With there being limited appeal in the sub-£6.0m bracket and premium options perhaps being overlooked in favour of heavy hitters in defence and midfield, mid-price Fantasy Premier League forwards may again be popular this season.
There are 22 strikers in the £6.0m-£7.5m group and they will be the focus of this latest FPL price list analysis, though some managers will, of course, consider the likes of Callum Wilson (£8.0m) and Marcus Rashford (£8.5m) ‘mid-price’.
Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) is probably the headline name in this price bracket and he indeed is currently the most-owned FPL player in any position, sitting in 43.5% of squads.
The ‘auto-pick’ selections will be skewing those figures but that high ownership percentage can’t just be explained away by untouched Fantasy teams.
Elsewhere in this price rung there are assets from newly promoted clubs, players who have changed position, summer acquisitions, reserve strikers and a wantaway Austrian.
Two FPL forwards available at £6.5m were midfielders last season.
Diogo Jota and Gerard Deulofeu were both reclassified upon the game’s relaunch in late June, a bit of a blow to Fantasy managers given the loss of points (i.e. goals/clean sheets) associated with such a move but the right decision nonetheless after their run-outs up front in 2018/19.
All 26 of Deulofeu’s starts were as a support striker, false nine or bona fide centre-forward, with his only appearances on the flank being as a substitute or in situations when a third forward was brought off the bench as Watford chased a deficit.
The former Everton attacker scored ten goals and registered five assists while stationed up front.
Happily for his prospects this season, the Catalonian attacker would still have been Watford’s leading outfield points-scorer even if he had been listed as an FPL forward in 2018/19.
Deulofeu was paired with Troy Deeney (£6.5m) for much of the season and the former Barcelona player was competitive with the Watford club captain for underlying stats, having a better rate of penalty box touches and minutes per shot and only marginally trailing Deeney for shots in the box and big chances.
Watford’s first four fixtures are among the most appealing in the division and Deulofeu currently sits in 14.0% of FPL squads.
Jota was one of the form players in the final two-thirds of the season, averaging 5.7 FPL points per match in his last 20 appearances.
The Portugal under-21 international registered 16 attacking returns in those 20 starts, scoring on nine occasions and setting up a further seven goals.
Jota even outperformed teammate Raul Jimenez (£7.5m) during this period, with the Mexican striker registering 14 attacking returns (ten goals, four assists) from Gameweek 15 onwards despite playing over 400 more minutes than Jota.
It is easy to forget that Jota had started the season unimpressively, managing just one assist in the first 14 Gameweeks.
A tactical tweak from Nuno Espirito Santo transformed Jota’s fortunes, however, and ultimately led to his position change in FPL.
Wolves had begun the season in the same 3-4-3 system they had used in the Championship, with Jota as the wide-left option in the front three.
Some indifferent form, including defeats to Brighton, Huddersfield and Cardiff, prompted a formation change from Santo as he rolled out a 3-5-2 for the visit of Chelsea in early December.
Jota and Jimenez were the two central strikers used that day and the pair were to continue that partnership for the rest of the campaign.
The Mexican striker found the back of the net 13 times last season and chipped in with ten assists.
The only players to earn more bonus points (31) were Eden Hazard and Pierre–Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m).
The former Benfica man was a reliable Fantasy option, too, featuring in all 38 league matches for Wolves and starting all but two of them.
Jimenez ranked sixth amongst FPL forwards for points per match (4.8) and was consistent rather than explosive, registering just four double-digit hauls.
In terms of expected goals (xG), Jimenez ranked fourth among forwards with 15.20.
The Jota v Jimenez debate is an interesting one given the price gap and we’ll have a direct comparison of the two Wolves options in a Members’ article coming soon.
Options From the Promoted Clubs
The ‘main’ strikers for all three promoted clubs are available in this price rung.
Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) scored 29 Championship goals last season and finished as the division’s top scorer.
Pukki was joint-top for goal attempts in the Championship this season and first for efforts in the box, too.
Added to his goal threat is his assist potential: the Finn set up nine goals in 2018/19 and was third among Championship forwards for key passes.
Norwich have some bleak-looking fixtures in the first five Gameweeks but there are more appealing matches beyond that, so the opening month or so will be a decent audition period for the Finland international.
Aston Villa’s Wesley Moraes (£6.0m) arrived from Club Brugge this summer as the Villans look to plug the gap left by loanee Tammy Abraham, who has returned to parent club Chelsea.
There is a degree of uncertainty around any big-money import and the same is true of Wesley, who didn’t manage more than ten league goals in a single top-flight Belgian season.
Still young at 22 years of age, Villa broke their transfer record to acquire the Brazilian striker and he is one we will be watching closely in pre-season, with Villa enjoying some excellent home fixtures in the first nine Gameweeks.
READ MORE: Our Scout Report on Wesley
Like Pukki, Billy Sharp (£6.0m) hit 20+ Championship goals last season.
The Sheffield United striker scored on 23 occasions, setting up a further four goals.
The 33-year-old striker had his best-ever Championship season in terms of goals scored, although just one goal and two assists were recorded in the final three months of the campaign.
Sharp’s goal conversion rate stood out.
The Blades forward had only 75 shots last season (69 fewer than Pukki) but his ability to turn chances into goals is what we Fantasy managers want and Sharp’s goal conversion rate of 30.7% in 2018/19 (the best in the league) certainly ticks that box.
His age may ultimately count against him as a Fantasy asset as, depending on who else Chris Wilder brings in, Sharp will likely find himself being sporadically rotated to the bench – as happened in the run-in last season.
There are a handful of mid-price FPL forwards who will be instantly overlooked by the majority of us.
