The Fantasy Premier League (FPL) forward pool is awash with appealing-looking mid-price options in the £6.5m-£8.0m bracket.
Ivan Toney (£6.5m), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.5m), Ollie Watkins (£7.5m), Patrick Bamford (£8.0m), Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.5m) and Michail Antonio (£7.5m) all have double-digit FPL ownerships at the time of writing, with Callum Wilson (£7.5m) and Danny Ings (£8.0m) also among the tried-and-tested names in this rung.
Going under the radar somewhat is Raul Jimenez (£7.5m), who has plundered 52 attacking returns in 86 Premier League appearances to date and averaged a very respectable 4.9 points per match in doing so.
Now back in full training and clocking up the minutes in pre-season friendlies, the Wolves striker is the latest player to come under the radar in our ‘Sleeper’ series – a collection of articles on proven FPL performers who had a quiet 2020/21, be it through injury, loss of form or otherwise.
2018/19: FPL REVIEW
In his first season as a Premier League player, the striker ranked third among forwards for shots (111) and shots in the box (88) on his way to scoring 13 goals. Jimenez was further down the list for big chances (19), however.
The Mexican also created the fifth-most chances (42) among forwards and was joint-top with Callum Wilson for big chances created (13).
That saw Jimenez rack up the fourth-highest expected goal involvement (xGI) figure (19.19) behind Jamie Vardy, Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Wolves forward ended the season with 23 attacking returns, having totaled three Fantasy assists alongside seven regular ones.
2019/20: FPL REVIEW
Jimenez was at it again in the 2019/20 season, going one better as he produced 24 attacking returns.
He topped the shots charts for forwards in that season with 118 attempts, which was 17 more than nearest challenger Gabriel Jesus.
Jimenez was also first for shots in the box (93), although eight forwards registered more than his 23 big chances.
He was out in front for the creativity stakes this time, creating another 13 big chances for his team-mates.
Jimenez created 48 opportunities in total, second only to Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino.
The striker landed in second on the xGI charts in 2019/20, with his total of 21.73 not far off first-placed Jamie Vardy (23.35).
In his curtailed 2020/21 campaign, Jimenez ranked fifth among all forwards for attempts (26) from Gameweeks 1 to 10 – the point at which he sustained his sickening injury.
Only four big chances arrived during that time, however, which placed him a lowly joint-16th among strikers.
2021/22: THE PROSPECTS
Having suffered a fractured skull in Gameweek 10 of last season, Jimenez returned to full training in July of this year as pre-season began.
His first kickabout in nine months came in the mid-July warm-up game against Crewe Alexandra, with the Mexican clocking up half an hour of pitch-time and putting himself about early on; always a good sign from a psychological perspective after such a traumatic incident.
Not only does Jimenez have to regain form and match fitness after a horrific injury, he has to do it under a new manager.
Bruno Lage could potentially be a tonic for Wolves’ attacking assets, however, with the former Benfica manager having a reputation for playing more offensive football than his predecessor.
Jimenez traditionally struggled for ‘big chances’ under Nuno Espirito Santo, although did offset that with his durability (he was an ever-present in the Premier League for over two years until his injury) and by being more creative than most of his positional rivals.
We will need a few Gameweeks to assess Lage’s impact and Jimenez’s match-sharpness but that marries well with Wolves’ relatively difficult opening fixture list of Leicester (a), Spurs (H) and Manchester United (H), which gives us an audition period of sorts before the September international break.
The schedule brightens significantly from Gameweek 4.
If fully fit, Jimenez could certainly stake a claim for a spot in our squads among a stacked mid-price striker bracket, considering his proven FPL potential.
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Source : www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk%2F2021%2F07%2F22%2Fcan-raul-jimenez-re-enter-the-mid-price-fpl-forward-conversation%2F