Allsvenskan’s highest-scoring defender, Aslak Fonn Witry, will likely be out for a couple of weeks at least following the calf muscle that meant he missed the third gameweek of the new season.
Djurgården right-back Witry’s two-goal performance against Östersunds in GW2 means he remains top of the pile for points scored by defenders despite not even making the squad against Göteborg.
However, his estimation to Fotbollskanalen that he will probably be out for two weeks – and subsequent admission it is impossible to know when he will be back training, let alone playing again – is a major problem for the 32.6% of Fantasy managers Witry in their squads.
Managers who decide to twist, rather than stick, face a nasty question. Who to replace the 5.1m man?
Plenty will be tempted to look to the big hitters so far. These including the leading AIK options, if you aren’t already stocked up. Per Karlsson (6.5m) and Karol Mets (6.1m) have 17 points apiece. But you’ll need cash in the bank to upgrade to these from Witry, who started the season at 5.0m.
So, let’s move away from the premium options, and aim for something more like-for-like. Here are three different but equally valid 5m (or cheaper) options, ordered by current popularity within the game, and with a trio of quick-fire alternatives at the bottom.
Total points: 13
Selected by: 12.3%
Helped by a clean sheet against AIK in GW1 and a goal in GW2, Isherwood has been snapped up by many new managers and his price is already 0.2m higher than the start of the year. Yet against Malmö, the 21-year-old former Bayern Munich youngster picked up a measly point. So, was it a false dawn?
Perhaps not. Isherwood was frustratingly close to two defensive bonus points. Even in his ‘worst’ week so far, he could easily have ended it with three points to his name. As we’ll see throughout this piece, it highlights the value of defenders who can return without returning in the traditional sense, thanks to defensive and offensive bonus points in Allsvenskan.
Isherwood’s fixtures now take a nice for the better. Elfsborg and Helsingborg travel to Östersunds over the next three gameweeks, with Isherwood and his team-mates heading to Eskilstuna, where they will be eyeing attacking returns, in between.
Total points: 20
Selected by: 7.1%
Just one point behind Witry, the same price and with two goals in three games. Perfect, right? Larson has enjoyed a fine start to the season. He has started with a goal and clean sheet vs Kalmar and scored against vs Eskilstuna.
But can he be relied upon for regular returns? Three home matches in the next four bodes reasonably well for short-term form, even though the first of those, against Malmö, will be a stern defensive test. Then it’s away to Falkenberg, home to Elfsborg and home to Göteborg.
The fact that the Sirius stalwart has three goals in his previous SEVEN seasons for Sirius suggest his impressive start is likely to prove an anomaly. However, that start is also in keeping with Sirius proving very attacking minded in their opening matches. Attractive fixtures could help his candle burn brightly for a little longer yet.
Total points: 16
Selected by: 2.5%
My personal favourite, albeit one I am not looking at bringing in for a points hit this week.
Aliti looks like he has the makings of a bonus point machine, and that could make him a powerful asset in the Allsvenskan game.
Aliti has 16 points despite no clean sheets. He bagged two assists in GW3 against Norrköping, has five defensive bonus points from a possible six and a couple of attacking ones too.
The obvious downside is Kalmar look poor defensively. The upsides are their fixtures look decent – Sundsvall (A), Göteborg (H), Örebro (A) and Östersunds (H) – Aliti doesn’t need defensive returns to produce for you, and at 2.5% he’s a tasty differential.
Fixtures are the only reason Simon Sandberg (5.1m) doesn’t sneak into the ‘top three’ picks here. The Hammarby right back has an assist, two separate offensive bonus points and a defensive bonus point to his name already. Up to 18.7% ownership already, he could conceivably enjoy a double-figure return against Eskilstuna before things get tougher against Malmö and local rival Djurgårdens.
Kadir Hozic (4.5m) is an option to consider if you want to go even cheaper than Isherwood. The 7.5%-owned AFC Eskilstuna left back has 13 points despite no defensive returns, thanks to an assist, two offensive bonuses and quartet of defensive bonuses. His fixtures are not hugely encouraging though, with trips to Hammarby, Häcken and AIK in the next four.
Back-to-back assists put Adam Eriksson (5.0m) in the picture with 12 points from three games. But other reasons for the Helsingborg man are a little thin on the ground thanks to his teams unconvincing defensive form (no clean sheets) and his aversion to bonus points.
Are any of the above on your radar already?
Have you spotted someone else to fill the Witry-shaped gap in your team?
Or are you going to keep him on the bench in the hope his price remains fairly stable and that his return is as swift as he’s suggested?
I’ll keep scouring the various news sources here in Sweden for squad news and sharing them – plus price changes, statistics and more analytical thoughts – on site in the comments section and on Twitter.