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FPL tips: Why top managers are dumping some of the game’s most popular players

Stuart Dallas and Raphinha celebrate Leeds’ first goal against Manchester City
(Image credit: Michael Regan)

Top fantasy managers are in the midst of some major overhauls with long-time favourites of the game seeing their popularity plummet.

We’ve been tracking the squads of 1,000 bosses with multiple top-10,000 finishes to their name to see how they’ve been approaching the campaign.

And the numbers for gameweek 31 suggest the season could be at a turning point for managers.

Dallas shows his value

Graphic showing most dropped players by top FPL managers

Leeds trio Raphinha, Patrick Bamford and Stuart Dallas have been FPL darlings for some time now, offering relatively consistent returns at budget prices.

But they were the top three most discarded players by our 1,000 elite managers in GW31, with their ownership falling by 400, 384 and 343 respectively ahead of a seemingly tricky fixture at Manchester City.

Even the best don’t get it right all the time though – Dallas bagged 17 points with a game-winning double as Leeds surprised the champions elect.

Despite this, a fixture list which sees Marcelo Bielsa’s men take on three more big-six sides – Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham – in their next four games suggests there could well be lean weeks ahead for fantasy bosses who are staying loyal to Leeds.

Losing patience with Pep

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola’s unpredictable team selections have caused frustration for FPL managers (Rui Vieira/PA)

With the Premier League title as good as won, Pep Guardiola took another opportunity to rest key players against Leeds with an eye on the Champions League.

Predicting City’s starting XI is harder than ever as they continue to compete on four fronts – and top managers seem to have had enough of playing so-called Pep roulette.

All of Ilkay Gundogan (292), Joao Cancelo (149) and John Stones (129) were among the most discarded by top managers – with a blank weekend in gameweek 33 for the Carabao Cup final no doubt also factoring into their decisions.

Reds revival?

Graphic showing most signed players by top FPL managers

Aside from in-form Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who has scored nine in his last six games in all competitions, the top four players signed for GW31 were all Liverpool stars.

By far the most popular was Diogo Jota, who was picked up by more than half of top managers with his ownership rising by 626.

Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold (both 352) also proved popular, with managers seemingly banking on Liverpool to rediscover their form with the help of a relatively gentle run of fixtures remaining to close out a troubled season.

Time running out

The high number of ins and outs came largely thanks to a season-high 347 uses of the Wildcard chip among top managers in GW31.

For those storing up chips to use in later weeks, it’s a reminder that they are rapidly running out of opportunities to use them.

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