After reviewing the expensive and mid-price replacements for Sergio Agüero, it’s time to assess the budget options. They could play an important role for those Fantasy Premier League managers looking to restructure funds to their midfield.
I have included a couple of players in this analysis that some might consider low mid-price forwards, but 7.0m seemed an appropriate split point for looking at the options this week. I’ve chosen to look at the three of the more popular budget options being transferred in this week – Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy (6.8m), Watford’s Odion Ighalo (5.3m) and West Ham United’s Diafro Sakho (6.7m). I’ve also included two Newcastle United strikers, Ayoze Pérez Gutiérrez (5.1m) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (6.2m) because their team’s swing to a set of favourable fixtures has been attracting the attention of some FPL managers.
Once again I have broken the statistics down into minutes per action because of the variety of game time played, and I have included Agüero’s stats for comparison.
Right off the bat, I’m going to say don’t pick Ayoze on present form. Even among the cheap forwards the chart suggests he is performing in a different league – and it’s not a better one. In the last two matches the Magpies’ boss, Steve McLaren, appears to have been trying out ways of playing with both Ayoze and Mitrovic in central roles. If he retains consistent game time and a central attacking position, Ayoze could become a player to revisit, but for now I would look elsewhere.
For FPL managers wanting a striker with a similar price tag to Ayoze (5.1m), I would recommend finding 0.2m more for Ighalo, whose underlying statistics shown in the chart above are similar to those of the much more expensive Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
Since I looked at Watford’s forwards a month ago, Ighalo has notched three more times and racked up six more bonus points. He has the advantage of playing in a low-scoring, defensively minded team so that winning goal may only need to trump the defenders to haul in bonus points. The Hornet’s fixtures (ARS, sto, WHM, lei, MUN, avl) are mixed, but Ighalo is cheap enough to bench at times while also looking capable of potentially delivering returns if needed.
I looked at Vardy in depth two weeks ago, so I won’t dwell on him here. His great form continued into Gameweek 8 where he added five more shots, all inside the box. He scored with one of his three shots on target in that game. His Shots on Target conversion rate over the course of the season is too high, but once the Foxes are past Southampton the next four fixtures (CPL, wba, WAT, new) could be profitable.
Sakho has been quietly gathering points with a goal or an assist in four of his last six games. His statistics so far don’t suggest he will be an explosive player this year, but with an ownership of just 6.5 per cent he could be a decent differential option to keep an FPL forward line chugging along. The next set of fixtures for West Ham (cpl, CHE, wat, EVE, tot, WBA) are not the most appealing, but neither were Liverpool and Manchester City away and he scored in both of those games.
Finally, I’ll return to Newcastle and to Mitrovic. After starting the season with two appearances from the bench, Mitrovic celebrated his first start with a four shots in the box in Gameweek 3, though none were on target. His second start, against Arsenal, was cut short by a red card in just 15 minutes. The Serbian striker returned in Gameweek 7 and the following week, against Manchester City, he recorded a respectable four shots, all of them in the box, with three on target. He also notched the goal that got him off the mark for this season. On the negative side, Mitrovic has tallied as many cards as Shots on Target this season.
At 6.2m, Mitrovic is too expensive to bench most of the time, but for those FPL managers determined to access the Newcastle forward line for their good run of fixtures (NOR, sun, STO, bou, LEI, cpl) he currently looks a better option than Ayoze and he’s a significant differential as he appears in less than one per cent of FPL teams. However, he doesn’t look the safest of options to take in a time of FPL turbulence.