Next up in our price list dissection is Fantasy Premier League (FPL) forwards that cost between £4.5m and £6.0m. We pick out the best options in a category that looks sparse.
With unlimited transfers allowed during the World Cup downtime and a Wildcard to use before then, we’re focusing mostly on Gameweeks 1-8 for these articles.
Opta stats on the players featured in these articles are available in our Premium Members Area, where you can now get a full year’s subscription for just £2.49 a month.
BRYAN MBEUMO (£6.0m)
As of now, very little stands out in the £6.0m-and-under category of forwards due to a mixture of poor teams, poor fixtures and the uncertainty of rotation. Bryan Mbeumo slays those demons, at least.
Two goals from his first two pre-season outings looks good, following a solid FPL season of four goals, seven assists and 119 points. A league-high six of Mbeumo’s shots hit the woodwork, suggesting more than a degree of bad luck, while he was also seventh amongst midfielders for shots on target (56).
Yet his poor shot accuracy (26%) and goal conversion (5.2%) rates were a problem. Combine that with his reclassification as a forward, where penalty-taking teammate Ivan Toney costs just £1m more, and his appeal starts to drift a tad.
Since Thomas Frank switched to a 4-3-3 in the final quarter of 2021/22, he’s also been playing in a wider role rather than up top in a 3-5-2.
Another factor is Brentford’s form without Christian Eriksen (£6.5m). Before the Dane made his full debut in Gameweek 28, they had just one win from their previous 11 encounters and were spiralling down the league. With Eriksen now at Manchester United, the Bees will need a new creative source.
BRENNAN JOHNSON / TAIWO AWONIYI (£6.0m)
Nottingham Forest use a 3-4-1-2 system, so both Brennan Johnson and Taiwo Awoniyi are expected to start up top ahead of new signing Jesse Lingard (£6.5m) in the hole. It’s a formation that brought 70 goals during Steve Cooper’s 41 league and play-off matches, with Johnson scoring 15 times in the final 28 of those games.
On penalties and heavily involved in set plays in pre-season, he also ended the campaign with ten assists, although some of the FPL community were disappointed to see him labelled as a forward.
24-year-old Awoniyi has arrived in a deal believed to be worth £17m. As mentioned in our recent Scout Report, he is a strong dribbler and finisher, having also played in a similar formation at Union Berlin to end last season on 15 goals from 31 appearances. He’s looked a tad off the pace in pre-season, however, so may take a while to get up to Premier League intensity.
As a newly-promoted side that has lost several significant loanees from last year, it feels like Forest need to be watched before a purchase is made, especially with back-to-back Gameweeks against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. Gameweek 6 could be a good time to pounce, if the signs are encouraging.
DOMINIC SOLANKE (£6.0m)
If it wasn’t for the freakish number of Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.5m) goals in last season’s Championship, the exploits of Dominic Solanke would have gained much more attention.
The one-cap England international initially gained Premier League experience during his first year at Liverpool but, halfway through the 2018/19 season, grabbed headlines with an eye-watering £19m move to Bournemouth.
His reputation was damaged by only netting three times in one-and-a-half top-flight seasons but the 24-year-old has slowly rebuilt it with 15 goals in 2020/21 and another 29 in 2021/22.
He has been a nailed starter under Parker to date, is on penalties (he converted four of the five spot-kicks he took in 2021/22) and is something of a talisman, having played a direct part in just under 50% of the goals that the Cherries scored in their promotion-winning campaign – and that’s without looking at ‘Fantasy assists’ for things like shot rebounds.
For a player whose game involves dropping into deeper positions, all 29 of his league goals came from inside the opposition area, with the vast majority being close-range strikes.
The Cherries aren’t attracting attention from FPL managers and a difficult start is likely part of this with trips to Man City and Liverpool to come by Gameweek 4. As is the case with Forest, the fixtures look better once we get towards September.
If Deniz Undav (£5.5m) and Julio Enciso (£5.0m) were the clear first choices at Brighton and Hove Albion, they’d be extremely popular picks amongst the community. Signed by the Seagulls in January, Undav continued the season in Belgium with Union SG to eventually finish on 25 goals.
This followed two successive campaigns with 17 strikes, showcasing a wonderful scorer’s instinct. However, the FPL problem regards Graham Potter’s rotation tendencies.
There are also occasions where Leandro Trossard (£6.5m) is deployed as a false nine. Minutes continue to be shared during pre-season, as Brighton’s first friendly saw separate XIs for each half and the second – a 4-1 win over Estoril – brought a goal for Undav but also two for Neal Maupay (£6.5m).
It’s similar at Crystal Palace, although their difficult run of early fixtures can at least give managers time to observe. Between them, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Odsonne Edouard and Christian Benteke (£5.5m) bagged 15 goals and six assists but only Edouard ever started more than four consecutive games.
Many FPL managers are planning to start with at least one £4.5m forward, such is the number of defensive and midfield temptations. Unless Liam Delap (£4.5m) moves to Southampton, as rumoured recently, there aren’t any real stand-out names.
Sam Greenwood (£4.5m) could continue to see minutes as a substitute at Leeds (often deeper than his Fantasy position suggests), while Cameron Archer (£4.5m) is a promising talent but ultimately at least third in line for a striking spot at Aston Villa.
Elsewhere, Adam Armstrong (£5.5m) could benefit if the Saints fail to buy another forward but the likelihood of Patson Daka (£6.0m) or Chris Wood (£6.0m) getting significant game time is small as things stand.
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