Agüero replacements: Mid-price forwards

Yesterday I looked at the expensive forward options for Fantasy Premier League managers replacing Manchester City’s injured hitman Sergio Agüero. Today it is the turn of the mid-price forwards.

The choice in this price bracket is deeper than at the premium end of the field. Five options stand out to me as worth considering: Graziano Pellè (8.2m), Romelu Lukaku (8.4m), Bafétimbi Gomis (7.1m), Anthony Martial (8.4m) and Wilfried Bony (8.2m).

With more than a quarter of a million transfers in already during this international break, Pellè, the top scoring FPL forward with 52 points from 708 minutes played, has emerged as a clear favourite. Lukaku (49 points, 694 min) is another popular choice with over 70,000 transfers in. Despite being the prime candidate to replace Agüero in Manchester City’s normally potent attack, Wilfried Bony (11 points, 218 min) has only received just over 20,000 transfers in. After starting the season with four goals in four games, FPL managers have fallen out of love with Gomis (32 points, 628 min) and he has about 75,000 net transfers out this gameweek. It’s a similar story with Martial (25 points, 296 min), who has failed to score in his last two games and is now in 25,000 fewer teams overall than he was at the start of the international break.

Mid-price Agüero replacements

As I did yesterday, I have included Agüero’s statistics to provide a comparison and displayed the data in minutes per action to account for the wide variety of game time among these players.

Pellè’s stats are comparable to those of Agüero when it comes to shots inside the box, but in terms of the other metrics the Southampton striker does not stand head and shoulders above the other options over the season as a whole. Bony is ahead of Pellè in Minutes per Shot, Gomis in minutes per Shot on Target and Lukaku and Martial lead the way in Minutes per Goal.

Since I looked at Martial after Gameweek 6, the regression I was predicting has begun to kick in and the Manchester United forward has only taken two more shots. The Red Devils next two games aren’t easy but after that their schedule opens up though I wouldn’t say those fixtures are easy (eve, MCI, cpl, WBA, wat, lei).

Two weeks ago, I exposed the myth that Romelu Lukaku only scores against top teams and the Everton man kept up his fine form with a strike in his five-shot game against Liverpool. The Belgian has two tough games up next, but after that the fixtures look almost as good as they can get (MUN, ars, SUN, whm, AVL, bou).

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With four goals and five assists in his last five games, Pellè is clearly a man in form. With a nice run of fixtures (LEI, liv, BOU, sun, STO) before a Gameweek 14 match against Manchester City, it is clear why the Italian is such a popular pick this week. The Saints striker’s Shots on Target conversion rate is a touch high. However, given the high percentage of shots he hits from inside the box, there might be a case for arguing it is the Shots on Target rate that is too low and not that the number of goals scored is too high.

Gomis is an interesting case given the common perception that he is out of form. He was hauled off at half-time in Gameweek 7 after failing to record a single shot. That game aside, however, his underlying stats have continued to tick over since I looked at his performance after Gameweek 4, even if the goals have stopped flowing. As Fantasy Football Scout member Balders pointed out, the four fixtures he blanked in were against some of the better defensive teams in the Premier League (wat, EVE, sot, TOT). With four good fixtures in the next six (STO, avl, ARS, nor, BOU, liv), it wouldn’t surprise me if Gomis rediscovered his scoring touch soon.

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Despite some minor speculation to the contrary, Bony’s minutes so far this season suggest he is the first choice back up at Manchester City to Agüero. It is hard to judge a guy who has only played a significant amount of minutes in two games, but the data shows that per minute he is keeping up with the other options considered here in every metric aside from goals. The Citizens may be missing Silva as well as Agüero this week, but they would remain one of the most potent attacking sides in the league even if they suffered a 20 per cent drop in shooting opportunities created. And with three good fixtures in the four games Agüero is likely to miss (BOU, mun, NOR, avl), Bony could soon notch his first goal of the season. However, as Ruth pointed out in the comments on yesterday’s post, switching back to Agüero from Bony could be tricky unless you have two free transfers or a lot of money in the bank.


