FPL Forward Options

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Haaland, Kane, and Jesus have been the stand-out striker options to start the season with. After Núñez’s goal from the bench in GW1, many opted for him in the third Liverpool slot. However, with Núñez now suspended many managers will be looking for the ideal replacement for GW3.

This article looks at possible forward options in FPL outside of the most popular three, whether you are looking to replace Núñez or are considering playing three up top as a differential structure.

I will be looking at options from the following teams:

GoalsxGTotal ShotsShots in BoxShots on TargetBig Chances
Brentford62.962112104
Leicester40.98201171
Brighton23.212818115
Newcastle22.122719112
Fulham22.43181563
Aston Villa22.88271463
Forest11.90181463
Swipe left/right for more

Here, I have summarised the attacking stats of each team in the opening two gameweeks. All stats in this article are taken from FFFIX.

Brentford

Brentford have scored the most goals out of any team discussed here by doubling their expected goals. Despite this, they are also 15th overall for total shots and joint-17th for shots inside the box. 

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Brentford have some very favourable upcoming games, and jumping on this fixture run after they have just beaten United 4-0 could bring some great returns.

Along with Brentford’s clinical start, Toney (£7.1m) has scored 1 goal from an xG of 0.70, and has registered 2 assists from an xA of 1.19 – the highest expected assists among forwards so far. In total, he has had 3 shots, with 1 being on target, and 2 big chances. He has also attempted the most assists of any forward (6) and has created 2 big chances. Due to his opening form, Toney has already been transferred in by over 400,000 managers ahead of GW3.

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His teammate Mbeumo (£6m) was a popular pick in the first half of last season, but disappointed many managers with his lack of returns. He has scored 1 goal (xG=0.66), with a total of 4 shots and 2 on target, and 1 big chance. He has no assists yet (xA=0.18), attempting only 1 and creating 1 big chance.

Their average position shows that Toney has played more centrally, whereas Mbeumo has often played on the right-hand side as a winger.

Toney also has the advantage of being Brentford’s first-choice penalty taker. Mbeumo does have some set-piece threat in corners and free kicks.

Out of the two, I think Toney is the best pick and definitely looks to be a great option going forward considering Brentford’s upcoming fixture run.

Vardy (£9.5m)
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Leicester have scored 4 goals – more than all but one of the teams discussed here. However, they have also greatly performed their expected goals of 0.98. Also, their attacking numbers do fall behind a few of the teams looked at here, only having 1 big chance so far. Among all Premier League teams, they are 16th for total shots (20), and 19th for shots inside the box (11). Despite their poor underlying attacking numbers, Leicester have been a solid attacking team to target. 

Their upcoming fixtures are:

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They do face some teams who have had a poor defensive start, but have some more difficult upcoming games. Given their attacking potential, they definitely have a chance of still getting some good points in their tougher games.

Vardy is yet to score, and has actually not made any shots in the opening two games. He has bagged 1 assist (xA=0.23), while attempting 2 and creating 1 big chance. He does have the advantage of being on penalties, but his more expensive price tag will be off-putting, as well as his lack of goal-scoring threat so far.

Welbeck (£6.5m)
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Brighton come out on top for the majority of stats shown in the table, suggesting that their attack could definitely be one to invest in. However, this has only translated to 2 goals, compared with attacks like Leicester and Brentford scoring more and being more clinical. Among all teams, they are joint-6th for total shots (28), and 10th for shots inside the box (18).

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Brighton have some great upcoming fixtures, despite some trickier games. Given their opening form too, Pascal Groß has become a popular budget pick.

Welbeck has been a surprising asset, and at his price could be one to consider having seemingly nailed down a starting position in the Brighton line-up. Though he has scored no goals so far (xG=0.38), he has had 1 assist (xA=0.62). In the first two games, he has made 6 shots, but none have been on target. He has also attempted 4 assists and created 1 big chance.

Unlike other assets here, he does not have the advantage of penalties, which may lead you to the budget option of Mitrovic. However, with Brighton’s opening form and upcoming fixtures he is an interesting differential to consider, currently at 1.4% ownership.

