Being a successful Fantasy Premier League manager requires the ability to spot a differential option, and Romelu Lukaku could prove to be exactly that.

The Manchester United striker has suffered a poor return this season, registering just 12 goals and 115 FPL points. As a result his ownership is low at 4.1%.

But with so many FPL bosses forgetting about the Belgian, could now be the perfect time to bring him in?

Expected Goals

A graphic showing expected goals per 90 minutes this season in the Premier League

Expected goals (xG) is a figure which – taking into account historical data as well as factors such as shot location – illustrates how likely an effort at goal is to go in.

When all those chances are added up at the end of a game, a figure is produced which suggests how many goals a team could be expected to have scored – an individual figure can also be calculated for each player.

Despite a poor season by his standards, Lukaku registers one of the 10 best ‘xG per 90 minutes’ figures of the season at 0.441 – he actually has an almost identical xG to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who have both played more minutes and converted at a better rate.

Furthermore, Lukaku is by far the least popular of the top 10 – if he continues to perform as he has been, those who back him could reap the rewards.

Opposition

A table showing which Premier League footballers have scored the most goals against bottom four clubs in the last three seasons

Lukaku’s final two fixtures of the season come against Cardiff and Huddersfield, fixtures which not only rank as the easiest according to the FPL’s Fixture Difficulty Rating (FDR) system, but which Lukaku performs well in historically.

Only Harry Kane has more goals against the bottom four clubs in the last three Premier League seasons, and both Huddersfield and Cardiff are guaranteed to finish in the bottom four now.

So how many points can managers expect from the 25-year-old?

Projected Points

A graphic showing projected Fantasy Premier League points for footballers with less than 5% game ownership

Based on his average score in matches with the same FDR this season, Lukaku is projected to earn more FPL points than any other player with less than 5% ownership.

Lukaku’s potential 10.3 points see him above Troy Deeney and David Silva in this category – could he be the final surprise performer of the season?

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