Fantasy Premier League managers woke up to some tough news this morning, as Alvaro Morata was ruled out for Chelsea’s trip to Huddersfield.
This comes as a blow to a huge amount of Fantasy managers. Morata, at 34.4% ownership, is the 4th most popular player overall and is the second most popular striker. Owned by a tad over 2 million managers, they now face a scamper to rejig their sides and plan around Morata’s injury before Tuesday’s 7:45PM UK deadline.
The obvious move is a move to in-form forward Harry Kane, provided you don’t own him. Kane is as no-brainer of a move as it gets. Assuming you already own him, here’s my thoughts on how managers can replace Morata otherwise.
1. Keep Morata
The best course of action, provided you have the squad depth to do so, is just to bench the Spaniard and keep him. Considering it is said to be a minor back injury, Morata is likely to be back for Southampton’s trip to Chelsea on GW18. With 3 goals and 1 assist in his last 6 games, Morata is still in good form.
With 85 points this season, he is the second highest scoring forward. Considering the options up top are not quite bountiful right now, the wise play could be just to keep. Chelsea’s fixtures are nothing short of phenomenal too. Here’s a look at their next 10 fixtures after Huddersfield.
Chelsea’s kind schedule shows no signs of letting up, so the striker is still a fantastic long-term pick.
This is where your bench strength comes in handy, provided you have a decent enough player to cover for Morata.
2. Romelu Lukaku (£11.3m)
Remember him? The striker who was in everyone’s team’s at the start of the season, but has now become the butt of all jokes. Although Lukaku might be in a frustrating run of form lately, it could very well just be unfortunate luck. Any other day, that late chance against Man City could fly into the back of the net, instead of right at Ederson. The news would then read Lukaku rescues a point for United, instead of costing them potentially a title deciding game. And as we’ve seen with Kane, bad luck can translate to goals at the drop of a hat.
One thing about Lukaku is that he’s extremely predictable. He won’t do much against the bigger sides, but he eats smaller sides for breakfast lunch and dinner. Despite his poor run of form, the Belgian striker still has 8 goals and 3 assists in 11 games, if we exclude games against the top 6. Fortunately for Lukaku, here are United’s fixtures in the next 8 weeks.
Those who owned Lukaku last season for the BOU (H) fixture will have nothing but fond, fond memories. The forward tore apart the Cherries in a 4 goal blitz in a 6-3 victory for Everton, delivering 21 points.
Somehow, a player with 32.2% ownership, the fifth most owned player, feels like a punt.
3. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.3m)
If not Lukaku, the best idea is to invest in a cheaper forward and reinvest the funds in a premium midfielder you don’t own – Salah, Hazard, Coutinho, de Bruyne, Sterling, etc. This is a good ploy with thin pickings in the striker section.
Calvert-Lewin perhaps best serves that idea, coming in at an absolute bargain basement price. Although budget strikers have misfired all season, the young Everton forward seems to be a black sheep. He has now scored 1 and assisted 3 in the last 4 games, and seems to be Sam Allardyce’s striker of choice. The Toffees have great fixtures in the short term too.
Another one to consider in this bracket is Charlie Austin (£6.1m). The Southampton striker is also in top form, having scored 4 goals in his last 4 games. He is also worth considering, though I go for Calvert-Lewin over him considering price and Southampton’s mixed short term fixtures.
I would avoid Aguero, Jesus, Firmino, Lacazette and Vardy as replacements. We’ve seen Guardiola and Klopp being rotation happy with the first 3, and the worst thing you can hope for in the Christmas period is your players missing out. They might score when they play, but it’s simply not worth the hassle. Lacazette falls in the same boat. He often gets hooked off early, and has been on the bench on multiple occasions. Giroud’s impressive form makes it worse. Although Vardy is nailed on, his form against the weaker sides has often been dodgy. He only has 2 goals in his last 10 games.