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Attackers to Target and Avoid in FPL 2023-24

Can we use trends from the past two seasons to identify the forwards and midfielders who look to be undervalued or overpriced for the upcoming campaign?

Arsenal FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
This Arsenal attacking trio greatly rewarded fantasy backers last season. Which players should we predict to perform likewise now?
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Forwards and attacking midfielders are the glory positions vital for success in FPL. But selecting the right ones can be dangerous to navigate, offering a bounty of points but generally at a higher price than defenders and goalkeepers. In theory, the decision is a simple formula: Grab players before or early on in the season who prove to be great values by improving from the past campaign, while avoiding or quickly dropping the ones who by contrast will end up being horrible busts at inflated prices after falling off from a recently prolific performance. Of course, it’s never as easy as we would like it to be. Actually, predicting those results is often pretty damn tricky.

Successful managers don’t always see into the future with perfect vision, but they do get more than their fair share of predictions right. Whether one relies more on intuition or experience, the decision making process for any journey is always helped by having a trusty road map from the onset. What factors should guide us, and which candidates will consequently emerge as good targets to grab or neglect before this upcoming campaign kicks off (or shortly thereafter)?

How Likely (Or Unlikely) Is It For A Star Attacker to Replicate His Previous Success?

I’m going to start by looking at the list of attacking players (forwards and midfielders) who scored 150 points or more during the 2021-22 campaign, and then compare their performances to the following 2022-23 season.

150+ Point Scoring Attackers in 2021-22 and Comparison to 2022-23

PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
Salah MF LIV 265 239 -26 7.57 6.29 -17%
Son MF TOT 258 152 -106 7.37 4.22 -43%
Bowen MF WHU 206 145 -61 5.72 3.82 -33%
De Bruyne MF MCI 196 183 -13 6.53 5.72 -12%
Kane FW TOT 192 263 71 5.19 6.92 33%
Maddison MF LEI 181 135 -46 5.17 4.50 -13%
Saka MF ARS 179 202 23 4.71 5.32 13%
Jota MF LIV 175 80 -95 5.00 3.64 -27%
Mount MF CHE 169 82 -87 5.28 3.42 -35%
Sterling MF MCI/CHE 163 101 -62 5.43 3.61 -34%
C. Ronaldo FW MUN 159 20 -141 5.30 2.00 -62%
Ward-Prowse MF SOU 159 142 -17 4.18 3.94 -6%
B. Silva MF MCI 155 106 -49 4.43 3.12 -30%
B. Fernandes MF MUN 151 176 25 4.19 4.76 13%
Zaha MF CRY 150 95 -55 4.55 3.52 -23%
AVERAGE MF/FW ALL 183.9 141.4 -42.5 5.40 4.32 -19%

[NOTE: The above chart does not include Liverpool’s Sadio Mané who scored 183 points in 2021-22 but did not play in the EPL in 2022-23.]

Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Bruno Fernandes not only repeated as 150+ point performers, but they actually improved their production. However, those three were outliers who bucked the trend. Of the 15 attackers who scored 150+ points in 2021-22 and remained in the EPL the following season, 12 (80%) suffered a decline in production in 2022-23. Overall (including those who improved), the average difference was a drop of 42.5 points, translating to a 23% plunge, along with a 1.08 drop in points per game (-19%). Ten players fell by 25+ points, with seven plummeting by 50+ points.

Is there a way we can identify which attacking studs from the last campaign are most likely to disappoint in this one? Is there a type of player we should have in mind for our “pass” list? Let’s focus on the stars who fell off from 2021-22 to 2022-23 and see if we can unearth some commonalities. After trimming down the list from above to laser in on the dozen 150+ point attackers from 2021-22 who declined in 2022-23, we see that the falloff club collectively dropped from an average of 186.3 down to 123.3 points (-34%) and from 5.53 down to 4.17 points per game (-25%).

Attackers Who Scored 150+ Points in 2021-22 and Declined in 2022-23

PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
Salah MF LIV 265 239 -26 7.57 6.29 -17%
Son MF TOT 258 152 -106 7.37 4.22 -43%
Bowen MF WHU 206 145 -61 5.72 3.82 -33%
De Bruyne MF MCI 196 183 -13 6.53 5.72 -12%
Maddison MF LEI 181 135 -46 5.17 4.50 -13%
Jota MF LIV 175 80 -95 5.00 3.64 -27%
Mount MF CHE 169 82 -87 5.28 3.42 -35%
Sterling MF MCI/CHE 163 101 -62 5.43 3.61 -34%
C. Ronaldo FW MUN 159 20 -139 5.30 2.00 -62%
Ward-Prowse MF SOU 159 142 -17 4.18 3.94 -6%
B. Silva MF MCI 155 106 -49 4.43 3.12 -30%
Zaha MF CRY 150 95 -55 4.55 3.52 -23%
AVERAGE MF/FW ALL 186.3 123.3 -63.0 5.53 4.17 -25%

Now let’s widen our scope to include a few other categories to see if we can discern what is going on here. A good place to start is with pitch time. Surely if stars appeared in fewer games and suffered reduced minutes, that could explain why their production dropped.

