Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26 – Late Games


Crotone: Simy bagged his eighth goal of the season, in pretty lovely fashion too, in the Atalanta game, but that was about it for their offensive production in a very demanding match-up. Adam Ounas, who was their top guy lately, and Samuel Di Carmine were late scratches and it is unclear whether they will be available for this one. Sans Ounas, they would lean hard on Junior Messias, who is seeking to snap out of a scoring slump. They get some pizzazz back in the midfield as Salvatore Molina and Milos Vulic are good to go, although it is uncertain how much playing time they will be able to handle. If one recovered, he would be among the top three options, instead the spot goes to Arkadiusz Reca (1 goal, 3 assists), who continues to wreak havoc down the left flank. Pedro Pereira is not as flashy, but he too has set up three teammates.

Suggested picks: Simy, Messias, Ounas/Molina. 

Torino: it is simply a matter of who is available and who is not given their large COVID outbreak. Andrea Belotti and Wilfried Singo, in particular, are key fantasy asset and it seems unlikely they will be cleared in time, so it is shaping up to be a rare game without their leader. Simone Zaza (3 goals), Simone Verdi (4 assists) and Federico Bonazzoli will have big shoes to full. They have all their moments in recent games, but they are not the same consistency as Il Gallo. They will also start to incorporate Antonio Sanabria, but he has been sidelined for quite some time. Their starting midfield is intact, but Sasa Lukic has not done damage in a minute, while Rolando Mandragora and Tomas Rincon are mostly gritty players, although the former takes care of some free kicks and picked up an assist lately. Cristian Ansaldi could be a solid source of offense in a time of need.

Suggested picks: Zaza, Verdi/Bonazzoli, Ansaldi.



Fiorentina: they scored through an own goal in the Roma clash, where Dusan Vlahovic was pretty much the only positive contributor offensively. They again have to deal with the task of replacing Franck Ribery, but they will be further undermanned in this one as Gaetano Castrovilli, Aleksandr Kokorin and Christian Kouame are all on the mend. Giacomo Bonaventura recovered in a hurry, but it is unclear in what shape he is. Valentin Eysseric and even Jose Maria Callejon could be handed prominent roles. There are not really good fantasy options behind Vlahovic (9 goals), while Cristiano Biraghi (1/3assists) has faded after a solid start. They certainly will be hoping somebody steps up given the emergency. Erick Pulgar could be worth a flier for his free kicks and lack of competition.

Suggested picks: Vlahovic, Eysseric, Biraghi.

Parma: a solid effort on Thursday given the caliber of the opponent, but again not enough to take home the W. Hernani made the stat-sheet for the second game in a row and he is rediscovering his early-season success (5 goals, 2 assists), while Juraj Kucka (5/1) has great value as false-nine, however Roberto Inglese and Graziano Pellè both returned and might quickly find their way to the XI. Dennis Man drew the start but did not fare as well as Valentin Mihaila in previous matches, although he was not able to find the target. Yann Karamoh instead did it against Spezia. The three youngsters have been fine, but Gervinho has been cleared and will probably reclaim his minutes even though he has been mostly underwhelming so far.

Suggested picks: Kucka, Hernani, Karamoh.



Verona: while Mattia Zaccagni (6 goals, 5 assists) and Antonin Barak (6/2) carried them for a long time, with Federico Dimarco chipping in as well, Marco Davide Faraoni and Darko Lazovic have taken the mantle in the past two matches, the former scoring, the latter with his helpers. Kevin Lasagna finally broke the seal in Benevento, bagging his first goal since early January and he can be very streaky. He had some big chances in the previous matches as well, but poor aim. Among their leaders, Barak has been more productive than Zaccagni in recent rounds. Miguel Veloso and Ivan Ilic are mid-tier options depending on who gets to start.

Suggested picks: Lasagna, Barak, Lazovic/Dimarco.

Milan: even though Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu were not going through the best stretches of their season, the absences caught up to them against Udinese, as their offense was pretty lackadaisical. Rafael Leao (5 goals, 5 assists) in particular struggled and he has not been good since he had to deal with competition: he has not found the target since January 9th. Also Brahim Diaz was held in check pretty easily and they will be facing a similarly robust team in this one. Franck Kessie allowed them to tie late with his nth successful penalty kick. He and Theo Hernandez (4 goals, 4 assists) hoping one of the youngsters show up. Alexis Saelemaekers, who dished an assist in the Roma match, will see more touches than usual, while they might consider giving Jens Petter Hauge a proper opportunity as Ante Rebic is a late scratch.

Suggested picks: Kessie, Hernandez, Saelemaekers. 



