This regular series puts the spotlight on three players whose ownership in Fantasy Premier League is below 5% – or in one case this week, just slightly above it.
We’ve looked at a defender, a midfielder and a forward with appealing matches this weekend as well as guaranteed fixtures in Blank Gameweeks 31 and 33.
Michail Antonio (£6.8m)
FPL ownership: 1.6%
There was a mad rush on Felipe Anderson (£7.2m) ahead of West Ham’s match against Fulham in Gameweek 27, with Fantasy managers also perhaps having one eye on the weeks ahead when snapping the Brazilian up – the Hammers have guaranteed fixtures in Blank Gameweeks 31 and 33 as well as some appealing matches beforehand.
While Anderson has struggled for form (one assist in nine matches), his team-mate Michail Antonio (£6.8m) has quietly been more impressive.
Antonio has two goals, one assist and two bonus points in the last four Gameweeks.
The former Nottingham Forest midfielder has started 11 of the last 12 Premier League matches and while the return to fitness of Manuel Lanzini (£6.4m) and Samir Nasri (£5.3m) is perhaps cause for concern, both those players shared game-time in the “number ten” role – rather than wide on the right, where Antonio generally plays – on Wednesday evening in Manchester.
When filtered by last six home matches, only three midfielders – all of them premium ones – have recorded more shots in the box than Antonio.
Antonio’s ability in the air could also be an advantage when Newcastle visit the London Stadium on Saturday: Antonio has recorded more headed goal attempts than any other FPL midfielder when again filtered by last six home matches.
The Magpies, meanwhile, have conceded more headed chances than all Premier League teams bar Burnley this season.
Jamie Vardy (£8.8m)
FPL ownership: 5.3%
We’ve slightly bent the rules on this one.
Jamie Vardy‘s FPL ownership was hovering just below the 5% mark at the planning stage of this article but a modest number of inbound transfers has tipped him over the edge of our usual cut-off point for differentials.
The impact of Claude Puel’s exit is still yet to be fully determined but there was seemingly no love lost between the now-departed Frenchman and Vardy, with the Leicester City striker having previously said Puel’s style didn’t suit him.
Similarly, we are yet to see how the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as Leicester manager affects Vardy’s output.
The “new manager bounce” could be the catalyst for Vardy’s renaissance as a Fantasy asset, however, with the ex-England striker having previously enjoyed a purple patch (five goals in as many matches) when Craig Shakespeare replaced another alleged “adversary” in Claudio Ranieri in February 2017.
Vardy, indeed, was on the scoresheet against Brighton on Tuesday night in Mike Stowell’s sole game in charge.
Certainly, Leicester have some appealing fixtures ahead, starting with a trip to a Watford side that rank in the bottom five for attempts on goal, shots in the box and big chances conceded over the last six Gameweeks.
The Foxes also avoid any of the “big six” from now until Gameweek 36 and have guaranteed fixtures in Blank Gameweeks 31 and 33.
Vardy’s underlying stats aren’t great over the last six Gameweeks but the calibre of the Foxes’ opposition (Liverpool, Manchester United, Spurs) and the Leicester striker’s benching at Wembley have to be taken into account.
Only two FPL forwards have been presented with more “big chances” than Vardy in 2018/19.
James Tarkowski (£4.7m)
FPL ownership: 4.4%
Burnley’s eight-match unbeaten run came to an end on Tuesday night but there is little argument that the Clarets have massively improved following their well-documented struggles earlier this season.
Over the last nine Gameweeks, only four clubs have shipped fewer goals than Sean Dyche’s side.
Just five sides have allowed fewer big chances in that time.
Burnley now have three home matches in the next four Gameweeks – one of which is in Blank Gameweek 31.
Tarkowski recorded three attempts on goal on Tyneside in midweek: Shane Duffy (£4.7m) is the only FPL defender who has registered more shots in the box over the last six Gameweeks.
Only three FPL assets in any position (let alone defence) have registered more efforts than Tarkowski from inside the opposition six-yard box this season.