Serie A – Bargain basement performers

We now conclude our first series of examining bargain basement alternatives to those expensive stars most fantasy managers will likely have somewhere in their squads by taking a look at the Italian Serie A, and with the league the newest of the season (having kicked off several weeks after the French Ligue 1, which got the entire game underway) some of the players we will look at here will have played a minimum of one game less than some of those we have looked at previously at the time of writing, but that doesn’t mean that early season form has failed to produce any such lower cost options for our fantasy managers to ponder.

In goal, Juventus stopper Gianluigi Buffon is, perhaps unsurprisingly, leading the way with 160 points and is also the most expensive keeper in the league at €10.50m, but there are some cheaper stoppers with only a relatively slight difference in points to date, with a minimum saving of €3.00m by going for Roma custodian Morgan De Sanctis instead. If that saving isn’t enough for you, however, then fourth placed Norberto Murara Neto of Fiorentina fame may fit the bill – he has 50 points less than Buffon at 110, but would only set you back €2.00m – that’s a great saving of €8.50m, which could certainly offer freedom in other areas of the fantasy pitch. Buffon remains, however, one of the most consistent and reliable performers in Europe, so while this may be an option there would be very few who would blame any of the 3% of fantasy bosses who opted to keep the Italian between their sticks.

In front of the keeper, Juventus have largely dominated which each of the three top points scorers featuring in defence for the Old Lady. Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna have all done well with 150, 120 and 115 points respectively, and each would set you back either €8.00m (Lichtsteiner and Bonucci) or €7.50m (Ogbonna). That is consistent to be sure, but Silivan Widmer would be far from a disastrous alternative. He costs only €3.50m and has earned himself 95 points already, so there is definitely a points hit to take there, but the saving may be enough to include the eventual winner in your squad after all, so the option is there.

As far as midfielders go, the points haven’t exactly racked up at a rocket pace just yet, with Mateo Kovacic (Inter) leading the way on 75 points, with a value of €7.00m. He is, therefore, a good bit cheaper than the most expensive Serie A midfielder (Arturo Vidal, Juventus, €12.50m, 65 points) so Kovacic could be considered a good option. The most noticeable “cheap” player so far would be Roma’s Franco Vázquez, who has 60 points despite costing only €2.50m, so he is definitely one to consider.

Inter striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo leads the way as far as Serie A strikers go, and the forward, on-loan from Premier League outfit Southampton, is relatively cheap already at €5.50m, so it is some wonder that 0% of managers have signed him up already – anyone struggling for points up front should definitely look at him as an option, as he is outperforming team-mate Mauro Icardi. Icardi has 70 points, so he is no pushover but at a value of €7.50m he is surely not quite as attractive a prospect as Osvaldo based on form so far this season. It is still early days in Serie A, even more so than in other leagues, so that could of course change, but these two guys look like far more solid investments than the likes of Juventus striker Carlos Tevez, who has 90 points but costs double Osvaldo’s value at €11.00m. Tevez is also the most owned Serie A-based striker with 3% ownership, so perhaps a swap from the Argentinian to the Argentinian-born Italian international could be a good move at this point.

That concludes this first series of bargain basement stars. The series may be revisited at a later stage of the season once form has settled and teams start to show some definite consistency with regards to where they may end up come the season’s finale, but for now hopefully our fantasy managers out there have some food for thought as to some changes which may, on paper and based on reputation at least, not look like good ones – but ones which will prove fruitful when it comes to points totals as the season progresses. Thanks for reading.

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