It’s fair to say that Fantasy Premier League players aren’t exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to big-name premium attackers. Sergio Agüero (MCI, £11.2m) was once in 50% of teams, and the City striker’s injury has led to a lot of uncertainty at the position. Here’s why.
Often, an injury to an important player at a big club results in an opportunity for one or more players to step in and have an impact. Gabriel Jesus (MCI, £10.1m) is Agüero’s backup at Manchester City, but the Brazilian had only scored one goal this season prior to GW17. Jesus has been transferred in around 15,000 times this gameweek but Agüero is close to being fit again, which could relegate Jesus to the bench. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané have been producing during Agüero’s absence, but both players are categorised as midfielders in FPL. Replacing Agüero with a City midfielder requires at least two transfers (and even more if you choose to bring Agüero back in when he returns), so many managers needed a more direct replacement.
Premium Attackers The Candidates
Most discussions following Agüero’s injury were focused on three players. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS, £11.5m), Harry Kane (TOT, £12.6m) and Alexandre Lacazette (ARS, £9.6m). Harry Kane is probably the best option – he has a consistently impressive goalscoring record, netting at least 25 goals in each of the last three seasons. Kane has played a little deeper this season, but remains a good option despite attempting fewer shots per game than in any season prior. Spurs have great fixtures for the foreseeable future and he’s played less than 85 minutes only once this season. Top players are getting rested and rotated more often than ever and Tottenham don’t have a backup striker of the standard of Jesus or Giroud, which makes Kane an incredibly safe and secure FPL pick.
These advantages come at a (£12.6m) price, though. You’d need close to £1.5m spare in order to upgrade Agüero to Harry Kane, which is part of why Aubameyang has been transferred in over a million times in the last three gameweeks. Auba is the top scoring FPL striker, but that doesn’t tell you the whole story. Unai Emery is still figuring out his strongest team, which has meant that both Aubameyang and Lacazette have spent time on the bench. This has particularly hurt Lacazette’s prospects, who hasn’t played more than 45 minutes since GW12. Emery will continue to rotate the team throughout the busy Christmas period, and Aubameyang suddenly looks a whole lot less exciting if he’s rested against the likes of Brighton in GW19 or Fulham in GW21 to preserve him for the trickier GW20 fixture at Anfield.
Who To Avoid
Liverpool and Chelsea are two of the best attacking sides in the league, but neither side have a viable FPL forward. Roberto Firmino (LIV, £9.2m) plays a very deep role in Liverpool’s system, and has played as a number 10 behind Mohamed Salah in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Firmino simply doesn’t score often enough to match his £9.2m price tag, and you don’t get FPL points for being a good team player.
The less said about Alvaro Morata (CHE, £8.5m) the better, and Olivier Giroud (CHE, £7.7m) hasn’t seen consistent playing time while Morata has been out of favour. Eden Hazard has been deployed as a false nine on several occasions, which makes picking Morata or Giroud a huge risk. Chelsea may look to sign a striker in the January transfer window, which makes the situation even more uncertain.
It would be wise to steer clear of Romelu Lukaku (MUN, £10.7m) until we know more about post-Mourinho Manchester United, and the Belgian striker is expensive considering his poor form this season and the fact that both Aubameyang and Agüero cost less than a million more.
There are fewer good premium attackers than in any season prior. Kane and Aubameyang look like the only alternatives to Agüero, so you’re left with a choice between a very expensive option and a risky one. Bringing in Lacazette seems like a bad idea considering his playing time, and Lukaku and Firmino are too expensive to consider when bargain strikers like Callum Wilson (BOU, £6.9m) and Raul Jiménez (WOL, £6.2m) are scoring at a higher rate. Sergio Agüero really can’t return to the City starting eleven soon enough.