Fantasy Premier League

Is it time to switch to three up front in Fantasy?

By The Scout 31 Oct 2023
Nunez, Wilson

The Scout looks at the best forward to pick alongside Erling Haaland and Ollie Watkins

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Darwin Nunez (£7.5m) is among a host of in-form forwards in Fantasy Premier League who offers managers the opportunity of a change in tactics.

The 3-5-2 has been the most-popular formation in the early stages of 2023/24, with Erling Haaland (£14.0m) partnered by Ollie Watkins (£8.4m) or Julian Alvarez (£7.2m) up front.

However, the improved output from a number of forwards could persuade more managers to reconsider a switch to 3-4-3 in the coming Gameweeks.

FPL experts: Is 3-4-3 now the best formation?

Along with Haaland, Eddie Nketiah (£5.5m) and Callum Wilson (£7.8m), Nunez was one of four forwards to deliver a double-figure haul in Gameweek 10.

The Liverpool star’s goal and assist against Nottingham Forest earned him a 10-point return and continued his impressive start to the campaign. 

Nunez's GW10 goal v Nott'm Forest

Nunez has been involved in nine goals, scoring four and assisting a further five. 

Only Haaland and Watkins, with 13 goal involvements each, surpass that tally among forwards in Fantasy.

Consistent points returns

Nunez and Wilson have both proved very reliable performers in the opening Gameweeks of 2023/24.

They have each started four matches, with a further five appearances off the bench. Yet both have blanked on only three occasions. 

Wilson's MW10 double v Wolves

Crucially, the duo could both enjoy a run of starts over the next few Gameweeks.

Nunez finally appears to have secured the role as Liverpool’s first-choice forward thanks to his recent showings.

Wilson’s pitch time is also set to improve, with his team-mate Alexander Isak (£7.5m) sidelined through injury – a situation similar to that of Arsenal's Nketiah and Evan Ferguson (£6.0m) at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.8m) could be another budget option. He has returned from injury to score in three of Everton’s previous five matches. 

Fantasy statistics, season so far
Player Goals Assists Blanks Starts Subs
Nunez 4 5 3 4 5
Alvarez  4 5 4 10 0
Wilson 7 0 3 4 5
Nketiah 5 2 5 8 2
Ferguson 5 0 7 6 4
Calvert-Lewin 3 0 4 5 2

Wilson’s prolific start to the campaign is highlighted by the underlying numbers.

His average of 64.7 minutes per goal is quicker than any other forward with more than two goals this season, knocking even Haaland into second place on 80.6 minutes.

Nunez’s all-round style of play fares well when compared with Wilson and Alvarez. The Liverpool star has been involved in a goal every 50 minutes this season, with Wilson yet to supply an assist. 

Although Nunez and Alvarez are identical on four goals and five assists, the latter’s 93.1 minutes per goal involvement is almost double. Ferguson’s 107.8 minutes per goal is second in the assessment, lifting his appeal ahead of Brighton’s kind run of opponents.

Goal involvement compared 2023/24
Player Goal involvement Min/goal Min/goal involvement
Nunez 9 112.5 50.0
Alvarez 9 209.5 93.1
Wilson 7 64.7 64.7
Nketiah 7 137.2 98.0
Ferguson 5 107.8 107.8
Calvert-Lewin 3 138.7 138.7

Nunez and Wilson also emerge as the front-runners for minutes per shot, shots inside the box and big chances.

The statistics also show the Liverpool forward has been more than fortunate when it comes to creative output – Nunez has five assists from five key passes.

He still offers more promise than Wilson here, though, with the Newcastle attacker creating only one chance for his team-mates this season.

By contrast, Alvarez’s 21 key passes are more than any forward in Fantasy, while his average of 40 minutes per key pass is more than twice better than any rival in the analysis.

However, his lack of close-range threat is noticeable; Alvarez has had only three big chances, with 15 of his 30 shots coming from outside the box.

Nketiah and Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, are near-identical for all four statistics in the table.

Underlying statistics compared (per min)
Player Shots Shots in box Big chances Key passes
Nunez 19.6 25.0 45.0 90
Wilson 21.6 23.8 37.8 453
Alvarez 27.9 55.9 279.3 40
Nketiah 28.6 32.7 114.3 137
Calvert-Lewin 29.7 32.0 104.0 139
Ferguson 29.9 49.0 134.8 180
So, who's best?

Ultimately, Nunez looks the best option to play alongside Haaland and Watkins in a 3-4-3 set-up.

He may suffer the occasional benching – particularly after international breaks – but Nunez's performances, and underlying numbers, suggest he can still be worth that risk.

While his current assist output is unsustainable, he boasts a similar goal threat to that of Wilson, who offers almost no creative potential. 

Liverpool’s schedule is another factor in his favour, with four of their next six matches scoring only two in the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR).

Liverpool's next six fixtures
GW Opp. FDR GW Opp. FDR
11 LUT (A) 2 15 FUL (H) 2
12 BRE (H) 3 16 SHU (A) 2
13 MCI (A) 5 17 CRY (A) 2

While Wilson has been the most prolific, Newcastle’s run of home matches against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in the next four Gameweeks will be enough of a deterrent for most.

The same can be said of Alvarez, who faces Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa in successive encounters from Gameweek 12.

Alternatives such as Ferguson and Nketiah will test the patience of managers a lot more, but at such low costs, they can prove very handy squad options for the coming period.

According to the FDR, four of Brighton’s next six matches score only two. 

Brighton's next six fixtures
GW Opp. FDR GW Opp. FDR
11 EVE (A) 2 15 CHE (A) 3
12 SHU (H) 2 16 BRE (H) 3
13 NFO (A) 2 17 BUR (H) 2

If the Seagulls continue with the wing-back formation they used against Fulham last weekend, Ferguson could outscore Kaoru Mitoma (£6.5m) in that run.

Arsenal’s schedule from Gameweek 12 also gives Nketiah an opportunity to get more goals.

The Gunners face promoted pair Burnley and Luton Town in their subsequent four matches as well as hosting Wolverhampton Wanderers.

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 11 in Fantasy Premier League 

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