The ‘premium forwards’ reputation has taken a bit of a fuzzy Egyptian shaped hit over the last two seasons.
With Salah, Sterling, Mane, de Bruyne and Son all excellent captaincy options, and the rise of the premium wing-back, it’s entirely possible to build a great FPL squad without touching a premium forward. A sentence that would have been booked for simulation just a couple of seasons ago.
In fact, at the time of writing, Jimenez is currently selected by over twice as many managers as Harry Kane. Crazy.
Our premium forwards may have become near differentials, but captaining the focal point of a top 6 side’s attack is a tried and tested method of FPL success. One that often fills me with an unnerving sense of inevitable greatness. Let’s take a look at our options.
Who are the best premium forwards in FPL 2019/20?
Sergio Aguero (£12.0m)
At 31, Aguero is entering his footballing twilight years. With that said, there’s no reason to suggest he’s going the same way as Robert Pattinson’s career quite yet.
Last year he put in his most Premier League minutes in a season since 2014/15. He also picked up his second highest points tally (201) in a disgustingly ruthless PL campaign by City. The result was a justified price bump from FPL Towers from £11.0m to £12.0m.
It’s a difficult one for managers. A legendary premium forward who was only benched once all season (aside from returning from injury), with 32 goal involvements, good opening fixtures upto GW11, leading the attack of probably the best PL side we’ve ever seen. Sounds like a no-brainer.
Yet, it’s hard to shake that post-kebab gut swirl that there are better options elsewhere. His points per 90 is 7.4, even better than our lil fuzzy Egyptian (7.1). But he did only complete 90 minutes 9 times all season. His tendons are made of crisps. Perhaps most worryingly, Gabriel Jesus has been promised more play time by City after a very solid Copa America.
A small gamble, but one that could really pay off for those brave enough.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m)
Big PEA had a great first full season at Arsenal under the eldest vampire. 22 goals and 7 FPL assists is an excellent return in a stuttering, spluttering Gunners side.
He also pipped Aguero to the top points scoring forward with 205 points in 2722 minutes, making 30 starts and 6 sub appearances.
A 23% shot conversion rate, a number he’s maintained throughout his career, would suggest that if he continues to get minutes in good positions he’ll continue to score FPL points.
Annoyingly, “good positions” is not a given. Aubameyang was pushed out to start on the wing 7 times over the course of the season, a role he wasn’t quite as effective in for FPL. Indeed, his average returns dropped from 0.66 to 0.4 per game. It’s a concern for an £11.0m premium forward.
Arsenal have a funky kinda start to the season with games against Manchester United, Spurs and Liverpool in the first 8, surrounded by home fixtures against Burnley, Villa and Bournemouth. There are some great differential captaincy gameweeks.
We’ve heard rumblings of a move away for the Gabonese striker, and Arsenal’s summer ‘war chest’ is a bit more Sherdan Mustafi than Virgil van Dijk. Regardless of where he is come Gameweek 1, his record speaks for itself.
Harry Kane (£11.0m)
Ol’ Harry is a bit of an enigma. He doesn’t look like he should be good at football. He doesn’t breathe like he should be good at football. He doesn’t even play football like he should be good at football. Yet, he continues to bang like Charlie Sheen c.2013 on a weekend bender.
£11.0m feels like very good value for the highest scoring forward of the last 4 seasons, even with the August hoodoo. Spurs have improved already this window with N’Dombele. If they somehow manage to keep hold of Eriksen they’re surely more of a threat to the top two than ever before.
The premium forward only completed 2423 mins last season, the lowest since his break into Spurs first eleven. There was a common consensus that he was pushing himself a little too hard after a World Cup summer and rushing back from injuries.
That said, his points per 90 was 6.0 last season. That’s not bad – in fact, it’s only slightly lower than his 6.3 average the season before. If he can keep himself fit for the season after a rested summer he will be an absolutely incredible pick at £11m.
The initial fixtures are lovely for a City and Spurs captaincy rotation. In the first 8 gameweeks with a City/Spurs premium captaincy option, you could captain home fixtures against Villa, Palace, Southampton, Brighton, Watford, Wolves and Newcastle. A potentially lucrative differential strategy over the inevitable mass Salah captainers.
Roberto Firmino (£9.5m)
An ivory poacher’s dream, Bobby is the cheapest way into the Liverpool front line. With 22, 23 and 20 goal involvements over the last 3 season he’s the picture of consistency. If fit, he’s nailed on to the 2nd best attack in the league and reasonably priced – does it get any better than this?
Unfortunately, he feels impossible to fit into an FPL squad. All 5 of TAA, Robertson, van Dijk, Salah and Mane are much more appealing and will be exponentially higher owned than Firmino in GW1.
But, interestingly, his xGI (19.07) is almost identical to Mane’s (19.72) in 400 fewer minutes. Being £2.0m cheaper might offer incredible value if you’re looking to upgrade elsewhere. At only 8% owned he feels like a decent differential already.
Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m)
Probably the most frustrating of the premium forwards, Jesus’ xGI/min ratio is the highest in the league by far. 12.61 xGI in 1021 minutes is just offensive.
These numbers are obviously a little inflated. Jesus often comes on late in the game for a Pep side that has battered the opposition for 60 minutes. But still. No one else even comes near.
After an eventful Copa America final where he scored a goal, bagged an assist, got a red card and even had a little cry, Pep has said Jesus will get more minutes this season. He’s just been given the No. 9 jersey, too. But after only starting 8 games last season it’s hard to see that number rising to something that makes him a viable pick.
As always, he’s an exceptional straight swap for when Aguero inevitably picks up a niggle. Jesus started 5 of the 6 games Kun missed through injury, picking up a very decent 2 goals and 2 assists in those 5.
Alexandre Lacazette (9.5m)
Lacazette’s done really well since joining Arsenal, with 44 FPL goal involvements in 67 matches. The infuriating part is that he’s almost impossible to captain and a nightmare to own.
Despite making the matchday squad in 37 out of 38 matches, he only started 27 games and was actually subbed off 9 times (a couple at half time), completing 90 minutes just 18 times. Not at all what we’re looking for in a premium striker.
With Arsenal’s fixtures, unless Aubameyang moves on we’d have to be very brave to plump for him in our initial squads.