With the start of the 2023/24 Premier League season, the Fantasy Premier League drama has gotten most users scrambling to finish their teams with the best possible strikers as their main source of major points.
Erling Haaland, a heavy favourite to win the Golden Boy, remains picked by over 88% of the teams in FPL this season after his heroics for Manchester City in the previous campaign. Other prominent forwards like Cody Gakpo, Callum Wilson and Gabriel Jesus (injured currently) are the second favourites to create the ideal frontline.
The dilemma over alternate/third FPL striker
But this time around, some of the most-priced players are actually the midfielders. The likes of Mohamed Salah (12.5), Kevin de Bruyne (10.5) and Marcus Rashford (9.0) are considered must-picks – even though realistically a manager can only pick at most two of them together alongside Haaland by keeping budget constraints in mind.
The ideal set-up should be the partner Haaland with a reliable goal-scorer, someone in the 7.5 mark like Cody Gakpo or Alexander Isak, or even 7.0-rated Chelsea and Manchester United newcomers Nicolas Jackson & Rasmus Hojlund (once he gains fitness).
For managers (like me) who love to play a three-man forward like in FPL and mostly prefer to play three defenders, there isn’t that much money left to afford an expensive third striker – who can be both a regular starter as well as a reliable goal getter.
Presenting Joao Pedro as an ideal 5.5 option
Amid all this, Brighton’s new signing, Joao Pedro, can actually be a really smart pick at an affordable 5.5 price, which is quite low for a forward in the FPL format. The Seagulls roped in the 21-year-old striker from Watford earlier this summer, making him their most expensive signing of all time.
With the departure of Alexis Mac Allister (and the impending exit of Moises Caicedo), Roberto de Zerbi will need other players to step up and be the breakout stars for his side this season. Pedro can fill that role of a commanding figure in the attack for Brighton and have his breakthrough campaign in the English top flight this time around.
The 21-year-old is actually a really versatile forward, who can play as a centre-forward as well as in either wing if necessary. He’s at his best leading the line for his side, which is what is likely to happen as Brighton aim to utilize their record signing to his maximum potential.
Pedro is coming off a prolific 2022/23 Championship campaign at Watford, for whom he scored 11 goals and provided four assists in 35 appearances. Considering how Brighton have proven themselves as expert identifiers of top quality young talent in recent years (roping in the likes of Caicedo, Mac Allister, Mitoma, Evan Ferguson and more) – they’re unlikely to have splashed so much money on the Brazilian if they didn’t believe he could explode in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old is an electric, efficient forward who has a lot of skills up his sleeve. WhoScored claim his biggest strengths to be his dribbling ability, link-up play as well as defensive contribution. Pedro isn’t the old-school no.9 who requires feeding in the final third, but he loves to get involved in linking-up attacks and help his side create sweet moves.
How Pedro stands out from other 5.5 striker options
At the affordable price of 5.5, the Brazilian is a really promising pick considering Brighton’s relatively easy start to the 23/24 PL season. The Seagulls face Luton, Wolves and West Ham United in their opening three games, with two of those three at home.
When it comes to his competition in that 5.5 margin, there aren’t many who provide the assurances that the Brighton man does. Eddie Nketiah isn’t a starter for Arsenal, while the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Carlos Vinicius or Fabio Silva are not reliable enough to get enough minutes.
Pedro last played in the Premier League back in the 2021/22 for Watford, but did not start a single game. Irrespective of that, he still had four goal contributions and earned a respectable 60 points as a substitute. He had 332.6 influence points and proved himself as a menacing impact substitute for the Hornets.
The 21-year-old has now grown into a more dangerous player who is guaranteed to get a lot more minutes and starts for Brighton. With the new injury time rules in the league promising to stretch games well beyond the 95-100 minute mark, even if Pedro comes on as a substitute in the 60th minute – he can still possess a major goal-scoring threat as he did as the impact sub for Watford.
What makes the prospect of picking Pedro for 5.5 is that he’s also become the Seagulls’ designated penalty taker after Mac Allister’s exit, which is an extra plus point apart from his clinical finishing in the final third anyhow.
Picking up a relatively cheap 5.5 forward can help users bulk up their midfielders with more goal-scoring wingers (like Salah, Rashford or Son) as well as accommodate someone like Trent Alexander-Arnold or Kieran Trippier in the backline.
So if anyone looking for a cheap alternate or third striker, the menacing Brazilian forward is the go-to option and someone who comes with both short-term and long-term benefits.
The rough side to owning Pedro
While there are many plus points to taking someone like Pedro as the third/alternate striker option at the lucrative 5.5 price, there are some risks that come with it as well.
There is a risk that he gets overshadowed by Brighton’s more experienced forward Danny Welbeck, who is actually priced in a similar range in the FPL too. Welbeck ended last season on a high and seems a great fit under De Zerbi, who could opt to use him more often and allow the new signing to phase into his system.
Due to Welbeck’s adaptation to the style and superior knowledge of the Premier League, there is a good chance that he will outscore Pedro in the long term. There is also the risk that Pedro’s pick might only be good for the short term, more so for the first three games themselves.
Moreover, there are also worries about Pedro’s xMins (expected goals per minute) and how clinical he can be in his minutes for Brighton. Despite him having dibs on penalties, the Brazilian averaged a goal every 253 minutes for Watford in the Championship last season – which is something that many FPL users can find irksome for a starting forward in their team.
There are some downsides to keeping the new Brighton star in your team for the long term. But his role in the team and encouraging pre-season outings mean that getting him is a risk worth taking and one that can bring you some extra points on the side in the forward line.