Fantasy Premier League

Who is the best forward to partner Haaland in Fantasy?

By The Scout 18 Nov 2023
Nunez Jackson lead

The Scout looks at the underlying stats to determine the standout second forward to own

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The indifferent form of Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins (£8.4m) and Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez (£7.1m) could persuade some managers to freshen up their forward lines in Fantasy Premier League

Both have proved popular choices as a partner for Erling Haaland (£14.0m) in the 3-5-2 formation favoured by many this season; Watkins and Alvarez are among the three most-owned forwards, found in 43 and 32 per cent of squads respectively. 

See: Haaland to have treatment as Man City injury woes deepen

While Haaland has rewarded his huge 83 per cent ownership with five goals and two assists over the last four Gameweeks, Watkins and Alvarez have disappointed.

Indeed, their combined total of 39 points is fewer than Haaland’s 41 in that time.

See: FPL experts: Who is the best second forward to own?

Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson (£6.8m) and AFC Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke (£6.4m) have each claimed 24 points and place joint-second. 

Both are owned by under six per cent of managers, highlighting the potential of differentials up front.

See: Is it time to invest in Chelsea attack in Fantasy?

Darwin Nunez’s (£7.5m) total of four goal involvements is bettered only by Haaland’s seven, meanwhile, with the Liverpool star scoring once and supplying three assists.

Top-scoring forwards, GW9-12
Player Pts Goals + assists G A Bonus
Haaland 41 7 5 2 8
Jackson 24 4 4 0 3
Solanke 24 3 3 0 4
Nunez 21 4 1 3 1
Wilson 21 3 3 0 3
Watkins 21 3 2 1 3
Nketiah 20 3 3 0 3
Alvarez 18 2 1 1 3

The numbers in the table above indicate that Nunez's goal threat has been lifted by a regular role. 

He has started three of the last four Gameweeks, and is the leading forward for both shots and shots on target.

Yet Nunez has scored only one goal and converted a mere 5.6 per cent of his 18 shots. 

Solanke places joint-top with Haaland for shots in the box among forwards, although only three of those were big chances compared with the Norwegian’s eight. 

Watkins’ numbers are certainly more encouraging than Alvarez here.

He leads the Man City forward by 11 shots in the box to four and, more crucially, by six big chances to one.

Top forwards for goal threat GW9-12
Player Shots Shots in box Big chances Shots on target Goal conversion
Nunez 18 11 5 10 5.6%
Haaland 14 12 8 9 35.7%
Jackson 13 11 5 7 30.8%
Cunha 13 8 1 8 7.7%
Solanke 12 12 3 4 25.0%
Watkins 11 11 6 6 18.2%
Edouard 11 8 1 4 9.1%
Alvarez 10 4 1 3 10.0%

Rotate your mobile device to see full table

Alvarez's limited close-range threat is among a number of factors that ultimately make him an easier sell than Watkins. 

His mid-term lack of output means Alvarez has managed only two goals and an assist in his last seven. Put into perspective, team-mate Haaland has mirrored that total in each of his last two away matches at Manchester United and Chelsea. 

Man City’s upcoming Blank Gameweek 18 (BGW18), due to their participation in the FIFA Club World Cup, is another reason why Alvarez owners need to start planning an exit route, particularly if they also own Haaland. 

See: How to handle fixture congestion and rotation in FPL

So, what should managers do?

The main problem with Watkins is his short-term fixtures, with Villa facing Tottenham Hotspur, Man City and Arsenal in the next four Gameweeks. 

He has, nonetheless, proved relatively fixture-proof this season, and has only three blanks in 12 outings.   

Watkins’ host of big chances also looks encouraging and, combined with a home match Sheffield United in BGW18, his owners should hold.  

Nunez's numbers serve only to further frustrate his 16 per cent owners. There’s no doubt the Liverpool star will be afforded numerous scoring opportunities, but his inability to convert them clearly remains the major issue.  

Chelsea, along with Liverpool, are likely to rotate their forwards over the festive period, which also limits the appeal of Jackson, whose strike rival Christopher Nkunku (£7.3m) is on the verge of being available for the first time since joining in the summer. 

Solanke is by far the most secure of the form alternatives and, at £6.4m, could offer value against Crystal Palace, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest and Fulham in the next six Gameweeks.

Nonetheless, managers may be best-served seeking out value in midfield over the festive spell, with reliable assets such as Cole Palmer (£5.2m) and Bryan Mbeumo (£6.8m) looking like key picks in the sub-£7.0m bracket.

See: Who’s the best FPL midfielder under £7.0m?

View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 13 in Fantasy Premier League

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