Written by Jønathan Kahn. You can catch him on twitter @jkisthe1.
For many FPL players, the third striker spot can often be the Holy Grail. Get the right one (or ones) and there’s incredible value to be had. Get the wrong one and there’s incredible frustration to be had. If you got onto say, Callum Wilson, early, you found a goldmine. If you didn’t it’s been a long battle to find a suitable alternative. With many managers perhaps still needing to shift Arnautovic or perhaps upgrade someone like Success, who are the budget options we should consider. For the purposes of this piece, budget is defined as under £7m. We can split these into two categories. The safe options and the punt options.
The Safe Options
Price – £6.7m, Ownership 20%, next 6 (WHM, new, WOL, HUD, ars, bur)
Likely to be among the favourites the big Serb is arguably Fulham’s talisman. With five favourable fixtures in his next six, Mitrovic could be key to Fulham’s bid for survival. Currently sitting on seven goals and three assists this run could see Mitrovic primed to increase those numbers. His half-time substitution at Old Trafford offers some cause for concern but it seems likely to have been a tactical decision and I would expect Mitrovic to be in the line-up against West Ham. Over the last four weeks, Mitrovic has registered 12 shots on goal, with nine being in the box. He might not be differential but he has the fixtures and the stats to start picking up points.
Price – £6.1m, Ownership 18.5%, next 6 (BOU, LIV, ful, tot, CPL, mci)
A very mixed bag fixture wise with three plum fixtures and three tricky ones. The Mexican has made a mockery of his initial £5.5m price tag contributing four goals and six assists this season. If Wolves score there’s a realistic chance Jimenez is involved. He has a goal and two assists in his last five but stats suggest more to come, at least in those plum fixtures with 14 shots in his last four, 11 coming from inside the box. This places him joint second for shots alongside Aubameyang, oddly, Hojbjerg and one other, but we’ll get to him. At this stage, Jimenez is perhaps halfway between safe and risky. He’s sage because he is nailed on to start and has good stats. But with three of his next six being against the current top three, with two of them being away, you could be relying on the other three games to make up for it.
Price – £6.6m, Ownership 4.8%, next 6 (CHE, bou, ARS, EVE, whm, liv)
One look at those fixtures should be vomit inducing but consider that Brighton have yet to blank at home and Murray loves the Amex turf, with seven of his eight strikes coming at home, the solitary away strike being a late penalty at Southampton. Arsenal and Everton have not been solid in recent weeks and Chelsea will be coming back from a Europa League tie. With penalties in his locker, Murray could net in any game though I would be wary of playing him in away games. But as Brighton’s main man, he warrants consideration. The stats, however, don’t make good reading with just four shots in his last four. The form of Florian Andone also clouds matters.
Price – £5.8m, Ownership 2.5%, next 6 (CAR, whm, CHE, NEW, bou, cpl)
Given his ownership, it could be argued that Deeney falls into the punt category. But given his status as captain and his nailedness he qualifies for safe status. The Hornets man is another with penalties in his locker and a favourable run of games. Just four goals and six assists this season is not a terrific return and just six shots means the stats don’t support taking this option. But Deeney has a goal and an assist in his last two starts and if you believe that fixtures create form then Deeney could be the man for you.
The Punt Options
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez
Price – £6.4m, Ownership 5.2%, Next 6 (ful, WAT, sot, bur, BRI, ARS)
An old FPL favourite, Hernandez’ return to the league last season didn’t go as planned with just 8 goals over the season. A truncated start to this season post World Cup saw the Little Pea introduced slowly back into the team. Since a substitute appearance against Manchester City the Mexican has started all three games, claiming three goals and an assist. An old-fashioned goal poacher Hernandez is very much what you see is what you get. But with defences renowned for giving up chances there could be opportunities here. Seven shots (all in the box) in his last four is decent but when you consider that one of those four was 35-minute appearance away at City and that he was subbed at 63 minutes and 74 minutes in his last two then suddenly they look a little better. Those early subs perhaps pose a problem but we have seen that 75 minutes is long enough for Hernandez to do damage and whilst in this form he should be safe. It’s a pick that Felipe Anderson owners may be reluctant to go with but for those without or those seeking to double up, Chicharito represents a viable alternative.
Price £6.9m Ownership 7.3%, Next 6 (liv, car, HUD, BOU, new, tot)
Four favourable games bookended by 2 unfavourable ones the England man has moved ahead of Romelu Lukaku to be United’s current first-choice striker. Already a confirmed starter against Liverpool Rashford has one goal and four assists in his last five. But that run of four games could see Rashford add to that total plus he is on some set pieces (usually shared with Juan Mata and Ashley Young). With previous United option Anthony Martial picking up an injury it could be time for Rashford to step up and make his mark. With 10 shots (four in the box) in his last four Rashford compares well with other options. Could the fates have aligned to bring young Marcus into your thinking?
Price £5.8m, Ownership 2.7%, next 6 (hud, FUL, liv, wat, MNU, che)
Now here’s a name that really sends shivers down my spine. The on-loan WBA man burnt me more than once last season and I remain reluctant to have anything to do with anyone from that club (looks at Ben Foster and especially FPL troll extraordinaire Jonny Evans) but his recent form makes him worthy of discussion. The big Venezuelan has three goals and an assist in his last five (which accounts for 99% of his total for the season) and has been instrumental in Newcastle’s upturn in form (West Ham aside). Rafa Benitez has understood how to get the best from his man and set up accordingly. There are tricky away ties with Liverpool and Chelsea in there but in the other four games, there’s a realistic possibility of returns. Now, remember when I said Jimenez was joint second with three others for shots over the last four but left one name out? Well, meet the one name. Rondon has also registered 14 shots, with eight being in the box and again the defences he is up against should, in most cases afford him more chances to add to his recent form. If you really want an outside the box option Rondon might just be your guy.
For my own team? As I don’t own Anderson I will be looking to turn Success into Hernandez (and conversely hope that Hernandez is a Success) but I hope this provides some new options for that elusive 3rd striker spot.