Pre-Season

The Best Budget Forwards to Buy in FPL 2018/19

Having analysed the goalkeepers, budget defenders, mid-price/premium defenders, budget midfielders, mid-price midfielders and premium midfielders, our thorough look through the Fantasy Premier League price list continues with an assessment of the budget forwards on offer.

The reasons for selecting at least one striker priced at £6.0m or below are varied, the most glaringly obvious one being out of necessity to free up funds elsewhere. To afford numerous premium assets, sacrifices have to be made in some positions. With almost one in two FPL managers currently owning Mohamed Salah, for example, a bargain basement “enabler” or two will almost certainly be required to fund the Egyptian’s inflated £13.0m price tag.

Another reason why Fantasy bosses may be deliberately light in attack, at least early on, is that several of the premium forward options – Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Gabriel Jesus, Jamie Vardy etc –  have had decimated pre-seasons following their participation in this summer’s World Cup and are less appealing prospects as a result. Mid-price options such as Wilfried Zaha, Marko Arnautovic and Cenk Tosun are currently mopping up the owners as a consequence (more of which we’ll discuss in our next price list analysis article), but the likes of Aboubakar Kamara and Collin Quaner (both £4.5m) are proving to be relatively popular alternatives.

Which bring us to our next point of consideration: whether we want our budget forwards to be viable playing options or set-and-forget bench fodder. The popularity of Kamara and Quaner suggests the prevailing opinion is for the latter and a cursory glance through the plethora of “rate my team” requests on the FFS site would suggest a significant proportion of FPL managers are pursuing this strategy. Callum Wilson (£6.0m), sitting in 4.1% of FPL squads at the time of writing, is currently the most popular budget forward who has a realistic chance of sustained game-time.

The £4.5m Bracket

Quaner was a favoured option last season for FPL managers ditching 3-4-3 in favour of a power five in midfield and even gifted his owners some playing time, making 13 league starts and as many substitute appearances for Huddersfield Town; that the German forward recorded four assists was an added bonus.

Most of Quaner’s appearances were on the right wing, rather than up top, for the Terriers last season and David Wagner has strengthened his options on the flanks over the summer with the captures of Ramadan Sobhi and Adama Diakhaby. The versatile Diakhaby, a signing from Monaco, started Huddersfield’s recent friendlies against Darmstadt and Lyon on the right flank, and Quaner’s minutes would seem at more risk this season.

Not that pitch-time would be of a huge concern for the 7.3% of FPL managers who own Quaner, of course, the majority of whom would be benching the budget forward on a weekly basis.

Kamara’s listing as Fulham’s sole striking option in FPL will have caught the eye of many Fantasy managers, but the chances of the French forward starting the season as the spearhead of Slavisa Jokanovic’s attack are slim. The Cottagers will almost certainly add a bona fide striker or two to their ranks before Gameweek 1, with last year’s loan signing Aleksandar Mitrovic persistently linked with a permanent move to west London.

Kamara featured mostly as a substitute striker throughout Fulham’s promotion-winning season, coming off the bench in 22 of his 30 Championship appearances. The budget forward ended up the season on the right of Jokanovic’s front three in attack and could potentially be blooded there in 2018/19, although the arrival of Andre Schurrle from Borussia Dortmund would further cast doubt on Kamara’s first-team chances.

There is little else to interest FPL managers in the £4.5m bracket: Gary Madine, the scorer of three pre-season goals against the mighty Bodmin Town and Tavistock AFC, may feature intermittently for Cardiff City this season but is well behind Kenneth Zohore and new signing Bobby Reid in the pecking order up front.

It’s worth reiterating that for many Fantasy managers, especially at this early stage in the season when a full playing bench is perhaps not necessary, the prospective pitch-time of their £4.5m forwards is an irrelevance.

The £5.0m Bracket

An extra £0.5m doesn’t buy much this season and not one of the forwards in the £5.0m bracket stands out. The fact that Joselu is currently the most-owned striker in this price group says much about the other options available.

