The postponed continental cup competition, the African Cup of Nations, will take place January 9 - February 6, 2022. It will impact many Fantasy EPL assets, who will need to leave their Premier League clubs to play in the competition and potentially miss a few EPL games. Read about the fallout below and plan accordingly!
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Fantasy EPL Fallout from the 2022 African Cup of Nations
The African Cup of Nations (taking place between 9 January and 6 February 2022) will interrupt the seasons of many top players. The likes of Salah, Mane, Iheanacho, Mahrez, Aubameyang, Pepe, Zaha, Ziyech, Bertrand Traore, Ndidi, and Sarr could miss up to two to three matches (GW22, 23, & 24) in the middle of the season. While due to some fortuitous timing with the international break in January, it is less impactful than it would be otherwise, you will need to prepare. This isn't the end of the world - the flip side is that they will get a much needed rest this summer when others will have to play in the Euros or Copa America - but it will influence their value and force Fantasy EPL managers to reshuffle their rosters accordingly.
This midseason break will slightly dent the prospects of the players affected; meanwhile, their backups will likely see more minutes as a result. Many managers will overreact or underreact to this news. The key is to recognize the impact and plan accordingly. If you draft one of these assets, think about acquiring their backups, which will provide cover during the season, particularly during that January-February stretch of games.
Impact on Elite Players
A forced absence of between 2-3 matches (likely) can alter draft valuations. Egypt (Salah), Senegal (Mane), Ivory Coast (Zaha & Pepe), Algeria (Mahrez), Morocco (Ziyech), and Nigeria (Iheanacho & Ndidi) are among the favorites; the further these teams advance in the tournament, the more games they miss. Does Afcon change the draft positions of these elite players? It certainly has to be priced in. If you value someone like Salah slightly above, say, Kane or Son, then you may be tempted to choose one of the others due to these missed games. It also adds another question mark to players like Mahrez & Ziyech, who already get rotated as is. Their draft position may take a hit as a result. But the key thing, again, is to plan ahead and acquire some cover (see below).
Featured Players and Their Backups
Here we list the players that will feature in Afcon and the backup assets from each club that you may wish to roster to soften the blow of their absence.
Salah, Egypt. Backups: Jota, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri
Mane, Senegal. Backups: Jota, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri
Mahrez, Algeria. Backups: Ferran Torres
Aubameyang, Gabon. Backups: Lacazette, Martinelli
Pepe, Ivory Coast. Backups: Lacazette, Martinelli
Ziyech, Morocco. Backups: Hudson-Odoi
Zaha, Ivory Coast. Backups: Streamer
Iheanacho, Nigeria. Backups: Ayoze Perez
Ndidi, Nigeria. Backups: Streamer
Bertrand Traore, Burkina Faso. Backups: El-Ghazi (travesty)
Sarr, Senegal. Backups: Streamer
Schlupp, Ghana. Backups: Streamer
Others Affected by Afcon
Amad Diallo, Ivory Coast
Aurier, Ivory Coast
Bailly, Ivory Coast
Boly, Ivory Coast
Mendy (Edouard), Senegal
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