Declining Attacking Stars’ Change in Games and Minutes Played

PLAYER PPG DIFF. 2021-22 GMS 2022-23 GMS GMS. DIFF. 2021-22 MIN 2022-23 MIN MIN. DIFF.
PLAYER PPG DIFF. 2021-22 GMS 2022-23 GMS GMS. DIFF. 2021-22 MIN 2022-23 MIN MIN. DIFF.
C. Ronaldo -62% 30 10 -20 2,459 520 -1,939
Son -43% 35 36 1 3,009 2,886 -123
Mount -35% 32 24 -8 2,358 1,644 -714
Sterling -34% 30 28 -2 2,121 1,886 -235
Bowen -33% 36 38 2 2,987 3,232 245
B. Silva -30% 35 34 -1 2,856 2,196 -660
Jota -27% 35 22 -13 2,357 1,125 -1,232
Zaha -23% 33 27 -6 2,762 2,294 -468
Salah -17% 35 38 3 2,758 3,290 532
Maddison -13% 35 30 -5 2,454 2,479 25
De Bruyne -12% 30 32 2 2,196 2,413 217
Ward-Prowse -6% 38 36 -2 3,217 3,372 155
AVERAGE -25% 33.7 29.6 -4.1 2,628 2,278 -350

The change in pitch time was definitely a factor in the production decline. The 12 players whose delivery fell off averaged a 12% reduction in games and a 13% dip in minutes. However, that falloff paled in comparison to the production deterioration, as that same dozen collectively suffered a 34% dropoff in total points and a 25% decline in points per game as mentioned.

Interestingly, the two players who deteriorated the most in points per game had vastly different situations with respect to their change in game time. Cristiano Ronaldo played 20 fewer games with an enormous dropoff in minutes, whereas Son Heung-min actually featured in one more game with a fairly minimal reduction in minutes. Furthermore, five players whose points production declined actually saw more minutes.

What does this mean? The reduction in game time is a component in the production decline, but it is not the deciding factor. Rather, there is more underfoot, so we need to dig deeper. Can we glean anything from the players’ ages? And what about the change in how their teams performed both with respect to attacking results and overall standing?

Declining Attacking Stars’ Age and Change in Team Performance

C. Ronaldo 37 57 58 1 58 75 17
Son 30 69 70 1 71 60 -11
Mount 23 76 38 -38 74 44 -30
Sterling 27 99 38 -61 93 44 -49
Bowen 25 60 42 -18 56 40 -16
B. Silva 27 99 94 -5 93 89 -4
Jota 25 94 75 -19 92 67 -25
Zaha 29 50 40 -10 48 45 -3
Salah 30 94 75 -19 92 67 -25
Maddison 25 62 51 -11 52 34 -18
De Bruyne 31 99 94 -5 93 89 -4
Ward-Prowse 27 43 36 -7 40 25 -15
AVERAGE 28.0 75.2 59.3 -15.9 71.8 56.6 -15.3

A team’s production clearly has a huge impact on a player’s individual performance. Stars are the standout players on their teams, but they cannot do everything on their own. For those 12 players, their teams fell from an average of 75.2 down to 59.3 goals, a fall of nearly 16 goals, or 21%. Their teams’ standing in the table dropped from a collective 71.8 down to 56.6 points, a slide of 21%. Those 21% drops in team performance were significantly closer to the players’ 34% decline in FPL points and 25% slip in fantasy points per game than the players’ collective 12% reduction in games and 13% drop in minutes, and thus team performance would appear to be a more impactful factor than pitch time.

Chelsea Training Session
Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount paid a heavy price for a discombobulated Chelsea season.
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Admittedly, there is the “chicken or the egg” question. If a team plays worse on the whole, then its star player will likely see a drop in production. Just the same, if a star’s production falls off, then the team will suffer as a result. However, while the two may go hand in hand, and while in several cases a team’s fall will be more due the the player’s decline, many of the individual calamities above appear to be examples of disastrous overarching team situations:

  • Liverpool suddenly got old in midfield and central defense, and not even Mohamed Salah could maintain his level of greatness.
  • West Ham imploded for a glut of reasons, and Jarrod Bowen was left floundering.
  • Chelsea was completely discombobulated following the sale of the team, the introduction of not-ready-for-primetime manager Graham Potter and eventually his short-lived deer-in-headlights replacement Frank Lampard, leaving Mason Mount one of the many Blues’ players lost in the shuffle.
  • Tangentially, Raheem Sterling’s change of scenery from Manchester City to Chelsea proved disastrous.
  • Wilfried Zaha toiled for a Crystal Palace team that lost its mojo under sophomore manager Patrick Vieira, who was sacked on the eve of spring.
  • Meanwhile, James Maddison (Leicester City)...
  • ...and James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) plied their trade for previously solid squads that abruptly turned so putrid that they ended up relegated.

Aside from that, the average age of the dozen 150+ point scoring attacking stars of 2021-22 whose production declined in 2022-23 was 28.0 years old at the start of the latter campaign. Eight (67%) of those players were 27 or older, and four were 30+. Sure, 27 or 29 or 31 years in age may not seem ancient to the average fan, but it often represents the autumn of a football player’s prime. So an “advanced” age of 27 or older seems to be a significant factor in production decline.

