As the 2013-14 Premier League season passes its halfway point, fantasy performers are still emerging as formidable options after incredible recent runs of form.
While fantasy owners have their usual star players such as Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and others to lean on, finding a solid addition of a player who has dazzled as of late can be a huge boost to any squad.
With Matchday 20 upcoming, let's check out some top additions that you can make before the action that will pay off.
Theo Walcott, F, Arsenal
Arsenal have been the story of the Premier League thus far this season, but it was largely without the impact of Theo Walcott. Until recently, that is, as he's scored four goals in December.
Things match up well for Walcott and the Gunners to have even more offensive success in Week 20. They will host Cardiff, against whom Walcott notched an assist in their last matchup despite not coming on until the 90th minute.
Cardiff entered Week 19 as one of four clubs that had given up 30 goals on the season. Defense has been a huge issue for the EPL newcomers, especially on the road, which is where they'll be against one of the league's top teams.
Alvaro Negredo, F, Manchester City
Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo has been leaned on a bit more than usual in Sergio Aguero's absence and has only stepped up his game more. He's a lock to continue producing for a Manchester City offense that never stays down.
City face a road test against Swansea in Week 20. While City have gone from unstoppable to beatable when going from home to the road, Swansea haven't won a game since Dec. 4.
Negredo has nine goals in all competitions since the start of November, proving to be a menace at the top of the Premier League's most dangerous attack. With no Aguero, someone has to do the goal scoring and Negredo looks up to the task after scoring against Swansea earlier this year.
Carlton Cole, F, West Ham
It's not very often that a West Ham offensive player—or any position player on the squad, rather—is an impact fantasy performer, but Week 20 is one of those times. Carlton Cole is a solid bet for a goal or two.
West Ham get the honors of playing Fulham, who are letting up goals at a dizzying rate. The club has given up 41 goals on the season, getting blown out of most of their fixtures.
Cole's club exploded for three goals against West Brom in a draw, in which he didn't score. But he was the only West Ham player to score in their two previous fixtures, securing a goal in each. If he keeps up that recent form and takes advantage of a Fulham squad that can't stop anything on defense, he'll have a big day.
Jonny Evans, D, Manchester United
Consistency and solid defense has been a struggle at times for Manchester United this season, but Jonny Evans and the Red Devils' defense should have little trouble on Matchday 20.
United face Tottenham at Old Trafford on Wednesday, Jan. 1, and that bodes well for one side of the ball. Entering Week 19, Spurs had only scored 19 goals on the season—hardly over one per match.
Just as well, Evans has been a monster in the central defense area for United as of late with his blocking ability, as Nick Coppack noted:
When it comes to blocks per minute Jonny Evans must be right up there with the best of them. Loves to get in the way.— Nick Coppack (@nickcoppack) December 28, 2013
Evans and the United defense faltered against Hull on Dec. 26 but bounced back just two days later by shutting out Norwich. Against one of the EPL's most struggling offenses, this formidable defense—led by Evans—will continue to rise to the challenge.