Updated: Oct 26, 2021
This article will dive into the confusing situation at United, and why they haven't necessarily achieved the results they would have expected, or hoped, to have achieved. I'll also dive into some of their best and worst fantasy assets, with recommendations on whether to stick or twist with each.
The Story so Far
United currently sit on 4 wins, 2 draws, and only 1 loss at the start of the season. Not too bad you would think. The issue lies more with how these results have come about. The Red Devils have only looked convincing in 2 games so far (wins vs. Leeds and Newcastle). The rest of their results have been a combination of luck on their side, poor defending by the United backline, and woeful chance creation by United's attack; especially in the Aston Villa game. The 5-1 win to start off the season against Leeds had United fans excited about this team, especially since Sancho, Rashford, and Ronaldo were still missing. Little did we know this would be the best showing of the year so far. Ole is struggling to find a dynamic that works with this side, and is consistently rolling out Fred, who had probably one of the worst performances of any United player this season against Everton. With Rashford back in training it may complicate how the attack lines up, but surely he will help United produce much better performances.
Prospects: For me Bruno is still a top 2 fantasy player, just behind the incredible Salah. He could easily still be the #1 overall mid this season, and get quite a few goals and assists, especially against weaker teams. I would expect Bruno to be involved somehow in the majority of United's goals. Bruno still seems to be the main man on penalties (despite his awful miss against Aston Villa), which helps his fantasy value. I am in no rush to ditch Bruno, even ahead of a tough run of games for Manchester United.
Verdict: The only way I would sell Bruno is if you got Salah instead, otherwise I would offer any other player 1:1 for Bruno and hope that gets accepted.
Prospects: Pogba has had a fantastic start to the season for United, mainly being used as a left winger. He currently has 7 assists from just 14 key passes (and an xA of just 1.4), which clearly isn't sustainable. Nevertheless, I do still expect Pogba to be one of United's top three fantasy assets, due to his ghost points and massive upside for both goals and assists. He should be a lock to get between 32-35 starts this season barring any injuries.
Verdict: Pogba is at his peak right now, so it may be best to wait to trade him in the middle of United's tough stretch of games. If you have Pogba and are looking to sell high, aim for the likes of Grealish, Saint-Maximin, and maybe Bruno if you can package Pogba with someone.
Fantasy Assets to Ditch
Prospects: Greenwood started off the season in fine form but seems to have slowed down lately. Despite him still scoring well in fantasy, on the pitch he is providing less and less each game. Could his time for rotation come soon? While still very young, Ole will use him in a variety of competitions, and this means he will probably find his starts in the EPL diminish. I would still back him to start between 60-70% of the remaining EPL games, but he could find both his production and minutes dwindling.
Verdict: Sell high. If you can get a low-end FWD1 such as: Calvert-Lewin or Jimenez by using Greenwood in a deal, long term it could pay off for your fantasy team. I would go as far as settling for a deal including a FWD2 and high upside defender.
Prospects: Varane was supposed to really shore up this Manchester United defence, but despite his assist and clean sheet on debut, he has really failed to show his worth so far. Fantasy wise he has been very poor since that first outing, and I see no reason for him to improve. He has a very low floor and United are struggling to keep clean sheets which clearly doesn't help his upside.
Verdict: Drop Varane ahead of this tough run of games or package him as a "sweetener" in a deal to get a slightly better defender such as Emerson Royal or Rudiger.
Prospects: Maguire has not started the season well, not only in fantasy, but also in reality. He doesn't seem to be racking up similar fantasy points as his previous years and Varane's arrival may have a little bit to do with that. United are struggling for clean sheets, and Maguire should not be considered the same fantasy asset he once was. For me he is a DEF2 with upside after their tough run.
Verdict: If you can trade out Maguire to a United fan for someone like Duffy, that is a deal I would do all day.
Fantasy Assets with Promise
Prospects: Sancho has had his best two games in a United shirt in back to back performances. His off the bench display against Everton was electric, and despite playing less than 30 minutes he was easily the best United player that day. Sancho is showing what he can offer both in fantasy and reality. I fully expect Sancho to be moved out to the RW role to accommodate Rashford's return and he should offer upside with his potential for goals and assists. He should also start to offer a better floor with more dribbles and key passes, and I would consider him a candidate for a top 20 rest of season player.
Verdict: Now is the time to trade in Sancho, especially if his manager is not a United fan. I would offer a package deal involving players such as: Kai, Kovacic, Barnes, Keane, Pinnock, Jota, and Sarr.
Prospects: Rashford's return is imminent. He may even be on the bench in GW8 after scoring 2 goals in a behind closed doors game. United have desperately missed Rashford, and he should be a consistent starter when he hits full fitness again. When Rashford starts he is easily a top 10 forward with top 5 upside no matter who the opponent is. Rashford also offers decent ghost points with his dribbles, shots, and key passes.
Verdict: I would definitely be looking to trade in Rashford any way I could. Offer forwards such as Jesus, Adama, Greenwood, Jimenez, and Zaha in package deals for Rashford.
Prospects: Wan-Bissaka has started the season well from a fantasy perspective, and is surprisingly racking up more ghost points than the other United defenders; Shaw included. I do expect him to continue to pump out decent performances, and he seems to be improving each season for United. He is getting further forward than before, and could start adding more assists and even a few goals to his name. I would consider AWB a lower end DEF1 this season.
Verdict: If you have a defender that has had a better start to the season then I would look to trade him out in order to bring AWB in. For instance, players such as Keane, Rudiger, Tarkowski, and Cresswell fit the bill.
Prospects: Shaw has not been the fantasy prospect we had hoped for this season, but Rashford could improve his output, as was the case last season. Those two link up very well together, and Rashford tends to find Shaw's overlapping runs with ease. Shaw still commands corner kicks, and some crossing free kicks, giving him added upside from his key pass potential. Barring an injury, this may be the lowest value of Shaw this season.
Verdict: If you believe in Shaw, as I do, look to trade him in by offering either a DEF2 or MID3. Players such as Tarkowski, Lucas Moura, Barnes, Dias, and Ritchie would be possible options.
Prospects: Ronaldo had the perfect debut in a United shirt and has been a key part of their attack this season. The issue for me from a fantasy perspective is a lack of ghost points. Ronaldo's main ghost points will come from shots and key passes. In this tough run of games, United could struggle to create a plethora of chances for the striker. It's possible he has a stretch of games all under 5-7 points. Ronaldo should still score 20 goals this season, but he could be very goal dependent all year. If you want a forward with more ghost points and who will be less boom or bust, then Ronaldo is not for you. Ronaldo is still a FWD1 and has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy asset, especially if the United attack starts to click, but if he is not on penalties (as it seems) it will hurt his value.
Verdict: I would recommend trading in Ronaldo if you have 2 other solid forwards that are less boom or bust. You could offer a package deal involving forwards such as: Calvert-Lewin, Toney, and Mane. If you need some more balance to your team I would look to trade out Ronaldo for a lower end FWD1/2, a MID2/3, and a DEF2. Try for combinations involving players such as: Vardy, Son, Kane, Gross, Barnes, Tielemans, Saka, Reguilon, Wan-Bissaka, and Matip.
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