“As long as he stays fit” – within days of publishing those six important words in my post considering the Gameweek 8 performance of Sergio Agüero, the Manchester City star striker damaged his hamstring and is reported to be out for at least a month.
Now the hunt is on among Fantasy Premier League managers for a replacement striker as 13.3m is too much value to leave on the bench for long. The game’s most expensive striker being out means every possible replacement option is available for consideration.
I am starting my look at the alternatives with the premium forwards. With Rooney flagged for a knock, there are only three fit options that cost more than 9.0m – Harry Kane (9.2m), Daniel Sturridge (10.5m) and Diego Costa (10.9m). Kane has started every match and clocked up 683 minutes, but suspension and injury have limited Costa and Sturridge’s game time to 518 and 242 minutes respectively. Given the disparity of minutes, I think the best way to compare them is to look at their minutes per action.
I’ve included Agüero’s statistics for comparison and it’s clear that so far this season only Sturridge comes anywhere near close to the man he would replace. I would normally add minutes per goal into the chart, but with Kane and Costa netting only once each this season that would lift the minutes axis so high that it would be hard to see the other metrics. Sturridge has performed better than his counterparts from Tottenham and Chelsea by scoring twice in his three appearances.
On statistics alone then, there is one clear winner in this price bracket. However we have other factors to consider. Firstly, Sturridge’s own injury problems mean bringing him in could be the FPL equivalent of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Furthermore, Jürgen Klopp’s appointment last week as Liverpool manager means we can’t be sure which players the new man will favour and where Sturridge will play.
We also have to consider fixtures. Liverpool’s fixture list (tot, SOT, che, CPL, mci, SWA) is far from enticing. Tottenham’s fixtures (LIV, bou, AVL, ars, WHM, CHE) are mixed, but many FPL managers will be looking for more signs of a return to form from Kane before heading in that direction. Chelsea have a lovely match this week (AVL) but after that the fixtures are also mixed (whm, LIV, sto, NOR, tot). With injuries and rotation beginning to bite on FPL squads, some FPL managers will be questioning whether it is worth burning a transfer on an out of form striker leading the line for a stuttering Chelsea side. It might work this week, but that could be a false dawn if the Blues can’t sustain a recovery.