Marko Arnautovic (£7.0m) is set for a move to China after handing in yet another transfer request, bringing to an end his six years as a Fantasy asset.
Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.0m) hasn’t made a single start under Brendan Rodgers and his first-team chances will have been further dented by the arrival of Ayoze Perez (£6.5m).
Cenk Tosun (£6.0m) scored a meagre three goals in 2018/19 made just ten starts, with only four coming in the final 23 Gameweeks.
Charlie Austin (£6.0m) has never been a favourite of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s, starting only five of the 23 matches that the Austrian manager oversaw.
The arrival of Che Adams and the permanent signing of Danny Ings (both £6.0m) will further dent his chances at St. Mary’s and there is every chance he will move on this summer.
Changes of circumstances may well improve the fortunes of Austin, Tosun and Iheanacho – Ings, for example, was an overlooked budget Liverpool forward until his loan move to the south coast – but they are well off our radar at present.
Of the 12 players we haven’t discussed yet, Josh King (£6.5m) is perhaps the most eye-catching.
After Jimenez, King is the most-owned forward under £8.0m and currently sits in more than one in five FPL squads.
The fact that he is £1.5m cheaper than Wilson is an obvious draw, although the England striker racked up more attacking returns (26 v 15) than his strike partner last season and averaged more points per match (5.6 v 4.0).
King being on penalties is at least to the Norwegian’s advantage, while he outscored Wilson in FPL in the three seasons before last.
We’ll have a Members’ article comparing the two coming out later today.
Olivier Giroud (£7.0m) refuses to go away – just when we think his race is run or he is set for a move to pastures new, he is thrust back into the spotlight.
With Hazard leaving, Alvaro Morata out on loan and Chelsea turning down the option to sign Gonzalo Higuain, Giroud is suddenly the only senior striking option at Stamford Bridge.
Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshauyi may well play a big part next season as Frank Lampard turns to youth but we may see more of the veteran Frenchman than we perhaps anticipated, given that Chelsea are hampered by a transfer ban.
Pre-season will be an intriguing watch in west London.
Two strikers that may benefit from summer transfer activity are Javier Hernandez and Christian Benteke (both £6.0m).
Neither will be anywhere near the top of most Fantasy managers’ shopping lists but the departure of Arnautovic at West Ham and the possible exit of Wilfried Zaha (£7.0m) at Palace, coupled with Batshuayi’s return to Chelsea, at least elevate them in the pecking order at their respective clubs – if only temporarily.
Chicharito scored seven goals and registered four assists while making only 14 starts last season, while Benteke briefly returned to the Palace starting XI in the season run-in after a knee injury and impressed against Arsenal.
Manuel Pellegrini and Roy Hodgson will surely look to reinforce their striking options this summer, though.
Glenn Murray (£6.0m) yet again hit double figures for goals last season, despite playing in a Brighton side that were limited in attack.
The appointment of the forward-thinking Graham Potter and Brighton’s early-season fixtures would seem to boost Murray’s appeal for the first six Gameweeks but we are yet to see if the veteran striker, who turns 36 in September, fits into his new manager’s plans.
Again, monitoring the pre-season friendlies will be key.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.0m) has been handed a modest £0.5m price rise for the fourth season in a row, having nailed down the striker’s role at Everton in the final 11 Gameweeks of 2018/19.
The Toffees’ opening fixtures are among the best in the division and Calvert-Lewin certainly offers a budget-friendly route into the Everton attack.
Whether Fantasy managers who are set on the likes of Lucas Digne (£6.0m) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (£8.0m) would consider an Everton triple-up is another matter, though, and Marco Silva may very well look to add to his striking options this summer.
Calvert-Lewin didn’t always convince in front of goal either, hitting the back of the net on just six occasions from 52 attempts.
The remaining six forwards play for three clubs.
Deulofeu we have already discussed but Andre Gray (£6.0m) and Troy Deeney (£6.5m) are alternative routes into the Watford attack.
Security of starts is an issue with Gray and he was an impact substitute for most of the season, making the starting XI on just five occasions from Gameweek 9 onwards.
Deeney, by contrast, was a safer bet and was paired with Deulofeu up top for much of the second half of the campaign.
The club captain, who is on penalties at Vicarage Road, recorded only one fewer attacking return than Deulofeu and started 28 of the 32 matches he was available for.
Deeney also picked up more bonus points (13 v 10) than the Catalonian forward.
Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes (both £6.5m) again hit a purple patch in the second half of the season and if Fantasy managers are seeking out security of starts then look no further than these two: the Burnley pair started all 18 league games together up front in 2019.
Wood and Barnes are also among the six FPL forwards with the most goals this calendar year, with eight and nine strikes respectively.
Barnes was third among FPL forwards for big chances in 2019.
Burnley’s opening four fixtures are a little off-putting but the picture looks rosier from Gameweeks 5 to 14, so these two strikers will very much be on the watchlist at that point.
Che Adams and Danny Ings (both £6.0m) complete our round-up.
We’ll be looking at Adams in closer detail in a Scout Report but the former Birmingham City striker hit 22 goals in the Championship last season and only three players in the English second tier had more shots on target.
Ings had his best FPL season since 2014/15 despite only starting 23 matches.
Keeping the former Liverpool striker fit is easier said than done but is key to his Fantasy appeal, given that his minutes-per-xGI average was in the top five among first-choice FPL forwards.
There are a handful of decent fixtures for the Saints in their opening half-dozen games but looking at the bigger picture, Southampton sit bottom of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 1 to 13, meeting all of the ‘big six’ in that time.
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