Sampdoria: they went with their most offensive aggressive front-line in the Derby, Fabio Quagliarella and Balde Keita, but they were contained and the goal arrived through a defender, Lorenzo Tonelli. The veteran forward might have to be spared in this one due to the short turnaround and a small calf issue, in any case he has scored just once in the past ten appearances. Keita has lost steam as he has not found the target in three games, but he will continue to be their most dangerous man up front. Antonio Candreva has stopped hitting the net, but he is coming off the second assist in the past four contests and the sixth one in the season. Mikkel Damsgaard was a late scratch with an illness midweek and, if it lingers, that will lead to solid minutes for Jakub Jankto (4/3), who however has not shined in months. They remain deep offensively as Gaston Ramirez (3 assists), Valerio Verre (3/3), Antonino La Gumina and Manolo Gabbiadini are all candidates to fill in if the coach decided to rotate the squad. Ramirez is feast or famine but has the better track record in the lot.

Suggested picks: Keita, Candreva, Ramirez/Verre.

Cagliari: two wins in a row for the Sardinians, who, as expected given Leonardo Semplici’s previous experiences, have done it through solid defending rather than an offensive explosion. Daniele Rugani decided the match with Bologna, while Leonardo Pavoletti and Joao Pedro (12 goals) scored in Crotone. Giovanni Simeone remains in the mix as the Italian forward can not play all the times, but he has not produced in months. Charalampos Lykogiannis is back from suspension and he dished his second helper two matches ago, on top of finding the target twice in the season. Nahitan Nandez is enjoying more freedom on the flank, but his role can change week-to-week depending on the condition of the other midfielders. Radja Nainggolan and Alfred Duncan have not made much fantasy noise since joining, while Razvan Marin has thrived as box-to-box and tallied his second assist in the past two months Wednesday. Gabriele Zappa has potential, but he has to earn his spot in the squad now.

Suggested picks: Pedro, Pavoletti, Marin.



Napoli: they were unsuccessful against Sassuolo, but certainly not because of lack of offense as they bagged three goals, with Piotr Zielinski, his second in the last four contests, Giovanni Di Lorenzo (1st), while Lorenzo Insigne prospered with an assist and PK. Dries Mertens (5 goals, 6 assists) and Matteo Politano (7/3) were a little more muted than the previous game, where they had hit paydirt. Politano has done a pretty good Hirving Lozano impression, making the stat-sheet in half of the past eight tilts. They might finally have something close to their full squad as Victor Osimhen could be cleared to feature for few minutes. The returns have tanked the stocks of Elijf Elmas, while Fabian Ruiz and Tiemoué Bakayoko have rarely been good options throughout the campaign.

Suggested picks: Insigne, Politano, Mertens.

Bologna: as said by Sinisa Mihajlovic, they always stumble right when they are one step away from making the final leap, as they followed up the great win over Lazio with an underwhelming display versus Cagliari. Nicola Sansone has been their top guy lately with two goals and two assists in the past five games, while Musa Barrow has hit big in just one of the last 13 fixtures, but set up two teammates in the last three. Riccardo Orsolini seems to have re-surpassed Andreas Skov Olsen, but he has not picked up offensive bonuses in the last four outings. There is a chance Rodrigo Palacio and Emanuel Vignato resurface in the XI in this one given the busy week, but they have not been particularly productive. Mattias Svanberg (two goals, one assist) is the best option among their midfielders.

Suggested picks: Sansone, Barrow, Orsolini.



Inter: Alexis Sanchez drew the start against Parma and barbecue-chicken’d the opposing defense with a brace, keeping up his good momentum after a recent goal. However, Lautaro Martinez will return to the XI after being given most of the day off: he has notched four goals and two assists in the last six appearances. Sanchez retain some value as super-sub. Romelu Lukaku (18 goals) did not score against the Ducali, but added two assists to his tally, moving to eight. It was not a particularly fiery offensive performance, so their other top contributors, in particular Achraf Hakimi (6 goals/4 assists) and Ivan Perisic (2/4) were not in position to flourish. Christian Eriksen continues to be solid but is still looking to make the stat-sheet for the first time. Also the fantasy output of Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolò Barella has not been gaudy in recent displays.

Suggested picks: Martinez, Lukaku, Perisic.

Atalanta: they took it slow in the first half, but as anticipated, they detonated versus Crotone, with all their top players finding the target. Luis Muriel has done in four times in the last five games, adding three assists, Robin Gosens in three in a row, while Josip Ilicic re-burst onto the scenes following a little swoon. Even Aleksey Miranchuk participated to the goal fest, while Ruslan Malinovskyi could not replicate the success he had the tilt before. Since Muriel has played too well to be used off the bench like in most of the season, it will likely be a duel between Ilicic and Duvan Zapata, who returned and set up a teammate against the Squali, with some rare instances where the trio will feature together. Matteo Pessina and Mario Pasalic have a precious tactical role and this might be the right kind of match for sneaky midfielders to contribute in a significant way, while Malinovskyi risks to be phased out despite his recent goal. Joakim Maehle and Remo Freuler are secondary options.

Suggested picks: Muriel, Ilicic/Zapata, Gosens.

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