But before we harness the above information to gauge which players may be due for falloff, let’s look at the flip side of the coin.

How Likely (or Unlikely) is it For Attackers to Make Huge Improvements?

We have seen that it is extremely common for attacking players to enjoy a prolific season and then suffer significant deterioration in production the next campaign. But what about the opposite direction? Is it about the same likelihood, or different, that by the end of the subsequent season, the fantasy studs atop of the performance ranks will have gone from relative obscurity into suddenly joining the elite producers? Let’s look at the list of 150+ point attackers from 2022-23 and compare their performance to how they fared in the prior 2021-22 season.

150+ Point Attackers in 2022-23 and Comparison to 2021-22

PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
Kane FW TOT 192 263 71 5.19 6.92 33%
Salah MF LIV 265 239 -26 7.57 6.29 -17%
Odegaard MF ARS 131 212 81 3.64 5.73 57%
Rashford MF MUN 63 205 142 2.52 5.86 132%
Saka MF ARS 179 202 23 4.71 5.32 13%
Martinelli MF ARS 110 198 88 3.79 5.50 45%
De Bruyne MF MCI 196 183 -13 6.53 5.72 -12%
Toney FW BRE 139 182 43 4.21 5.52 31%
B. Fernandes MF MUN 151 176 25 4.19 4.76 13%
Watkins FW AST 131 175 44 3.74 4.73 26%
Gross MF BRI 88 159 71 3.03 4.30 42%
Eze MF CRY 31 159 128 2.38 4.18 75%
Almiron MF NEW 59 158 99 1.97 4.65 136%
Wilson FW NEW 75 157 82 4.17 5.06 22%
Trossard MF BRI/ARS 141 154 13 4.15 4.28 3%
Xhaka MF ARS 60 153 93 2.22 4.14 86%
Son MF TOT 258 152 -106 7.37 4.22 -43%
Mbeumo FW BRE 119 150 31 3.40 3.95 16%
AVERAGE MF/FW ALL 132.7 182.1 49.4 4.30 5.06 18%

[NOTE: The above chart does not include Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, who scored 272 points in 2022-23 but did not play in the EPL in 2021-22.]

In the introductory 150+ point attacker chart from 2021-22, we saw that a high proportion of those players fell off the next season. Now looking at the 150+ point attacker chart from 2022-23, we see that a similarly sized chunk of those stars enjoyed significant improvement from the prior campaign.

Of the 18 attackers who had also played in the EPL the prior season, 15 of them (83%) enjoyed a more prolific output compared to 2021-22. The only three who fell off were Salah, Son and De Bruyne. Overall (including those who declined), the 18 attackers jumped from an average of 132.7 points in 2021-22 up to 182.1 points in 2022-23 (a spike of 37%) and from 4.30 up to 5.06 ppg (+18%).

Furthermore, only six players — Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes — repeated as elite attacking performers, appearing on the 150+ point list in both seasons. Clearly there is a heavy amount of season-to-season variance in fantasy delivery by attacking players.

Drilling down, let’s focus on the attacking stars of 2022-23 who performed better than 2021-22. Taking together the 15 150+ point attackers who improved their production from the prior season, they averaged a rise from 111.3 up to 180.2 points (+62%) and from 3.67 up to 4.99 ppg (+37%).

Attackers who Scored 150+ Points in 2022-23 and Improved from 2021-22

PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
PLAYER POS TEAM(S) 2021-22 PTS 2022-23 PTS PTS. DIFF. 2021-22 PPG 2022-23 PPG PPG DIFF.
Kane FW TOT 192 263 71 5.19 6.92 33%
Odegaard MF ARS 131 212 81 3.64 5.73 57%
Rashford MF MUN 63 205 142 2.52 5.86 132%
Saka MF ARS 179 202 23 4.71 5.32 13%
Martinelli MF ARS 110 198 88 3.79 5.50 45%
Toney FW BRE 139 182 43 4.21 5.52 31%
B. Fernandes MF MUN 151 176 25 4.19 4.76 13%
Watkins FW AST 131 175 44 3.74 4.73 26%
Gross MF BRI 88 159 71 3.03 4.30 42%
Eze MF CRY 31 159 128 2.38 4.18 75%
Almiron MF NEW 59 158 99 1.97 4.65 136%
Wilson FW NEW 75 157 82 4.17 5.06 22%
Trossard MF BRI/ARS 141 154 13 4.15 4.28 3%
Xhaka MF ARS 60 153 93 2.22 4.14 86%
Mbeumo FW BRE 119 150 31 3.40 3.95 16%
AVERAGE MF/FW ALL 111.3 180.2 68.9 3.67 4.99 37%

As investigated with attackers whose production declined, what insights can we glean from these particular players who improved? And on top of that, are these tendencies common (but in the reverse) between both declining attackers and improving players?

