Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 26

Marco Silvestri: Verona and their stifling defence will visit an undermanned Sampdoria squad on Monday. The Scaligeri have not given up more than one goal in the past eight rounds.

Kostas Manolas: Napoli can be very stingy when they want to be, as evidenced by the Barcelona clash, and Torino have been incredibly subpar offensively over the last two months. Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mario Rui have more upside than the Greek centre-back, but it is possible that the coach rotates the squad a bit. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26

Lazio-Bologna: the only game between two teams that actually played last week. The Biancocelesti extended their superb run by grinding out a W versus Genoa, thanks to the usual Ciro Immobile goal and two unlikely heroes coming through, Adam Marusic, who has started over Manuel Lazzari in two matches in a row, and Danilo Cataldi. While Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored against Inter, the bonuses for their other two fantasy stars, Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa, have not been there in recent rounds, leaving Felipe Caicedo as the only serviceable option besides the capocannoniere. Jony has taken over for the injured Senad Lulic and, while he is a high-volume crosser, he has come up with just one assist so far. It could be another ripe day for their offense considering that the Felsinei have a soft defence. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 24

Atalanta: newcomer Tomas Sutalo is the only sidelined player, due to an edema in his right foot.

Bologna: Musa Barrow sprained his ankle and Riccardo Orsolini picked up a cut on the knee last week, but they both practiced fully in the last couple of days and should be a full go. Roberto Soriano instead is out due to a bruised thigh. No returns among their previously injured players: Nicola Sansone, Gary Medel, Federico Santander (thigh), Ladislav Krejci (knee) and Mitchell Dijks (foot). Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 22

Gianluigi Donnarumma: Milan will host Verona this week, which are certainly a plucky side, however the Rossoneri have been able to keep a clean sheet in three of the last four rounds, with their starlet providing the usual key contribution.

Rafael Toloi: Atalanta will look to follow up the masterpiece against Torino and bounce back at home after the SPAL debacle. They will have a good opportunity to do so versus the cellar-dwelling Genoa, which have bagged just four goals in the last six rounds. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 21

Standings implications: in a pretty surprising round, Napoli upset Juventus, Cagliari held Inter to a tie, while Roma and Lazio equalized. The Nerazzurri are now three points behind first place, the Biancocelesti potentially two. Atalanta return within one point from the Champions League zone after the complete annihilation of Torino. Cagliari surely got a positive result but they were caught in the standings by Milan, which nipped Brescia, and Parma, which instead outplayed Udinese and so there is now a three-way tie in sixth position. Verona are not far behind after torpedoing Lecce, Bologna instead prevailed in the Derby with SPAL. Sampdoria and Sassuolo shared the spoils in a snooze-fest and thus maintain a little cushion over the last three positions. Genoa were the only team to get a point in the relegation zone as they survived the meeting with Fiorentina. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 21

Brescia-Milan: the Rondinelle will not have Mario Balotelli for a couple of matches, but Ernesto Torregrossa has actually carried the load scoring-wise recently and he and Alfredo Donnarumma formed a formidable partnership last season in Serie B, so they might be able to survive the blow. They have added two intriguing pieces in January in Birkir Bjarnason, who was very dangerous for a midfielder in his time in Pescara, and Simon Skrabb: they should both have their chances because Nikolas Spalek at no.10 has been pretty inconsistent. Sandro Tonali is coming off a two-assist performance and also Stefano Sabelli and Romulo have been decently proficient in a supporting role. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 19

Cagliari-Milan: the Rossoblù played their worst game of the season against Juventus and will be eager to bounce back here and snap out of a three-game losing streak. Their last two goals were scored by Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone and obviously the Brazilian forward, who has tallied 11 in the season, remains their most appealing player, while the ex-Fiorentina man is more inconsistent, but has his moments in the sun. Radja Nainggolan has not been done a lot in the past four games and that has caused a decline in their offensive efficiency. They lack reliable fantasy option behind those because Nahitan Nandez and Marko Rog are not involved in the offense on a regular basis and their yield there is spotty. Their fullbacks, Luca Pellegrini in particular, have picked up few assists. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18

