Fantasy Impact: Romelu Lukaku Sidelined 3-4 Weeks

Everybody was kung-fu fighting.. - Paul Thomas

The big Belgian injured his ankle and is set to be out for at least 3-4 weeks. Let's take a look at viable replacement options for your fantasy team.

Our favorite Belgian has been in somewhat of a slump recently and unfortunately will be out of action for at least 3-4 weeks after injuring his ankle in the Merseyside derby. Personally, I blame the haircut. I mean seriously, what was he thinking? His dreads were awesome, now he looks like a little boy. Granted a giant, little boy. But still, his dreads suited him much, much better than this current look he's sporting. Here's a picture of him during the game, before he got injured. His first match without dreads and he injures his ankle? Coincidence? Hmmm, I think not!

Lukaku has not scored yet in this calendar year. His last goal came on December 29th against Southampton, a goal that proved to be the game winner. Gaston Ramirez had just equalized for Southampton thanks to an assist from Adam Lallana, minutes later, Lukaku fired Everton back in front and the game ended 2-1. However, even though he has not scored since then, Lukaku has been finding ways to help his team win in other ways.

Romelu has scored 9 goals so far this season in the Premier League. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact he has managed 6 assists as well. As we know, he has been scoreless since December 29th, equal to a total of four games. Four games without a goal, but in two of those four games, Lukaku helped his team by providing an assist. So, even during this slump of his, he has still managed to remain useful to his team. This is an important attribute to have, especially as a striker. If you find yourself in a slump, and all strikers fall victim to a slump, it's inevitable, you have to find other ways to make an impact on the game.

Currently, Lukaku is the 6th highest scoring striker in Premier League Fantasy with 104 points - tied with Newcastle's Loic Remy. Lukaku's current price is £8.5 million so let's take a look at the best possible options around that price point.

Daniel Sturridge

He's not that much more than Lukaku, in fact he is only £1 million more at £9.5 million. One tweak to your midfield/defense/goalkeeper and there's no reason why you won't be able to fit Sturridge into your team. That is, of course, if you don't already own him. Sturridge is on an absolute tear right now. What he is accomplishing this season is stunning. Suarez and Sturridge are linking up beautifully and are quite possibly the most lethal duo in all the of Premier League and maybe even in the whole world right now. In just 15 games, Sturridge has scored 13 goals and provided 3 assists. I don't think there's any question, along with his partner in crime, Suarez and Sturridge are must own players in fantasy.

Just for fun, I want to share with you something that will put into perspective how dominant Suarez and Sturridge have been this season. Suarez has 23 goals and 13 assists on the season in only 18 games played. I mean seriously, that's something I would expect if I was playing FIFA on my Xbox, not in real life in one of the best, if not the best league in the world. Moreover, Liverpool as a team have scored a total of 57 goals this season in the Premier League. Suarez and Sturridge combined have scored 36 of those goals. That’s 63% of their goals coming from two players! But wait, there's more. The duo have combined for 16 assists, if we include the 36 goals they have scored, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez have had a hand in 52 of Liverpool’s 57 goals scored so far this season. The dynamic duo of Sturridge and Suarez are responsible for 91% of their teams goals! Cray-cray, I know.

Olivier Giroud

Arsenal's only legitimate striker is having a fantastic season. He is the 4th highest scoring striker in fantasy with 114 points and has scored in three of his last five games. He fell into a slump going six straight games without a goal and that was what prompted his price to plummet. Before that slump, Giroud was priced at £9.1, went up briefly to £9.2 but eventually fell all the way down to £8.5. Thanks to his current run of form, his price is slowly creeping back up and he is now £8.7. If he keeps scoring, it won't be long before we see him back up in the £9 range.

Loic Remy

Remy is on loan from Queens Park Rangers and is making a strong case for a permanent move to Tyneside. He has the same amount of fantasy points as Lukaku and Remy is even cheaper than the Belgian. Remy will only cost you £8.1. He's a big reason for Newcastle's success this season and I'm sure Pardew is itching to lock up his services for good. Remy has 11 goals this season and has chipped in with 2 assists.

Edin Dzeko

With the plethora of strikers Manchester City have to choose from, Dzeko has been asserting himself as a must start for Manuel Pellegrini as of late. Dzeko has scored a goal in four out of the last five Premier League matches for City. His form has carried over to other competitions as well, he scored two goals in the 5-0 thrashing of Blackburn in the FA Cup two weeks ago. He scored one goal and provided two assists in yesterday's 5-1 victory of Tottenham (Danny Rose tackled him in the penalty box resulting in not only a red card for Rose, but also Yaya Toure converting from the spot, fantasy counts that as an assist to Dzeko). During this five game run of spectacular form from Dzeko, he has amassed a total of 39 fantasy points, including 15 from yesterday's match alone. The best part about all of this is his price. At only £6.7 Dzeko is a steal and could afford you the luxury to upgrade in other positions should you need to.

Emmanuel Adebayor

Tim Sherwood gave Adebayor a chance when Andre Villas-Boas had written him off completely. Adebayor has been repaying Sherwood for his faith by banging in goals like it's 2007. In seven games played, Adebayor has 5 goals and 3 assists. He is now the preferred striker over Roberto Soldado who has not seen one minute on the pitch in two straight games. When Sherwood first took over, he played a 4-4-2 formation playing Adebayor and Soldado together up top. In the past two games, Sherwood has opted to go with Adebayor as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation. Adebayor is seeing his price increase slowly but right now he is still just £7.9, certainly a good price point if you believe he is going to continue banging in goals for the Spurs.

Christian Benteke

Lukaku's compatriot is finally finding his footing after a woeful start to the season. He now has three straight games with a goal and this could be the perfect chance to pounce on him while he's hot and still affordable. He only has 7 goals on the season with 3 of those coming in the past three matches. He is currently just £8.7 and he's Belgian so it shouldn't mess with your team's dynamic or chemistry too much!

Wilfried Bony

He looked to be hitting some form after slaying Manchester United in the FA Cup and then scoring a brace against Manchester City. He scored against Tottenham lat week but was held scoreless this week against Norwich. His next three opponents are West Ham, Cardiff and Stoke so he could be in line for a very profitable February. Bony is listed at £7.4 so this seems to be the perfect time to get in before the getting gets good.

Lacina Traore

Traore is quite literally a giant. In fact, his nickname is actually "Gentle Giant". He is about 6ft9 and skinnier than the skinniest of twigs. See for yourself. Here's what happened next.

Traore was recently signed by Monaco from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala and Monaco almost immediately loaned him to Everton for the rest of the season. Lacina was just officially introduced as an Everton player today and one would think he will see significant playing time with Lukaku out. Traore has a pretty good scoring record. He had 12 goals and 4 assists in the Russian league last year and added 5 more goals and 4 more assists in Europa League and Europa League qualifiers. His price is currently £7.5, however, you might want to wait a little bit before making a move for him as he is currently listed as injured with a hamstring problem and is expected back February 12th. Everton play Chelsea the following week on the 22nd and even if Lukaku is fit by then, he will not be eligible to play. Rules state a player that is on loan cannot play against his parent club so Traore should see significant time against Chelsea.

Steven Naismith

Naismith came on for Lukaku after he got injured and looks to be the default starter for the time being. Naismith does not look like your typical striker and might not be the best option for your team but I decided to mention him anyway because he will get his fair share of chances. He is extremely cheap at just £4.6 so if you are looking to swap Lukaku with his real life replacement then Naismith is your guy for the time being.

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