Improved Attacking Stars’ Change in Games and Minutes Played

PLAYER PPG DIFF. 2021-22 GMS 2022-23 GMS GMS. DIFF. 2021-22 MIN 2022-23 MIN MIN. DIFF.
PLAYER PPG DIFF. 2021-22 GMS 2022-23 GMS GMS. DIFF. 2021-22 MIN 2022-23 MIN MIN. DIFF.
Almiron 136% 30 34 4 1,706 2,487 781
Rashford 132% 25 35 10 1,224 2,880 1,656
Xhaka 86% 27 37 10 2,331 3,004 673
Eze 75% 13 38 25 599 2,631 2,032
Odegaard 57% 36 37 1 2,782 3,132 350
Martinelli 45% 29 36 7 1,855 2,789 934
Gross 42% 29 37 8 2,033 3,240 1,207
Kane 33% 37 38 1 3,231 3,406 175
Toney 31% 33 33 0 2,908 2,953 45
Watkins 26% 35 37 2 2,950 3,129 179
Wilson 22% 18 31 13 1,386 1,870 484
Mbeumo 16% 35 38 3 2,905 2,905 0
B. Fernandes 13% 36 37 1 3,110 3,317 207
Saka 13% 38 38 0 2,978 3,183 205
Trossard 3% 34 36 2 2,803 2,237 -566
AVERAGE 37% 30.3 36.1 5.8 2,320 2,878 557

Three players — Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze — played both 10+ more games and 1,200+ more minutes than the prior season. For the most part, though, the gains in that department were more muted. For the players who scored 150+ points in 2022-23 and improved from 2021-22, they averaged a rise from 30.3 up to 36.1 games (+19%) and from 2,320 up to 2,878’ (+24%). Increased pitch time helps explain the production gains, but only partly, given how much proportionally greater the improvement levels were in points and ppg.

Let’s keep digging.

Improved Attackers’ Age and Change in Team Performance

Almiron 28 44 68 24 49 71 22
Rashford 24 57 58 1 58 75 17
Xhaka 29 61 88 27 69 84 15
Eze 24 50 40 -10 48 45 -3
Odegaard 23 61 88 27 69 84 15
Martinelli 21 61 88 27 69 84 15
Gross 31 42 72 30 51 62 11
Kane 29 69 70 1 71 60 -11
Toney 26 48 58 10 46 59 13
Watkins 26 52 51 -1 45 61 16
Wilson 30 44 68 24 49 71 22
Mbeumo 22 48 58 10 46 59 13
B. Fernandes 27 57 58 1 58 75 17
Saka 20 61 88 27 69 84 15
Trossard 27 42 72 30 51 62 11
AVERAGE 25.8 53.1 68.3 15.2 56.5 69.1 12.5

[NOTE: In the above chart, Trossard’s team is assigned as Brighton in 2022-23 since he played more minutes for Brighton than for Arsenal.]

The first thing that pops out is the attackers’ average age of 25.8 who improved from 2021-22 to 2022-23 and joined or remained in the 150+ club, which is significantly younger than the age of 28.0 for those who had been in that group and declined. Eight of the players who improved were 26 or younger, and six were 24 or younger. While several who advanced were 27 or older, it appears that there is something to the idea of attackers coming into their own somewhere in the 20 to 26 range.

Notably, I included 27 in the cutoff for decline earlier. If 27 is also included here, that leaves 10 of the 15 players who improved (67%) at 27 or younger. Again taking into account the earlier section regarding attackers whose delivery fell off, 27 seems to be on the fence, the age where it could easily go either way in terms of improvement or decline.

It is also not a surprise that the reverse scenario from the decliners again applies with respect to the players’ teams performance. Of the 15 players whose individual production rose, eight of their teams enjoyed scoring boosts of 20+ goals, and nine were up by 15+ points in the table. On average the players’ sides increased from 53.1 up to 68.3 goals (+29%) along with a rise from 57.1 up to 68.9 points (+22%) in the table for their sides. Those fell far short of the individual players’ 62% jump in FPL points and 37% in points per game, but the gains in team scoring and points on balance were closer to the differences in players’ fantasy scoring than were the increase in the attackers’ games and minutes played. Whether improving or declining, it is evident that the stars’ fortunes are very heavily intertwined with their teams’ fates.

Which Attackers Offer Underpriced Opportunities for a Fantasy Jump?

For attacking stars who earn 150+ points in a particular campaign, chances are high that their production was significantly lower in the prior season. That means that we can profit from grabbing lower-priced diamonds in the rough. Let’s try to identify good prospects which may pay off handsomely using the proclivities we have discerned above. Who should expect to play more games/minutes, and which players may benefit from team improvement based on a number of different factors? Are there any additional elements which could result in a boost of an attacker’s output?


Significantly greater minutes for Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze as he returned from injury accompanied a boost in fantasy production for 2022-23. 26-year old Arsenal FW Gabriel Jesus (£8.0m) missed a good chunk of the season with injury, scoring 125 points in only 26 games; if he can manage to stay healthy and feature in 35 games, that would prorate to 168 points which would have been good for the fifth-best total at the position last campaign.

26-year old Everton FW Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.0m) has been plagued by injury the past two seasons, scoring just 104 points in 2,447’ across that time. However, if he can stay healthy and manage 30+ starts, there will be hope that he can rediscover his 2020/21 form when he scored 16 goals to go along with 6 fantasy assists for a 165 point tally. Sean Dyche and the Toffee faithful will certainly have their fingers crossed.

