Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 24 – Late Games


Crotone: as expected the Juventus clash proved to be too hard for them to overcome, even though Junior Messias got few shots off and Adam Ounas tried to get something going with his mazing runs. The duo will lead the way again here in a much easier fixture. Messias has bagged seven goals thus far, while Ounas scored on his second appearance with the Squali and will be facing his former team, which did not trust him too much. Samuel Di Carmine has quickly unseated Simy but has not really shined thus far. The coach initially tweaked his system in the past game, but the changes were not that profound. Salvatore Molina returned from a lengthy absence and he was dynamic early in the season (one goal, four assists). Milos Vulic has not made the stat-sheet but he has been very busy over the last couple of matches and could be due. Left-back Arkadiusz Reca (one goal, three helpers) has been one of their most consistent players.

Recommended picks: Ounas, Messias, Vulic.

Cagliari: after a never-ending crisis, they fired Eusebio Di Francesco and appointed Leonardo Semplici. They have been sputtering for a long while on offense and the new coach is pretty conservative so there probably will not a turnaround from the fantasy standpoint, but they could certainly use a shot in the arm. Joao Pedro (11 points, two assists) has been their only reliable weapon throughout the season, while Giovanni Simeone and Leonardo Pavoletti have alternated with little success. The real Radja Nainggolan has yet to show up, while Nahitan Nandez and Razvan Marin are both in decent form, but Pedro their only player to score for months now. The new system could give a very big role to the wing-backs Gabriele Zappa and Charalampos Lykogiannis given how much Semplici’s SPAL teams relied on the flank game.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Marin, Nandez.



Inter: Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku did it again, sinking Milan in the Derby with a majestic performance. El Toro, in particular, had a brace and was uncontainable with the ball on his feet: he has hit the net four times in the past four matches, while the big Belgian five in the same stretch. In this round they will not have their usual third option Achraf Hakimi due to disqualification and his possible replacements Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young are not as threatening. On the other hand, Ivan Perisic has improved a lot in recent matches and he is coming off a two-assist match, arguably his finest display of the season, and they will probably rely on him more. Christian Eriksen is on the rise as well, however he has yet to crack the box-score with a goal or an assist. Their other key midfielders Niccolò Barella and Marcelo Brozovic have instead had more success in those areas, but not a great deal of continuity.

Recommended picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Perisic.

Genoa: Mattia Destro has inevitably lost some steam as he was keeping a furious pace scoring-wise, but Eldor Shomurodov picked up the slack in the past fixture, bagging the third goal of his campaign. He had ceded minutes due to a thigh injury, but it is safe to assume he will be back in the XI in this one as Marko Pjaca has been underwhelming for a while and Goran Pandev needs to be managed carefully. Milan Badelj equalized at the buzzer with his first goal, but that is likely going to be an outlier given his usually gritty style. Miha Zajc has clearly been their most proactive midfielder since Davide Ballardini took over, registering one goal and two assists in the seven matches. Kevin Strootman set up a teammate but is less involved, Nicolò Rovella has been okay when called upon but his playing is spotty. Davide Zappacosta and Lennart Czyborra have been quality weapons for weeks now and both have been able to find the target once.

Recommended picks: Shomurodov, Destro, Pjaca.



Udinese: Roberto Pereyra returned last week, but he did not look particularly great and he will be out this week due to a suspension. Gerard Deulofeu was a late scratch, but his problem is reportedly minor and he has a shot to feature in this one, which would be very helpful as they have run out of pacey attackers since they have yet to introduce Jayden Braaf to the fray. Stefano Okaka delivered on his second game back from a major injury, hitting bullseye for the third time in the campaign. Fernando Llorente instead has yet to contribute in a meaningful way. Whether or not they will feature together hinges on Deulofeu, but in any case Okaka looks like the better choice of the two. Ilija Nestorovski is an option as well but he is not really on the radar. Rodrigo De Paul properly pulled the strings in the past game and came away with his second assist of the season: he is always also atop of the food chain for the Friulani. Either Thomas Ouwejan or Nahuel Molina will get the nod in this one and the former teed up the second goal versus Parma with a long cross. Thanks to their energy and skill-set, both have higher offensive upside than fellow wing-back Jens Stryger Larsen.

