It’s not a leap of faith that most fantasy football owners would like to take.
It’s definitely not the popular choice to back any player on relegation battler Newcastle United, but that’s exactly why Georginio Wijnaldum is a great choice for fantasy purposes. The Dutchman has nine goals, and three assists in his Premier League debut season.
That’s not what should intrigue you. No, it’s that the stars are aligning for Wijnaldum to have a strong finish to the campaign. Newcastle manager Steve McLaren has finally taken the leap to insert Wijnaldum in his more preferred No. 10 role, and the 25-year-old has answered the bell with a two goals and an assist in his last two matches.
Newcastle has also provided the Dutchman help deeper in midfield with the purchase of Jonjo Shelvey from Swansea City, and Aleksandar Mitrovic is finally finding form as the team’s top striker. If Wijanldum can continue this run of recent form, he has the ability to be a difference maker in your fantasy squad that your opponents will be too scared to take a chance on. There is a danger though—Wijnaldum has not yet scored away from St. James’ Park, while Newcastle have just five goals in ten away dates.
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Here’s what I’m looking for on Matchday 23…
Boaz Myhill (4.7M)—West Bromwich Albion: Aston Villa has scored just three times in their last five road matches. They visit The Hawthorns this week.
Craig Dawson (5.1M)—West Bromwich Albion: Sticking with that same theme, a chance to double-dip on the West Brom clean sheet possibility, and Dawson is a sneaky bet for a goal. He has two this term.
Patrick van Aanholt (4.6M)—Sunderland: You might consider this chasing goals as Patrick has scored in each of his last two games, but Sunderland have scored ten in their last six. The Dutchman is a good bet to be involved if the Black Cats earn a home win over Bournemouth this weekend.
Leighton Baines (6.1M)—Everton: He has not looked himself since returning from injury a while back. However, the two assists he grabbed against Chelsea last week are encouraging. Your opponents will overlook him because of the price tag.
Moussa Dembele (5.1M)—Tottenham: The Belgian returned with a goal last week, and will lead Spurs up against struggling Crystal Palace this weekend.
Eden Hazard (10.8M)—Chelsea: It doesn’t get much riskier than this, but he’s returned to first-team training and will look to join Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas among the players who have played better under new manager Guus Hiddink.
Wilfried Zaha (5.3M)—Crystal Palace: Palace has yet to score in 2016. Spurs haven’t kept a clean sheet since Boxing Day. Something has to give.
Benik Afobe (6.1M)—Bournemouth: A January signing for the Cherries that has worked out well so far. He scored last week, but prior to arriving he had nine in the Championship with Wolves.
Sergio Aguero (13.3M)—Manchester City: On-form again, and as close to a must have in your team as there is in this format if you can afford him.
Aleksandr Mitrovic (6.2M)—Newcastle United: Mitrovic has had more touches in the opponent’s penalty area than any other player in the last four matchdays. He’s second in attempts on goal only to Harry Kane in that span as well.
MY STARTING XI: Butland; Targett, Baines, Moreno; Tadic, Ozil, De Bruyne, Payet; Lukaku, Kane, Ighalo
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