Its no secret that I am not a huge fan of this year's striker class. There are very few strikers who are guaranteed a game every week, nevermind guaranteed fantasy point production. Many strikers are currently involved in transfer speculation and others have already moved so lets run round the league and sum up whose moving where and how that might affect their production.
Michael Owen (8.5m)
Owen has made an impressive start to his United career during the pre-season and the indications from Alex Ferguson are that Owen will get a decent chance to shine during the season, suggesting that the English hitman can reach 15 goals this season. Owen's career Premier League goal ratio is one every 1.64 games which over a 38 game season would give 23 goals. However, Owen has only played in more than 20 games in the league once since 2004 and with Rooney reverting to a central role and Macheda looking like the real deal it is hard to see Owen topping 20 or so games this term. Ferguson has suggested that Owen might only feature 'every 10 days' which again suggests that 20 games is a reasonable suggestion. This would lead to a goal haul of around 12-14 and a 100-120 point season. Those are decent figures but can probably be had from a Carlton Cole or Kevin Davies and do not justify the 8.5m tag at this time.
Carlos Tevez (8.5m)
Tevez was never given sufficient playing time last season to get on a goalscoring run so I will not hold his 5 goal tally against him. However, the Argentinian appears to have walked in another rotation situation with arguably as much fire power at Eastlands as that which he left behind at Old Trafford. For that reason, I simply cannot see Tevez playing the 30 games he had in 2007-08 when he scored 166 fantasy points. Like Owen above, I think Tevez's situation is just too crowded for him to be great value and his owners will be guessing all season whether to bench him or not.
Emmanuel Adebayor (10m)
This one is really intriguing to me, as the 25m price tag should ensure plenty of chances to shine for the former Arsenal man. I am not the biggest fan of the Togo striker, whose criticism of the Arsenal fans and general un-professionalism has been a showcase for all that is wrong with modern football. However, when he played 32 games in 2007-08 he smashed 24 goals on his way to a 200 point season (a mark that no striker even sniffed last year). With Robinho, Santa Cruz or Tevez to partner him and Ireland, Barry and Shaun Wright Phillips providing support, he has arguably more talent around him now than at the Emirates in that landmark season. Adebayor is a big risk but this move probably makes him more valuable as he will be more motivated (for now) and has a point to prove. Caveat emptor certainly applies here but with a 2.3% holding to date, Adebayor is the cheapest and least held player who could hit 200 points this season.
Roque Santa Cruz (9m)
Santa Cruz's value has probably increased with his move to City, as like Adebayor above, he was unhappy at Ewood and his production showed this last year (4 goals and just 60 fantasy points). The former Bayern man is reunited with Sparky Hughes, under whom he flourished, scoring 19 goals in 2007-08. For 9m though I need guaranteed games and unless Hughes moves to a 4-3-3 permanently, I think Robinho and Adebayor will see the most games with Tevez and Santa Cruz having to settle for somewhere around the 22 game mark.
Fraizer Campbell (6m)
Campbell certainly has the makings of a fantasy sleeper, and this move gives his value as big of a boost as any other player around. He would have been bench fodder at United or Spurs, where he spent last season on loan, but has now escaped to Sunderland where he should be much happier ('escaping to Sunderland' and 'being happy' must be too of the least used phrases in history). A couple of good looking 6m or less options exist out there (Beattie, Ashton, Ebanks-Blake) but Campbell certainly has to be in the discussion with these. With Sunderland out of the Crouch race (see below) and the Chamakh deal stalling, Campbell should be guaranteed a starting place alongside the powerful Kenwyne Jones which could give the Stadium of Light its most dangerous partnership since Niall Quinn was nodding down flick-ons to a young Kevin Phillips. While unlikely to hit 15+ goals, Campbell should give you a consistent stream of points, totalling out somewhere along the 100 point mark for the season.
On the cards
Peter Crouch (7.5m)
Crouch's prolonged move from Fratton Park appears to be almost complete, as Spurs have had an offer for the big man accepted, which would see him once again re-united with 'Arry Redknapp. Unless Bent, Pavlyuchenko or both leave Spurs, their front line looks to be a bit crowded and it is hard to see one player dominating in the scoring charts. As bad as Pompey are, Crouch's value may actually be diminished by this move until he is proven to be the focal point of the Spurs attack. If this is the case though, he suddenly becomes a very interesting 7.5m man considering his partners and suppliers (Modric, Lennon, Palacios etc). Of all players under 8m Crouch probably has the highest ceiling, if he gets 30+ appearances this season. If not, he'll just be another frustrating striker who will leave you guessing as to when to activate your robot.
Dean Ashton (6m)
Stoke, Hull and Fulham have all been linked with the West Ham striker, though I am still a bit puzzled as to why West Ham want to sell low on the former England striker. Ashton is probably a better player in reality than in fantasy terms but he could reach 100 points again (as in 2007-08) in the right situation. However, none of these teams provide a good opportunity for Ashton who would be better served partnering Carlton Cole in West Ham.
The Dutch striker has been linked with both Spurs and Arsenal, and has been declared surplus to requirements at Real Madrid. Huntelaar has been prolific everywhere he has played and has the tools to succeed in the Premier League. A move to Arsenal seems like the dream ticket as the Gunners have been in need of a player of Huntelaar's finishing class since Thierry Henry left. He could fill the gap left by Adebayor and could easily surpass 15 goals and 8 assist for the season. He is likely to be given a price tag somewhere in the 9m range, and after a few games to settle in this could be a great price for a potential top 5 striker.
As always, I will keep you posted on the transfer moves as the window progresses with live updates available on Twitter.