Fantasy Premier League 2018-19 was a remarkable season which led to the emergence of a new playing style. Traditionally, teams have been built around premium forward/s but plenty of managers are now going heavy at the back. The spotlight is now on premium defenders who have proven to be value-driven assets.

To accommodate them, several managers have cut costs, opting to go with budget forwards under 7m. This article will focus on the main options in this price range and conclude with a final ranking.

Before we begin, let’s take a look at how each player performed during the course of 38 Gameweeks in terms of minutes and points return(>=5)

How the forwards fared over the course of 38 Gameweeks

Joshua King – 6.5

An easy fixture run for the Cherries has made Josh King a popular pick in FPL teams. Entrusted with penalty responsibilities, managers are hopeful that the introduction of VAR could add more goals to his kitty.

King puts a strong case forward having scored just two goals less than Wilson’s tally of 14 goals. An increase in Wilson’s price this season has also directed suitors towards him. Unfortunately, the Norwegian was way behind in creativity, providing just three assists this season. He also simply does not have the same partnership with Ryan Fraser who was the primary creator in the Bournemouth team.

Stats from GW1-38:

Premier League budget forwards

King was way ahead of his peers in terms of game time and also took the highest number of shots from inside the box. However, his shot accuracy is not too good.

King had a solid 16 goal season back in 2016-17 and would be keen on replicating it. The player certainly has the pedigree but has somewhat suffered due to Wilson’s presence. Bournemouth is usually set up in a classic 4-4-2, with Wilson and King leading the line. Wilson is generally the more advanced player of the two and is supported by Fraser from the left.

Diogo Jota – 6.5

The player was found in many teams last year at the start of the season. However, much to the dismay of managers he failed to hit the ground running. He scored his first goal for the club as late as GW15 and ended the campaign with nine goals and eight assists. A switch to a two striker formation in December last year led to Jota’s resurgence and Nuno will probably continue with that.

Stats from GW29-38:

Premier League budget forwards

Jota started the season slowly but scored the highest points in the last ten Gameweeks. However, his points tally could be negatively impacted after his classification as a forward. Regardless, he had the second-highest xGI(6.00) after Chris Wood(6.1)

Jota is a skilful player and has the ability to beat the man with his dribbling ability. Although the player has been open to playing different roles across the frontline, his output largely came when he was deployed as a forward.

Jota is back with the club after winning the Nations League with Portugal. Managers are talking about him once again after a brace in the pre-season game. He’s now a strong alternative for managers who want Wolves coverage but do not have the budget to get the more expensive Jimenez. Wolves’ presence in the Europa League could play a bit of a spoiler and we will need more clarity on the kind of team Nuno plays in that competition.

Gerard Deulofeu – 6.5

The Spaniard is the only player along with Jota to get a position change in this season’s FPL. While there is no denying his unquestionable talent and skill, the forward scored half his goals-against relegated teams Huddersfield and Cardiff. This particular stat can deter the best of managers to make him a part of their team.

Gerard Deulofeu - Watford

As a player, Deulofeu likes to cut in from the wings and is also a gifted dribbler. At Watford, he has been deployed on both the wings and as a central forward. The former Barcelona man was touted for great things but could sadly never fulfil his potential. However, with each match, he has solidified his position under Javi Garcia. Deulofeu was one of the main heroes for Watford’s FA Cup run, being a part of the comeback win against Wolves. Another point in his favour is that he is the only player on this list who took direct freekicks for their team. The Spaniard had a crack six times on the goal but could not get a goal from any of them.

With an opening fixture against Brighton at home, the Hornets would be buzzing to get off to a flying start and Deulofeu is certainly the man who could explode. A word of caution for readers to not forget that his points tally could take a hit after being classified as forward.

Chris Wood – 6.5

Ashley Barnes’ partner in crime is New Zealand international Chris Wood who scored 10 goals combined with three assists. This was the first time in Burnley’s history where two individuals registered 10 or more goals.

While Burnley may not be a free-scoring team, the Clarets scored just two goals lesser than the hot favourites Wolves. The encouraging fact is that Burnley are heavily dependent on the duo which makes them a likely source for points.

As a player, Wood is a poacher with a good sense of positioning with most of his goals coming from within the penalty-taking range.

