With expensive midfielders set to eat up Fantasy Premier League managers’ budgets this season, mid-priced forwards look more important than ever.
For 2020/21, this price bracket is staffed by a host of last season’s best value forwards, many of whom have received significant price hikes.
With the cost of our favourite assets soaring, we have examined all forwards between £6.0m and £8.5m to see which are the best to consider for the start of the new campaign.
THE NAILED-ON STARTERS
165 points last season and a favourable early schedule could see Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) pick up Fantasy interest ahead of August’s Gameweek 1 deadline.
Only four forwards produced more points than the Everton man in 2020/21, whose 16 goals and six assists were personal bests in a Premier League campaign, as was his final FPL score.
It must be said that he got the majority of his attacking returns in the early part of last season, netting 68.8% of his goals in the first 11 Gameweeks, while half of his assists came in the first 14.
Between Gameweeks 15 and 38, Calvert-Lewin scored five goals and put up three assists in 20 league outings.
It was during this period that Richarlison (£7.5m) emerged as another viable route into the Everton attack. He scored the same number of goals as Calvert-Lewin between Gameweeks 15 and 38 and, based purely on the Englishman’s injury, made four more appearances too.
Even though Everton embark on the 2021/22 campaign without Carlo Ancelotti, their opening six fixtures of Southampton (home), Leeds (away), Brighton (away), Burnley (home), Aston Villa (away) and Norwich (home) are appealing enough to warrant some interest in their forward line.
Newcastle’s first six fixtures of 2021/22 also look appealing. They face West Ham (home), Aston Villa (away) and Southampton (home) in the first three, neither of those sides managing more than two clean sheets in the last 12 Gameweeks of 2020/21.
After a Gameweek 4 trip to Manchester United, the Magpies host Leeds and travel to newly-promoted Watford.
That schedule looks particularly appealing for Callum Wilson (£7.5m), who managed to finish in the top 10 for FPL points among forwards last season despite missing a portion of the campaign through injury.
In just 2,081 minutes, the former Bournemouth man scored 12 goals, registered six assists and claimed 22 bonus for an overall score of 134 points.
His performance on the bonus metric was particularly impressive when we consider that just three FPL forwards earned more points through that channel than Wilson despite his restricted game-time.
Across the course of the campaign, he produced 0.49 goals per 90 minutes on the pitch, the sixth-best among forwards who played more than 700 minutes in 2020/21.
Wolves also feature prominently for attacking potential on the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker for attacking potential over the first six matches.
They face Leicester (away) and Spurs (home) in the first two Gameweeks, who kept just two and three clean sheets respectively in the last 12 Gameweeks of 2020/21.
Then after hosting Manchester United in Gameweek 3, Wolves’ fixtures turn significantly with trips to Watford and Southampton flanking newly-promoted Brentford’s visit to Molineux.
Those fixtures could prompt some investment in Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) after his return from the head injury that ended his 2020/21 campaign in Gameweek 10.
In each of his two full Premier League seasons since joining Wolves, the Mexican international has scored 181 points or more. He recorded his personal best tally of 194 in 2019/20.
Aston Villa’s 2020/21 fixtures are arguably the opposite of Wolves; better in the short-term and tougher after Gameweek 4, which could be a good time to replace Ollie Watkins (£7.5m) with Jiménez.
Before trips to Chelsea and Manchester United flank Everton’s visit to Villa Park, Dean Smith’s men face two newly-promoted sides in Watford (away) and Brentford (home) in the first three rounds, either side of a home meeting with Newcastle.
With Emiliano Buendía (£6.5m) joining Villa this year, and Jack Grealish (£8.0m) fit again, Watkins will surely be hoping to go to new heights in 2021/22 after luck regularly went against him in his debut Premier League campaign.
Despite the woodwork and impressive saves denying the former Exeter City and Brentford man on all too many occasions, he still offered decent value.
Only three forwards produced more FPL points than him last season, and only one offered more points per million spent.
The underlying statistics were also good for Watkins too. He was inside the top-three forwards for total goal attempts in 2020/21 as well as most shots inside the box.
Another first-choice forward worth considering in this bracket is Michail Antonio (£7.5m) who, like Wilson, did a solid job of belying his minutes to score 118 FPL points, his joint-second-highest in a Premier League campaign.
Like his Newcastle counterpart, Antonio has virtually no direct competition for his place and, should he stay fit, would be a likely start for the beginning of 2021/22.
Across the first six matches, the schedule is kind for David Moyes’ men too. They face trips to Newcastle, Southampton and Leeds with Leicester, Crystal Palace and Manchester United the first three sides to come to the London Stadium.
Chris Wood (£7.0m) was among a handful of strikers who finished 2020/21 in excellent form.
Between Gameweeks 27 and 38, he produced eight goals, the third-most among forwards, his three assists taking him to 11 attacking returns for the period.
During that run, Wood was afforded the second-most big chances among forwards while only Kelechi Iheanacho (£7.5m) registered more shots on target in this positional bracket.
