The Premier League is back this weekend, and with it comes Gameweek 31 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL).
Everyone knows that Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Cristiano Ronaldo are leaders in their positions, but who are the options if you want to make your money go further?
With only a handful of gameweeks left, the decisions you make could mean the difference between glory and defeat — and every penny counts in the quest for fantasy football bragging rights.
Let’s take a look at which players can help you steal a march by delivering big points at small prices. Who from the FPL bargain bucket is quietly delivering decent hauls? Look no further as we assess a handful of top differentials below.
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Achieving Salah’s output on a budget
There isn’t any questioning that Salah is the standout performer in FPL this season, but, at £13.3M, he takes up a sizeable amount of your budget.
OK, you can’t necessarily find a player who matches Salah’s output — on a budget or otherwise — but we reckon we’ve found a pretty decent alternative without breaking the bank.
Bukayo Saka has had a very impressive season, scoring nine goals and assisting a further five. As you can see below, the Arsenal man isn’t a long way behind Salah in any area — especially in non-penalty expected goals, with Salah boosting his stats from the spot this season.
Saka is also able to match Salah in the ‘chances created’ column, offering great service to his team-mates, although his expected assists (xA) are a little lower than the Egyptian. The two players are leaders in the league when it comes to touches in the opposition box — an indication that both are getting into dangerous situations multiple times each match.
Throw in an appetising fixture away at Crystal Palace, and we’re beginning to run out of reasons not to include the man at the heart of an Arsenal team in fine form. There are certainly reasons to believe that Saka can continue accruing plenty of FPL points over the coming games, and at £6.7M, he represents great value from midfield.
Can anyone replicate Kevin De Bruyne?
De Bruyne is widely accepted to be the best central midfielder in the Premier League and this is reflected by his £11.7M price-tag in FPL. His output in the Premier League this season is as good as ever, as shown by his final-third numbers below.
But there is one player in the league that has matched De Bruyne’s FPL tally this season — and at a fraction of the cost.
Conor Gallagher has shone at Crystal Palace this term, forcing his way into the England squad with 11 goal involvements during his loan spell at Selhurst Park (eight goals, three assists). Both Gallagher and De Bruyne have accumulated 123 points in FPL this season, putting them among the top midfielders in the league. But there’s a hefty price difference.
Gallagher is currently priced at £6.1M — almost half that of De Bruyne — and represents exceptional value. His numbers are consistent across the board and suggest his success to this point has been no fluke.
The youngster matches De Bruyne across shots, non-penalty expected goals and touches in the opposition box — key areas which point to continued FPL success across the remainder of the campaign. And with signs that Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace are starting to establish their rhythm following a summer of overhaul, there could be a bucketful of fantasy football points on offer for Gallagher during the run-in.
Put off by Palace’s difficult fixture against an in-form Arsenal? Gallagher is the man for the big occasion, with goals away at Manchester City and West Ham (2) so far this season.
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How to solve a problem like Ronaldo?
It’s probably a bit too late in the day to be scrambling around for Ronaldo alternatives.
The Portugal international is one of the greatest players to play the game, but this season hasn’t been his best. Yes, he’s had his moments, but if you’re looking for week in, week out FPL performers he’s not your man.
This hasn’t seemed to have an effect on his fantasy football price though, with Ronaldo still setting FPL managers back a mammoth £12.2M.
We can see that Ronaldo has produced good numbers, but they aren’t what we’d expect from the self-proclaimed greatest of all time and that makes his value on FPL hard to justify. This is highlighted even further when looking at the stats and value of some alternative options. Take Ivan Toney of Brentford, for example.
The Bees striker has eight points fewer than Ronaldo in FPL this season, a negligible amount when you consider that Toney costs a not insignificant £5.5M less than the Manchester United forward.
Toney is just one goal shy of Ronaldo’s Premier League tally this season, with 11 goals to the United forward’s 12. The stats suggest the Brentford striker works harder for his goals, too — Toney has entered the 18-yard box more than his Portuguese counterpart and also wins the ball in the attacking third more.
The main thing to look at though is the xA, which underscores a selfless streak to Toney’s forward play. His output in this area is almost double that of Ronaldo’s and, with three FPL points on offer per assist, Toney’s habit for laying on chances for his team-mates could see him deliver some serious fantasy football hauls in the coming weeks.
With a nice bit of breathing space between Brentford and the relegation places now established, we could see the shackles come off for Toney in the coming weeks.