This article is part of our FPL Bargain Bin series.
Injuries are a double-edged sword in the sports world. It is always unfortunate to see someone go down, but it also provides an opportunity for someone else to get a chance to showcase their abilities. As the season winds down, bodies start to feel the stress of a grueling season and injuries become more frequent. Much has been made about introducing a winter break in the Premier League, and part of the discussion centers around the injury risk by not getting a breather on a season that lasts 10 months. If you look at other European leagues like those in France, Germany and Spain, they all have some sort of break built in to their schedule.
Regardless of the cause, injuries are just a part of sport and happen all the time. Club managers are forced to deal with it, as are managers of fantasy teams. Just ask any Daniel Sturridge owner (myself being one of them) how important injuries are to fantasy sports. But a story like Sturridge's only focuses on the negative impact of an injury. Before Feb. 28, Glenn Murray had played a total of 129 minutes. Injuries to three other Crystal Palace forwards thrust Murray into a starting role (he has since made four appearances in the starting XI) and the striker has helped Crystal Palace stay out of the relegation discussion with four goals. Every injury has two sides of the story, and while it is never easy to see a player get hurt, there can be some surprises waiting on the other end.
This weekend, Murray will have another great chance to provide good fantasy value as he continues his role as Crystal Palace's top striker. The Eagles travel to take on Sunderland, and the Black Cats have been awfully generous to visiting teams. Only West Bromwich Albion have conceded more goals in home matches this season and the Crystal Palace attack is in full swing (seven goals in their last three matches). In fact, those four starts from Murray have seen Crystal Palace score 10 goals and claim four victories. Sprinkled in was a match in which Murray did not play and the Eagles were shut out by Southampton.
Murray is not going to be the only player to see action this weekend because of injuries to teammates. This means there are plenty of players who will be taking the pitch with bargain fantasy prices ripe for your picking. With that in mind, here are players (including a bonus striker since we already discussed Murray) that are getting an opportunity because of injury and can be helpful to your fantasy squad:
Davis made his first start of the season last weekend at Everton in place of the injured Fraser Forster. Although he allowed a goal, he still remains a great fantasy option largely due to the fine job the defenders in front of him have done all season. Only Manchester City has held opponents to fewer shot attempts, and that takes a lot of pressure off a goalkeeper. This weekend, Davis will get a great matchup against a struggling Hull City side who have managed just two goals in six away matches in 2015. The Southampton defenders will provide plenty of support and Davis should be considered one of the top goalkeeping options this weekend.
Laurent Koscielny was forced off early because of a thigh injury last weekend against Liverpool. In his place, Paulista came on to make his fifth appearance with the club since signing with the Gunners back in January. He may not provide much on the attack, but he is certainly good enough to play in Arsenal's back line and will be on the pitch with the Premier League's hottest team should Koscielny be forced to miss out. Arsenal has won seven consecutive league matches and has only recorded two losses in their last 16. Over that time, the Gunners' defense has held opponents to less than one goal per match and has kept five clean sheets. Only Liverpool and Manchester United have kept more clean sheets over that same 16-match period. Arsenal will have a great opportunity this weekend to add another clean sheet when they travel to Burnley. The Clarets have scored just one goal in their last five league matches and were blanked when these teams met back in January. Keep an eye on the status of the injured Koscielny, as Paulista would be an excellent bargain this weekend.
Sometimes it's the indirect affect an injury has that provides value. When Robin van Persie went down with an ankle injury, it forced manager Louis van Gaal to reevaluate his lineup. This allowed Fellaini to assume a role that was similar to the one he played with Everton, and he has been benefiting greatly. In the five matches since van Persie got hurt, Fellaini has attempted 11 shots (2.2 per match) compared to just 20 shots in 15 matches (1.3 per match) before the change. The uptick in attempts has only led to one goal, but if he continues to get similar opportunities he will likely cash in. What better time to cash in than during the Manchester derby? These have never been known as low-scoring affairs and the City defense on the road is not the same as it is at home. A lot will be on the line Sunday when these teams meet, and Fellaini will look to do his part to play a role in the outcome.
Just because it is obvious does not make it untrue. With Diego Costa (hamstring) likely out, Remy will be in line to make his fourth appearance in the starting XI. Remy has scored twice in the three other appearances, including a goal last weekend against Stoke. A trip to QPR will provide another great opportunity for Remy, as no team has allowed more goals this season. Look for Remy to get another start and add to his goal total this weekend.