We turn our attention to the best premium forwards as we round off our examination of the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) price list.
Here, the focus is on those costing at least £8.5m.
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.
It’s remarkable for a new import to have an ownership of around 60% before even playing a Premier League match. Then again, Erling Haaland (£11.5m) is a remarkable individual.
|Season||Team||Starts (Sub on)||Goals||Mins played||Mins per goal|
|2021/22||Borussia Dortmund||26 (4)||29||2,388||82.3|
|2020/21||Borussia Dortmund||40 (1)||41||3,540||86.3|
|2019/20||Borussia Dortmund||13 (5)||16||1,287||80.4|
|2019/20||Red Bull Salzburg||16 (6)||28||1,464||52.3|
Above: Erling Haaland’s last four seasons, in all competitions
The 22-year-old Norwegian superstar has become a synonym for goals, breaking records from every direction.
For example, Haaland is both the youngest player to score 20 Champions League goals and the fastest to get there. He became the competition’s first teenager to score in five consecutive matches. Of those with at least 15 goals in it, he has the best minutes per goal ratio.
It’s the same in the German Bundesliga, where his ratio ranks above all others with over 25 goals. When comparing his recent 82.3, 86.3 and 80.4 numbers with last season’s Premier League, it’s not even close.
So it’s scary to think what twice-in-a-row champions Manchester City can do with Haaland leading the line, supplied by the likes of Kevin De Bruyne (£12.0m), Bernardo Silva (£7.0m) and Phil Foden (£8.0m).
Yet there is one issue that might halt the plans of FPL managers. His current minor injury complaint led to a quote in The Athletic that suggests Haaland was promised occasional rests to manage any knocks.
‘One of the ways the club sold themselves to Haaland during negotiations was to assure him that they would not push him to play if he needs a rest or has a minor injury issue. The 22-year-old had considered the less-physical Spanish football might better suit him in terms of prolonging his career but City officials argued that he would be more likely to play even when not ready were he to join Real Madrid, such is the pressure on new signings at the Bernabeu. At City, they reasoned, he would not be rushed quite so much, and that stance may be in evidence already.’ – The Athletic
Last season, the forward missed 16 games in all competitions for Dortmund, following the ten of 2020/21. Perhaps his phenomenal ability has developed a team dependency that his young body can’t handle.
If Haaland is a willing participant of Pep Roulette, that could quickly become a frustration for FPL owners, no matter how often he scores. Having said that, being without him against Bournemouth in Gameweek 2 would require a large sofa to hide behind.
For the same £11.5m price, there is Harry Kane. An established FPL legend that is unlikely to be rotated – despite the addition of Richarlison (£8.5m) – and has been superb since Antonio Conte’s arrival.
Each of his last eight seasons has delivered at least 17 league goals and the most recent two brought 65 goal involvements, made even more impressive considering his slow start to 2021/22 saw only one goal and one assist from 14 outings.
From Gameweek 18 until the end, Kane amassed a number of goal attempts far ahead of all others.
Five goals have been scored by Kane in Spurs’ first three pre-season friendlies, resuming his strong partnership with Son Heung-min (£12.0m), yet less than 20% have currently found a way to squeeze Kane into their initial squads.
Another 25 goals will place Kane as the second-highest Premier League scorer of all time and he’ll be aware of this during Spurs’ excellent early run of fixtures.
Yes, despite the huge £85m transfer fee, a settling-in process will still be needed for Darwin Nunez. Such is the fickleness of pre-season Twitter, the 22-year-old was mocked for some poor pre-season displays only to then be seen in drafts in the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s four-goal haul against RB Leipzig.
“We always think that if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure or whatever. They are all completely normal human beings and the first touch is not perfect then all of a sudden… This generation of players read social media, which is really not smart, but they do. All of a sudden you get in a rush and these kinds of things. That’s the best way obviously to stop all these discussions. He’s a different striker to what we have or what we had, but he’s a really good one.” – Jurgen Klopp
Were Jota not injured, it would perhaps be difficult to truly trust any non-Salah Liverpool attacker due to the competition also provided by Luis Diaz (£8.0m) and Roberto Firmino (£8.0m).
Jota’s expected absence does leave the door ajar for Darwin in the first Gameweek at least, with a defensively suspect Fulham up first on the opening weekend.
Still, putting initial faith in Darwin will likely mean sacrificing several of Salah, Haaland, Kane, Son and/or a premium defender. Only the bravest FPL managers will dare to do that.
THE OTHER PREMIUM FPL FORWARDS
At least two of the remaining four £8.5+ forwards probably won’t be in action on Gameweek 1.
Firstly, Diogo Jota (£9.0m), is likely to miss at least Gameweek 1 because of a recurring hamstring injury labelled as “a concern” by head coach Jurgen Klopp.
It’s a shame because he was one of last season’s best FPL players, making a mockery of his £7.5m midfielder status with 15 goals and seven assists. The Portuguese international has since been reclassified as a premium forward, with his long-term appeal linked to the adaptation period of our next name.
Richarlison (£8.5m) is another big-money forward that will miss the opening round of matches, thanks to a one-match suspension given for throwing a flare off the field whilst at Everton.
Another Scout Report profiles Richarlison and how his versatility has likely been brought in as much-needed relief for both Son and Kane. Having a mid-season World Cup means that the six Champions League group matches will be squeezed into two autumn months, while a couple of midweek league outings will see Spurs will play twice each week between Gameweeks 4 and 16.
“Today I’ve seen a lot of positive things about Richy. The first half he played like a number nine and the second half he played on the right, behind the striker. I think he can play in all these three positions.” – Antonio Conte after Spurs defeated Team K League 6-3
As an FPL option, Richarlison holds virtually no appeal at present. Not only is he missing the first weekend but he will probably be competing with Dejan Kulusevski (£8.0m) for the third spot in Spurs’ attack. Lots of rotation is expected to commence, whereas for £0.5m less you can get Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m).
Meanwhile, the summer of Cristiano Ronaldo (£10.5m) is dominated by his absence from an encouraging pre-season for Manchester United, as reports continue to link the 37-year-old with a move away from Old Trafford.
It’s easy to forget that he, personally, had a good 2021/22 campaign of 18 league goals and 24 in all competitions. Amongst FPL forwards, only Kane bettered Ronaldo’s 159 points.
Despite this, this elite forward has dropped £2.0m in price for this season. So, if he decides to stay, he could excel in Erik ten Hag’s new-look side and eventually play his way back into the thoughts of Fantasy managers. For now, though, he’s a complete no-go for Gameweek 1 after he failed to kick a ball in anger in pre-season.
Another significant price drop occurred for Leicester City veteran Jamie Vardy (£9.5m), as it was the lowest points total since his debut top-flight season of 2014/15.
However, despite missing chunks of games due to hamstring and knee injuries, he still found time to score 15 goals in 1,890 minutes – the equivalent of 21 full matches. And the first 13 Gameweeks pre-injury saw only Mohamed Salah (£13.0m) get more shots on target.
This time, Vardy is back to full fitness and Leicester are without European competition. He could be a great differential pick for early meetings with Brentford (H) and Southampton (H) but some much stiffer tests surround those matches and many FPL managers will be waiting on a favourable Foxes fixture swing in Gameweek 9 before considering whether the veteran striker can be accommodated into their squads.