Our team of Hall of Famers and guest writers are writing about all things Fantasy Premier League (FPL) in 2023/24. Here, FPL Blackbox co-host Az shares some of his favourite cheap enablers that help accommodate premiums beyond Gameweek 23.
Kevin De Bruyne (£10.7m). Mohamed Salah (£13.1m). Erling Haaland (£14.0m). Heung-Min Son (£9.7m). Bukayo Saka (£9.1m).
How on earth are we going to fit all – or at least some – of these premium players into our FPL teams?
With some budget options, of course! Here are my top picks in each position for the next few Gameweeks.
Jan Paul van Hecke (£4.0m, Brighton and Hove Albion)
Yes, I am aware that Brighton have just been thumped 4-0 by Luton Town. But I’m also aware that Pervis Estupinan (£5.1m) is a very popular asset and costs substantially more than team-mate van Hecke. Not only that, over the last four matches, Estupinan has registered a 0.33 expected goal involvement (xGI) whereas the Dutchman’s is 0.58.
I know some are concerned with van Hecke’s minutes but he’s now started 12 consecutive league games as well as key Europa League and FA Cup encounters. He’s comfortable in both a back four and a back three, with his only competition being Adam Webster (£4.2m) – who is completely out of favour – and Igor Julio (£4.3m). The latter has put in some sub-par performances and is still adapting to the Premier League.
Although an Estupinan owner, if I was buying now I’d save the £1.1m and go for van Hecke. Upcoming fixtures look great and, before Luton, the Seagulls had kept two clean sheets. He’s the perfect enabler to keep until the end, one who can come in and do a job should you need him to.
However, one thing to monitor is that Brighton will almost certainly have a blank in Gameweek 29. If either they or Manchester City beat Wolverhampton Wanderers or Luton in the FA Cup, their clash will be called off.
Alejandro Garnacho (£4.8m, Manchester United)
On paper, we should all be jumping on a sub-£5.0m midfielder who plays regularly for Man United. Since Gameweek 11, Garnacho has started every league game for the Red Devils, registering three goals and two assists in them. He has set the league alight in two particular outings: his brace against Aston Villa and the incredible overhead kick versus Everton. Other than that, it’s been slightly disappointing from an FPL perspective but the xGI underneath has been decent.
Before Thursday’s 4-3 thriller at Wolves, Man United had been very poor in an attacking sense. So will that previous trend continue, or is this the start of an improvement? Big names like Casemiro (£5.3m), Lisandro Martinez (£4.7m) and Luke Shaw (£5.2m) are all back, whilst Rasmus Hojlund (£6.8m) has scored three and assisted twice during his latest trio of league games.
It’s also three successive goal-scoring matches for Marcus Rashford (£8.4m) – back in the side following his recent disciplinary transgressions. Basically, Erik ten Hag has his strongest batch of available players for quite a while and I can see Man United improving over the second half of the season.
Garnacho was unlucky to not get any returns against Spurs or Wolves and I believe he is instrumental to the side given Antony‘s (£6.8m) lack of impact. Furthermore, should they lose to either Bristol City or Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, they’d receive a guaranteed Gameweek 29 match at home to Sheffield United.
Matheus Cunha (£5.8m, Wolverhampton Wanderers)
At several times in recent seasons, the FPL community has wondered where all the good forward options have gone. Well, now we have an abundance. For me, the pick of the bunch for those under £7m is Cunha.
Over the last seven Gameweeks, the Brazilian’s xGI (3.88) exceeds those of highly-owned players Ollie Watkins (£8.8m, 3.03) and Phil Foden (£8.0m, 2.95). As well as that, there’s a sea of green fixtures on Wolves’ horizon – games against leaky Chelsea, Brentford, Spurs and Sheffield United should see plenty of goals.
Did you know that since Gary O’Neil took over, there’s only been two games where they’ve not scored? West Ham United (Gameweek 17) and Brighton (Gameweek 21). They may be waiting a bit longer for Hwang Hee-Chan (£5.6m) to return but they’ll be buoyed by Pedro Neto‘s (£5.6m) comeback. They’re a real attacking force and Cunha has no real competition for the centre forward spot.
Yet it does seem very likely that Wolves will miss Gameweek 29. It need either them to beat Brighton, or Bournemouth to beat Leicester in the FA Cup. But I really fancy Cunha to plunder some goals before then and, if he frees up the funds for some big hitters, it could prove to be a shrewd investment.