Hat-tricks from Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Morata in September led to huge numbers of Fantasy Premier League managers bringing the high-priced strikers into their teams in a bid for big points.
A total of 475,846 players of the Premier League’s game brought in Chelsea’s Morata after he scored three against Stoke, while 773,016 responded to Aguero’s goals against Watford by buying the Manchester City forward.
But with both ruled out with recent injuries (Morata with a hamstring, Aguero with a broken rib) hundreds of thousands of fantasy managers will be left with holes to fill up front – so what should they do?
It’s getting harder and harder to ignore Harry Kane, whose August drought is all forgotten now after the England striker scored six goals in four Premier League games.
At £12.7m, Kane is the most expensive player in the game, but injuries to Morata and Aguero mean now is the chance to consider selling the expensive pair to make funds for the England striker.
Interestingly, Kane has scored in pairs so far this season, with braces in three games – as a result, the 24-year-old has picked up three bonus points on all three occasions.
Of course, you could just follow the path that Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola will have to follow, and replace the pair with their club colleagues.
Gabriel Jesus should be an easy pick – at £10.5m he plays most games for City anyway and has impressed with four league goals and an assist so far this season.
Michy Batshuayi at Chelsea is an intriguing option. The Belgian (£8.1m) has no Premier League goals this season, but does have two in the Champions League as well as a League Cup hat-trick – could he do enough to stake a claim for a permanent place in the starting XI?
With both Aguero and Morata not expected to be out long term, this might be an opportunity to be a little canny.
By taking a look at the fixture list you could bring in a player who might not wow for an entire season, but has a reasonable run of fixtures where a couple of goals would be nothing out of the ordinary.
West Ham’s Javier Hernandez (£7.0m) has Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace next up, and might fancy adding to his three goals, while Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette (£10.4m) will hope to increase his tally of four goals with games against Watford, a struggling Everton, and Swansea.
The secret to fantasy football success is always to spot a player before everyone else does – so who might be about to burst forth from beneath the radar?
Jamie Vardy perhaps? The Leicester striker is valued at £8.5m and already has five goals to his name – with four reasonable fixtures ahead of him, his ownership might not be 12.6% for much longer.
If not Vardy, maybe another England player, Marcus Rashford? Selected by 8.5% of managers at the time of writing, the young striker has two goals, three assists, and is starting most league games for Jose Mourinho’s side.
But hey, if you’ve been investing heavily in your strikers, perhaps now’s the time to change your strategy.
There are premium players to be found in midfield too, with big points to be had – Christian Eriksen (£9.7m), David Silva (£8.5m), Mohamed Salah (£9.2m) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£8.5m) all have more than 40 points, while Raheem Sterling (£7.9m) has the most goals from midfield, with five.
Should you free up some funds with bargain strikers such as Swansea’s Tammy Abraham (£5.6m) who has two goals so far, a premium midfield could be all yours.
Just don’t regret it when Morata and Aguero return and pick up from where they left off.