We all love fixture-proof stars, but even the biggest studs have their off weeks. Who are primed to be fantasy duds due to a tricky match-up or other concerns in Week 7?
CHRIS: David De Gea (Manchester United at West Ham)
With a flurry of clean sheets and saves, De Gea had an enchanted season in 2017-18 with Manchester United, scoring the most fantasy points at the position. But following a witching World Cup for Spain, things have been fairly fiendish to start 2018-19.
De Gea has been unable to rediscover his club form in front of a suspect and malleable defense as Jose Mourinho has not yet settled on a go-to pair of center halves. Securing only one clean sheet in the opening six games, the most expensive net-minder in FPL has returned just the 12th most points at the position; in Fantrax, there is a similar gulf as he is the 4th priciest keeper but only has the 13th most points. Given that there are only 20 #1 keepers, that’s simply a disaster.
West Ham sits in 19th place and has struggled to score — with the 5th fewest goals in the league — so it might seem like the perfect week to roll with De Gea. But I see pain rather than joy in the offing as the Red Devils travel to London Stadium. The Hammers are coming off their best two performances of the season, a 3-1 victory at Everton and a nil-nil draw at home against Chelsea. While they were held scoreless against the Blues, the Hammers actually crafted the best chances, with Andriy Yarmolenko unbelievably missing a close-in header with a wide open net beckoning, and Michail Antonio failing to convert a couple of good opportunities. Most importantly, the Hammers’ leading scorer Marko Arnautovic is expected to return from injury after watching the Chelsea affair from the stands. The home team’s talisman should not have as much trouble getting one or two past De Gea.
DARRYL: Sadio Mane (Liverpool at Chelsea)
Sadio Mane is the player I would avoid this week. Chelsea have been solid defensively under Maurizio Sarri, and Cesar Azpilicueta will be dependable as usual with Mane on his side of the field.
DAVID: Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United at West Ham)
Can we even call Alexis Sanchez a star anymore? United made him the highest-paid player in Premier League history when he joined in the January window for a mind-blowing £350,000 per week, and he’s repaid that favor by doing almost nothing. He has now played 23 games in a United shirt, and in that time he has scored just 3 goals -- none of them this season.
Red Devils fans have reached their limit, calling the Chilean the worst MU transfer in years and comparing him to notorious United flops Bebe and Falcao. Fantasy managers should turn their backs on him too. He’s averaging 2.5 ppg in FPL at a price of £10.5, and 7 ppg in Fantrax at a price of $13.99. Avoid him for the GW7 trip to West Ham, and don’t consider him again until he’s done something to earn it. Unless and until his form turns, there are much better ways to spend your money.
JEFF: Eden Hazard (Chelsea vs Liverpool)
I’m going way out on a limb here and picking a very dangerous player who has been highly productive and is playing at home this coming weekend. However... West Ham’s boss credits the Hammers’ 0-0 result in GW-6 to “stopping Hazard”, and now the league’s best defense comes to Stamford Bridge. I have to believe that Klopp and his men were listening, so I expect Hazard to be suffocated until Chelsea find another route to goal.
Note: Wednesday’s EFL cup round 3 includes the reverse fixture, Chelsea at Liverpool. Will that foreshadow the weekend’s league match?
Which star are you staying away from this weekend? Whom are you selling, moving to your bench, or at least being sure not to captain? Is it somebody we highlighted above, or is there anybody else who stands out to you?