Wednesday brought the long-awaited announcement of Ivan Toney‘s (£7.2m) ban for breaching the Football Association’s (FA) betting rules. The Brentford forward was handed an eight-month suspension from all football-related activities, meaning he’ll not be able to play until January 17 next season.
Owned by 25.1% of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers and 7.5% of the top 100k, his 20 league goals have him on 182 points – a total currently bettered by only seven other players.
Managers will need to replace Toney for this season’s final two Gameweeks, where a bunch of established names and exciting differential punts are waiting to be bought.
This list looks at forwards priced below £8.5m, otherwise Erling Haaland (£12.4m) and Harry Kane (£11.4m) would obviously be included!
A NEWCASTLE UNITED FORWARD
Between them, Alexander Isak (£7.0m) and Callum Wilson (£7.2m) have 95.5% ownership inside the top 500k, so the chances are that you’ve already bought at least one of this duo.
If not, the Magpies need wins to secure Champions League football and, although without a Double Gameweek 37 to promote, their single fixture is at home to Leicester City. The 2015/16 champions are on the verge of a shock relegation and have won only once in 14 matches, conceding ten in their last three.
Indeed, they haven’t kept a clean sheet since before Qatar 2022…
Newcastle travel to Chelsea on the final day, when anything can happen. Maybe Eddie Howe’s side grabs the victory over an ‘on the beach’ bunch, or perhaps the Blues decide to be awkward and finally show up.
It’s hard to settle on either Isak or Wilson because the latter has penalties but the former is more likely to start, albeit sometimes out wide. Wilson has ten goals from nine matches but started just four of these.
The big tell might come on Thursday night when we see the teamsheets for the Brighton and Hove Albion game, as a benching for one of the pair would likely elevate their chances of start on Monday.
GABRIEL JESUS (£8.1m)
Arsenal’s weak home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion all but ended their hopes of winning the Premier League, so it remains to be seen how motivated and competitive they’ll be against Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Above: Over each team’s last six matches, Nottingham Forest have conceded the most big chances (23)
Gameweek 38 opponents Wolves have been poor on the road, with only two away wins all season and no clean sheet outside of Molineux since Gameweek 5.
Those are good fixtures for centre-forward Gabriel Jesus and the season-ending injury to Gabriel Martinelli (£6.6m) should bring in Leandro Trossard (£6.6m) out wide rather than up front, although there’s still a chance that Eddie Nketiah (£6.3m) and Reiss Nelson (£4.7m) are given some late-season minutes.
DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN (£7.9m)
Just like last season, Everton are leaving it late to survive. And if they do use Wolves (a) and Bournemouth (h) to escape relegation, Dominic Calvert-Lewin will likely play a big role in it.
He returned from injury in Gameweek 32, soon racking up an expected goal involvement (xGI) tally of 1.85 against Leicester and superbly turning Lewis Dunk (£4.8m) inside out to assist Abdoulaye Doucoure (£5.3m) in the 5-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion.
“Dom got a tight groin and quite obviously I can’t take a risk on that so we had to change that at half-time. Hopefully that will settle down quickly. We’re hoping it’s a precaution. He felt his groin but nothing too drastic so I said, ‘Right, that’s it’, because of his record.” – Sean Dyche
Being removed for last weekend’s second half was just a precautionary move from Sean Dyche, as Manchester City were already 2-0 by that point, so Calvert-Lewin remains their rotation-proof focal attacking threat.
While the defences of high-flying Brighton and City kept his goal threat to a minimum, he had previously registered 15 shots in his first four appearances under Dyche.
ANTHONY MARTIAL (£6.3m)
A maverick (some would say foolhardy) move would be to follow the number of fixtures and take a punt on Anthony Martial, as Manchester United face Bournemouth and Chelsea in Double Gameweek 37, before ending at home to Fulham.
It’s very risky, as the Frenchman hasn’t begun two league matches in a row since Gameweek 20 and only one of this season’s starts has exceeded 80 minutes. The return of Marcus Rashford (£7.2m) to training could immediately bump Martial to the bench but, as a team, Man United are getting plenty of chances.
Above: Team shots since Gameweek 30
Martial’s minutes per xGI figure of 127.1 is better than those of Toney and Kane, too.
JULIAN ALVAREZ (£6.0m)
Buying a City asset this week comes with even more of a caveat than normal, as Pep Guardiola may run wild with the changes once the title is in the bag.
But Julian Alvarez could prosper from the uncertainty, not only covering Kevin De Bruyne (£12.2m) as a ‘number eight’ but also deputising up top if and when Erling Haaland’s (£12.4m) legs are spared.
He should be good for at least one start in Double Gameweek 37, then, while his rate of shots, xG and goals are second only to Haaland among the City squad.
ODSONNE EDOUARD (£5.0m)
Crystal Palace’s season has turned around completely now that Roy Hodgson is back in charge. From Gameweek 29 onwards, they have five wins from eight matches and a collection of 123 shots only exceeded by four teams – all of whom have played more often.
Many of their goals are coming from midfielder Eberechi Eze (£5.6m) but the new hamstring injury of Wilfried Zaha (£7.2m) could allow Edouard back into Hodgson’s starting line-up in time to face Fulham and Nottingham Forest.
The Forest game in particular is appealing, as Steve Cooper’s side have conceded more goals on their travels than any other team in the division.
A move for Edouard is as much about freeing up funds for a final-day punt, of course, with over £2.0m left over to splurge on a Gameweek 38 gamble in another position.
TAIWO AWONIYI (£5.6m)
Then again, some weird things happen on the final day. For example, could Forest – the league’s worst away side – actually defeat the Eagles at Selhurst Park?
They’re fighting hard to stay up and have seven points from three matches, thanks to consecutive two-goal outings from Taiwo Awoniyi. Such recent form gives him the edge over Brennan Johnson (£5.5m), who is goalless since Gameweek 29.
Above: Most FPL points scored over Gameweeks 35 and 36 so far
It’s been a stop-start campaign for the £17m summer signing from Union Berlin but Forest have scored 12 times in five matches. They need just a couple more points from Arsenal (h) and Crystal Palace (a); Awoniyi has the form to get them there.