Brescia-Lazio: it did not take much, but the Rondinelle are playing way better after the return of Eugenio Corini and have rediscovered a pair of weapons that had not produced in the first handful of games, such as Ernesto Torregrossa and Nikolas Spalek. Torregrossa is a more natural fit next to Mario Balotelli and, while not overly prolific, he can hit the net from time to time. The Slovenian no.10 instead had struggled to find his footing in the top league, but he is getting there. His emergence, on top of injuries to other midfielders, pushes Romulo to a less offensive position, where he is not as appealing fantasy-wise. Dimitri Bisoli is also faromg  better lately, while Balotelli has corrected his attitude and found the target twice in the past month and is obviously their featured guy up front. Stefano Sabelli is always very frisky for a right-back. Continue reading

Fantacalcio Watch: Joao Pedro

Every season, Serie A springs new surprises on its faithful and this year has been no different. Whether it’s Atalanta’s continued rise, Cagliari’s astonishing run of results or the newly-promoted Hellas Verona’s solidity, this season has seen no shortage of head-scratchers. Cagliari’s Joao Pedro falls under this list.

Before this season, the Brazilian forward was a relatively unknown name to most Serie A fans, but has since established himself as one of the league’s deadliest forwards in front of goal. Averaging a goal every 139 minutes this season, the 27-year-old has eclipsed his past exploits with his 11 goals on the year.

In fact, he’s currently third in the capoconniere race, only behind the in-form Ciro Immobile and Serie A newcomer Romelu Lukaku. While his goal-scoring exploits may not last the entire season, he’s currently ahead of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. What’s important to note from the scorer’s table, however, is not only their tallies but shots taken. Immobile, for example, has 51. Lukaku, the other striker ahead of Joao Pedro, has 40 while Ronaldo has a league-leading 58.

Unlike his competitors, the Cagliari man does not need too many opportunities to score and has 11 goals from 29 shots, for an impressive 38 percent conversion rate. No striker in Italy has a better rate currently and only Immobile comes close at the moment with 33 percent. Joao Pedro’s run of form has Cagliari dreaming of European football and rightfully so. The Sardinian club currently sit comfortably in sixth place, four points ahead of Parma, having beaten the likes of Napoli and Atalanta among others.

Before the year came to a close, Joao Pedro was arguably the league’s most in-form forward, scoring six goals and registering one assist in his last six games in league play. With a clash against Juventus on the cards, expect the Brazilian to be raring to go. After all, the bianconeri haven’t exactly looked solid at the back and have already conceded 17 goals on the season.

While Joao Pedro wasn’t the first name in your fantasy teams ahead of the new season, he is surely on everyone’s radar now. He may not have the name appeal of a Ronaldo or a Mertens in the final third, but he has proven to be more effective than both thus far.

In fact, the Brazilian has earned the second-most fantasy points on the season with 102, only behind the dazzling Immobile. His price-tag of 24 million euros may prove to be too steep, but given his recent run of form, he’s definitely worth considering.

Currently, Cagliari’s 33 goals are joint for fourth-best in the league for now and don’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. In Rolando Maran’s set-up, Radja Nainggolan plays behind the Brazilian and Giovanni Simeone and have established themselves as one of the league’s most in-sync trios.

Given their technical midfield and bombing fullbacks, chances are never hard to come by in Sardinia. And Joao Pedro has proven he doesn’t need too many of them to be effective either. For this reason, the Cagliari man features on this edition of fantacalcio watch and is arguably worthy of further consideration in your teams. With a game against Juventus on deck, keep your eyes peeled for Cagliari’s number ten. He may just impress you enough for you to add him on your team.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 15

Inter-Roma: the Nerazzurri keep riding their elite striking duo and Lautaro Martinez has been balling out over the last few matches, as he is coming off two braces in a row. Romelu Lukaku did not score last week, but he has already reached the double-digit threshold in the domestic league. Antonio Candreva and Marcelo Brozovic both dished an assist in the last game and they are the two members of the supporting cast who are more likely to pick up bonus points. Matias Vecino has an history of scoring in big games and he has done some damage recently. Their back-line, instead, has not been airtight in the past couple of months, but Stefan De Vrij showed up big on the other end. Continue reading