The Knee-jerk – Round 23

The star

International call-ups left Nathan Burns and Aaron Mooy-sized holes in almost every Fantasy team approaching round 23. But the void left by the game’s two highest pointscorers was emphatically filled by Melbourne Victory’s mercurial Brazilian.

Gui Finkler’s brace against the Mariners was just his fourth double-figure return of the season – just about par by his lofty standards. Whilst historically, Finkler has never produced such explosive returns on a consistent basis, the emergence of Fahid Ben Khalfallah has further hindered his potential output. Yet, after a 17 point haul, Finkler is now level on overall points scored with his Tunisian teammate, and with a double gameweek on the horizon, doubling up on both is sure to be a popular move.

Finkler’s overall value has decreased 5k from his original $325k price. His ownership stands at just 14% – the 3rd lowest ownership of the top 10 point scoring midfielders.  Mooy and Burns are the only midfielders in the game that have more points per game than Finkler (7).

For cash-strapped managers who have benched Mooy and Burns, getting Finkler in may cause a squad or even formation reshuffle. Assuming that Mooy and Burns take up premium midfield funds, there is likely only room for one more big-hitting midfielder in your team. With injury clouds hanging over Marcelo Carrusca and Thomas Broich, and with the Fabio Ferreira experiment seemingly running out of value, Finkler is the only remaining premium midfielder worth considering, and hitting his best form of the season.

The underutilized

If Fantasy points were rewarded on the basis of performance and not result, then it would be hard to best Sergio Cirio. The Spaniard has missed just one minute of Adelaide’s A-League campaign, and by far leads assists and shot assists for forwards. If Adelaide could eradicate their tendency of failing to capitalize on their dominance, one feels Cirio would have more assist points to his name than his current 9.

A victim of Adelaide’s mid-season slump and of his premium forward price-tag, Cirio has flown under the radar all season. Despite his status as the 4th highest scoring forward, Cirio boasts just 8% ownership. While other premium forwards Berisha and Keogh continue to underwhelm, Cirio has won plenty of plaudits in previous weeks for sterling performances against Melbourne Victory and Newcastle. Add in penalty duties in the absence of Carrusca, proven match-winning quality, and a guarantee of 90 minutes, Cirio looks to be the best differential forward in the game, despite his $305k price.

Adelaide face a mixed run to the finals (Sydney, Brisbane, Wanderers, Melbourne City), but surely have to regain a modicum of form imminently. With only four gameweeks left, differentials like Cirio are going to be harder to pick out and count for more than ever.

Stick or twist?

How fitting that following an appraisal of one premium forward, we should discuss the unraveling of two others. Besart Berisha and Andy Keogh must surely be in the last chance saloon. The form guide for these two talismanic strikers makes for painful reading, especially if you have kept the faith with one through these difficult times.

Even the likes of Alex Brosque, Nikita Rukavytsya and Enver Alivodic are in better form according the the games official form table.

Looking back, it’s hard to see what’s gone wrong for both Berisha and Keogh. Even though the two remain firmly 2nd and 3rd highest scoring forwards in the game, you can’t regard either as anything other than a huge disappointment.

The saving grace for owners of Berisha is the round 25 double gameweek, in which Melbourne play Newcastle and Brisbane. Considering that Melbourne also play Brisbane again shortly after, managers who disregard Berisha for these set of games could well be punished.

For this reason, it may be wise to allocate enough Melbourne Victory coverage. Even though it hasn’t been a vintage Fantasy season for forwards, there is some peculiar feeling of certainty inside me that knows Berisha will have the last laugh, as he always has.

Keogh’s time, however, is surely up, after failing to find the net in Perth’s win over the Wanderers. Maybe now that the team’s winless run is over, the Irishman will regain the form of the first half of the season.

Is there one more round and last hurrah for these two?

Berisha’s fixtures: Wellington, Newcastle, Brisbane, Brisbane, Central Coast

Keogh’s fixtures: Newcastle, SydneyMelbourne City, Wanderers

Making the case for…

Maybe I was wrong about Kerem Bulut and the Wanderers. After a hiccup following his brace against Sydney, Bulut has returned 25 points in his last two games. In just five games, he has returned 10 shots on target, and an average 8.6 points per game.

It is clear that the arrival of Bulut has given the Wanderers a lift. A tireless and winning runner, he always finds himself in goalscoring positions that have evaded Wanderers forwards all season. With the team looking to end a dreadful domestic season on a high note against Melbourne City, Central Coast, Adelaide, and Perth, its a distinct possibility that Bulut continues this fine run. The same Wanderers disclaimer remains, but nevertheless, Bulut has an element of explosiveness to go with his work ethic – something the Wanderers have not possessed, and are getting the most out of.

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