Brighton & Hove Albion v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Kaoru Mitoma broke onto the EPL scene last season. Could there be yet another surge from Brighton’s youthful attack?
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Exciting 26-year old Brighton MF Kaoru Mitoma (£6.5m) scored 138 points in only 2,311 minutes, taking a bit of time to bed into the XI. If he boosts his pitch time up to 2,800’ next campaign while keeping up his level of production, that would translate to 167 points, a steal at his cost.

A young player coming into his own, Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli improved greatly last season thanks to becoming relied on regularly. Looking again at Brighton, if any of their bright-eyed prospects transition from platoon players to regular starters, they should pay off nicely. 19-year old MF Julio Enciso (£5.5m) scored 4 goals and added 3 fantasy assists in only 794’, while 18-year old FW Evan Ferguson (£6.0m) notched 6 scores with 2 helpers in just 942’; the younger pair will be somewhat risky adds to begin the fantasy season, so it may be good to wait and see if they can string together a run of starts before jumping in.

While playing second fiddle to Erling Haaland, 23-year old Manchester City FW Julián Álvarez (£6.5m) still managed to produce 103 points in only 1,448’. With right winger Riyad Mahrez (Al Ahli) and attacking midfielder İlkay Gündoğan (Barcelona) already having transferred out and Bernardo Silva rumored to want away as well, there should be more minutes open in attack and Alvarez could become a regular starter alongside Haaland rather than being used primarily as a back-up. Alternately, 23-year old MF Phil Foden (£7.5m) would be a nice option if he instead is the main beneficiary of the attacking departures. Foden has scored between 135 and 142 points each of the past three seasons, never cracking 2,200’. Fantasy managers will most assuredly want to keep an eye on who, if anyone, Man City adds in the attacking realm before the transfer window closes.

Marcus Rashford toiled largely as a back-up in 2021-22 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, but Erik ten Hag returned him to the XI in 2022-23 as the Cristiano Ronaldo experiment fizzled out. Given the long suspension of Ivan Toney, 26-year old Brentford FW Yoane Wissa (£6.0m) should become a regular starter for the first half of the season. The offense may not be quite as prolific without Toney occupying the attention of defenders, but Wissa has scored an eye-popping 208 points in 2,855’ minutes over the past two seasons.



Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins is coming off a rebound season in which he flourished again after the October 2022 coaching change from a novice Steven Gerrard to the very much more accomplished Unai Emery who had managed Sevilla, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Villareal over the past decade. It was a similar experience for Brighton’s Pascal Groß as the team saw Graham Potter depart, although the coaching enhancement was not nearly as obvious at the time. Replacing Potter with up-and-coming Roberto De Zerbi following his successful spell at Shakhtar Donetsk, where he had the team sitting atop the Ukrainian Premier League when the 2021-22 season abruptly ended, proved to be a master stroke by the Brighton brass as the team’s offense improved along with its standing in the table.

In a story of revolving chairs, Chelsea has now made a major upgrade from Potter, whose best result had been a 9th place finish with Brighton, to Mauricio Pochettino who took Tottenham to a Champions League final and followed that up by helming Paris Saint-Germain, leading the team to a Champions League semifinal appearance and handling the superstar trio of Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar. There has been plenty of turnover during the current summer transfer season, with attackers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic already having been shipped out. Following a horrorshow 2022-23 after moving from Manchester City to Chelsea, 28 year old MF Raheem Sterling (£7.0m) will look to rediscover his form under an attack-minded Pochettino. The winger scored 150+ points at every turn from 2017/18 through 2021/22, boasting three 200+ point efforts.

After sputtering along in his early times with the team, Mikel Arteta turbocharged Arsenal’s offense in 2022-23, providing a more attacking role to midfielders Granit Xhaka (pushing forward more) and Martin Odegaard (given the keys to the attack as the driver behind everything).

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski will try for improved fortunes under a new attack-minded manager.
Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

I am not saying that Ange Postecoglou is a better coach than Antonio Conte. But he most certainly is a much different type of manager, one who could greatly influence the fortunes of the Spurs offensive stars. Whereas Conte’s Tottenham scored the fifth-most goals (70) in the EPL in 2023-24, 24 behind first place Manchester City’s 94, Postecoglou’s Celtic scored 114 times, 21 ahead of Rangers’ second-best 93. And no, again I’m not saying that Tottenham will score 100+ goals in the EPL.

But Tottenham’s attack will look to make a bold transformation from the methodical, reactive, back-foot counterattacking process of Conte to the more modern high-energy, pressing, ball-dominant style of Postecoglou. With any success, Spurs Midfielders Son Heung-min (£9.0m) and Dejan Kulusevski (£7.0m) will hope to enjoy bounce-back seasons after falling off harshly in Tottenham’s miserable 2022-23 campaign. Son scored 225+ points each in 2020-21 and 2021-22, while Kulusevski delivered 99 points in only 1,259’ in 2021-22 after coming over as a winter transfer. Both are also returning from an injury-plagued 2022-23, though Kulusevski is the one who should see more game time as a result; Son played through a hernia last season, waiting until this summer to get an operation. In terms of age, Son will be more of a risk at age 31, while Kulusevski is only 23.



