Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23 – Early Matches


Fiorentina: to nobody’s surprise, Dusan Vlahovic was again Fiorentina’s lone scorer in the past round, notching his seventh goal in the past 11 rounds. Franck Ribery was ruled out late and replaced by Christian Kouame, who had a decent but unfruitful display. With the Freshman still sidelined, that spot is up for grabs between Kouame, Valentin Eysseric and Jose Maria Callejon as neither has really separated himself from the pack. Kouame is the one with the highest break-out potential. Giacomo Bonaventura is coming on as he has posted one goal and one assist in the past four rounds, while Gaetano Castrovilli is continuing his disappearing act even though they rely on him a lot. Cristiano Biraghi (one goal, four helpers) has been a nice weapon throughout the season but he has not picked up bonuses in a long while. Kevin Malcuit and Aleksandar Kokorin would have some value if the coach decided to give him good minutes as they are in dire need of an offensive spark.

Recommended picks: Vlahovic, Bonaventura, Kouame/Biraghi. 

Spezia: the Aquilotti have proven to be very resourceful without their top gun M’Bala Nzola and they downed Milan thanks to the contribution of two first-time scorers in Giulio Maggiore and Simone Bastoni. The midfielder had performed pretty well since reconquering the starting job, but he had yet to have a major flash, while Bastoni, who is suspended for this one, had picked up few assists. Kevin Agudelo has not scored while filling in as false-nine, but he has surely outplayed Andrej Galabinov and he has been a thorn on the opponents’ side with his dynamism. Among their secondary weapons, Emmanuel Gyasi’s stocks are stable as he hit the net two matches ago, Tommaso Pobega’s ones are going down due to lack of minutes, likely for a nagging injury, while Riccardo Saponara is on the rise as he looked comfortable in a supporting role and seems to have already leapfrogged Daniele Verde as Diego Farias replacement. Matteo Ricci is also in a good run of form as well, but his role is pretty limiting.

Recommended picks: Agudelo, Gyasi, Saponara.



Cagliari: they resisted almost until the end versus Atalanta, but mostly because of a gritty defensive performance than for their prowess on the offensive end, as they were held scoreless for the fifth time in the past six matches. Joao Pedro (11 goals) has been the only one to produce in the last couple of months, while Giovanni Simeone and Leonardo Pavoletti are alternating in the center-forward spot, but with meager results. They remain on the radar merely for the importance of their role. Radja Nainggolan would have some potential but he has not been explosive thus far, while Nahitan Nandez plays with more limitations, but they mix things up again tactically with Alfred Duncan in better shape now. Since fullbacks Charalampos Lykogiannis and Gabriele Zappa have been on a downward spiral for a while too, the only other player faring decently has been Razvan Marin.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Marin, Simeone/Pavoletti.

Torino: the last match versus Genoa ended with no goals for either side, while they had bagged three the previous week against Atalanta, with Andrea Belotti (11 goals, five assists) and Simone Bonazzoli (first goal) delivering among their strikers. However, the youngster has not been elevated from his bench role since they coach is leaning more on Simone Zaza (three goals). Simone Verdi is having some success as a super-sub as he set up two teammates in the past three matches, but his potential is a little capped by the scarce minutes. Nobody among their midfielders is popping as Ronaldo Mandragora and Tomas Rincon do not have much of an offensive game and Sasa Lukic and Kevin Linetty, who instead do have a proactive skill-set, have not done much of note for months now. There is some more juice on the flanks, where Wilfried Singo is a force, but he has been a little up-and-down lately, and Cristian Ansaldi is a quality playmaker, but he is splitting time with the more ordinary Nicola Murru.

Recommended picks: Belotti, Zaza/Verdi, Singo.



Lazio: they tried to pull the strings in the Inter clash, but the Nerazzurri successfully worked that against them. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was credited with the goal by some outlets for the deflected free kick that went in, other gave it to Gonzalo Escalante. In the fantasy game, the Serbian powerhouse is up two four goals and seven assists. He has not taken home points just once in the past six matches. Ciro Immobile could not keep up his scoring last week but he has hit the net three times in the past six appearances and 14 total in the season. Luis Alberto has lost some shine due to a physical problem and could need some time to fully regain the tip-top shape, while Joaquin Correa has been very bubbly and contributed in meaningful fashion in two of the past four matches, which is pushing fellow forwards Felipe Caicedo and Vedat Muriqi to the side. Adam Marusic has been a constant presence down the wing throughout the campaign.

Recommended picks: Immobile, Milinkovic-Savic, Correa.

