In a game where goals are vital, it is mightily important to get your front line right. With the most opportunities to get goals on a weekly basis, it is the area of the squad which people are likely to spend a fair chunk of the budget on. Fantasy Football players are always looking for ways to save a few million and while the premium options are certainly worth considering, there are also cheaper options which are riskier but which could also pay off.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City, £13 million)
At £13 million, Sergio Aguero is the most expensive player in the game but for good reason. Last season only Eden Hazard bettered his points haul of 216, scoring 26 goals and getting 10 assists in the process. At Manchester City, Aguero is undoubtedly their main striker meaning that when he is fit he will be a certain starter.
With Aguero set to miss at least the first game of the season, he is one that many people will understandably leave out of their team at least to begin with. When up to fitness, however, he is one that is always guaranteed to get goals. Aguero’s price-tag is the only downside, but I’m sure this will not put off a large percentage of players from putting him in their squads as soon as he is up to speed.
There are also currently rumours that Real Madrid are interested in the player if they sell Karim Benzema so it will be interesting to see how that unfolds. With all things considered, it would be wise to steer clear for at least the first game-week but if he stays at Manchester City he will surely be one of the high performers this season once again.
Diego Costa (Chelsea, £11 million)
Having scored 20 goals last season, Diego Costa introduced himself to the Chelsea fans and the Premiership in style. Everyone is now aware of Costa and what he is capable of, but they are also aware of the nagging-doubts over his fitness.
Costa’s recurring hamstring problems are a definite issue and the image of him at the Community Shield over the weekend could potentially become a familiar sight this season. With Costa, as last season showed, you just never know. On many occasions the striker was deemed to be injured but miraculously recovered in time to not only make an appearance but, more often than not, score the odd goal to the dismay of many Fantasy Football players.
Chelsea’s performance in the Community Shield highlighted the limited options that Chelsea have up-front at the moment; Loic Remy did not look convincing and Radamel Falcao still needs time to get up to speed with the Chelsea style of play. If Costa can remain fit then he is by far the stand-out striker at Chelsea. With a quality midfield behind him and with the ability to score goals against any opposition he has the potential of replicating his form last season. It is his consistent injury concerns, however, that are definitely an issue.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, £10.5 million)
Rooney, for me, has the potential to have a great season this year. With the departure of Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao, Rooney has become United’s main striker and with that comes great responsibility. Last season Rooney was only able to score 12 goals, a statistic that he will be keen on bettering this time around. Having played in a multitude of positions last season, Rooney will also return to the position he performs best in: striker. Together with new signing Memphis Depay, he certainly has the potential to score more goals this year.
Manchester United have some favourable fixtures coming up in the first few game-weeks, which will give Rooney plenty of opportunities in front of goal. With a nicely taken goal against Barcelona in pre-season, it would appear that Rooney is currently in promising form.
Harry Kane (Tottenham, £9.5 million)
Despite an outstanding season for Spurs last year, I have my concerns about Harry Kane this year. By the end of last season Kane was the must have player, scoring 191 points in total with 21 goals and 7 assists to his name. One of the major plus-points with Kane, however, was his price-tag. Starting at just £5 million, Kane offered incredible value.
This season, however, his price-tag has sky rocketed to a starting value of £9.5 million. After one promising season we have yet to see whether he can replicate last season’s form once more in the Premiership. Kane has already scored a cracker in pre-season against the MLS All-Stars and as Spurs’ main striker once again he looks capable of having another good season. With Manchester United up first, a higher price-tag and the element of surprise no longer in play, however, he may not be as appealing this time around.
Christian Benteke (Liverpool, £8.5 million)
During his time at Aston Villa, Christian Benteke was certainly a stand-out performer. Now at Liverpool, the Belgian international will be hoping to better his 13 goals last season. Amongst a higher calibre of players, and with the continued absence of Daniel Sturridge, Benteke certainly has the potential of getting 20+ goals.
Having already made his debut for the Reds, it would seem that the striker has fit into the squad nicely. Liverpool’s number 9 scored a sublime volley in their 2-1 victory against Swindon Town and if he can continue to score this calibre of goals this season, will surely be a fan favourite in no time. At £8.5 million, Benteke will be a great option if he can cement his place in the Liverpool starting line-up.
Jay Rodriguez (Southampton, £7 million)
Slightly risky due to his long-term injury, but Fantasy Football fanatics will remember his form in the 2013/14 season. Jay Rodriguez scored fifteen goals that season but missed out last season following his nightmare ACL injury. Now making a comeback, Rodriguez is already showing that he has the potential to replicate or even better the form he experienced prior to injury.
Southampton now have a number of strikers to choose from so Rodriguez will have his work cut out for him. If his goal against Espanyol is anything to go by, however, he is ready for the start of the season. At £1 million less than Graziano Pelle, he may also be a good option for people looking to find an extra million to spend elsewhere in their team.
Patrick Bamford (Crystal Palace, £6 million)
As last season’s Championship player of the year with Middlesbrough, Patrick Bamford has now been given the opportunity to prove his worth in the Premiership with Crystal Palace. The Chelsea striker will be hoping to replicate his form of last season and with players like Yohan Cabaye behind him, he has the opportunity to do so.
Bamford has already netted a hat-trick for his new side in only twenty minutes, though only against Bromley, but it is a sign of what people can expect from him. At £6 million he is also one of the cheaper offerings and one who has the potential to increase in value substantially. With games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City ahead for Palace in their first five game-weeks it may be worth waiting and having a look at Bamford but early signs show that he is fitting in well.
Odion Ighalo (Watford, £5 million)
If the TSB% statistics are anything to go by, players are currently backing Troy Deeney to make an impact in the Premier League for Watford. His fellow striker Odion Ighalo, however, is not one to overlook. The Nigerian international is £0.5 million less but has the capability of scoring as many goals.
Having scored 20 goals last season in the Championship he certainly has an eye for goal, and he has continued this form into pre-season. It is yet to be seen how he will handle the step up to the Premiership but early signs show that he has the potential to make an impact. In a game where even £0.5 million can make a huge difference, it may be worth considering Ighalo over his strike partner.
Cameron Jerome (Norwich City, £5 million)
Cameron Jerome is by no means one of the most exciting strikers, but he certainly has a fair amount of experience when it comes to the Premiership. At 28 years of age, Jerome has already played for Birmingham City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace in the Premiership and is set to make a return this time with Norwich City.
While he is yet to have a prolific season in the Premiership, he has just enjoyed his best goal-scoring season to date in the Championship having scored 21 goals in all competitions. Jerome has also enjoyed pre-season, scoring most recently against Brentford as well as five goals in other fixtures.
Norwich have some decent fixtures in the first five game-weeks against Crystal Palace, Sunderland, Stoke, Southampton and Bournemouth, all of which will provide the Canaries with opportunities to get goals. With the recent signing of Robbie Brady, fans will also be hopeful of an increased level of service to the front-man. At only £5 million, Jerome is another to consider as a cheaper option.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully gives an insight into who exactly is available for a variety of budgets. There are several players who haven’t been included, but who have the potential to have a major impact depending on their situation at the beginning of the season.
Saido Berahino (West Brom, £6.5 million) is one of these, but with rumours of a possible transfer to Tottenham, Newcastle or Manchester City, it would be important to see what club he opts for before committing to having him in your Fantasy team.
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal, £9 million) is another that has the potential to have a good season especially with the abundance of talent behind him in the Arsenal midfield, but with the Karim Benzema rumours floating about and the suggestion that Theo Walcott will be playing more in the striker role this season it may be slightly risky for the price-tag.