11 thoughts on “Agüero replacements: Mid-price forwards

  1. Dear Diva,

    Don’t agree about Gomis – his overall stats have dropped since his “hook”, and forwards don’t suffer as much from fixtures as the rest.

    Southampton’s fixtures are peachy.



    • I thought the engine metaphor summed up Gomis’ underlying stats quite nicely. I was expecting to find they had come to a stop over the past four weeks the way people are talking, but they haven’t except for the one game I mentioned.

      Yes, Gomis hasn’t recorded a Shot on Target in the last two weeks, but he recorded two in each of the two gameweeks prior to that. From Gameweeks 5-8 his Shots in the Box numbers were 1, 3, 0, 4 and his Shot numbers were 2, 4, 0, 4.


        • Ruth_NZ says:

          I won’t argue about what statistical measure is the best indicator of goals to come because I’m sure you know better about that than me after seasons of honing your method.

          But I would like to make 2 observations:

          1. A shot on target from Fabregas is not as good as a shot on target from, say, Oscar. Fabregas is a poor finisher and a lot of his shots are well-placed but weak. Oscar goes for shots that can score – as a result he is off-target more often because he is aiming for corners and for power. He may skim the bar with an off-target shot but if he gets it right he will score. Whereas Fabregas is more likely to be on target but it’s often an easy save.

          If that observation (from attending games) is true then is shots on target really the magic measure?

          2. I did a study of Aguero’s goals last season and the vast majority were from 6-12 yards and central. When he played in Pellegrini’s (now abandoned) 4-2-2-2 he was still getting plenty of shots on target but they tended to be from 12-18 yards and/or wider. And they resulted in considerably less goals. Hence (I think) City settling to 4-2-3-1 this season, the formation that puts Aguero in his killing ground.

          If that observation (from watching games and looking at strike maps) is true then doesn’t that cast doubt on shots on target as a defining measure as well? To me this is an advantage of observation over statistics. Costa has periods when he is getting into that 6-12 yard zone a lot and others when he is tending to pull off to the edge of the box for a pullback. I always fancy goals from him when I see him doing the former.

          I’d be very interested in Doosra and/or Diva’s views about these observations. I don’t claim to have the magic answer either but would be interested to discuss the matter (and maybe learn something).


          • All the research I have seen on underlying statistics has shown Shot on Target to have the best correlation to goals.

            However, it should be treated with caution and cross referenced with other stats, particularly when working with small sample sizes. A player may be running at a league average rate for converting shots on target into goals, but if all their shots have been on target you know that their current rate of return won’t be sustainable in the long run because no striker will get all their shots on target forever.

            Shots in the Box is another useful stat because research has shown shots outside the box are converted at a significantly lower rate than shots taken inside the box in the long run.

            These are reasons why I like to present a basket of stats with my analysis and not just look at one in isolation.

            Players may bend these trends for a while (some may call that form) and a few (like Agüero) can prove consistent exceptions to the usual conversion rates (class) but generally the stats can provide a useful guage of whether they are over performing or under performing against the long term trend.


            • Ruth_NZ says:


              SiB’s is a stat that really annoys me. For the reasons I outlined above I want to know WHERE in the box. 9 yards is a very different proposition to 18 yards in terms of scoring probability.


    • Thanks GB. I am torn between trying to beat you in the Grand Playoffs this week and doing what’s best for my team in the long run. I probably should do the latter, but… 🙂


      • Giggs Boson says:

        I’m doing the latter. A single GW is so unpredictable, I’m not even going to try and call it. Also, if you progress, you’ll want your team set up for the latter games too 😉


        • I agree. I looked at the differences you laid out yesterday and I’d have to do something a little crazy to beat you this week I think – it’s (probably) not worth it.


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