Having already assessed the budget and mid-price forwards in the Fantasy Premier League price list, we round off our player-by-player guide to the new season with a look at the heavy hitters in attack.
Definitions of ‘premium’ will differ from person to person but for the purposes of this piece, it covers the 11 strikers whose starting prices are £8.0m and up.
It’s hard to remember a time when Fantasy managers didn’t have a single forward to choose from above £10.5m but that’s the situation we face in 2020/21, with five premium midfielders having been slapped with starting prices of £11.5m or more.
There could be value to be had up front, then, and some relative differentials, too: of the 15 players who currently have an FPL ownership of 20% of more, only three are £8.0m+ forwards.
Analysis of the big-money strikers follows, while you can read our run-through of the best goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders via the links below:
- Goalkeepers: Budget
- Goalkeepers: Premium
- Defenders: Budget
- Defenders: Mid-Price and Premium
- Midfielders: Budget
- Midfielders: Mid-Price
- Midfielders: Premium
SERGIO AGUERO AND GABRIEL JESUS
Sergio Aguero (£10.5m) is now available at his cheapest ever price in FPL but there has been little discussion of him in the Fantasy world ahead of the new campaign, with Manchester City blanking in Gameweek 1 and question marks still existing over his fitness following a season-ending injury in June.
A total of 132 points was the Argentinean’s lowest score since 2012/13 but there were mitigating circumstances, with injuries and rotation seeing him miss 12 league matches altogether and endure another eight benchings.
When he’s available and starting he’s almost peerless as an FPL forward: Aguero was by some distance the pick of the bunch among strikers last season for attacking returns (1.30) per 90 minutes.
Positional rival Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m) recorded exactly the same number of goals and assists combined as Aguero in 2019/20 (22) but had over 500 more minutes of pitch-time.
When we examine the big-budget forwards in this piece using the ‘per 90’ tool in our Premium Members Area to level the playing field, it’s a City one-two for big chances, penalty box touches, attempts on goal, shot on target and efforts in the box – you name it, Aguero and Jesus boss it.
The ‘per 90′ is the key part, however, and often we’re trying to second-guess which of the two Citizens’ strikers will be given the nod by Pep Guardiola and how long they’ll last in any given game.
Jesus had a free run after Aguero’s recent injury, delivering seven attacking returns and starting eight games in a row in the run-in.
Any period of absence for one of the two makes the other a far more attractive option in FPL; otherwise, it’s the usual high-risk, high-reward game in trying to anticipate Guardiola’s starting XI every Gameweek and benefit from the goals that usually follow.
ANTHONY MARTIAL AND RICHARLISON
Two of the new additions to the forward pool have been reclassified by FPL after spending 2019/20 as Fantasy midfielders.
Anthony Martial (£9.0m) and Richarlison (£8.0m) were both deployed centrally by their managers last season, with the former leading the line in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 4-2-3-1 and the latter striking up a partnership with Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.0m) on Merseyside.
Martial averaged 6.2 points per match as an FPL midfielder in 2019/20 and the Frenchman would still have beaten most of the other forwards in this piece even if his positional reclassification had come a year ago:
|Player||2019/20 Points Per Match|
|Martial (had he been a forward)||5.5|
|Richarlison (had he been a forward)||4.3|
2019/20 was by some distance Martial’s best-ever FPL season, with the 24-year-old striker racking up 17 goals, nine assists and 200 points and finishing a clear fifth among FPL midfielders in the overall points table.
The arrival of Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) and later return to fitness of Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) and Paul Pogba (£8.0m) seemed to invigorate him, with 15 of his 26 attacking returns coming in the final 13 Gameweeks.
Martial averaged 8.0 FPL points per match over this period, which bodes well for a full season with his aforementioned teammates in an exciting Red Devils attack.
Having previously had something of a reputation as being injury-prone, he also became a reliable starter after an early-season spell on the sidelines, missing only one of United’s final 29 league matches.
