We turn our attention to the best Fantasy Premier League (FPL) mid-price forwards as we continue to examine the price list.
Here, the focus is on those in the £6.5m-£8.0m bracket, with our look at premium options to follow.
With unlimited transfers allowed during the World Cup downtime and a Wildcard to use before then, we’re mostly focusing on Gameweeks 1-8 in this series.
Opta stats on the players featured in these articles are available in our Premium Members Area, where you can now get a full year’s subscription for just £2.49 a month.
Gabriel Jesus’ (£8.0m) impressive pre-season form has seen his ownership rise to a whopping 60.4%, making him the most selected player in FPL at the time of writing.
Barely 90 seconds into his Arsenal debut, the Brazilian found the net, and given that he will receive far more sustained game-time than he was afforded at Manchester City, it’s easy to see why he is proving such a popular initial pick.
In his three-friendly run-outs so far, Jesus has been the focal point of the attack, a role that could potentially transform him into a 20-goal-a-season striker.
However, he will be feeding off a different supply line at Arsenal, in a team that creates fewer chances than City, so some caution is still required. Additionally, Jesus has underachieved his expected goals (xG) in four of the last five seasons, which tells us he hasn’t been a particularly clinical finisher in that time.
Arsenal, meanwhile, face just one of last season’s top six sides in their first eight matches, when they visit Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United in September.
As a result, the Gunners sit top of our Season Ticker between Gameweeks 1 and 8.
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.5m) managed just three goals in 2020/21, his last top-flight season in the Premier League.
However, he returns having netted a whopping 43 in Fulham’s Championship-winning campaign – breaking all sorts of goalscoring records along the way – and is now playing under a more attacking manager whose free-flowing set-up plays to his strengths.
It isn’t just goal threat Mitrovic offers, either: he produced seven assists in 2021/22, the most he has managed in a single season during his senior career, with the Serb regularly dropping into midfield to help his team’s build-up play.
Fulham may struggle for chances in the top flight, but what they do create will go through Mitrovic.
However, a tough early schedule perhaps suggests we should wait until around Gameweek 8 before investing, as the Cottagers face six of last season’s top 10 in their first seven fixtures.
Ivan Toney (£7.0m) finished fifth for points among FPL forwards in 2021/22, producing a respectable 12 goals in 33 appearances.
As the season progressed, the 26-year-old hit his stride, scoring seven of those goals in a run of four games in the spring. In fact, in his position, only Harry Kane (£11.5m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£10.5m) scored more in 2022.
However, there are concerns worth flagging.
For example, the departure of Christian Eriksen (£6.5m) is a blow for Thomas Frank’s side, given his ability to create, while Toney’s threat from open-play was limited last season, with team-mate Bryan Mbeumo (£6.0m) posting a higher non-pen xG figure (8.78/8.69).
Saying that, a penalty-taking talisman who is one of the first names on the team sheet is appealing, especially given Brentford’s opening fixtures – they face only one of last season’s top seven in the opening seven Gameweeks.
Ollie Watkins (£7.5m) scored 11 goals in the Premier League last season, three short of his 2020/21 tally (14).
Now, with playmakers Philippe Coutinho (£7.0m) and Emiliano Buendia (£6.0m) feeding him for a full season, he should have little trouble hitting double figures for a third successive campaign.
After a poor start under Dean Smith in 2021/22, Aston Villa improved under Steven Gerrard and ranked joint-seventh for goals scored (38) from his appointment in Gameweek 12 onwards.
Above: Aston Villa’s goal threat (averages per match) under Dean Smith (left) and Steven Gerrard (right) in 2021/22
In that time, Watkins registered more shots in the box than all forwards bar Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
For Villa, the opening four fixtures are pretty decent, with newly-promoted Bournemouth and Everton up first.
If he can stay fit, there is a decent chance Callum Wilson (£7.5m) will be one of the highest-scoring FPL forwards in 2022/23.
With 20 goals, six assists and 204 FPL points in 39 starts for Newcastle United, the potential is clear, but his fitness record is questionable.
Indeed, he only returned for the final three matches of last season after getting injured in December and played a part in less than half of the Magpies’ fixtures in 2021/22.
Notably, he was also absent from a recent pre-season training session as Eddie Howe looks to manage his load:
“Every day when we plan training we look at individual needs. We took Callum out and gave him some different work from the group. That was quite a high intensity drill early in the session and we didn’t want to expose him to that.
No one has ever doubted Callum’s ability. He is an outstanding striker, and he showed that coming back from a long injury and performing well at the end of the season. I would love him to have an injury-free campaign. We are looking for (15 to 20 goals) from our no 9, for sure – whether that’s Callum on his own or with Chris Wood. We need those goals from our front players. We believe they are capable of delivering those numbers.” – Eddie Howe
As for Newcastle, they certainly improved after they made five January signings, with only Man City and Liverpool picking up more points in 2022.
However, the opening fixtures are decidedly mixed, with Pep Guardiola’s side and Liverpool to come in the first five Gameweeks. That might be enough to put off any potential suitors, but if Wilson can stay fit, he will surely be a popular pick in Gameweek 6 once the schedule eases.
READ MORE: FPL 2022/23 ‘sleeper’ picks: Callum Wilson
OTHER CANDIDATES: THE PROS AND THE CONS
After being handed an opportunity to lead the line in pre-season, Anthony Martial (£7.0m) has potentially emerged as Manchester United’s first-choice striker. The Frenchman has been one of United’s best performers against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace, scoring in each of the three friendly wins. A lot depends on Cristiano Ronaldo, who has yet to return to training amid concerns over his future. However, after seizing his chance with both hands, Martial does at least look likely to start the season up front for Erik ten Hag’s side.
Kai Havertz (£8.0m) was mainly playing as a centre-forward in 2021/22 and, as a result, has switched from a midfielder to a forward in FPL this season. A fairly modest 12 Premier League goals and 10 assists across his previous two campaigns is hardly anything to shout about, but Romelu Lukaku’s return to Inter Milan on loan does at least boost his minute expectations. However, it does look like there are superior forward options available to FPL managers in Gameweek 1, and it may be others who benefit most from Havertz’s ability to create space in the final third, like Raheem Sterling (£10.0m) and Mason Mount (£8.0m).
There won’t be many takers for the injury-prone Danny Welbeck (£6.5m) and often wasteful Neal Maupay (£6.5m) at Brighton and Hove Albion, despite some decent opening fixtures. Elsewhere, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the likes of Raul Jimenez (£7.0m), Patrick Bamford (£7.5m), Michail Antonio (£7.5m) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£8.0m) enter the FPL conversation before the year is out, but for now, they all enter the season with a point to prove having mostly underwhelmed in 2021/22, be it through poor performances on the pitch or injury.
That leaves Julian Alvarez (£6.5m), who certainly impressed on his debut earlier this week, but minutes remain a real concern, even if Erling Haaland’s (£11.5m) fitness is still in question heading into Gameweek 1.