In our final analysis of the latest Watchlist standings following their festive overhaul, we now take time out to assess the latest movements among the forwards.
For those new to the site, the Watchlist is designed to offer a view on our current mid-term player recommendations, based on the prospects spanning the next four-to-six Gameweeks.
You will find our current Watchlist standings in your right-hand menu on desktop and mobile.
There’s no change at the top of the rankings, with Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Chelsea’s Diego Costa retaining their spots at the summit.
Both players lead the forward standings in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) on 123 points apiece, although Ibrahimovic is clearly the man in form.
Having climbed in value to 11.6 on the back of nine goals and four assists in his last nine starts, the Swede’s upcoming schedule (LIV, sto, HUL, lei, WAT) also gives him a slight edge.
There’s no doubt that Costa – whose FPL price has fallen to 10.7 following a recent one-match suspension – remains a reliable source for attacking returns, though, having blanked in only three of his last 13 matches.
Nonetheless, the Chelsea forward has only managed two double-digit hauls over that period, while the forthcoming fixture list for Antonio Conte’s side (lei, HUL, liv, ARS, bur, SWA) is mixed.
Ibrahimovic has penalties, free-kicks and has provided five double-digit returns, with a top score of 15. This compares favourable to Costa who has just three returns of 12 points so far and lacks dead-ball duties to bolster his appeal.
The Swede sat out United’s EFL Cup victory over Hull City on Tuesday but is expected to return to contention following illness for the Gameweek 21 collision with Liverpool.
Harry Kane sees his stock fall slightly this time around as a result of four blanks in six.
The Tottenham Hotspur frontman has retreated under the shadow of midfield team-mates Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli over the past month, who are both considerably cheaper on the budget at 8.6 and 8.5 respectively.
Kane’s 16-point haul against Watford in Gameweek 19 provided a reminder of his explosive potential, though, and with spot-kick duties in the locker, the potential for double-digit hauls remains.
The festive period was very productive for Jermain Defoe, who registered another three goals, taking his tally to 11 for the season.
The Sunderland forward surges back up our rankings as David Moyes’ side prepare to take on Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace in the next four.
Still available at a meagre 7.8 in FPL, it remains a surprise that Defoe sits in just 25.4% of FPL squads, given that he is the joint-sixth highest point scorer in the game, with 113 points accrued.
Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud both enjoy rises, having flourished over the festive spell.
Lukaku returned to form with two goals and an assist in his last three starts, and looks a solid option as a second forward given his 9.5 price tag in FPL.
The Toffees also face one of the softest upcoming schedules (MCI, cpl, sto, BOU, mid, SUN) over the next six Gameweeks.
No forward scored more points than Giroud over the holiday fixtures, and having started the last three matches, the Frenchman’s form protects his pitch time ahead of an enticing run of fixtures (swa, BUR, WAT, che, HUL).
Theo Walcott is thought to be closing on a return following a calf injury, though, so away from home, there remains the prospect that Arsene Wenger will utilise the movement of Alexis Sanchez in the lone striker role.
Giroud is perhaps more suited to home fixtures to help break down a deep defensive line – the Emirates fixtures with Burnley, Watford and Hull City certainly look tailored-made for the Frenchman, then.
Man City’s Sergio Aguero suffers another drop in stock despite making a return from his four-match suspension with a goal against Burnley.
Aguero started from the bench against the Clarets, and with rotation an ongoing concern regarding all City players, it’s questionable whether the Argentine, priced at 12.8 in FPL, will provide better value than the likes of Ibrahimovic and Costa, who look nailed on to start every match for their respective clubs.
In addition, having seen him surrender spot-kick duties in Friday’s FA Cup thrashing of West Ham, confidence in Aguero suffers a further blow.
Crystal Palace’s Gameweek 20 clash against Swansea had been earmarked as a “make or break” encounter for Christian Benteke, following a run of four successive blanks.
But after being forced off at half-time with a shoulder injury, the former Liverpool striker failed to provide the goods, and as a result, suffers another damaging fall in our rankings.
The Eagles forward is expected to be fit to face West Ham United in Gameweek 21, but given that Palace will be without chief creator Wilfried Zaha, who has departed for the Africa Cup of Nations, it’s no surprise that Benteke has been subject to further heavy FPL sales.
Middlesbrough’s Alvaro Negredo is also heading in the wrong direction, with blanks against Burnley and Leicester City over the festive period denting our confidence in the Spaniard.
‘Boro’s short-term fixtures (wat, WHM, WBA) remain reasonably friendly, but with Aitor Karanka’s side still struggling for creativity, it’s likely that chances will continue to be at a premium for Negredo.
Two possible alternatives to the ‘Boro striker are West Bromwich Albion’s Salomon Rondon and Burnley’s Andre Gray.
Rondon did only muster an assist from the plum home fixture against Hull City last time out, but with the fixture list (tot, SUN, mid, STO, whm, BOU) remaining favourable over the coming period, the 6.8-rated Venezuelan remains a viable option as a third forward.
Having reclaimed a spot in the Burnley side, starting the last five matches, Gray returns to the Watchlist this week after scoring four goals over the festive period.
The Clarets striker looks set to offer solid value at just 6.2 in FPL, although Sean Dyche’s side do face Southampton and Arsenal next, before kinder match-ups against Leicester City and Watford.