It is a week for enforced tinkering as the African Cup of Nations and a swarm of injuries take their hold of many key players in La Liga and Barcelona winger Pedrito is among those set to capitalise.
Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi are both major doubts for Pep Guardiola's side, who are also without injured midfielders Jeffren and Seydou Keita, while the influential Yaya Toure is on international duty with Ivory Coast.
The opportunist Fantasist would steal in to pick up Sergio Busquets at a paltry 3.97. But the major potential beneficiary of Barcelona's midfield absentees is Pedrito, and the winger represents a real threat for a meagre price of 9.92.
Iniesta (10.40) is such a bargain for when he returns that it is hard to resist a gamble on the midfielder's fitness, a move which could pay off in future weeks. The Spaniard has trained as normal this week after recovering from injury and, although he is not a certain starter, is as cheap as he will ever be in the game. In stark contrast, Messi (33.71) is not worth the gamble this week.
Barcelona's obdurate defence have conceded just nine times from 15 matches this season and the Fantasist is heeding that warning to steer clear of Villarreal's Santi Cazorla (18.18) in midfield. Equally, the Yellow Submarine's forwards Giuseppe Rossi (20.67) and Joseba Llorente represent shoddy value against the Champions.
Real Madrid travel to face Osasuna and Manuel Pellegrini will be without long-term injury victim Pepe and Mahamadou Diarra, who is on duty with Mali. If Kaka (18.90) is weighing down your budget then think long and hard about persevering with the Brazilian who continues to train apart from the group, along with Ruud van Nistelrooy (10.18) and Guti (10.28).
Anyone who thinks Cristiano Ronaldo is too expensive at 34.32 should reconsider as the prolific Portugese winger looks to keep his side nipping at the heels of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Deportivo travel to Real Zaragoza in the knowledge that the Blanquillos have had their goal breached more times than any other side in the league (35) so Riki (10.60) looks a bargain, with Adrian (8.32) also well priced.
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Fiorentina forwards Alberto Gilardino (16.91) and Adrian Mutu (15.00) are the players worth snapping up this week in Serie A as the Viola take on Siena's sieve-like defence.
Milan striker Marco Borriello remains staggeringly underpriced at 13.66 and, while Alexandre Pato (20.49) has been in fine form for Leonardo's side, the Italian represents the better value.
Internazionale's defenders have always been a solid bet, and with attacking centre-back Lucio available at 10.74, the Brazilian looks to be a superb asset for any fantasy team, with midfielder Wes Sneijder (9.61) also an attractive proposition.
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It is a fragmented week for Ligue 1 fantasists with the likes of the prolific Marseille forward Mamadou Niang (17.07) unavailable due to the African Cup of Nations, while Monaco's influential Nene (22.41) and Bordeaux playmaker Yohann Gourcuff are hideously over-priced.
The value seems to lie in Lorient striker Marama Vahirua (16.38). The Tahitian-French forward has averaged a meaty 12.17 points this season and is relatively cheap considering his consistently hefty contributions. The fact that struggling Le Mans are Lorient's opposition this week backs this up.
The other outstanding value can be found in the ranks of Auxerre, who host a Boulogne-sur-Mer side who languish second from bottom in Ligue 1 having conceded 35 goals and scored just 15. Olivier Sorin (14.59) is a safe bet, if a tad expensive, while Jean-Pascal Mignot (10.68) would be guaranteed good points without draining the budget. In attack, look no further than Ireneusz Jelen (12.90).
- La Liga
- Lionel Messi
- Andres Iniesta
- Pep Guardiola