Newcastle United’s much-maligned striker scored on only four occasions in 2017/18 and his last league start for the Magpies was a home match against Burnley in January, a fixture in which Joselu missed from the spot.

The former Stoke City striker has, at least, featured prominently in pre-season, starting both of Newcastle’s fixtures played to date and netting in the 2-2 draw with Hull City. The expected arrival of Yoshinori Muto from Mainz would likely put paid to his first-team renaissance, however.

Shane Long, Elias Kachunga and Lys Mousset are among the familiar names in this group, all of whom will see minutes for their respective clubs at some point this season but are far from guaranteed starters – and more likely to see action in support roles/on the flank.

Tomer Hemed, who has two goals and an assist in pre-season, will likely be behind Glenn Murray, Jurgen Locadia (£5.5m) and Florin Andone in the pecking order at Brighton and Hove Albion, meanwhile.

Kenneth Zohore and Leo Bonatini are £5.0m-rated options for newly promoted Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The arrival of Bobby Reid (£5.5m) from Bristol City doesn’t necessarily signal the end of Zohore’s first-team opportunities, with Reid playing either alongside or to the wide of the big Dane in Cardiff’s two most-recent friendlies. Zohore isn’t likely to be troubling the top goal-scorer charts, however, having scored on only nine occasions in 36 Championship appearances last season. A rate of an attempt on goal every 29.1 minutes in 2017/18 was a decent one, though that mean will likely worsen against superior opposition this season.

Bonatini, meanwhile, began last season at Wolves in scintillating form, scoring on 12 occasions before Christmas. A five-month barren spell between then and the end of the campaign led to his demotion from nailed-on starter to impact substitute and the concern again this season would be his minutes – particularly after the arrival of Raul Jimenez (£5.5m).

Alexander Sorloth has had an unspectacular beginning to his Crystal Palace career but has shown glimpses of form in pre-season, starting every one of the Eagles’ four friendlies contested to date and being directly involved in four of his side’s goals. Palace’s dearth of options in attack means that – as is currently the case with Christian Benteke’s ankle knock – the Norwegian target-man is only an injury away from a potential start in Gameweek 1.

The £5.5m Bracket

Oumar Niasse and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were a cost-effective source of points for Everton in 2017/18. Niasse scored on eight occasions in the league and, of all the forwards available at £6.0m or below in FPL this season, had the best points-per-match average (3.8). Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, found the back of the net on four occasions and no Premier League striker in any price bracket assisted more goals (eight).

The arrival of Cenk Tosun in January was a game-changer, however. After the Turkish striker’s debut in Gameweek 23, Niasse and Calvert-Lewin started only seven matches between them from then until the end of the season. Silva has made positive noises about both players since taking over at Goodison Park but the pair will likely be squad players at best this season.

Sandro Ramirez, another Toffee in the £5.5m bracket, has unexpectedly featured prominently in pre-season, starting all five of Everton’s summer friendlies to date. Everton have an appealing start to the season (wlv, SOU, bou, HUD, WHU) and Sandro, long-thought to be surplus to requirements at Goodison and indeed not even priced up when FPL went live last month, is one to monitor over the coming weeks. With Gylfi Sigurdsson and new signing Richarlison still to return, however, Sandro’s first-team prospects either up front or in the supporting roles behind Tosun would appear slim.

On the surface, Danny Ings has to be one of the least appealing striking options in this bracket. All eyes will be on the transfer market in the coming weeks, however, with the Liverpool reserve set for a possible exit after three injury-hit years on Merseyside.

Should Ings make a move to a Premier League club that could guarantee him starts, the former Burnley striker is one to monitor in the medium term. Still just 26 years of age, Ings hit double figures for goals in his last full season (2014/15) for the Clarets in the top flight.

Sam Vokes largely played second fiddle to Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood at Turf Moor last season, but with the Clarets competing in Europe this season (qualification permitting), could feature more prominently in 2018/19. Barnes was sidelined for Burnley’s Europa League match with Aberdeen but the problem (blisters) is not a serious one. Vokes meanwhile emerged from the bench to grab the Clarets’ equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Pittodrie.