Leandro Trossard upgraded from Brighton to Arsenal mid-season, but there were no examples of 2022-23 150-point attackers who changed teams within the EPL in the summer of 2022. However, the prior year we did see that situation with Diogo Jota, who transferred from Wolves after the 2020-21 season (36 team goals, 45 points) to Liverpool in 2021-22 (94 goals, 92 points), as the Portuguese attacker upped his personal FPL delivery from 86 points (albeit in limited minutes) up to 175 points.

After a short move across London, the 24-year old Arsenal MF Kai Havertz (£7.5m) should benefit by being surrounded by the Gunners’ much more dangerous attack (88 goals in 2022-23) and better all around team (84 points) than seen at Chelsea last season. After scoring 12 goals with 10 fantasy assists in just over 3,300’ across 2020-21 and 2021-22, Havertz was one of many Blues who floundered in 2022-23, with the team scoring only 38 goals and finishing with a disastrous total of 44 points. Arteta is expected to install Havertz into the Xhaka role following the veteran’s departure, and the offensive-minded Havertz should be expected to perform that role to greater effect than the more defensive-leaning Xhaka. Havertz has never scored more than 112 points in a season, but his numbers prorate fairly well; he has scored 305 points in 5,879’ which would translate to 145 points in 2,800’. If he makes the leap, he could easily join the 150 point club, perhaps by a comfortable margin.

Likewise, 24-year old MF Mason Mount (£7.0m) moves from Chelsea, as he goes to Manchester United which scored 58 goals and tallied 75 points last season. I reckon it’s safe to say that it will be a tremendous upgrade going from Graham Potter to Erik ten Hag, who oversaw a delightfully attacking and successful Ajax side prior to his first season with the Red Devils. If Mount can rediscover his 11 goal/11 fantasy assist form of 2021-22, he will make his fantasy backers very happy.

Leicester City v West Ham United - Premier League
Recent Leicester teammates Harvey Barnes and James Maddison now both have an eye toward success at new EPL clubs.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

In 2023-24, 26-year old MF James Maddison (£7.5m) moves from relegated Leicester to a team in the top half of the table where he will look to run the show in a Postecoglou system which should fit him like a glove. Maddison scored 181 points in 2021-22 for the Foxes and the hope will be that the playmaking midfielder can rediscover that level of output with dazzling Spurs such as Son, Kulusevski and Kane (if he stays) surrounding him.

25-year old MF Harvey Barnes (£6.5m) likewise heads from Leicester to an even better squad than Maddison’s Spurs in the form of Newcastle. Tottenham scored slightly more goals last season (70) than Newcastle (68), but the Magpies finished higher in the table with 71 points compared to 60 for Spurs. Barnes has scored 125+ FPL points in each of the past four seasons with the Foxes, offering the tempting possibility of breaking into the 150+ club if the left winger can start regularly for a rapidly improving, suddenly ambitious Newcastle side under Eddie Howe. The transfer of Allan Saint-Maximin to Al Ahli will help Barnes’ chances, although it will be a concern that Howe could install winter addition Anthony Gordon as the preferred starter.



Prior to last season, Miguel Almirón had shown only occasional flashes of brilliance as a generally unspectacular performer for his time at Newcastle, scoring a total of 9 goals with 6 fantasy assists in roughly 8,000 minutes covering three and a half seasons as the Magpies finished in 13th, 13th, 12th and 11th place. In 2022-23, as Newcastle (under new-ish, very rich ownership) further added high quality players including forward Alexander Isak, central defender Sven Botman and goalkeeper Nick Pope, Almirón exploded for 11 goals and 4 fantasy assists from his right wing position in under 2,500’, helping fuel the Magpies’ rise to the 4th spot. It may not have been a new team, but it sure felt like one.

Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
An improved surrounding cast could help Jacob Ramsey make a leap this season.
Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

The Villans currently seem to be somewhat emulating Newcastle’s year-ago summer in adding a bevy of high quality players this time around, with right winger Moussa Diaby (from Bayer Leverkusen), central midfielder Youri Tielemans (Leicester) and central defender Pau Torres (Villareal) having already come over. In that vein, it makes sense to monitor 22-year old Aston Villa MF Jacob Ramsey (£6.0m) as the beneficiary of a more potent attack and improved team. After going from 109 points in 2,465’ in 2021/22 up to 135 points in 2,634, it is tempting to picture further progression in a natural trajectory for the young starlet.

John McGinn, Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara should face added competition for playing time with the arrival of Tielemans in central midfield. Likewise, Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey might see their impact blunted by Diaby at right wing. However, Ramsey seems to have only Philippe Coutinho for competition at left wing, and while Coutinho was a fantastic force several years ago, at 32 now he looks to be an impact sub rather than a starter. Ramsey is scheduled to be sidelined until mid-September with injury, however, so we will have to wait a bit before considering him for our fantasy teams.



An easy path to a fantasy boost comes in the form of added penalty kick chances. As Cristiano Ronaldo suffered reduced playing time to start last season and was eventually released by Manchester United in November 2022, Bruno Fernandes reclaimed the primary PK designation from his Portuguese compatriot. After failing to convert a single pen in 2021-22, Bruno was successful on both of his EPL tries from the spot in 2022-23. Those two extra goals may not sound like much, but it was certainly an element which helped Fernandes increase his output from 151 up to 176 points.

