10 matches is usually the first good indicator of where your club's season fortunes are headed. But after 7 completed, we have already seen a whole host of traditional fantasy performers no where near the level of previous years. Diego Costa seems hell bent on man handling any defense he comes across without the fantasy output to cover the negative stats. Eden Hazard has been a shadow of his former self, although one could continue the list of Chelsea players under performing this season, we'll move on. Wayne Rooney has hardly justified his inclusion with a series of sub-par performances and was lucky to get off the mark with a slightly fortunate touch last match week.
Needless to say this season has been marked by the emergence of the second tier fantasy player as a reliable source of points. Players like, Riyad Mahrez, Andre Ayew, Callum Wilson (before his injury) and Dimitri Payet to name a few, have paved the way for early season returns at a low to mid range price. Some players like Aleksandar Kolarov are even finding new life as formally forgotten fantasy assets, as the attacking fullback has nailed down his starting berth and repaid the faith for his inclusion. It's becoming necessary to catch those players flying low under the fantasy radar before their price starts to rocket.
Week 8 will be host to some heavy weight match ups with Arsenal taking on Man United and Liverpool facing Everton in the Merseyside Derby. But the player I am choosing to focus on this week is Stoke City's Bojan Krkic. 1 goal and 4 shots this season for the former Barca man. While that doesn't sound impressive, Bojan has only played 3 games since returning from a lengthy injury layoff. Tucked in the number 10 role just behind the striker, Bojan has been the furthest forward of Stoke's midfield. While I normally don't prefer away players over home players, Stoke have a very winnable trip to Aston Villa in Week 8. Looking ahead, Stoke City's upcoming schedule looks like: @Swansea, Watford, @Chelsea, Newcastle United. Not a bad run of fixtures, especially with Chelsea mis-firing and Swansea fading, this may be a fruitful patch for fantasy investment. In any case, Bojan's low price coupled with strength of schedule could make him the alternative pick you have been looking for. Certainly one to watch.
As I settled on Bojan ultimately, I also had a few alternative players in mind as well. Robbie Brady has yet to nail down a regular role in the Norwich starting 11, but after scoring last game week, he may be given the nod again. Interesting point, Brady was moved to the left side of the attacking front 4. With his ability at set pieces and corners, Brady is potentially another under the radar pick that may turn value as the season progresses.
How are your teams shaping up for Week 8? Who is on your fantasy radar and who do you think are the sleeper picks for Week 8?