The Bargain Bin hopes everyone has stocked up on Romelu Lukaku. The on-loan Everton striker, who has been advertised here and in Nick Pitner’s Best XI, scored two goals and assisted on another in Everton’s 3-2 victory last week. This was just his first start with the club after coming off the bench as a sub in the team’s previous Premier League match, scoring a goal there as well. This pace is certainly unsustainable, but it is very easy to see Lukaku leading the charge for a Europe hungry squad and scoring around 15 goals in the team’s remaining 32 Premier League matches. For the time being, Lukaku’s cost remains below the average player cost threshold (explained here for those late to the party). However, that cost is certain to rise and he will be ineligible for mention here.
While Lukaku scored the Bargian Bin’s first goal this season, he was not the only one to have a productive match last week. In fact, teammate Ross Barkley scored the third goal for Everton against Newcastle United. Sascha Riether and Wilfried Bony both picked up assists in action last week and Artur Boruc kept a clean sheet to provide lots of valuable options.
Week 7 sees multiple teams coming off of European competition earlier in the week, which means some players may be getting rest or may struggle to provide their usual output after having played just a few days ago. With that in mind, here is Week Seven of the Bargain Bin.
One of the unwritten rules of sport is to always go with the hot hand and no goalkeeper’s gloves are steaming more than those of the previously mentioned Artur Boruc. The Poland international has not allowed a goal in Premier League play in the past 292 minutes, not including stoppage time. He has been a top-three fantasy goalkeeper at a fraction of the price. This week, Boruc and Southampton play host to a Swansea City squad that rank 17th in goals scored away from home this season. Swansea do manage to take a good number of shots, but their roster is not comprised of many threatening options and their 19th ranked conversion rate illuminates that point. Look for Boruc to continue his string of clean sheets this week at home.
One of the reasons Boruc has been able to keep so many clean sheets has been the play of the defensemen in front of him. Only three teams allow fewer shots than Southampton and no one allows a smaller percentage of those shots to be on target. This means the value of Jose Fonte and his back line mates is for real. Fonte’s fantasy value remains higher than the rest thanks to his tendency to be more involved with the Saints’ attack.
Liverpool have struggled the past few weeks defensively after starting the season on a roll by keeping three clean sheets. But two of the last three matches were on the road and now they get to play host to Crystal Palace. For Liverpool, expect Jose Enrique to feature as the Reds deal with a multitude of injuries. The matchup should play right into Liverpool’s hands as Crystal Palace don’t take many shots and currently rank 15th in goals scored this season. Enrique will benefit from having Simon Mignolet and his spectacular save percentage to ensure Liverpool keeps a clean sheet.
Fulham are currently on the wrong side of the relegation line and are desperate for points. Well, the only way they are going to improve their standing will be to score some goals in winning efforts. Last week marked just the second time all season Fulham have started both Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov. However, in both of those matches, neither of the strikers led the team in shots. In fact, the team leader in shots taken this season is Pajtim Kasami. The young midfielder has taken multiple shots in all but one of his appearances this season and has already found the back of the net once. This week, he and his Fulham squad take on a Stoke City team that are allowing over one goal per game on the road this season. Teams have been successful against a traveling Stoke City squad in getting shots on goal, as the back line for the Potters block fewer shots on the road. Look for Kasami to pepper the net with shots on Saturday, which always increases the chances for scoring a goal.
Peter Whittingham has been leading the attack all season for Cardiff City, recording two assists and one goal through just six league matches. This week, he will be on the field as Cardiff City play host to a Newcastle United squad that rank dead last in protecting the net on the road this season, allowing over two goals per game. Whittingham leads Cardiff City in shots taken and crosses attempted and should play a major role in the attack against the visitors this weekend.
Thanks to playing host to Newcastle United on Saturday, the Bluebirds see more than one player in the Bargain Bin this week. Frazier Campbell trails only the previously discussed Whittingham in shots this season and leads the team in goals. This week he gets to take on a Magpies squad that has seen only one team allow more goals to opposing strikers. Campbell has averaged two shots per game this season and should find plenty of space to work on improving that number this week.
Sone Aluko has seen an increased involvement in the Hull City attack the past couple of weeks. In his last three matches, Aluko has been averaging almost four shots per game, including one match with a goal and an assist. This week should see more of the same, as Hull City are going to be without their leading scorer, Robert Brady. In addition, the matchup against a visiting Aston Villa squad make him an interesting play. Aston Villa currently rank 14th in goals allowed this season and will be dealing with a high number of injuries, as well. Look for Aluko to have plenty of opportunities to find the back of the net this Saturday.