Burnley face Brighton (home) and Liverpool (away) in the first two Gameweeks but Leeds (home), Everton (away), Arsenal (home) and Leicester (away) are their next four.
The way Iheanacho finished 2020/21 was truly remarkable, putting up 10 goals in the final 12 Gameweeks of the campaign, more than any other forward.
Adding his two assists took his total of attacking returns to 12, no FPL forward matching him for that statistic over the same period.
With Harvey Barnes (£7.0m) likely to be involved from the start of the new season, how Leicester will line up is arguably somewhat unclear.
Barnes’ injury was the main reason why Iheanacho was drafted in and Leicester switched to playing 3-5-2 so their full-backs could provide the width as wing-backs.
A continuation of that formation would make it difficult to accommodate a return for Barnes, while reverting to 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 would perhaps force Brendan Rodgers into choosing between Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy (£10.5m) or deploying one of them out-of-position as a winger.
Patrick Bamford (£8.0m) finished second only to Harry Kane (£12.5m) for points scored among forwards in 2020/21.
His total of 194 was seven more than Vardy and nearly 30 more than Watkins produced across the course of the campaign, hence the hike in price.
However, it might be difficult for the Leeds forward to offer the same level of value this time around, especially considering a relatively challenging start to the new season.
They face Manchester United (away) and Liverpool (home) in the first four matches, although Everton and West Ham come to Elland Road in the first six, while Bielsa’s men visit Burnley and Newcastle in that period.
Still, Bamford was more effective for Leeds in the first half of the season than later in the campaign.
Between Gameweeks 1 and 24, he registered 5.3 penalty-box touches per match, mustering just 3.5 per game from Gameweek 25 until the end of 2020/21.
As a result, his 5.8 points per match in the first of those two periods dropped to 4.3 points per match in the second.
Injuries curtailed Danny Ings‘ (£8.0m) 2020/21 campaign, restricting him to 12 goals and four assists for a total of 131 points; 67 fewer than his previous record-breaking campaign.
His strike partner Ché Adams (£7.0m) outscored him by six points in the end, earning him a price rise to £7.0m for the new season.
Southampton face Everton (away), Manchester United (home), Newcastle (away), West Ham (home) and Manchester City (away) in the first five Gameweeks.
THE BIG-CLUB UNCERTAINTIES
A season of fitness issues and missing out on the starting XI has brought Gabriel Jesus‘ (£8.5m) price down to his lowest ever at the start of a new campaign.
Despite registering more Premier League minutes in a single season than any other since his 2017 arrival, the Brazilian’s score of 115 points, from nine goals and five assists, was good enough only for his third-highest tally as a Manchester City player.
This summer is already fraught with uncertainty about Jesus’ role at the Etihad Stadium, even after the departure of Sergio Aguero, as reports continue to link him with a swap deal for Kane.
And even if he were to remain at Manchester City, any of his colleagues from Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m), Raheem Sterling (£11.0m), Ilkay Gündogan (£7.5m), Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m) and Ferran Torres (£7.0m) enjoyed stints up-front last season and could easily reprise those roles at Jesus’ expense in 2021/22.
There could be a relatively similar form of rotation at Manchester United even after Edinson Cavani‘s (£8.5m) impressive form at the end of last season.
The Uruguayan made just 13 starts last season and could face such minute management again in 2021/22 given his relative age and the Red Devils’ busy fixture schedule.
FPL midfielders Mason Greenwood (£7.5m) and Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) are much more likely to come in for Cavani than Anthony Martial (£8.0m) who remains a forward for the new season.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Olivier Giroud (£6.5m) and Tammy Abraham (£6.5m) after earning price drops for 2021/22. While neither is expected to start enough games to be a viable asset at Chelsea, the latter has been linked with loan moves elsewhere in the Premier League.
THE NEW FACES
Two of this season’s newly-promoted forwards fall into the mid-price bracket, each one with a Championship Golden Boot award over the last three years.
Ivan Toney (£6.5m) arrives the more expensive of the pair having netted 31 goals en route to Brentford’s promotion in 2020/21.
And Teemu Pukki (£6.0m) returns to the Premier League with a discount on his previous £6.5m appearance. He netted 11 times in 2019/20, providing a further three assists and scored 26 goals as Norwich clinched the Championship title earlier this year.
Allan Saint-Maximin‘s (£6.5m) stint as a second-striker at Newcastle has seen him join the FPL forwards category, sharing a bracket with Giroud, Abraham, Toney, Pukki, Neal Maupay (£6.5m), Christian Benteke (£6.5m) and Leeds’ Rodrigo (£6.5m).
Jordan Ayew (£6.0m), Joelinton (£6.0m) and Fabio Silva (£6.0m) complete the mid-priced forwards bracket.
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Source : www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk%2F2021%2F06%2F22%2Fthe-best-mid-priced-fpl-forwards-for-2021-22%2F