It may be unexpected since I just mentioned him as having already benefited last season from increased penalty kick scoring, but I’m actually going to start with 28-year old Manchester United MF Bruno Fernandes (£8.5m) as a strong candidate for improvement in this category in the upcoming campaign. Why? Because Manchester United drew just three penalty kicks total in the EPL in 2022-23, and as mentioned Fernandes only took two of those. This comes after the team drew 3, 12, 14, 11, and 5 (an average of 9) PKs in the prior five seasons. While it is not out of the question that the Red Devils will only draw three again as happened in both 2017/18 and 2022/23, we can more reasonably expect somewhere in the range of 5 to 11. Let’s proffer that United draw eight or nine, Bruno takes seven or eight and scores five to seven of them. Abracadabra, that’s a good deal more fantasy points!

Ivan Toney scored six out of seven penalties he took last season. As mentioned, Toney is suspended until January. The beneficiary looks to be 24-year old Brentford MF Bryan Mbeumo (£6.5m). Mbeumo scored 150 points last season, and there should be solid expectation of that tally rising further in 2023-24.

England v North Macedonia: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round
Eberechi Eze is among those who fantasy managers hope will be boosted to greater heights by added penalty kick responsibility.
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Wilfried Zaha missed both of his penalty kicks in the EPL last season, and now has departed to Galatasaray. The only other PK was taken and coverted by 25-year old Crystal Palace MF Eberechi Eze (£6.5m), who will be expected to take over the #1 status. After delivering 159 points last season, Eze could still be on the rise given more “freebies” from the spot.

It was a disaster from the spot last season for the Tricky Trees, who converted only three of six attempts as Brennan Johnson was one for three and Andre Ayew missed his only try. But 23-year old Nottingham Forest MF Morgan Gibbs-White (£6.0m) was two for two and should be in line for #1 duty in 2023-24. After scoring 145 points last season, a few more conversions from the spot would easily push him into the 150+ point club. However, a word of caution is advised; Forest only managed 38 goals last season, so expecting the team to draw a half dozen PKs again may be wishful thinking.

I would be remiss not to mention the Brighton situation, but with a caveat, as it is tricky. Alexis Mac Allister took six penalties in the EPL as the Segulls’ primary PK taker in 2022-23. With Mac Allister having gone to Liverpool, that duty could be handed to Pascal Groß who is five for eight in his EPL career. If he continues at that poor success rate, he will be at risk of losing the assignment quickly. It may be worth waiting to see who successfully takes up the mantle for Brighton. Alternately, the designee could be striker Danny Welbeck, but Welbeck has not managed 2,000+ minutes in any season since 2011/12. If it ends up being Evan Ferguson (who converted his only opportunity in the EFL Cup), that would be another good reason to target the young forward.

Which Players Look to be Overpriced Candidates for Fantasy Falloff/Failure?

Yes, some star attackers will replicate or even improve their performance next season, but we are faced with the likelihood that most will fall off. At this early stage of the 2023-24 FPL campaign, you are paying for players largely based on their 2022-23 performances. Given the trend of production decline witnessed above, loading up on too many high-priced studs and expecting them to deliver the same production again is a serious risk.

Let’s turn to tagging candidates for decline who may prove to be poor investments and thus should be avoided, applying the factors we have discerned above (age, expected game time, change in team/team quality/manager, etc.).



It can be tricky to predict which players will come out of nowhere and make the leap into stardom. But it is probably easier to gauge who has likely just enjoyed a career year with a seeming inevitability that there is nowhere to go but down. This is what the charts above tell us, which is backed up by the “one hit wonder” stories we see all the time. Surely everybody remembers examples of cautionary tales such as these from the past decade:

  • Swansea’s Michu (18 goals in 2012/13, 2 goals in 2013/14)
  • West Brom’s Saido Berahino (14 goals in 2014/15, 4 goals in 2015/16)
  • West Ham’s Dimitri Payet (9 goals & 12 assists in 2015/16, 2 goals & 7 assists in 2016/17)
  • Watford’s Odion Ighalo (16 goals in 2015/16, 1 goal in 2016/17)
  • Southampton’s Danny Ings (22 goals in 2019/20, 12 goals in 2020/21)

In 2022-23, that “flash in the pan” phenomenon would seem a likely label for 29-year old Newcastle midfielder Miguel Almirón (£6.5m). After never notching more than 4 goals or 2 assists any of his prior campaigns with the Magpies, the right winger suddenly exploded for 11 goals and 4 assists last season. In fantasy terms, after averaging 88 points in 2,384’ for his past three full seasons (2019/20 - 2021/22), he delivered 158 points in 2,458’ for his 2022/23 breakout. It’s difficult to imagine Almiron keeping up such an outstanding level of finishing quality that seemingly came out of nowhere, especially at his age, which as established, can be a red flag.

