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Staff Picks: Star to Avoid in GW32

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We all love stars because they tend to be fairly fixture proof, but sometimes disappointment is unavoidable. Which studs may be best to avoid in fantasy this upcoming game week?

Alexis Sanchez - Manchester United - UEFA Champions League
Alexis Sanchez hasn’t brought many smiles from Arsenal to Manchester United.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

We’re not saying you should necessarily drop these stars, but if you do have them, they may not be an optimal captain choice. And if you don’t have them, you will wish to consider looking elsewhere.

Our stars to avoid:

Liverpool Winger Mohamed Salah (Darryl)

International duty is behind him, and the Champions League quarterfinal is ahead. The man who has brought magic to Anfield and around the league surely has to be quiet for at least one week, right?

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Manchester City Forward Sergio Aguero (David)

Although Sergio Aguero did not play for Argentina during the International break, his recovery from knee injury has been rapid, and he trained lightly with his national team while they were in Manchester to face Italy at the Etihad. He is expected to be available for selection in time for this weekend’s game against Everton, but with the EPL title all but sewn up, and with his squad more than capable of seeing off Everton without him, I’m betting that Pep will reserve Aguero for the Champions League fixture against Liverpool next Wednesday.

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Manchester City Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (Chris)

Kevin De Bruyne has been a fantasy powerhouse as the most valuable player on the best team this season. Recently, though, he’s disappointed with no goals or assists in the past three games, translating to subpar averages of 3.0 ppg in Official, 4.7 ppg in Fantrax, and 13.5 ppg in Togga. Everton isn’t the scariest competition, but as an away game against a team in the top half of the table, it’s not the most inviting match-up either. KDB will surely explode sometime soon, but if I’m rolling with the Citizens’ midfield, I’d prefer to go with someone else who’s been more involved recently: Raheem Sterling, David Silva, and Leroy Sane each have at least one goal and one assist in their past trio of games played.

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Manchester United M/F Alexis Sanchez (Stall)

In the average season a home tie against Swansea would normally see any fantasy manager look to profit from Manchester United’s assets, but the Red Devils are lacking their fire right now. Jose Mourinho’s efficient tactics are causing unrest with the fans, but the players themselves need to do much better. While the tactical approach does mean the attacking players play with some restriction, we are talking about a side containing a mix of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Juan Mata, among others. A pattern has developed where the opposition create more chances on goal than United are at the other end. Perhaps the manager’s criticism may be upsetting the players, but with their talent we should be seeing much more from the side.

Swansea, meanwhile, are in a purple patch of form with 4 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw in their last 6 league games. Any trip to Old Trafford can be viewed as a free roll for the Swans, but if they don’t go behind early, then they could fancy themselves to cause an upset.

Alexis Sanchez will explode at some point in a United shirt, but up to now he has brought his most recent Arsenal form with him at best. My gut says he is a great pick this week, but my head asks where the evidence is pointing to that result. I have a sizable gap to make up in defense of my FPL private league title, so signing Sanchez on the wildcard is just the sort of move I’m looking at. But with that sensible head on again, Sanchez is the star to avoid for game week 32.

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Manchester United M/F Alexis Sanchez (Alexey)

The game looks easy on paper, but it’s a trap. Swansea are a well-organized team and almost never fall apart. Alexis Sanchez, on the other side, somehow managed to fool all the Red Devils’ supporters and is rated even lower than Paul Pogba. His passes lack quality, his vision is blurred by instant rage attacks, and it looks like he forgot his shooting boots at the Emirates.

It is not clicking for the Chilean, and the timing is bad, with Jose Mourinho waging war against his own players and fans. It might be yet another distraction from the cheeky Portuguese manager, but the team isn’t enjoying the game and keeps playing under the enormous pressure of unfulfilled expectations. I can’t see Alexis flourishing in this atmosphere.

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All Chelsea and Tottenham Stars (Santiago)

I’m staying away from the late Sunday Chelsea v. Tottenham game. With Harry Kane out injured, Spurs assets will be too upredictable. (Will Dele Alli be the striker or will Son Heung-Min? Will Christian Eriksen be the main supplier?) Further, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge can be tricky opposition. Having said that, the Blues themselves are in a bit of disarray, with the defense looking suspect, and with no clear central striker of their own.

I expect one of those 1-1 draws with goals from random players like, say, Eric Dier and N’Golo Kante, that yield little to no fantasy value regardless of format. And even if my intuition is wrong and there is value to come out of this game, there are better match-ups for elite teams on Saturday, without the stress of having to wait until the last possible minute to see who starts where.

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Chelsea G Thibaut Courtois (Jeff)

It might be cheating to advise avoiding a star goalie (some of us wish we could avoid all goalies all the time!), but I thought it worth mentioning that Tottenham finds goals even without Kane on point, and Chelsea’s defense has been inconsistent. The more I think on it, the more I want to find room for Son in at least one of my rosters.

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How many of the players listed above do you have in your fantasy teams? Are there any other stars who are you avoiding? Let us know below in the comments!