Sampdoria: Keita showed up once again in the Fiorentina contest and he is one of the hottest strikers in the League right now as he has made the stat-sheet three times in the last month. The attack now revolves around him, even though Fabio Quagliarella punished the opponents off the bench, interrupting a seven-match scoring drought. Antonio Candreva and Gaston Ramirez both picked up assists in the past match, the former moving to five in the season (plus four goals), the latter to three. The depth of their front-linemakes it a little harder for fantasy owners as Jakub Jankto (four goals and three assists) and Mikkel Damsgaard are also interesting options, but their playing time is seesawing and not everybody has been able to have a positive impact off the bench, differently from Candreva, Quagliarella and Ernesto Torregrossa, so there is some high risk to swing and miss.

Recommended picks: Keita, Candreva, Quagliarella.



Genoa: they struck out for the first time in three matches in the nil-nil tie with Torino, where both sides were extremely attentive in the defensive phase. Mattia Destro has carried them through their surge, bagging eight goals since mid-December, however he has been kept out the stat-sheet in the past two tilts. Goran Pandev single-handedly took down Napoli two weeks ago, but Eldor Shomurodov (two goals, one assist) has solved his small injury and will likely return to the starting XI in this one, as his partnership with the Italian striker has worked wonders. Marko Pjaca and Gianluca Scamacca are left with very little minutes to work with. In the midfield, Miha Zajc has amassed points in six straights thanks to a combination of clean sheets, assists and a goal. Nicolo Rovella fared well while filling in for Milan Badelj, and he has higher fantasy ceiling, but the coach probably will go back to the wily veteran, who, alongside Kevin Strootman, has been one of the pillars of their recent success with his dirty work and distribution. Davide Zappacosta and Lennart Czyborra have both been very involved and energetic in recent outings, with the former boasting more appeal.

Recommended picks: Destro, Zajc, Shomurodov/Pandev.

Verona: they lost Nikola Kalinic to a muscular problem right before the Parma game, so Kevin Lasagna will lead the front-line for some time. While he has drawn great praise from the coach, he has yet to produce since switching team, or really in the whole season as he was subpar at Udinese. Federico Dimarco propelled them on Monday night but he is suspended for this one. They lose some juice on the flanks since Marco Davide Faraoni (four assists) and Darko Lazovic (one goal, one assist) have not been as stellar as the Italian fullback, but they are both serviceable. Their best player Mattia Zaccagni (six goals, five assists) is back from suspension and will resume leading the charge. Antonin Barak found the target for the fifth time in the season versus the Ducali, the second in the last four matches, as their midfielders are making up for the lack of production from the strikers. Adrien Tameze, Miguel Veloso and Ivan Ilic have less offensive roles but could all be worth a flier.

Recommended picks: Zaccagni, Barak, Lasagna.



Sassuolo: the Neroverdi finally have their top two offensive stars fully functioning and so it is no surprise that they managed to return to winnings ways versus the lowly Crotone. Domenico Berardi bagged the eight goal of his campaign, putting an injury in the rearview mirror, while Francesco Caputo recorded his third in the past four matches thanks to a PK. Filip Djuricic (four goals, two assists) has not amassed many bonuses recently, but he too is faring better than in December. Jeremie Boga is out, so the fourth spot in the front-line is up for grabs between Hamed Traore, Maxime Lopez and Gregoire Defrel, with neither impressing all too much in recent outings. Traore has arguably been the most consistent out of the bunch. Mert Muldur slowly appears to be turning the corner after some quiet months and he is their fullback with the highest upside. Manuel Locatelli is rock-solid but not very active in the final third.

Recommended picks: Caputo, Berardi, Djuricic.

Bologna: Nicola Sansone had been playing well for a stretch and cashed in with an early goal versus Benevento, his first one in the season after a pair of dishes. He has been the top guy on the left flank since Musa Barrow moved to center-forward, a double tweak that has taken minutes away from Rodrigo Palacio and Emanuel Vignato. The Gambian attacker has been insistently feast-or-famine, with some stellar performances but generally following them up with some big duds. He has hit the net five times in the year (two braces) and remains their top scoring option. Riccardo Orsolini is generally faring well but has for some reason landed in the coach’s doghouse, which has benefitted Andreas Skov Olsen, who was not particularly productive to begin with and has not been the same since a significant back injury. Roberto Soriano, their fantasy start for months, has been limited to just one assist in the last nine appearances. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mattias Svanberg carry some middle-of-the-road value.

Recommended picks: Sansone, Barrow, Soriano.

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