The Premier League is entering a crucial point in the season because of the increased volume of games, and as such, your fantasy football season is also beginning an important part of the campaign. Knowing which players to avoid can be the difference between winning the championship and falling just short.
Some of the sport's top stars are in line for drops in production because of the upcoming schedule. Avoiding them could prove difficult because of their history and overall talent level, but making the tough decision to shy away and looking for someone else in line to succeed is a smart strategy.
Fantasy footballers looking to pick up an edge over the next few months would be wise to stay away from these usually reliable players. They're in line to see a dip in production.
Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal
Aaron Ramsey has been as steady as nearly any other player in the Premier League this year. He has five goals and four assists in nine matches played for Arsenal this season, though he may not be able to keep up those numbers for long.
The upcoming schedule is exceptionally difficult for the Gunners. In the near future, Arsenal will square off against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City—all four of which are teams that Ramsey could have a hard time scoring against.
Ramsey's early season numbers are a result of playing teams like Sunderland, Marseille, Stoke City and the like. Not to take anything away from those clubs, but they are a far cry from the aforementioned top teams.
Tempering expectations for Ramsey is key over the next few months. It won't be easy for him to keep up the pace as a top player in the Premier League playing against such tough opponents. Avoid him if you can.
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal
Like his teammate, Olivier Giroud also needs to have tempered expectations heading into this crucial part of the EPL schedule.
Giroud has also recorded five goals in nine matches for Arsenal, but putting up big numbers against the upcoming teams in Arsenal's schedule is no easy task. Giroud has a small advantage over Ramsey given his size and physical style of play (both of which will help him play tough football closer to the net), but it's still a good idea to avoid him.
Giroud and Ramsey have performed well against poorer clubs this season, but testing their production against top-flight talent is what will potentially decide Arsenal's season. Relying on the same production from Giroud moving forward is risky and, quite frankly, a risk I wouldn't want to take.
Even if he's one of the top players in the sport, it's hard to argue with the level of talent that he'll be going up against in the near future.
Simon Mignolet, Liverpool
Simon Mignolet is one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League, but the quality of his opponents is about to get significantly tougher.
This season, Mignolet and Liverpool have gone up against low-scoring clubs like Sunderland, Crystal Palace and West Brom. Mignolet held each of those opponents to one goal, but minimizing the damage done by opposing strikers could prove difficult in coming matches.
Liverpool will face Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea in the next two months, and Mignolet will have to be at his best to keep those clubs off the scoreboard. They play much more polished games than Liverpool's early-season opponents and will likely rack up more shots on goal.
Just by playing the percentages, it's easy to see that Mignolet has a higher chance of letting goals through against the EPL's top clubs. Avoiding him would be a smart move, even if he still has the potential to continue his production.