Rangers v Newcastle United - Pre-Season Friendly
Miguel Almiron was a phenom last season, but was he a one-hit wonder?
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Unlike Almiron, 30-year old Tottenham FW Harry Kane (£12.5m) did not suddenly emerge out of the blue. Even so, Kane scored a career high 30 goals and 263 fantasy points last season, much better than his prior best of 242 points and only the second time he had tallied 225+ points. It is almost inevitable that the Spurs superstar will fall off the heady heights of 2022-23, particularly given his age. Kane may still prove worthy of his dear price, but it’s very possible that he will not, and that would be the case should he fall below 225 points. Of course, the Tottenham talisman is seemingly want-away to Bayern Munich, Manchester United, or some other greener (trophy-winning) pasture this summer, so we will have to see how that situation plays out. [If Kane were to transfer out of Tottenham, 26-year old MF Richarlison (£7.0m) would offer a tempting opportunity for major improvement should the Brazilian prove the replacement as starter up front.]

After Cristiano Ronaldo departed Old Trafford, fans everywhere wondered how his 18 goals would be replaced. Well, essentially they were just about equaled by 25-year old Manchester United MF Marcus Rashford’s (£9.0m)’s 17 scores which matched a career high; correspondingly, fantasy managers benefited from his best- ever haul of 205 points. Might Rashford improve further? Of course he could. Rashford is the centerpiece of the Red Devils’ attack and he’s coming into his prime at 25.

But the problem for me is that I don’t think Erik ten Hag wants Rashford to be the focal point of the offense. Ideally I think he’d really prefer a center forward to net 15-25 goals, mix in 10-15 from Rashford, another 8-12 from incoming Mason Mount plus 5-10 from penalties etc. by Bruno Fernandes. Young newcomer Rasmus Højlund may not be a ready-made starter at striker right away (unlike Harry Kane, who ten Hag had reportedly wanted), so ten Hag may instead need Jadon Sancho and/or Antony to shake off their “bust” labels and take a big step up in trying to spread the burden.

Long story short, I think that Rashford is likely due for a regression to the mean. As with Kane, it could be only a matter of how much of a slip is coming. Even if he still manages 190+ points, Rashford can bring value. But if he returns to the sub-180 point level as was his previous norm, he is probably better off avoiding given his price tag.



As mentioned, 32-year old Brighton MF Pascal Groß (£6.5m) may become the new primary PK taker for the Seagulls, which would be a boon for his productivity. But also as mentioned, even if that is the case, he might just as easily lose that designation should he keep up his poor success rate from the spot. Groß dazzled on his entry to the EPL with a 164 point outlay in 2017/18, but in the four following seasons never managed 120 points, so his 159 point performance in 2022/23 appears to be an outlier. Furthermore, his age is a serious concern, so falloff back to the sub-150 point level would seem to be in the cards for him.



As the world’s richest league, the EPL is no stranger to plundering the rest of the globe for established big names along with up-and-coming starlets. This season is no exception, as there is no shortage of exciting incoming attacking prospects for fantasy managers to salivate over: Chelsea FWs Christopher Nkunku (£7.5m, coming over from RB Leipzig) and Nicolas Jackson (£7.0m, Villareal), Brighton FW Joao Pedro (£5.5m, Watford), Aston Villa MF Moussa Diaby (£6.5m, Bayer Leverkusen), and Newcastle United MF Sandro Tonali (£5.5m). Tonali is a defensive midfielder, but did supply 2 goals and 7 assists in Serie A last season, and he is the same price as Andreas Pereira (4 goals, 10 fantasy assists for Fulham) among others. Further offensive stars to tempt FPL aficionados will surely trickle in before the summer window closes.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea FC - Pre-Season Friendly
Chelsea’s Christopher Nkunku is a popular fantasy add, but players new to the EPL usually struggle.
Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

However, the charts above do not imply a good chance of success for the newbies. Among the 35 instances of attacking players who scored 150+ points in 2021-22 or 2022-23, Cristiano Ronaldo (2021-22) and Erling Haaland (2022-23) accounted for the only two occurrences (6%) who did not play in the EPL the prior season. Yup, that’s only one newcomer (or returner) per season who proved an attacking success. While it would not be a complete shock if two or more ended up faring well, there is no guarantee that there will even be one triumph every year. So I would urge a word of caution and suggest waiting to see if any of this season’s arrivals actually hit the ground running before splashing your cash on them. Most arrivals take time to bed in, if they ever do.



New 24-year old Liverpool MF Alexis Mac Allister (£6.0m) is an outstanding player, and he is going to a bigger team where he will be surrounded by better players. However, he looks to be overpriced this season, because his fantasy production will be expected to plummet. Why? Mac Allister scored 10 goals last season for Brighton, and six of those came from the penalty spot. Mo Salah is the primary PK taker for Liverpool and should remain so. Barring injury or an implosion in the Egyptian superstar’s penalty prowess, it would be a shock for Mac Allister to come close to his 140 point output in 2022-23.

[SOURCE NOTE: Player statistics/prices/ages and team scoring/standings info used in this post came via official Fantasy Premier League, Fantasy Football Pundit, official Premier League stats centre, transfermarkt or ESPN.]


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Which star attackers from last year do you think are well worth the price, and who are you instead avoiding like the plague this season with the expectation of falloff? On the other hand, what more unheralded offensive players do you think will improve and outperform their cost? Is there anybody not featured above who you warrant deserves mention?