Recommended picks: De Paul, Okaka, Ouwejan/Molina.

Fiorentina: Dusan Vlahovic tucked home another one, moving to nine in the season, but the best news for them was that Gaetano Castrovilli woke up after hibernation and put together his most productive display of the season, finding the target and setting up Vlahovic. They certainly need him now since Giacomo Bonaventura will miss some matches with an injury and they do not have other offensively-skilled midfielders. Valentin Eysseric scored as well, likely earning first dibs should Franck Ribery miss another game. If healthy, the French ace (one goal, four assists) would be among the top three options. Christian Kouame fumbled his opportunity last week, while Jose Maria Callejon remains MIA. Erick Pulgar, who might fill in for Bonaventura even though they are quite different, has some value for his prowess on PKs and set pieces. Cristiano Biraghi is always pretty lively down the left flank but has not picked up an offensive bonus in quite some time.

Recommended picks: Vlahovic, Castrovilli, Pulgar.



Napoli: they scored twice, actually once because one was an own goal, in the past round, but it was not enough to keep pace with the white-hot Atalanta. Piotr Zielinski resurfaced after a month with a lovely goal, his fifth one of the season. His numbers are quite good since he has added three assists, however he either plays exceptionally well or very poorly. Victor Osimhen might be sidelined by a head trauma, but he has not fared well after a lengthy absence, but they could recover Dries Mertens following his ankle injury. However, where he is at in terms of form is a big question mark since he has played just once in two months. As always, he was trustworthy when healthy, notching four goals and six assists. Matteo Politano recorded a helper last week and he has pretty much been on a par with their star Lorenzo Insigne while they navigated through multiple major injuries.

Recommended picks: Politano, Insigne, Zielinski.

Benevento: they have massively relied on their defense over the last month, which has capped the output of their attackers to just a pair of goals over the most recent five tilts, where Nicolas Viola and Gianluca Caprari have been the only ones to find paydirt. Gianluca Lapadula is their second leading scorer with four goals but, since he did it in 19 appearances, the haul is rather underwhelming. It looks like Iago Falque suffered another injury and Riccardo Improta is banged up too, so Viola, Artur Ionita and Roberto Insigne will enjoy more minutes and heavier offensive tasks, but their general posture does not help their fantasy options. They could get a little boost with Gaetano Letizia (three goals) coming back from injury as he is more charismatic than Fabio Depaoli.

Recommended picks: Caprari, Viola, Lapadula.



Roma: the Benevento fixture marked a rare time where their front-line failed to crack a minnow, although the Sanniti surely put up more resistance than most sides. The dualism between Edin Dzeko and Borja Mayoral has brought down both, but the former will miss some time, so it is all clear for the Spaniard, who has not scored in three matches but has generally produced in this situation. Three relative quiet outings in a row also for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose stats (eight goals/eight assists), but also level of activity, remain pretty great though. Jordan Veretout recently broke the spell with a brace, while Lorenzo Pellegrini has recorded two goals and two assists in the last six matches, but might lose some shine with Pedro (four goals) likely ready for more minutes. Leonardo Spinazzola, Gonzalo Villar and Rick Karsdorp are solid secondary options.

Recommended picks: Mkhitaryan, Veretout, Pellegrini.

Milan: two rough results in a row for the Rossoneri, however they did create some very good chances in the Derby, in particular with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Samir Handanovic pulled off some majestic saves to deny him. The performance versus Spezia was certainly more worrying. The Swedish ace has abated compared to his early-season rhythm, finding the target only with one brace over the last five tilts. Hakan Calhanoglu could need some time to be his old self post COVID, even though he exploited the Crotone romp right away to add two assists to his tally, moving to eight. Ante Rebic and Rafael Leao figure to be better choices even though they are generally forced to split time. The former has been more effective than the latter recently. Theo Hernandez (four goals, four assists) will look to unleash his fury in this one after being held in check in the last two rounds.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Rebic, Hernandez.

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