Having previously discussed Kenneth Zohore and Leo Bonatini in the £5.0m bracket, Bobby Reid and Raul Jimenez are slightly more expensive options for their respective clubs.

Both strikers are untested at Premier League level and for Reid in particular, the Premier League could be a daunting step up. Reid scored on 19 occasions in the Championship last season but his underlying statistics were mostly inferior to those of Zohore and he had previously not scored more than three goals in a single campaign. After a decent opening three fixtures, Cardiff’s horrendous run of matches between Gameweeks 4 and 10 will likely deter much investment in the Bristolian forward.

Jimenez is a more interesting proposition and, although new to English football, his physicality and ability to bring his team-mates into play would seem ideally suited to the figurehead role in Nuno Espirito Santo’s 3-4-3 system. Santo may decide to gradually ease Jimenez into first-team action, but the Mexico international has already started two of Wolves’ pre-season friendlies and experienced the blood and thunder of an away match at Stoke City.

Jimenez didn’t score more than seven league goals in a single season during his three years at Benfica, however.

Laurent Depoitre is set to once again battle Steve Mounie (£6.0m) for the lone forward’s role in David Wagner’s 4-2-3-1 formation and the Belgian striker staked his claim to a first-team place with two goals in Huddersfield’s 3-1 win over Lyon. While Depoitre’s minutes-per-chance average of 72.3 was the worst among forwards with more than 30 appearances to their name, the Belgian striker’s goal conversion rate of 24% was among the highest in his position. Huddersfield’s miserable league goals tally of 28 in 2017/18 was indicative of their creativity problems, but the Terriers could potentially pose more of a sustained goal threat this season with Ramadan Sobhi, Alex Pritchard and Adama Diakhaby playing just off Mounie/Depoitre.

Andy Carroll is set to miss the first few months of the season, while Jurgen Locadia faces a race against time to be fit for Brighton’s opening match at Watford. Having featured only sporadically for the Seagulls after his move in January (sometimes on the flank), this could be a make-or-break season for Locadia with an ageing Glenn Murray and an unproven Florin Andone for competition.

The £6.0m Bracket

In an ideal world, Fantasy managers ought to be expecting security of starts as well as a potent goal threat for a £6.0m-rated forward.

The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Kelechi Iheanacho and Fernando Llorente fall at the first hurdle, then. Llorente has four goals already in pre-season and could potentially start in Harry Kane’s place as the England striker builds up his fitness after a post-World Cup break, but Kane has already stated that he hopes to feature in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans for the Gameweek 1 encounter with Newcastle United.

There aren’t many “nailed” picks in this bracket elsewhere, either. Dwight Gayle ousted Joselu from the Newcastle team after the Spaniard’s horror show in the 1-1 draw with Burnley in January, but question marks remain over his ability to cut it at top-flight level: the former Crystal Palace striker scored on only six occasions last season. The Magpies’ atrocious sequence of fixtures in the first eight Gameweeks would further dent Gayle’s appeal.

As mentioned before, Steve Mounie is likely to interchange with Laurent Depoitre as the spearhead of the Huddersfield attack. The Benin international had almost twice as many goal attempts (49) as Depoitre (25) last season, despite playing only 50 more minutes. Mounie’s greater number of shots failed to translate into a glut of goals, however, with his total of seven league strikes beating Depoitre’s only by one.

No forward available for £6.0m or less this season had more shots on goal (60) in 2017/18 than Ashley Barnes. Available for £0.5m less than strike partner Chris Wood, Barnes had a better minutes-per-chance average (36) than the former Leeds striker although scored one league goal fewer. Burnley’s fixtures for Gameweeks 1-8 are inviting, although their participation in the Europa League could see Sean Dyche on occasion rotate one of the most settled sides of last season. Barnes is currently struggling with blisters and missed the Europa League match with Aberdeen on Thursday.