Richarlison hit 13 goals for the second season in a row, meanwhile, and it seldom seems to matter in which position he plays (out wide or through the middle) or under which manager (he averaged 4.8 points as an FPL midfielder under Marco Silva and 4.6 under Ancelotti).
One slight cause for concern is over Everton’s ability to carve out opportunities of real quality for him, with the Brazilian’s rate of big chances per 90 minutes the worst of the 11 strikers in this piece.
Both players will also be worse off as FPL forwards thanks to the loss of the extra clean sheet and goal points (any boost on the Bonus Points System only partly offsetting that), while Martial and United blank in Gameweek 1.
Everton and the Reds sit first and third in our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 2-11, though, so the pair will soon be on the FPL radar if they are not already.
ROBERTO FIRMINO AND ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE
We have grouped together these two strikers as they are arguably the two least-appealing picks in the premium bracket, at least based on what we saw in 2019/20.
A bit like Luka Modric, Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) will probably go down in Fantasy history as someone whose invaluable on-field performances weren’t adequately represented by FPL returns.
A huge asset off the ball and an intelligent link-up player, he has averaged only 11.4 Premier League goals per season in his five years at Anfield, less than half of what Mohamed Salah (£12.0m) has averaged since his return to England.
Firmino’s underlying stats were actually pretty decent in 2019/20 – he bettered Sadio Mane (£12.0m) for shots in the box, for example – but he hasn’t been clinical since joining the Reds in 2015, with his goal conversion rate never above 20% (which is a decent barometer) in that time.
Alexandre Lacazette (£8.5m) is usually a tad more reliable when facing the whites of the goalkeepers’ eyes but, unlike Firmino, he doesn’t seem to be a trustworthy starter.
The Frenchman was benched in six of the 20 league matches that Mikel Arteta oversaw since his appointment in December, with Eddie Nketiah (£6.0m) playing an increasingly prominent role.
Even when he has started, Lacazette has not posed too much of a goal threat himself: only five goals have arrived in his 19 appearances under Arteta, a reflection of the almost Firmino-esque deep-dropping role he has been tasked with.
Speculation grows about his future in north London, too, so we won’t dwell any further on his credentials for the time being.
Tottenham Hotspur sit top of our Season Ticker in the opening eight Gameweeks, with Jose Mourinho’s troops facing six clubs who finished 10th or below last season and newly promoted West Bromwich Albion.
Mourinho’s ‘second season’ is traditionally his best and, after some Jekyll-and-Hyde displays in the campaign just gone, there were signs of some improvement towards the end of 2019/20.
Harry Kane (£10.5m) plundered seven goals in the Lilywhites’ final eight games, while no FPL forward registered more ‘big chances’ than the England international after lockdown ended.
A comparison with Son Heung-min (£9.0m) from Gameweek 30+ onwards also ended in Kane’s favour, although there had been ongoing concerns about the forward’s waning FPL powers before that point.
One downside to Spurs assets is that they are in UEFA Europa League qualifying action either side of their Gameweek 1-4 fixtures, which will likely mean a Thursday-Sunday turnaround for their opening matches.
Kane looks a fairly secure pick regardless, as he has yet to face bench duty under Mourinho in the Premier League.
The Golden Boot winner and the highest-scoring Fantasy forward of 2019/20, Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) plundered 30 attacking returns and 34 bonus points in the season just gone.
His overall score of 210 points was made all the more noteworthy considering that there were nine blanks and three no-shows from Gameweeks 19 to 32+, with a loss of fitness and form plaguing the second half of the campaign.
Most of the damage was done in the first half of the season.
From Gameweeks 3 to 18, Vardy found the back of the net on 17 occasions and set up a further five goals – a purple patch that conjured up memories of Luis Suarez’s astonishing 2013/14 campaign.
The long-serving striker averaged 8.6 points per match over this run of games, delivering six double-digit hauls and blanking on just three occasions.
