Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round One


Fiorentina: despite not changing all that much, the Viola have brought in some new interesting pieces during the transfer market window, such as Sofyan Amrabat, who is suspended in this one, Giacomo Bonaventura and Cristiano Biraghi, who seems poised to stay after a solid season at Inter. However, their coach and attack are the same, which means we can expect something akin to what happened in the restart, where Franck Ribery and Gaetano Castrovilli served as the main playmakers, Federico Chiesa was the most consistent scorer, while Christian Kouame, Dusan Vlahovic and Patrick Cutrone, all capable but otherworldly strikers, fight for one spot. The ex-Genoa forward seems to have separated himself from the pack a little during the summer. Bonaventura is supremely sneaky.

Suggested picks: Chiesa, Ribery, Kouame.

Torino: the Granata instead hired a new gaffer, Marco Giampaolo, and probably need some more signings to be whole. Karol Linetty, Cristian Rodriguez and Mergim Vojvoda will be useful, but only the first one carries some mid-range fantasy value. Andrea Belotti will continue to be the tip of the spear like in the last few years, and Simone Zaza starts off as the favorite to partner him, and he was solid in the resumption, while they will go with a committee at the pivotal no.10 spot. Simone Verdi is the first in line but has generally struggled centrally, Alex Berenguer featured a lot there in the pre-season, while Iago Falque, who is the best suited, has half a foot out of the club and might not seen much run at the beginning. Verdi and Berenguer have potential to pick up bonuses but it is an unclear situation for now. Soualiho Meite has more value as box-to-box, but he is not a lock to start.

Suggested picks: Belotti, Zaza, Verdi.


Verona: the Scaligeri lost a lot of bodies during the summer, either due to transfers or because they were on loan. Furthermore, two of their key guys, Darko Lazovic and Mattia Zaccagni, are currently nursing small injuries and unlikely to be available. They will have to work hard on the transfer market and in this one they have no alternative but to go with one, if not two, pure strikers, something Milan Juric is very reluctant to do. That means that Samuel Di Carmine gets the greenlight. Marco Benassi, who can be a prolific for a midfielder, could move up in the formation, then they will maybe field a youngster or one more midfielder. Antonin Barak fits in well with what they do, but he joined very late. They brought back Federico Dimarco, who was more than decent last season and has a very good left foot and Marco Faraoni is coming off a very strong campaign, so they remain a treat on the wings even without Lazovic.

Suggested picks: Di Carmine, Benassi, Faraoni.

Roma: the elephant in the room for Roma Edin Dzeko’s as he might be spared over the weekend if the deal with Juventus advances, with Carles Perez likely taking his place, while the replacement might not be ready to play. They unfortunately will have to move forward again without Nicolò Zaniolo, who tore his ACL with Italy: it is a bummer, but they have done it for most of last season and they signed Pedro. They had few COVID-19 cases that slowed down the pre-season preparation, but their fantasy linchpins Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Jordan Veretout were unaffected. Leonardo Spinazzola will no longer have to compete with Aleksandar Kolarov and he can be a force if they stick with 3-4-2-1. Bruno Peres finished last season on a tear, but he missed a lot of practice time after testing positive.

Suggested picks: Mkhitaryan, Dzeko/Perez, Pellegrini.


Parma: the Ducali appointed a new coach, Fabio Liverani, but the squad has stayed the same, even though it could benefit, fantasy-wise, from a more offensive-minded approach. Roberto Inglese went through the pre-season preparation without physical hiccups and he could be poised for a bounce-back season after an injury-ravaged one. It also seems like the gaffer is keen on fielding him and last year’s top scorer Andreas Cornelius together, so there will not be any bothersome dualism. Gervinho is iffy due to muscle fatigue and they will also be without Jasmin Kurtic, who is suspended. They plan to play with a no.10, Gervinho in most cases: if he could not go, Juraj Kucka or Hernani will fill in. The former bagged six goals last season, the latter is a strong shooter. The box-to-box midfielders had plenty of opportunities to attack in Liverani’s Lecce.

Suggested picks: Inglese, Cornelius, Kucka.

Napoli: the Partenopei pulled off arguably the biggest deal of the summer by acquiring Victor Osimhen from Lille so, while they are pretty stacked offensively, they should rely on him a lot from the get-go. They have not properly replaced José Callejon yet and it is possible that, to avoid what happened in the past few years with Arkadiusz Milik, Dries Mertens will move to the right flank to field the top three forwards together, the remaining obviously being Lorenzo Insigne, to have more firepower. Gennaro Gattuso tested a more aggressive formation at length, but it is likely to be just a part-time solution. Matteo Politano and Andrea Petagna will have to fight for minutes. Fabian Ruiz and Piotr Zielinski often pull the strings, but they have not produced all that much last season. Parma are unlikely to be as stingy as in 2019/2020.

Suggested picks: Osimhen, Mertens, Insigne.


Genoa: the Grifone is in the midst of a complete overhaul, but it is not complete yet and so far has brought limited changes to their front-line. They switched the coach, former Cagliari Rolando Maran is now at the helm, but not the formation, which will remain 3-5-2 with heavy emphasis on the flank game. They are looking for another guy on the right wing, but in the short-term Paolo Ghiglione is a fine choice thanks to his crossing. They brought back to Italy a very interesting attacking midfielder in Miha Zajc, who shined at Empoli two years ago and could be a big boost given their lack of punch there last year. Antonio Sanabria and Iago Falque left after the loan spells, so their biggest weapons for now are Goran Pandev, Andrea Pinamonti, Mattia Destro and Andrea Favili, which is meh at best. Domenico Criscito feasted on PKs in the past campaign.