The other six strikers in the £6.0m bracket belong to just three teams, with each pair – Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini at Southampton, Troy Deeney and Andre Gray at Watford, and Callum Wilson and Jermain Defoe at Bournemouth – likely to be competing for one centre-forward spot at their respective clubs.

If Austin gets the nod over Gabbiadini (as he did in the recent friendly defeat to Derby County), then the former Queens Park Rangers striker is one of the most attractive propositions in this price bracket, particularly with Southampton’s agreeable first five fixtures.

Austin had another injury-plagued season last year and it is easy to brand him a nostalgic pick, but his minutes-per-chance average (21.5) in 2017/18 was inferior only to those of Harry Kane, Olivier Giroud and Sergio Aguero among strikers with 20+ appearances to their name.

Gray has started both of Watford’s pre-season friendlies contested to date, registering a goal and an assist over those two appearances. Neither Gray nor Deeney shone in the league last season (both finishing with five goals to their name) but with home fixtures against Brighton and Palace to come in the first three Gameweeks, Gray could be a shot-to-nothing short-term punt.

Wilson started all but two of Bournemouth’s final 20 fixtures of last season, with Eddie Howe mostly sticking by his first-choice forward even during a 12-match goal drought. Wilson’s scoreless run from late-January to mid-May will likely deter possible owners, but the Cherries meet only one of the “big six” in the first ten Gameweeks and their attack, in particular, is worthy of consideration for this run. Josh King (£6.5m) is another route into the Bournemouth forward line, but the Norwegian’s minutes-per-chance rate of 48.1 last season was far inferior to Wilson’s 37.5.

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Posted by

1,264 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Warby84
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Any Comments?

    4-4-2

    Schmeichel
    Mendy Robertson Coleman Bellerin
    Salah Richarlison Jota Sanchez
    Aubameyang Arnautovic

    Boruc Hughes Wan Bissaka Quaner

    1. DivocksHighSocks
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 18 days ago

      Cairney for Hughes in my book but otherwise I very much like it, especially if Schmeichal ends up at Chelsea.

      maybe Coleman to Shaw, that 0.5 extra would allow Jota --> Mkhi or Wan Bissaka --> 4.5 def.

      1. Warby84
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 18 days ago

        Cheers

  2. YoungPretender
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    A) Sane + Coleman
    B) Mahrez + Mendy
    C) Mahrez + Coleman + 0.5m.

    1. DivocksHighSocks
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 18 days ago

      B, unless that extra 0.5 will get a significant upgrade elsewhere

      1. subhojit123
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 18 days ago

        A

  3. DivocksHighSocks
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Aubameyang, Arnautovic, 4.5 (total: 22.5)
    vs
    Zaha, Arnautovic, Tosun (total: 21)

    1. nobwak
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      Depends on what you're doing with the extra 1.5 really

  4. Trovsmash
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Rate this draft team 1/10 please?. from first pick. 10 player draft league

    Ryan / Patricio
    Coleman / PVA / Bertrand / Lascelles / Sokratis
    Salah / Mahrez / Mkhit / Jota / Maddinson
    Zaha / Reid / Gayle

    1. nobwak
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      The forwards suck ass.

    2. Trovsmash
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      If you take salah first pick, you then dont get a turn till pick 21/22. just fyi

    3. JohnnyMagrinho
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      You’re kind of wasting your time asking anything about Draft Leagues on this website. Everyone is too concerned with standard Fantasy and whenever you write ‘draft team’ majority of readers just think you mean it’s a first draft of your team.

      Besides, there’s not much to really say if you’ve already drafted.

    4. ENEMY
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Bad fwd line mate

  5. Warby84
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Pickford now Chelsea Number 1 target according to Sky Sports if Courtois leaves...

  6. Random Name
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Starting to think Lacazette is essential

    1. Witty Pun: Tʜᴇ Cᴀsᴜ…
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 18 days ago

      I think after HUD I will have Lacazette and Aubameyang as the strikeforce.

