Ahead of the big kick-off, Goal looks at the top striker options, as well as considering a number of potential bargain buys for virtual managers
The beginning of a new Premier League campaign is drawing close and that means a fresh slate for all the fantasy football managers out there.
Whether they are fighting to retain a crown, or desperately intent on salvaging some pride after losing to their friends last season, virtual coaches will be looking at every possible way to maximise their points return when the season kicks off in August.
Fantasy Football: The complete guide
You will be delighted to know that Goal Fantasy Football is already up and running for the 2017-18 season — and it's free to play. The mobile app can be downloaded through this link so that you can create and update your squad on the move.
The fantasy football game on the Premier League's official website is also a popular choice for fantasy managers, but whatever you use, we've taken a look at some of the best fantasy football forwards, including some bargains, to help get you started!
BEST FANTASY FOOTBALL STRIKERS
The best fantasy football strikers are those who score and it is no surprise that the five most expensive frontmen in the 2017-18 game are those individuals who hit the back of the net over 20 times last season.
However, strikers who contribute assists as well as goals are also precious commodities in the world of fantasy football, with points awarded to the architects behind the goals.
Note: Some versions of the game define certain attacking players as midfielders instead of forwards. For example, on Goal Fantasy Football, Alexis Sanchez can only be selected as a forward, but on Fantasy Premier League, he can only be selected as a midfielder.
Harry Kane (Tottenham – £12.5m)
Tottenham's main man for the past three seasons, Harry Kane showed exactly why he is so highly valued last term with a haul of 29 league goals and seven assists, despite suffering an ankle injury mid-way through the campaign.
The stats clearly demonstrate that the 23-year-old England international has steadily improved since his breakthrough at White Hart Lane, as he bagged 21 goals in 2014-15 and 25 in 2015-16 before hitting a career high last year. Such consistency means that Kane is considered a must-buy by many Fantasy Football aficionados.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City – £11.5m)
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero is the second-highest valued striker in the game, because he has been the most consistent sharpshooter in the Premier League for the past six seasons. The former Atletico Madrid star has 122 goals in 181 Premier League appearances and only twice failed to hit the 20-mark since joining City in 2011.
He has been a favourite of fantasy football players for a long time, but, while there can be no doubting the Argentina international's ability to find the net, virtual coaches should probably pay close attention to Pep Guardiola's pre-season preparations to see how heavily the injury-prone Aguero will be relied upon.
Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United – £11.5m)
Manchester United forked out a titanic £75 million to Everton for Romelu Lukaku as they look to find a solution to their long-term striker problem. The powerful Belgium international scored 25 goals for an inconsistent Everton side last year, setting up his team-mates on six further occasions.
Lukaku is a proven goalscorer, having guaranteed strikes for Anderlecht and West Brom as well as the Toffees, and a lot will be expected of him at Old Trafford this season as Jose Mourinho prepares for life without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, it may take some time for him to settle in to his new environment.
Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal – £10.5m)
Arsenal's record signing Alexandre Lacazette arrives to the Premier League with a fearsome reputation for finding the back of the net. The 26-year-old was Lyon's go-to man for goals in the last four seasons and he struck a personal best of 28 goals in 30 Ligue 1 appearances last term.
Lacazette's consistency for his former club sees him priced among the elite strikers in the Premier League, more expensive than the fearsome Diego Costa.
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City £10.5m)
Twenty-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Jesus is still somewhat of an unknown quantity in the Premier League, but the former Palmieras striker hit the ground running at the Etihad before having his season curtailed by injury. Jesus scored seven goals in just 10 league appearances for Pep Guardiola's side last year and it looks like he will seriously rival Sergio Aguero as the team's main goal-threat.
Alvaro Morata (Chelsea – £10m)
Brought to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid for a hefty sum of £65m, Alvaro Morata is set to play a key role for Chelsea in the 2017-18 season. The 24-year-old has taken the number 9 jersey and, with uncertainty hanging over Diego Costa's future, it looks like Antonio Conte has found his replacement.
Morata scored 20 goals for Madrid last season in all competitions, with 15 of those coming in La Liga. As well as playing up front, the former Juventus forward is also capable of carrying out a supporting role and supplied five assists last term.
BEST BARGAIN STRIKERS
Each season, one or two strikers shock the league by climbing their way up the scoring charts, leaving more established performers trailing in their wake. Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the club's remarkable Premier League-winning eason is a classic example, while Jermain Defoe defied expectations last year by scoring 15 times for a Sunderland team that was ultimately relegated.
We've taken a look at some of the players in the Premier League fantasy football who could be considered bargain buys, if you fancy saving money on strikers so that you can divert funds elsewhere.
Join the Goal Fantasy Football league
Tammy Abraham (Swansea – £5.5m)
One of the leading scorers in last season's Championship with a relatively weak Bristol City team, Tammy Abraham signed for Swansea City on loan from Chelsea for the upcoming season.
The 19-year-old scored 23 times in 41 league appearances during his time at Ashton Gate and could well be in line for a leading role with the Swans, who were too heavily reliant on Fernando Llorente for goals.
Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United – £6.5m)
Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United secured promotion back to the Premier League by winning the Championship last season and they had the goals of Dwight Gayle to thank as they pipped Brighton to the title.
Though he showed glimpses of his ability, Gayle previously struggled to hit double figures in England's top division when he was at Crystal Palace. However, now 26, he has matured under the tutelage of Benitez and finished the 2016-17 season with 23 goals in 32 league appearances – an admirable tally as he prepares a renewed assault on Premier League defences.
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez (West Ham – £7m)
West Ham landed a surprise signing ahead of the 2017-18 season with the addition of Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker is a proven goalscorer and scored 39 goals in all competitions during two terms with the Bundesliga side. Still just 29, 'Chicharito' has plenty to offer for the Hammers and will be determined to show the kind of form that saw him hit double figures in each of his first three years at Man United. At £7 million, he represents good business for fantasy football managers.
Sandro Ramirez (Everton – £7.5m)
The signing of Wayne Rooney may have captured the imagination, but Everton's chief attacking threat next season in the absence of Romelu Lukaku will be Sandro Ramirez, an import from La Liga outfit Malaga.
A former Barcelona starlet, 22-year-old Sandro scored 15 goals in all competitions for Malaga last season and, having claimed the No. 9 jersey, has issued a statement of intent ahead of his maiden campaign in England.
Josh King (Bournemouth – £7.5m)
Bournemouth secured their highest ever finish last season and they had the likes of Josh King to thank as the striker scored 16 goals in 36 appearances for the Cherries. The former Borussia Monchengladbach and Blackburn Rovers man was never so prolific in his career, so his valuation in last season's game reflected that.
While it is sure to increase this year, he will still be cheaper than the likes of Olivier Giroud and Jamie Vardy, despite scoring more than them last term.
Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace – £8m)
Belgium international Christian Benteke hit 15 goals for Crystal Palace last season and, after enduring a difficult time at Liverpool, will be aiming to continue rebuilding his reputation under new boss Frank de Boer.
Still only 26, Benteke is a proven goalscorer, having reached double figures in each of his three seasons with Aston Villa before his ill-fated move to Anfield, and he is still somewhat undervalued in fantasy football.