Joao Pedro (£5.5m) has immediately shown why he is the most popular cut-price forward for managers in Fantasy Premier League.
As evidenced in pre-season, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Brazilian has been handed penalty duties after signing from Watford over the summer.
His converted spot-kick in the Seagulls’ 4-1 home win over Luton Town on Saturday earned Joao Pedro a seven-point haul on his debut.
He is now the most-popular forward under £8.0m and third most-selected player in his position in Fantasy, found in 26 per cent of squads. Brighton now face favourable back-to-back matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United.
Joao Pedro's penalty v Luton
Joao Pedro LOVES scoring against Luton! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/FPUFNjwFOD— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) August 12, 2023
Budget forwards on target
A host of other budget strikers impressed across Saturday’s six matches.
Luton’s Carlton Morris (£5.5m) also converted from the spot at the American Express Stadium, while Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, Crystal Palace’s Odsonne Edouard (both £5.5m), AFC Bournemouth star Dominic Solanke and Nottingham Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi (both £6.5m) all scored.
Nketiah's goal v Nott'm Forest
This dominance is also reflected in the Expected Goal Involvement (xGI) statistics from Gameweek 1, with cut-price picks occupying the top five places among forwards.
Top Gameweek 1 forwards for xGI
|Player||xGI||Shots||Shots in box||Pts|
The Swede recorded an xGI of only 0.78 against Villa, yet he netted twice to match Erling Haaland’s (£14.0m) Gameweek-high score of 13 points.
Isak's second goal v Aston Villa
A beautiful finish from Alex Isak. 🍟👌 pic.twitter.com/HcdKyhqF2h— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 13, 2023
Isak’s display on Saturday has made him the top target for managers in Gameweek 2, brought in by 115,000+.
A host of budget players also dominated the xGI statistics in midfield, with Isak’s team-mates Harvey Barnes (£6.5m) and Sandro Tonali (£5.5m) among them.
Top Gameweek 1 midfielders for xGI
|Player||xGI||Shots||Shots in box||Chances created||Pts|
The duo enjoyed goalscoring debuts in the St James’ Park victory, with Barnes emerging from the bench to also supply an assist and collect 11 points.
The statistics also show Eberechi Eze (£6.5m) was unfortunate to blank in Palace’s 1-0 win at Sheffield United.
His totals of eight shots and seven chances created both currently sit top among all players in Gameweek 1, while Eze's five shots in the box were second only to the seven of his team-mate Edouard.
Edouard's winner v Sheff Utd
Right place, right time. Odsonne Edouard 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/0hIh9O3Alx— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) August 12, 2023
Brighton’s Pascal Gross (£6.5m) was similarly unlucky. The German created six chances against Luton but collected only two points.