Josh King: Forward Differential

It’s Friday and many FPL managers have had a listen to their favorite podcasts as they look ahead to DGW25, as Man City and Everton both play twice, but will blank in two weeks time. My thoughts however, aren’t on any double game week players. First, I can’t afford Leroy Sane without moving Mo Salah. Won’t happen, as the Reds travel to London Stadium. I could do the “hokey cokey,” dropping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in favor of Sergio Aguero for the DGW, only to bring Aubameyang back for game week 26 fixture away to Huddersfield.

Depending on the health of your team and strategy moving forward, your decisions may not be predicated on what some term a “fake” DGW. City isn’t in the best form, coming off a 2-1 loss at St. James’. That said, City have scored 109 goals in all competitions, including 63 to lead the Premier League. Maybe we have short memories, as City have won four out of their last five games, scoring 12 goals. Yet, it’s the loss to Newcastle that is fresh in our minds and how sluggish and poor the Sky Blues looking midweek. Is now really the time to be buying into City assets?

If you own players, then you must hold through DGW25, it wouldn’t be beneficial to come players like Sane, Sterling or Aguero, based on their potential. Over the last four games, these players have good returns; Sane, 32 points,  Sterling 22 points and Aguero, 21 points. We must factor in Pep into the equation and the fact that City have a lot of football upcoming, so it wouldnt’ be surprising to see Gabriel Jesus get minutes or Riyad Mahrez, decreasing the playing time of some potential DGW players.

While I am not seriously considering any assets from City and absolutely none from Everton, I am looking at improving my team for the remainder of the season. Callum Will is the biggest concern, as the forward just had a knee operation and will be out through the end of February. There is some question surrounding Paul Pogba as well. OGS doesn’t seem to worried with Pogba in recent comments, so his flagged isn’t a big concern. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is also flagged, but the £4.4 midfielder is nothing more than bench fodder at this time and won’t see any pitch time in my starting XI.

The decision to be made is up top, who do you move Wilson for? A selling price of £6.4 with just £0.1 gives me £6.5 ITB for a “budget” third forward. That prices me out of Raul Jimenez at £6.6. The Wolves front many is highly owned, 63.5% of managers in the top 1000 and 36.7% across FPL. Wolves on an excellent run, he’s sure to bring some consistent scoring at that price.

Glenn Murray, £6.3 is a great option, if you can look past the Seagulls BGW27, as three of the next four at played at The Amex Stadium, where Murray has netted 7 times on the season. He could be an option all the way through game week 36, as Brighton have Spurs in game week 33, their only top six fixture.

Chris Wood, £6.2 at Burnley has found some recent form with three goals in his last five games, bringing his season total for four. Burnley fixtures are good through game week 29, as they come off a big 2-2 draw versus United. Does Peter Crouch take away from Wood? That’s the question we need to answer, as Same Vokes departs for Stoke City. I do think there are better options than Woods, but wouldn’t be surprised if Dyche’s team continues this good run of form, as they have scored 11 points in their last five games, unbeaten.

Statistic table courtesy of Fantasy Football Scout (member’s area).

While not a fan, Aleksandar Mitrovic is a consideration, as he hit for a brace in Fulham’s 4-2, come from behind victory.  However, that’s just three goals in the last 11 games. Not the consistency we saw in the first six weeks of the season. The buy isn’t without risk and looking at the fixtures after game week 28 doesn’t give us a warm, fuzzy feeling owning him.

So that leaves Joshua King, £6.4 as a direct replacement for the injured Wilson. As seen in the table above, he leads all budget forwards based on penalty touches (29), total attempts (14), goals (3), shots inside the box (13), BCT (5) and shots on target (7). If you support xG and xA data, his 2.41 xG is second only to Aubameyang (4.08) and 0.55 xA is fifth behind Jimenez, Lacazette, Aubameyang and Rondon.

Now with the statistics behind us, what do the fixtures look like through the end of the Premier League season?

Starting after a trip to Cardiff this week, it’s three of the top six teams with a dose of Wolves to shake things up. We know Eddie Howe is a very attack-minded manager, with 37 goals on the season, the Cherries are the sixth highest scoring team in the Premier League. In fact they are the highest scoring outside the top six, besting Everton by two goals.

In their previous match ups over the next five weeks, King featured in all but 15 minutes and scored a goal and one bonus in game week 13, home to Arsenal. Over the last four week, Bournemouth is the highest scoring team, nine goals, tied with Man City. Cardiff over the last four have conceded 10, worst in the league, Liverpool 6, Wolves 8, as Arsenal and City have conceded just 3 each.

Many FPL managers are looking at reinvesting in Bournemouth assets after game week 29, as fixtures turn for Wolves. It would be uncommon to see double Cherries attack with Ryan Fraser, David Brooks and possibly Callum Wilson in mind. King could represent a big differential, owned by just 1.3% of managers across FPL and none in the top 1000.

Over the last few season, this has been the time in which King seems to have come alive, so to speak. Last year he scored 6 in 13 games starting in game week 26. We all remember the 2016/17 season, 13 goals in 16 games starting in game week 22. He was FPL gold this season, carrying many teams, including mine. Even in 2015/16 he had a strong run of 6 returns in 8 games. Will history repeat itself this season for the Cherries front man?

Given the other options, I am inclined to buy in on King this week, away to Cardiff. Murray is really the only other player I would consider, but am turned off by the BGW27 fixture, even though Brighton have a seemingly easier schedule. Your thoughts? Would you buy in on King now? Go budget and pump more money in to the midfield?

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