the threat of relegation.
While the Watford skipper will remain overlooked due to Watford’s indifferent form and their blank in Gameweek 28, Deeney has nonetheless now scored in four of his last five Gameweeks, with ten bonus points accrued in that spell.
Favourable fixtures to follow the blank, right up to the potential Gameweek 34 doubles, could yet see Deeney make a contribution to our season.
After failing to return a goal or an assist in his previous six Gameweeks, Phillips further disappointed his 19.5% ownership by sitting out the plum home fixture with Bournemouth.
Post-match, West Brom boss Tony Pulis confirmed that the winger had been sidelined with a hamstring strain which would see him undergo scans later next week.
A doubt for the meeting with Palace in Gameweek 27, Phillips continued to be cursed by heavy Fantasy Premier League sales overnight, shedding over 16,000 owners – more than any other asset – overnight.
Given the Baggies’ toughening fixtures to come following the Gameweek 28 blanks, Phillips stock may now struggle to recover.
Having failed to train prior to the trip to Watford, it was no surprise to see the Hammers striker miss out.
Still troubled by a nagging groin injury, manager Slaven Bilic was keen to offer reassurance ahead of the Gameweek 27 derby clash with Chelsea. But with Michail Antonio suspended for that encounter, there is a risk that Carroll could now be hurried into a return.
Bilic has stressed that he expects Carroll to be in contention, although given recent concerns, the striker remains risky cover of the Gameweek 28 blank.
Carroll faces a plum trip to Bournemouth over that weekend and having him fit and available for that tie would certainly be a priority for his modest 3.7% ownership.
Our headline act in the Gameweek 26 Differentials, Hull City’s fleet-footed winger was another unforeseen absentee.
Markovic missed out with a minor injury sustained in training prior to the visit of Burnley, with manager Hull head coach Marco Silva optimistic on the Serb’s return for visit to Leicester City next time out.
He could still be a factor in our thinking for Gamweek 28, then, with the Tigers enjoying a potentially profitable home meeting with Swansea City.
Another asset earmarked as a potential budget solution for Gameweek 28, the Burnley striker saw red in the KCOM Stadium stalemate to rule him out of next weekend’s trip to Swansea.
Having started ten successive league outings, Barnes could yet remain in our thinking for Burnley’s visit to Liverpool in Gameweek 28, but is far from a priority signing.
Sam Vokes will likely come in for the Liberty Stadium visit to stake a claim to oust Barnes from the Clarets’ starting XI.