A whopping 24 of his 30 attacking returns came against clubs ranked tenth or below, which made him a relatively safe bet for the captaincy in plum fixtures.
It’s also a relevant stat considering who Leicester City have to play in the opening five Gameweeks of 2020/21, with West Bromwich Albion, Burnley, West Ham and Aston Villa all facing Brendan Rodgers’ troops.
Danny Ings (£8.5m) more than doubled his Premier League goals tally in one fell swoop in 2019/20, finding the back of the net on 22 occasions.
There were only three double-digit hauls over the course of the season but his consistency of returns more than made up for it, along with a league-best bonus points tally of 40.
Even accounting for his substantial price rise, no other forward provided better value based on FPL’s points-per-million metric (last season’s points divided by next season’s prices) in 2019/20.
And even levelling the playing field to take the differing amounts of game-time out of the equation (last season’s points per match divided by next season’s prices), Ings also comes out in a positive light:
|Player||2019/20 Points Per Match / 2020/21 Prices|
|Martial (had he been a forward)||0.61|
|Richarlison (had he been a forward)||0.54|
The upcoming fixtures look decent, with Saints facing six sides who either came up from the Championship or finished 10th or below in the top flight between now and Gameweek 8.
And there is a possibility that Ings may have more of a say at spot-kick situations now, too, having taken two in July in his pursuit of the Golden Boot and again tasked with the responsibility from 12 yards in a recent pre-season game.
Raul Jimenez (£8.5m) is available for the same price as Ings in the upcoming campaign.
The Mexican, a bit like the Saints striker, wasn’t too explosive last season, registering just three double-digit hauls – two of them against Manchester City – over the entirety of 2019/20.
But the points arrived on a regular basis, with his 24 attacking returns coming in 21 different games.
From Gameweeks 8 to 19, he blanked only twice.
Rotation was rarely a worry and no FPL forward started more games or played more minutes than Jimenez last season.
The Mexican started 37 of Wolves’ 38 Premier League fixtures, only being benched in Gameweek 20 when Nuno Espirito Santo’s side faced two matches in the space of 48 hours.
Wolves kick the season off with an off-putting double-header against Sheffield United and Manchester City, two clubs who finished in the top four for fewest goals conceded in 2019/20, although Pep Guardiola’s side were beaten home and away by Santo’s troops last season.
Beyond that, the picture is rosier, as clashes with newly promoted Fulham and Leeds United are sandwiched by matches against West Ham United, Newcastle United and Crystal Palace.
Another tick against Wolves’ name is that they won’t be involved in European club competition this season, so they won’t be afflicted by the Thursday-Sunday turnaround that plagued them in 2019/20 and led to some early-season rotation from Nuno Espirito Santo.
The final entry in this article is an unknown quantity in terms of FPL but his track record in Germany (28 goals in 34 matches last season) has seen him quickly become the most-owned forward in the game.
Timo Werner (£9.5m) sits in over 40% of Fantasy Premier League squads at the time of writing, with only Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) more popular.
Chelsea’s opening fixtures are appealing, with seven clubs who finished ninth or below last season (we include newly promoted West Brom among that contingent) awaiting the Blues in Gameweeks 1-9.
How best to tap into Frank Lampard’s promising attack is the big question.
Chelsea were third for ‘big chances’ created last season but only four clubs converted a smaller percentage of their clear-cut opportunities.
Can Werner be the man to turn those chances into goals?
A healthy conversion rate of 22.7% in the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign suggests it’s possible, with his big chance conversion rate of 46.2% considerable better than that of Tammy Abraham (£7.5m and 28.1%).
There is also the possibility of him being on penalties, with Willian (£8.0m) now departed and Jorginho (£5.0m) out of favour; Werner has converted 13 of his 16 career spot-kicks.
You can read much more on Werner in our stand-alone Scout Report here.