This article is part of our FPL Barometer series.
Now three months into the 2015/16 Premier League campaign, we can start drawing conclusions from the events that have transpired so far, rather than waiting on a larger sample size. While fantasy Premier League stars in the past have emerged around this time to go on to very productive seasons, a la Harry Kane last season, this type of turnaround should be considered the exception rather than the rule. It becomes apparent at some point that, due to changing circumstances, previous years of production simply won't be applicable when assessing certain players' current fantasy value, for better or for worse. This week's FPL Barometer looks at some names who are making the most of new opportunities in front of them, and others who are simply underachieving compared to preseason expectations.
Coutinho's ability is undeniable, but he has never finished with more than five goals or seven assists in a Premier League season. The Brazilian put on one of his finest displays of the season in Saturday's impressive 3-1 away win over Chelsea, when he buried a pair of goals en route to a Man of the Match performance. Coutinho is looking to create his own offense more this season, with strikers Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke in and out of the lineup due to injuries, and he has now fired off 22 shots in his last five league matches. The eventual return to health of both strikers should only help Coutinho's FPL value, as he will have a bit more room to operate and should have plenty of chances to up his assist totals.
After signing with Tottenham for roughly $8 million in February, Alli is beginning to look like a steal. The 19-year-old has two goals in seven Premier League starts this season, including his sublime game-winning strike in the Matchweek 11 victory over Aston Villa. Alli is a technically gifted player capable of scoring goals from his midfield position, and he could be a productive FPL option if given regular starts. The newly-minted England international has started Spurs' last five league matches, coinciding with a 14-goal offensive outburst, and he should be considered as a weekly value play given his low salary and growing role.
After losing his place to Theo Walcott earlier in the season, Giroud has come alive, with seven goals in his last seven matches in all competitions following Wednesday's ethereal strike against Bayern Munich. In addition to the Frenchman's exceptional form at the moment, Walcott sustained a calf injury in the League Cup a week ago and could be sidelined until early December. Having reclaimed his role as Arsenal's central striker and surrounded by playmakers, Giroud is poised to serve as one of the most productive FPL strikers for the foreseeable future.
Adrian emerged as a viable weekly option early on this season thanks to West Ham's impressive form out of the gate, but he has now conceded in eight straight matches, winning just three times during that stretch. The Hammers still sit sixth in the standings, but only eight teams have conceded more goals. With matches against Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United following up Saturday's 2-0 loss to Watford, the Spaniard is looking less and less desirable by the week.
After breaking through with six goals and seven assists last season, Puncheon appeared to be on track to become a dominant FPL contributor this season. However, the playmaker has taken a step back this season, contributing just two assists in 11 starts as the Eagles' attack continues to struggle. Puncheon continues to rack up crosses and chip in peripheral stats in other categories, but those contributions only partially atone for the lack of goal and assist production. Considering he has failed to factor into a goal since August, Puncheon is not a particularly attractive FPL option at the moment.
Similar to many of his Chelsea teammates, Costa has been inexplicably poor this season after last year's dominant title-winning campaign. The Blues' star players have failed to string together any sort of consistency at either end of the pitch, as Costa's struggles are mirrored by those of teammates Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic. Costa has mustered just two goals and an assist in nine league starts, and he has factored into just one goal since the opening month of the season. The Spanish international still carries a very hefty price tag in nearly every format, and his selection is extremely hard to justify given the depth of FPL forward options available this season.