This is the week to buck the trend in Fantasy Premier League.
Alvaro Morata’s hamstring injury against Manchester City, and subsequent reports coming out of the Spain camp, saw managers galore dump the £10.2million Chelsea forward from their make-believe teams.
He returned to action against Roma in the Champions League in midweek but his ownership has yet to experience a resurgence – with six goals, two assists and 49 premierleague.com fantasy points to date, is Morata the man to give you the edge in your mini-league as others cut bait?
Hot-shots feel the cold
Football Paradise has combined data on each player’s overall selection percentage with how his popularity is changing over time to produce a “heat score” – ranging from 100 to -100 – and Morata’s -49.3 is coldest in the league.
Just ahead of him is Sergio Aguero (-41.8), also absent recently after a car crash but an unused substitute in Manchester City’s last two games meaning a return is presumably imminent.
Dele Alli (-28.1) has also cooled off after being overshadowed by Tottenham team-mates Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane, but it is only two games since the England playmaker recorded a pair of assists in the win over West Ham.
The Manchester divide has shifted firmly the way of City, with United trio Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly all among the 10 coldest players while their near neighbours dominate the hot list.
City on fire
Pep Guardiola’s league leaders have four players in the top 10 of the heat index, including three of the top four as Gabriel Jesus leads the way at 56.3.
Raheem Sterling, with six goals from midfield including four in as many games, is second on 41 and after Kane (39.5), David Silva and his six assists are at 35.9.
Leroy Sane is seventh but interestingly, FPL managers are still resisting the allure of Kevin De Bruyne despite his thrilling performance and two assists against Stoke last time out.
The two names between Silva and Sane in our top 10 come from the cheaper end of the scale – but think carefully about your next move in the transfer market.
Stephen Ward’s 43 points at only £4.6m represent extraordinary value but a look at another Football Paradise statistical tracker suggests it may not last.
Simulations based on bookmakers’ odds average out to a projected haul of only 2.41 points for Burnley across their next three fixtures, against City, Newcastle and Southampton. The projections give them less than a three per cent chance of beating City, and an 11.5 per cent shot of avoiding defeat, while City’s attack has the potential to decimate any fantasy defence – maybe wait a week before adding to Ward’s heat score of 24.6.
Sixth-placed Tammy Abraham (22.3) has home games against Leicester and Brighton to come as he seeks to build on his brace against Huddersfield – the trip to Arsenal in between is less appealing, but there is reason for optimism over the £5.6m striker.