Suggested picks: Pandev, Pinamonti, Zajc.

Crotone: the Pitagorici will not be Lecce-like in terms of offensive production, but they do play an interesting brand of football, the matter for them is whether they will hold up defensively. Simy is coming off two glorious years in Serie B and he will lead them scoring-wise, aided by two peppy players like Junior Messias and Emmanuel Riviere. Ahmad Benali figures to be a very intriguing option out of the midfield, and he did well few years back at Pescara in a similar situation, but he is currently nursing a calf injury. They signed few new players there, so the depth chart is not very clear: Giovanni Crociata and Milos Vulic will be the most involved in the final third out of the bunch. Andrea Rispoli is perfectly suited for their tactic.

Suggested picks: Simy, Riviere, Crociata.


Sassuolo: the Neroverdi have so far been able to hold onto all their core players and that is impressive, so they will continue building on the strong stuff they showed in the second half of last season. Francesco Caputo and Domenico Berardi are viable picks in any round, while Jeremie Boga is having a hard time shaking COVID and is unlikely to be a factor in the first two or three weeks. Lukas Haraslin has been hit-and-miss, maybe they will opt to use both Filip Djuricic and Hamed Traore together with one adapting to the flank: they were both excellent in the restart. Giacomo Raspadori could be the wild card. Fullbacks Mert Muldur and Rogerio were on fire in the last games of the previous campaign.

Suggested picks: Caputo, Berardi, Djuricic.

Cagliari: new manager Eusebio Di Francesco will make his debut against the team where he first emerged. The Sardinians kept their stars as well, Nahitan Nandez and Joao Pedro in particular, and added enticing pieces like Riccardo Sottil and Razvan Marin, who could both turn out to be fantasy options. The tactic will be different and that could affect Pedro, who is supposedly starting off as left winger, but he may not take that big of a hit. Giovanni Simeone had an unusual consistency in the resumption, it remains to be seen whether he can keep it up. Marko Rog and Nahitan Nandez will have more freedom to cut than in the Walter Zenga era and the loss of Radja Nainggolan opened up a hole that will need to be somehow filled.

Suggested picks: Simeone, Pedro, Nandez.


Juventus: the Bianconeri went through a seismic shift on the bench, picking rookie coach Andrea Pirlo, and the product on the pitch is supposedly going to be a mix between the half-baked ideas of Maurizio Sarri and Massimiliano Allegri’s ones. Despite their relative struggles last season, they were an elite offensive team and Cristiano Ronaldo put up his best numbers in years. The new centre-forward has yet to arrive, but the Portuguese ace will undoubtedly remain their top dog. He will be supported by last season’s revelation Dejan Kulusevki, who is slated to have a big role right away because Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi are hurt and Douglas Costa is not 100 percent. They shored up the midfield with Arthur and Weston McKennie, but the most noteworthy development from the fantasy standpoint would be an Aaron Ramsey renaissance. Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro will be heavily featured in the early going.

Suggested picks: Ronaldo, Kulusevski, Cuadrado.

Sampdoria: they took their swell times in completing their transfers and they will therefore start the season with the same roster, which is solid but not overly exciting, and lost a key piece in Karol Linetty. Fabio Quagliarella will continue to lead the charge, likely flanked by Federico Bonazzoli, who will look to continue progressing. Gaston Ramirez is uncertain to stay and might not feature in the first matches while that is sorted, instead Manolo Gabbiadini has been bothered by an abdominal injury in the pre-season. They lack some playmaking in the midfield, as Morten Thorsby, Jakub Jankto and Fabio Depaoli are decent but need somebody that directs traffic and gets them going. Valerio Verre is back in town after a good campaign at Verona, but their current scheme does not help him much.

Suggested picks: Quagliarella, Bonazzoli, Jankto.


Milan: in the end, the Rossoneri opted for continuity and retained Stefano Pioli, who saved his job with a splendid run in June and July. They have only touched up the roster, so the high points are intact: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu, who were often able to stuff the stat-sheet in 2019/2020. The final piece of the puzzle will be either Samu Castillejo, Alexis Saelemaekers or newcomer Brahim Diaz. Sandro Tonali was a great purchase, and he dished out few assists at Brescia, but he will have to work his way up the ladder since the Ismael Bennacer-Franck Kessie combo worked out so well. Theo Hernandez is gearing up for another strong year.

Suggested picks: Ibrahimovic, Rebic, Calhanoglu.

Bologna: the Felsinei stayed the same as well and that is not bad news at all, even though they could use one more striker so they will no need to count as much on 38-year-old Rodrigo Palacio. Musa Barrow will be asked to confirm himself after scoring nine goals in half a season last year, while Riccardo Orsolini will try to make the final leap avoid some bumps in the road that dinged up a little in the past few months. Roberto Soriano and Nicola remain okay, but only secondary options. Takehiro Tomiyasu is supposedly moving to centre-back, which hurts his stocks, so for now the fullback to target is Mitchell Dijks. Jerdy Schouten and Nicolas Dominguez are up-and-coming, but their role is primarily defensive.

Suggested picks: Barrow, Orsolini, Palacio. 

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