The Premier League returns on Friday evening and with it Fantasy Football after a few months absence.
Unsurprisingly Mohammed Salah and Bruno Fernandes are among the most popular picks this season, with both in over 40% of drafts already!
I won’t be advocating going without the highly owned pair, but here is a list of a few big hitters that you should be avoiding come GW1.
Christian Pulisic: Chelsea (Midfielder, 8.0)
By no means a bad player, but Christian Pulisic is an FPL avoid for me for quite a few reasons.
Pulisic’s injury record isn’t as bad as first assumed, with the American yet to miss a game in 2021 due to injury; however he still has suffered six muscular issues since joining the Blues.
In 27 league matches last term, Pulisic had just six goal involvements (four goals, two assists) which is comfortably behind Mason Mount’s return and similar to Kai Havertz, whom had less game time.
Thomas Tuchel has worked with Pulisic before, with the pair linking up at former club Borussia Dortmund. Pulisic performed well under the German there, however mainly as an impact substitute, a role he has often been deployed in at Stamford Bridge.
With Mount 0.5 cheaper and Havertz just 0.5 more expensive, there seems to be better picks if you are bringing in Chelsea midfielders.
Richarlison: Everton (Forward, 7.5)
Richarlison had his least productive season in an Everton shirt last term, with just seven goals, despite playing further forward.
The Brazilian international didn’t have a bad campaign at all, but was overshadowed by strike partner Dominic Calvert-Lewin who scored nine more.
Having competed in the summers Copa America and Olympic Games for the Brazilian national team, Richarlison will be in desperate need of a break.
It’s unlikely he will feature for the Toffees until GW3 at the earliest and that isn’t guaranteed to be in the starting XI.
The move from midfielder to forward is another thing that hurts Richarlison’s FPL prospects and definitely at the start of the season, he is an avoid.
Roberto Firmino: Liverpool (Forward, 9.0)
With so many excellent Liverpool options, why would you waste a spot on Roberto Firmino in your FPL team?
For me Firmino has been a world class striker; however he just isn’t a great FPL pick, especially in a side that has so many options.
Of the heavy hitters, Alisson, Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohammed Salah all had a better points per million return than Firmono last season.
Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk fared slightly worse, however the former endured his worst campaign in a Liverpool shirt, whilst van Dijk missed most of the season due to injury.
Ilkay Gundogan: Manchester City (Midfielder, 7.5)
Ilkay Gundogan had the best season of his career last term, scoring 13 goals as he helped Manchester City to a third title win in four years.
With Kevin de Bruyne injured, Gundogan was given more attacking licence around January and February and went on an incredible scoring spree.
11 of Gundogan’s 13 goals last term came in a 12 game streak where he was the hottest of all FPL assets.
When in comparison with the rest of Gundogan’s career though, this period is very much the anomaly with his best seasonal return in a domestic league campaign just six before it!
Manchester City’s rotational policy means no one is guaranteed a start and the arrival of Jack Grealish has only increased the competition for places.
Anthony Martial: Manchester United (Forward, 8.0)
Is there a more frustrating player in the Premier League than Anthony Martial?
Ridiculously good on his day; however those were few and far between in a poor 2020-21 season for Martial, who scored just four Premier League goals.
The signing of Edinson Cavani last term meant Martial is no longer guaranteed to lead the line for United. The former PSG man comfortably outscored Martial despite playing over 100 minutes less than the Frenchman.
United have so many options this season and the likes of the reliable Bruno Fernandes and cheaper Mason Greenwood are just far stronger picks.