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EPL Barometer: Belgian Rising

Nick Pitner

Nick Pitner

Nick Pitner writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire. He supports Arsenal FC, the Green Bay Packers, and the New York Knicks, while specializing in those respective sports in his coverage for the site.

Rising:

Danny Welbeck, F, Manchester United


After going nearly four months since scoring in Man United's season opener, Welbeck caught fire in mid-December thanks to injuries to fellow strikers Robin van Persie (thigh) and Wayne Rooney (groin). Playing in a more advanced position, Welbeck has tallied six goals and one assist over his last seven league outings. On form like that, manager David Moyes will find it hard to displace Welbeck from his starting lineup even once the aforementioned injured duo returns.

Juan Mata, M, Chelsea

A fantasy stud last season, Mata's role at Chelsea has been reduced by new manager Jose Mourinho this term. The Spaniard has played a full 90 minutes in just two league games under Mourinho, which has opened the door for Mata's exit from Stamford Bridge. Speculation this week has Manchester United agreeing a fee for Mata to bolster their midfield and if a deal indeed goes through, expect the technically sound lefty's fantasy stock to skyrocket. The Red Devils boast many talented finishers, so Mata's set-up ability could prove plenty useful, should he make the switch to Old Trafford.

Sergio Aguero, F, Manchester City

Back from a five game stint on the sidelines caused by a calf injury, Aguero returned last weekend to provide both a goal and an assist in Man City's win over Cardiff City. Along with that performance, the Argentine has also scored in both of the Citizens' cup ties since returning from injury. As the focal point of the Premiership's most lethal attack, Aguero's current 14-goal, five-assist haul could grow considerably by season's end.

Christian Benteke, F, Aston Villa

Another player fresh off an injury spell, Benteke has now scored in two out of three games since returning from a knee ailment. The imposing Belgian has generally disappointed from a fantasy perspective this season, but Benteke's recent couple of games could restore his confidence in front of goal. While he may be hard-pressed to reach the 19 goals and four assists he provided last season, Benteke's stock is still on the rise.

Falling:

Ross Barkley, M, Everton


With three goals this season, Barkley was enjoying a breakout campaign under new Everton boss Roberto Martinez. However, a recent broken toe has forced the 20-year-old out of action. While Barkley is eager to get back playing as soon as possible, his fantasy value has taken a hit lately.

Dejan Lovren, D, Southampton

Anchoring one of the league's steadier defensive units, Lovren has strung together seven clean sheets this season, while also scoring two goals to go with an assist. One of those goals came last weekend against Sunderland, a game in which Lovren was later stretchered off the pitch due to an ankle injury. Since then, it's been revealed that the Croatian suffered ligament damage, so he should be dropped from most fantasy teams until he's healthy again.

Fernando Torres, F, Chelsea

Previously on the rise, Torres had scored in consecutive games before sustaining knee ligament damage during last weekend's win over Manchester United. For a player whose production has decreased significantly since suffering previous knee injuries, Torres' most recent news on that front is less than encouraging.

Ashley Cole, D, Chelsea

The much-maligned Englishman was handed a few starts in light of teammate Branislav Ivanovic's recent injury set-back, but with the Serbian returning last weekend for the Manchester United match, Cole went back to the Chelsea bench. Manager Jose Mourinho has preferred youngster Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back, so Cole unusually finds himself as the odd man out.