After Rooney’s wild tackle he now faces a 3 match suspension, missing Everton (H), West Brom (A), and Chelsea (H). He’ll return in time for a tough trio of subsequent fixtures; Man City (A), Crystal Palace (H), Arsenal (A). Fantasy football managers are selling in their droves, and rightly so, but who do you replace him with?
The Madness - Mario Balotelli
Assuming Diego Costa is already in your team then the straightforward like-for-like replacements for Rooney are Balotelli or Falcao. Balotelli is slightly cheaper, Falcao a bit more expensive, but both are what we would class as Elite Strikers in FPL, in that they play for teams that are likely to finish in or challenge for the top 4, and score a lot of goals along the way. Neither player is going to tempt you right now though with only a couple of assists each in their last two games. However, both are still building their match-sharpness and adapting to new teams. Balotelli in particular looks like he’s finding his feet and, importantly, Liverpool have been creating lots of changes and have some great fixtures coming up. The Italian would be our pick to replace Rooney if you were after a real differential.
The Quality - Sergio Aguero
If you are a regular reader of our weekly newsletter then you’ll already know we’ve got Sergio Aguero ranked alongside Diego Costa as the top two elite forwards in FPL right now. Man City’s fixtures looks favourable too - Aston Villa (A), Spurs (H), West Ham (A), Man Utd (H), QPR (A), Swansea (H), There’s potential for a few big scorelines in there and we just get the feeling Aguero’s first big game is imminent. The main worry would be rotation around the Champion’s League games, starting this week. We’d ideally want to see Aguero benched for City against Roma midweek, as he was for the Bayern game. Pellegrini was quoted at the time saying “Sergio in this moment is not ready to play three games in a row in one week". There’s always a risk with City strikers but we wouldn’t be talking about him if there wasn’t substantial reward too. He’s the 5th highest scoring forward in FPL so far and you get the feeling he hasn’t really got started yet. Long-term, he’s the only player we can see who could challenge Costa as the highest scoring forward at the end of the season.
Edin Dzeko should certianly be considered as an option too. The early injury to Jovetic applied a handbrake to his good start. Coupled with caution over Aguero's fitness Dzeko's continued gametime looks very likely. Whilst we doubt he can match the massive upside of Aguero or offer a genuine captain alternative to Costa, the Bosnian can certainly do enough for your team to warrant his £8.4M price tag.
The Form - Graziano Pelle
Pelle is probably most people’s straight swap for Rooney this week. He leads the ‘Transfers In’ stats with 60,000 so far this week. He is of course a great option. We’ve updated our Player and Team Stats so Members can check out his stats and compare him to other forwards but his underlying performances have been terrific; he’s had the most shots in the box of any player this season. Southampton’s next six fixtures look outstanding as well. There’s no caution required over signing Pelle.