Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Virgil van Dijk may not have left their clubs in the transfer window but it is a different story in fantasy football.
Coutinho remains at Liverpool despite Barcelona’s interest b ut, while Jurgen Klopp looks to reintegrate him, the 31 per cent of premierleague.com fantasy league players who initially selected the Brazilian have been steadily losing patience.
Press Association Sport has combined data on each player’s overall selection percentage with how his popularity is changing over time to produce a “heat score” – ranging from 100 to -100 – and Coutinho, now owned by only two per cent of managers, is fifth-coldest in the league at -30.5.
Arsenal’s Sanchez experienced a slight uptick in ownership last week, from 2.1 to 2.4 per cent, but the downwards trend from his pre-season 12 per cent keeps his heat score at -9.3. Southampton defender Van Dijk’s mark of -3.5 accounts for a steady fall from four per cent pre-season to 1.5 per cent.
Jonny Evans, still at West Brom having been linked with Manchester City, scores -1.05 but Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez bucks the trent at 8.24, having risen from 4.4 to five per cent ownership in the last week.
Evans’ club-mate Ahmed Hegazi has passed Chelsea’s David Luiz as the most-selected defender, rising from just 2.4 per cent ownership pre-season to a remarkable 27.1 per cent.
That is due to the Egypt international scoring as many goals as he has conceded – one – in Albion’s first three games having started the season valued at just Â£4.5million – a figure which has now risen to Â£4.8million as his heat score of 89.0 approaches the maximum.
Luiz’s club-mate Marcos Alonso (36.7), Manchester United’s Eric Bailly (29.8) and Tottenham full-back Ben Davies (29.6) are other defenders proving popular having netted early in the season. Bailly’s goal against Swansea was his first in his 28 league appearances for United but coupled with three clean sheets, it makes him the league’s top-scoring defender.
United colleagues Paul Pogba (62.2) and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (54.9) sit second and third in the heat index while Coutinho’s backers may be shifting to his team-mates Sadio Mane (46.9, fourth) and Roberto Firmino (34.4, eighth).
Two high-profile north London strikers join Coutinho among the 10 most out-of-favour players.
Harry Kane’s traditional scoreless August for Tottenham accounts for a fourth-coldest -31.3 as he has dropped from the third most-selected player pre-season to 10th, while Alexandre Lacazette is eighth-coldest at -21.2 after being left out of Arsenal’s side against Liverpool.
Kyle Walker (-45.3) was sent off on his home debut for Manchester City while team-mate Kevin De Bruyne (-39.8) has produced only eight points while priced at Â£10million – which has now fallen to Â£9.9million.
Only Crystal Palace’s injured winger Wilfried Zaha (-55.2) is colder than the City pair.
Huddersfield’s bright start has caught the eye – could it now be the turn of another promoted side?
Brighton’s next three fixtures, at home to West Brom and Newcastle either side of a trip to Bournemouth, could be an opportunity to pick up points – s imulations based on bookmakers’ odds average out to a projected haul of 3.83, more favourable that the 3.34 projected for Town’s first three.
The smart addition of goalkeeper Tim Krul from the Magpies is another reason to believe in defenders Shane Duffy (11 points), Markus Suttner (nine) and Lewis Dunk, whose six-point tally would have been higher but for an unlucky own goal against Manchester City.
City themselves are comfortably top of the projections at 6.64 points – will managers regret dropping De Bruyne?
WHERE ARE THE BARGAINS?
Press Association Sport groups players by price brackets and the only position in which the leading scorer so far does not come from the top bracket is in goal, Huddersfield’s Â£4.5million Jonas Lossl leading the way on 23 points.
Hegazi has actually moved up a price bracket but, just one point behind the highest scorers in the league, remains a value defensive pick, with Newcastle’s Chancel Mbemba a solid contributor in the lowest band.
Watford’s Â£6million-rated Richarlison has 18 points in midfield but, with Southampton away and Manchester City awaiting in the next two fixtures, now may not be the time to move for him.