    2. Pierce34
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 18 days ago

      I agree, he was unfairly maligned here last season.

    3. ENEMY
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 17 days ago

      I think he'll be a 20 goal scorer this season

  7. semiconductor
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    With Auba in my frontline,

    1. Ederson+Firminho
    2. Fabianski+kun

    1. ENEMY
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Kun and Fab

  8. Homo Neanderthalensis
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Which is the better pair:

    A) Cairney & Aguero
    B) Sánchez & Bobby Reid

    1. ENEMY
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Obviously A

  9. ENEMY
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    3 months, 18 days ago

    Austin/Wilson or Quaner for 3rd striker?

  10. Beatle
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Comments appreciated:

    Pickford, Speroni
    Bailly, Robbo, Mendy, Cedric, Wan-Bis
    Salah, Sane Pereyra Cairney Masuaka
    Firmino, Kun, Wood

  11. vy.p
      3 months, 17 days ago

      rmt:
      def: ota,taa, trippier kolasinac, malone
      mid: erikson, jorginho, sane, lingard, cairney
      att: zaha ,firminio, aguero

    • Dbz91
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Opinions?

      I like 3-4-3 usually but feel 4-4-2 gives better value initially. IMO Maguire is a must have if he goes to Man United and possibly could be a opportunity to get a saving from Pickford if he goes Chelsea. Fingers crossed

      De Gea (Fabianski)
      Mendy, Maguire, Robertson, Diop (Peltier)
      Salah, Richarlison, Milivojevic, De Bruyne (Jorginho)
      Aubameyang, Arnie (Kamara)

    • money face bandwagon
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      please choose one

      1) sane + sanchez
      2) mhki + salah

      1. Roberto Baggio
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 7 Years
        3 months, 16 days ago

        Miki salah

    • Roberto Baggio
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 16 days ago

      Ederson (4.0)
      VVD Mendy Daniels (Duffy, 4.0)
      Sanchez(c) eriksen Salah miki richarlison
      Arnie Zaha (4.5)

      Looking good ?

      Planning Sanchez miki > Pogba KDB , once World Cup hangover is gone

    • BadBoy
        3 months, 16 days ago

        Pickford Fabianski
        Mendy Ward Coleman Morisson Schelotto
        Salah B.Silva Jorginho Jota Schurrle
        Aubameyang Zaha Morata

        Any changes then plz recommend. Also rate my team.

      • Rt505
          3 months, 14 days ago

          Any thoughts on this?

          De Gea / Hamer
          Alexander-Arnold / Lowton / Cedric / Wan Bissaka / Daniels
          Mane / Salah / KDB / Richarlison / Gunnarson
          Zaha / Lacazette / Tosun

        • KAR
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 13 days ago

          pickford (boruc)
          bellerin, bailly, mendy, (cedric, wan-bissaka)
          salah, mkhi, mahrez, richarlison
          aguero, zaha, arnautovic

          wich one do you prefer aguero or auba?

        • DanielLongo5
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          3 months, 13 days ago

          New to the site, would really appreciate feedback on my current squad.

          Ederson (Hamer)
          Robertson / Cedric / Daniels / Ward / Wan Bis
          Eriksen / Mane / D Silva / Richarlison / Cairney
          Aguero / Firmino / Zaha(Tosun)

          All feedback is appreciated. Who do you think is a better player to start with given that I plan to use an early wildcard; Tosun or Zaha?? Also looking to swap Eriksen for Alexis possibly but I'm not sure where the best place in the team to make up the 1.0 would be. Thanks for any help.

        • prgmtctchr
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 12 days ago

          Are you better at losing than winning? Join the Fewest Points Wins on Fantasy Premier League. You must spend all 100m and make no transfers. Invert the table for eligible teams: the one with the fewest points, wins!

          League code: 432658-93331

          Bring your friends, if you haven't lost all of them, too...

        • Lord Tachanka
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 4 days ago

          Game crashed yet?