Wilson (£7.5m)
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Newcastle have had a positive start, coming out on top for shots inside the box and shots on target among these teams. Overall, they are joint-8th for total shots (27), and joint-7th for shots inside the box (19).

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Upcoming games against City and Liverpool are disheartening for anyone considering bringing in a Newcastle attacker, and if you are making a move this week then a fixture against City would be something you would likely want to avoid.

Wilson is owned by just 3.3% of managers, having scored 1 goal in GW1 (xG=0.86), making 4 shots in total with 2 on target, and having 2 big chances. He has no assists (xA=0.15), attempting 3 but creating no big chances. 

He does have the advantage of penalties, but a £7.5m striker who is due to face City and Liverpool in the next 3 weeks is off-putting. Therefore, targeting one of the other assets here with a much better fixture run would I think be the best move.

MitroviC (£6.6m)
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Fulham scored 2 goals in a great performance against Liverpool in GW1. Out of the teams discussed here, they have the least total shots along with Forest, but in all other stats come in at around average. Among all Premier League teams, they are joint-17th for total shots (18), and joint-11th for shots inside the box (15).

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Fulham don’t have the best fixtures, and facing Arsenal, Tottenham, and Chelsea in the next 5 game weeks will be very off-putting. They did brilliantly to hold Liverpool to a 2-2 draw, but will still be going into these tough fixtures as the underdogs.

Mitrović, along with Jesus and Haaland, has scored 2 goals (xG=1.71), both of them coming in his great performance against Liverpool. He has also had 7 shots in total, with 3 on target, and has had 2 big chances. With no assists, he has an xA of 0.43; attempting 2 and creating 1 big chance. 

He is also an asset here who is on penalties, but unfortunately had one saved in GW2. Due to this, he has now been transferred out by over 250,000 FPL managers. Given his affordable price tag, I still think he is a good option. He has shown that he can still return in those tougher games, but Fulham’s mixed bag of fixtures will have to be considered.

Watkins (£7.4m)
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Villa consistently come in at around the average among all teams discussed here for attacking numbers. Among all teams, they are joint-8th for total shots (27), and joint-14th for shots inside the box (14).

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Their next five fixtures are also not appealing, and come up against some very solid defences.

Watkins was frustratingly not in the starting line-up for Villa’s opening game against Bournemouth, but did start in GW2. He is yet to score a goal (xG=.66), having 2 shots and 1 on target, while also having 1 big chance. He does, however, have 2 assists (xA=1.12), having attempted 3 and creating 1 big chance.

Given Villa’s tough upcoming games, I personally favour other forward options here who are also less expensive.

Nottingham Forest
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Forest are the only teams discussed here to have scored just 1 goal, with an xG of 1.90. Their attacking numbers do fall behind some of the teams here, and they are joint-17th for total shots (18) among all Premier League teams so far, and joint-14th for shots inside the box (14) along with two other teams.

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Forest do have a mixed bag of fixtures, having favourable fixtures in GW3, 6, and 7. However, back-to-back games against Tottenham and City will be tough, and relying on a striker up against such teams would be risky.

Budget striker Brennan Johnson (£5.9m) is yet to have a goal involvement, with an xG of 0.08 and an xA of 0.45. He has made just 2 shots, with 1 being on target, and is yet to have a big chance. Johnson has attempted 1 assist and created 1 big chance.

Awoniyi (£5.9m) did not start in GW1, but did in GW2, where he scored a goal (xG=0.58), and has made a total of 2 shots, with 1 on target, and has had 1 big chance. He is yet to attempt any assists or create a big chance.

Johnson does have the advantage of being on penalties, while Awoniyi is not nailed in the starting line-up. Although these two really have the potential to be value for money, I would hold off bringing in a Forest striker in favour of someone like Toney, at least until after the tough fixtures when you can reassess. In terms of a budget striker, I prefer Mitrovic or Welbeck.

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