Chris Wood - Burnley

Wood’s goals mapped on the pitch highlight his positional sense. Source: Understat

Unlike his partner, Wood received plenty of opportunities but failed to deliver in the first half. Nine out of his ten goals came in the latter half which coincided with Barnes’ rise in form as well. A strong case could be made that their ability to score goals post the Christmas period is what propelled Burnley towards a stronger position after a frustrating start.

Glenn Murray – 6.0

The forward may be in the twilight of his career but continues to command a starting position in the lineup. With 12 and 13 goals in the last two seasons, Murray will be raring to breach the double-figure mark for the third consecutive time.

Murray is a force to reckon with at home, with eight of his 13 goals coming at the Amex Stadium last season. The Englishman is also on penalties which is always a welcome bonus.

Although Brighton have struggled to hit heights in the Premier League, the change in management could do them a whole lot of good. Fans will be expecting a whole new dynamic under new manager Graham Potter who has been touted as an attack-minded manager. Murray is backed by the creative Pascal Groß who will replicate his form of 2017-18.

With three home games in their first five fixtures, Murray can prove to be a reliable forward option.

Ashley Barnes – 6.5

The forward is a self-proclaimed ‘wind-up merchant’ and has admitted that he enjoys playing the villain. With a hulking personality and a very physical style of play, Barnes has the ability to outmuscle most defenders.

He was a crucial player for Burnley, scoring 12 goals and assisting twice in their league campaign. The forward scored a quarter of his goals against the big six, adding weight to the point that he’s not just another flat-track bully.

Barnes’ 2018-19 league campaign can be best described as a tale of two conflicting halves. The player was subbed on a total of 11 times and was not preferred much in the first half. However, as the season approached GW15, he became a regular feature. This can be seen from his starkly contrasting goal tally, as the striker net nine goals in the second half.

Stats from GW20-38(Second Half):

Premier League budget forwards

With minimal opportunities in the first half of the season, Barnes hit back in the second half, topping the xG(and Goals) chart. He also clocked the highest expected attacking points (xATT).

I believe it’ll be important to see how the transfer of Jay Rodriguez pans out since it might affect his minutes. The clarets have a tough opening few fixtures facing a resurgent Southampton, followed by Arsenal (A), Wolves (A) and Liverpool(H). Post this, they have a streak of easier fixtures which is when transferring in Barnes could work out.

Troy Deeney – 6.5

The Watford captain is the ideal pick for someone who wants to be conservative in their choice. Deeney is nailed on and is also the primary penalty taker his team. Partnered with Deulofeu to lead the line, Deeney was involved in 14 goals, scoring nine and assisting five.

He has a reputation of being an extremely physical player who will give it his all to win a duel. Although the likelihood is less, this also makes him prone to strong disciplinary action reducing his lure as an option. With four double digit hauls, three of which came between GW21-29, Deeney was quite the inconsistent one in terms of points returns.

A question we will need to ask is whether to go with the low-risk option in Deeney or the potentially explosive Gerard Deulofeu.

Calvert-Lewin – 6.0

The youngster has been at Everton since 2016 but is yet to completely cement his place. Regardless, he was a part of the Everton, starting in nine out of their last ten games.

At 6.0, he’s one of the least expensive options and the teams could definitely do with the additional budget. With a cream fixture run for Everton, Calvert-Lewin is one option that could also prove to be a strong differential. Let’s not forget that he is backed by a creative midfield and one of the best fullback pairings in the league.

However, be advised that Everton are constantly being linked to Juventus forward Moise Kean, which could definitely lead to limited gametime for the Everton forward.


Premier League budget forwards

With a host of options in this price range, the likelihood of a set and forget option is low. King seems like a strong option to start with especially if Wilson is out of your budget. Early wildcarders will have the chance to incorporate one of the Burnley duo. Barnes looks the stronger of the two and is also on penalties. Deulofeu with a spicy opening fixture could give you the much needed early head start. Murray, the old warhorse could be a strong pick IF Brighton truly utilize Groß’s ability to create. Calvert-Lewin is someone that you could pass on due to lack of clarity with regard to role and minutes.

Predicted Top 3 by Final FPL Score

  1. Ashley Barnes
  2. Diogo Jota
  3. Joshua King

All stats were taken from our new OPTA Stats Tool

OPTA Stats for Fantasy Football

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