The early-season success of midfielders underlined why a 3-5-2 is set to be the best formation for managers to select in 2023/24 Fantasy Premier League.
This allows managers to pair Erling Haaland (£14.0m) with a less expensive forward and move more of their funds into midfield.
Midfielders occupy the first five spots in the overall player standings after the opening three Gameweeks, with Brighton & Hove Albion’s Solly March (£6.6m) and Manchester City’s Rodrigo (£5.7m) tied at the top on 26 points.
Players with 20+ points
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Indeed, of the 13 players to produce 20+ points this season, eight have been midfielders, compared with only two forwards and three defenders.
Notably, all seven of the top-scoring midfielders cost under £8.0m, highlighting the major value on offer.
Sterling's second goal v Luton
They are among the three most-bought players in Gameweek 4, with Sterling leading the way by 509,000 to the 372,000 of Maddison.
Along with Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo (£6.7m), they have the upcoming schedules to build on their early-season momentum.
The form of a host of value assets can also allow managers to be patient with their more expensive midfielders.
Despite blanking in each of his first two outings, Rashford’s prospects have been revived by a move back to his favoured left-flank role in Gameweek 3.
His two assists against Nottingham Forest were his first attacking returns of the season, earning him seven points.
Meanwhile, Bukayo Saka (£8.7m) was sold by 92,000 owners ahead of Arsenal’s match with Fulham after it appeared he had lost penalty duties to Martin Odegaard (£8.5m).
But they were made to immediately regret that decision after Saka converted a penalty on Saturday, suggesting he is expected to share duties with Odegaard, who had taken and scored Arsenal’s match-winning penalty against Crystal Palace in Gameweek 2.
Case for Salah
With so much cash freed up by value spends, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) is making a quietly convincing case to be included in a five-man midfield if budget is no object.
Liverpool’s Egyptian has delivered five points in each of the opening three Gameweeks, scoring once and supplying two assists.
That means Salah is the only player in 2023/24 Fantasy who has both started and produced attacking returns in each of the first three Gameweeks.
Indeed, he has blanked just once in 13 appearances since the Reds changed formation in the previous campaign.
Salah has amassed 93 points in that run, more than any other player in Fantasy.
Also in this series
Part 1: Maddison or Sterling: Who is the better FPL pick?
Part 3: Whose FPL prospects have improved after Gameweek 3?
Part 4: The Scout’s FPL Gameweek 4 Ones to watch
Part 5: The Scout’s FPL Gameweek 4 Differentials
Part 6: FPL experts: Keep or sell Arsenal and Man Utd midfielders?
Part 7: FPL long view: Time to consider Newcastle in Gameweek 5?
Part 8: Scout Selection: Best FPL team for Gameweek 4
Part 9: Best alternatives to Haaland as FPL captain in Gameweek 4