Every week, we at Daily Fantasy Focus analyse the big hitters and wide misses of the weekend’s Premier League action.
Odion Ighalo (Watford)
GW6 PlayON Points: 3,300
PlayON Price: £7.4m
With all the excitement surrounding rising maverick talents like Dimitri Payet and Riyad Mahrez, it’s easy to forget about the sleeper success of recently promoted Watford.
Watching Watford however, is much like watching an indie film at your local Odeon – i.e not hugely entertaining, but you can see merit in what they’re trying to do.
The Hornets’ very own Odion – Ighalo – is a star in his own right however, and has rightfully earned his imprint on the daily fantasy football walk of fame – that being DailyFantasyFocus’ Champs and Chumps.
Watford don’t play thrillingly expansive football: they keep it disciplined, compact and counter like a sucker punch. Ighalo is central to that and has arguably been the Premier League’s standout forward – Anthony Martial notwithstanding – over the past few Gameweeks with three goals in his last two games from eight attempts on goal and a total of four league goals overall.
With Troy Deeney supporting him with three assists already this campaign, the Nigerian international looks an increasingly valuable asset at £7.4m.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
GW6 PlayON Points: 2,750
PlayON Price: £8.4m
As highlighted previously, hardly a week goes by without Daily Fantasy Focus singing the praises of this man. In truth we have little choice.
The Algerian’s rise to prominence this season has been nothing short of breathtaking. In fantasy terms he’s attained the rank of undroppable – he is simply put, a necessary fixture in every line-up.
He claimed another goal (a penalty) and an assist in a 2-2 draw away to Stoke in Gameweek 6 and this two for one threat is something that runs throughout his opening six games this season.
As a midfield goalscorer, Mahrez has far outshone the marquee names of Alexis Sanchez (31 attempts, o goals), Coutinho (28, 1) and Yaya Toure (24, 1) with a superb turnover of five goals from 19 efforts. Furthermore, as a creative force, he’s set up three goals from a total of 15 key passes – a ratio that outshines leading chance-maker (chancer?), Santi Cazorla who claims just one assist from 23 opportunities made.
The Foxes star is without doubt firing on all cylinders, so don’t bet against him burning Arsenal in Gameweek 7.
Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
GW6 PlayON Points: 2,120
PlayON Price: £7.8m
When Kurt Zouma towered over a hapless Arsenal defence to power home a commanding header at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, John Terry looked on in delight, clapping at the sight of his apprentice hacking down those North London upstarts.
The whole scenario was eerily reminiscent of the climax of Return of the Jedi – to this writer at least. But does that mean Zouma’s Darth Vader will soon topple Terry’s Emperor Palpatine to his demise and restore order to Chelsea’s central defence?
Zouma has generally played a bit-part role in this Chelsea team, filling in where he’s asked to, but we may now see him as the nailed-on partner to the man in the plastic mask, Gary Cahill. The defence looked immeasurably better with him at the heart of it but it’s likewise important to bear in mind that Arsenal’s attack was remarkably toothless on this occasion.
At £7.8m the Frenchman is a bargain acquisition and should he continue as a Blues starter, their next opponents Newcastle are likely to get even less of a look in than they normally would.
Kevin Mirallas (Everton)
GW6 PlayON Points: -505
PlayON Price: £8.8m
The Belgian winger is a very gifted player and on his day can tear any defence in the league asunder. However, the mercurial form, taste for controversy and ill-discipline are starting to grate in reality and the fantasy football world.
Mirallas was on the pitch just two minutes before lunging into a rash stamp on Modou Barrow in the dying minutes of a Swansea-Everton damp squib.
The 27 year old received a straight red for his brainless trouble and has ruled himself out of contention for the next three games as a result.
As the lowest scoring player of PlayON points in Gameweek 6, Kevin Mirallas is the receiver of this week’s Chump gold standard.
GW6 PlayON Points: -75
PlayON Price: £6.9m
Gabriel was featured as a standout and emerging defensive option in last weeks’ edition and as is often bizarrely the case, he’s plummeted into infamy this week.
The Brazilian may have had his suspension overturned following dismissal against Chelsea but that doesn’t exonerate him from the ridiculous scenario he found himself in. A Portuguese lip reader could probably recant the mountain of expletives shared between Gabriel and Diego Costa but the vitriol and rising temper was plain to see.
In the end, Gabriel was drawn in by and fell victim to Costa’s skulduggery and as a result was a significant contributing factor towards Arsenal’s eventual defeat.
The Gabriel-Koscielny partnership certainly holds potential as an effective defensive duo but fantasy managers should consider the Brazlian’s hot headed nature when it comes to the big games.
Diego Costa (Chelsea)
GW6 PlayON Points: 535
PlayON Price: £14.4m
Look away if you’ve had enough of that Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal clash, unfortunately it dominates proceedings here too.
Diego Costa has just received a three match ban for violent conduct in the wake of his performance at Stamford Bridge last Saturday.
His constant poking, prodding, slapping, spitting, moaning and abusing was deemed unacceptable by the authorities in hindsight and he’s now paying the price.
The Brazilian-born Spain striker may be effective in distracting and baiting opposition players but he’s cost his team his actual goalscoring services for a potentially costly run of games.
That said, Costa hasn’t exactly been worth his total outlay of £14.4m in PlayON this season. The striker has claimed just one goal from a startlingly low 11 attempts – 15th among Premier League strikers – despite having more time with the ball – 40 touches, fourth among forwards – than the vast majority of his contemporaries.
Statistics aside, Costa looks to be lugging around a bit of extra weight and is lacking a killer edge as a result.
Fantasy managers will have to make do without the merchant of wind-up as an option for the next three Gameweeks, but on current form that’s no bad thing.