Despite Michail Antonio’s (£6.6m) recent form, West Ham’s fixture swing means I am considering who to replace him with for Double Gameweek 25.
In Double Gameweek 19 he delivered 18 points for managers who decided to gamble on his fitness but there are alternatives with better fixtures now and I think this is the correct timing to part ways with Antonio.
So, in this article, I will take a deep look at the pros and cons of the players I identified as the best Antonio replacements and the two possible strategies I am considering. But first, a quick recap of how Gameweek 24 affected my team and my overall ranking…
DOUBLE GAMEWEEK 24 REVIEW
As an alternative, I considered getting Danny Ings (£8.4m) for Antonio, who was recovering from injury and was considered a doubt for his home match against Sheffield United. I decided against this option because it was too risky to sell Antonio ahead of such an easy fixture and I wanted one more week to assess several forwards before deciding who would be the best option to replace the West Ham striker.
Regardless of how impressive Antonio has been lately, a lack of Double Gameweeks coupled with tough fixtures and recurrent injuries, means he is one of the weakest links in my team at the moment. Considering that his ownership in the top 10k was roughly 60% in Double Gameweek 24, I assume many other Fantasy managers are in the same boat, so let’s take a closer look at some of the best forwards available right now.
HARRY KANE (£11.0m) – The main appeal of Kane is the strong possibility of an excellent Double Gameweek 26, when Tottenham Hotspur will face Burnley (home) and probably either Fulham (away) or Southampton (home). Many managers are already planning on using their triple captain chip on the Spurs striker and it will be a scary proposition to go without such an explosive asset when his ownership will be so big.
However, in my case, going for Kane is only possible if I decide to downgrade one of Mohamed Salah (£12.6m), Bruno Fernandes (£11.5m) or Son Heung-min (£9.5m), which is something I am reluctant to do. After all, these three players will also probably play twice in Gameweek 26 and every single one of them can easily outscore Kane. All in all, I do not think I am willing to perform major surgery in my squad just to fit Kane in unless, of course, some of my players get injured between now and the Gameweek 26 deadline.
JAMIE VARDY (£10.1m) – Just like Kane, Vardy might be a bit too expensive to fit into my plans without compromising the rest of my squad too much but after watching another stellar performance from the Leicester City legend at the King Power Stadium against Liverpool, in which he accumulated an impressive total of 1.27 expected goals (xG) from five shots, he deserves at least to be considered for the third spot in my forward line.
However, with two away matches against Aston Villa and Brighton in either side of a potential Double Gameweek 26, there is not much else in favour of Vardy other than his impressive display against the defending champions. Will he and the Foxes be able to carry their form going forward? It is impossible to know and I think I am not willing to pay Vardy’s hefty price to find out when there are several other cheaper options with better short-term fixtures.
DANNY INGS – There is a decent chance that Southampton will have two Double Gameweeks in the near future and possibly even three. As usual, whenever the Saints’ schedule looks appealing, Ings is the player to target considering how miles ahead he is in terms of attacking threat when compared to any of his teammates. Che Adams (£5.8m) was a notable exception in the first half of this season but he does not seem to be nailed anymore so everyone’s attention is back on Ings.
Looking at his schedule and the possibility of several Double Gameweeks, it is hard to argue against Ings as an option but in 2020/21, he hasn’t quite reached his levels of last season, both in underlying statistics and actual output. However, his form seems to be improving after three good performances in the last few weeks (including a goal in the FA Cup at the Molineux Stadium) and he is someone I am strongly considering as my Antonio replacement.
DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN (£7.7m) – After missing the last two matches due to injury and with the Merseyside derby scheduled for Saturday, Calvert-Lewin is not on my plans for Gameweek 25. Although, there is the option of benching Antonio this Gameweek and then getting the Toffees’ striker for his possibly amazing Double Gameweek 26, in which he will have two great opportunities to add more goals to his already impressive tally of 13 for the season.
There is also the chance he will get another Double Gameweek before Gameweek 29 and if it is confirmed, it will be hard to ignore the young Everton star.
PATRICK BAMFORD (£6.9m) AND OLLIE WATKINS (£6.5m) – They would be my top priorities to replace Antonio if they were not in my team already. Bamford will be my captain this week and I am happy to hold Watkins given his kind pricing and the fact that he always plays 90 minutes for an exciting Aston Villa team.
If I decide to sell Antonio this week, Ings seems to be the obvious choice. Kane and Vardy would require a downgrade elsewhere and Calvert-Lewin has a tough fixture at Anfield Road while Ings plays twice and the match against Leeds United on Tuesday seems destined for goals.
However, I am not sure Ings is the best option to hold after Gameweek 25, so there is still the possibility that I decide to keep (and probably bench) Antonio one more week and then switch him to Calvert-Lewin, Kane or Vardy ahead of Double Gameweek 26.
This will be a late decision for me, since there is still the chance that future Double Gameweeks are officially announced before Friday’s deadline. At the same time, press conferences can always throw some curveballs at us, so it is hard to know what the best course of action is at the moment I am writing this article.
If I would have to guess, I would say it is likely I will gamble with Ings this week and then try to switch him next week to Calvert-Lewin but, as we know, planning transfers beyond the current Gameweek rarely works so I will have to give this option a bit more thought.
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