This article is part of our CS:GO series.
Counter-Striker's top league competition is back with ESL Pro League Season 16. A hectic start to the Fall season has left the top spots in the world rankings undecided while superstars have moved teams in the offseason, adding another layer to the first long-term competition after the player-break. With all of the best teams in the worlds competing for one of the top titles in CS:GO it's time to take a look at some players to target and fade in Week of ESL Pro League Season 16.
Players to Target
s1mple is probably the player who finds himself in the blue more often than anybody else, and why shouldn't he? The best player in the world plays for the team that recently took back the top spot in the world rankings and come in to ESL Pro League as the betting favorites. FaZe Clan was the best team for the first half off 2022 but Na'Vi wasn't far off and with the player break behind them and more time to gel with new man sdy, Na'Vi seem primed for a late-season run to hold onto the top spot in the world rankings. Add to that the fact that s1mple is essentially a shoe-in for the top spot in HLTV.org's top 20 players of 2022 and it's hard to look anywhere else.
Ah BIG Clan. Are you a top five team? Are you top a third-tier team? At this point it could go either way every time they load onto the server. Despite that tabseN continues to be one of the most impressive players in Europe, despite being an in-game leader. The rifler has put up otherworldly numbers throughout 2022 and has led BIG Clan to some massively impressive finished, including taking home the top prize at Roobet Cup 2022. With k1to back in the lineup BIG Clan is rolling with a lineup quite similar to the one they played with in 2020 when they were the top team in the world, perhaps a sign of things to come in the Fall Season. BIG Clan and tabseN fall in an odd place as they will be underdogs in most matches and yet have an entirely reasonable path to victory against even the best teams in the world.
ZywOo has finally found some of his earth-shatteringly good form, and while it's probably too late to put him on top of the individual awards for 2022 it should be enough to lead Vitality to a deep run. ZywOo started the year slow, at least by his standards, but unfortunately for the rest of the top CS:GO teams in the world ZywOo's slow start still makes him a top five players in the world. With the superstar sniper finding form in the second half of the season and looking to sit alongside s1mple at the top of the world rankings it's impossible to fade ZywOo in any format.
Players to Fade
It's a story as old as time. The worst player on likely the worst team probably isn't worth targeting. I don't want to keep putting EG in the "Players to fade Section", but until they stop qualifying for these events due to humorously weak North American qualifiers they will remain in this section. neaLan is one of the new additions of Evil Geniuses, and is the in-game leader of this new look roster. While they have shown some improvement the ceiling of a team that relies on CeRq and Brehze to carry just isn't very high. neaLan and Evil Geniuses also find themselves in a group with Cloud9, Team Liquid and FURIA, three teams that are comfortable with their play style and have the talent to shut it down.
JT is probably the most consistently avoided player in CS:GO DFS, and for good reason. The in-game leader of Complexity has had a dire time trying to find any form in Europe, and despite the occasional games where he shows flashes of individual talent, he lacks any consistency. JT certainly isn't helped by the ever-changing roster around him, nor is he helped by Complexity's low seed leading him to a group with ENCE, Heroic, Mouz and Astralis. JT would need to find some form more similar to what he showed in 2018 if he wants to avoid his weekly appearance in the red section.
kst is an interesting player on a FTW side that likely doesn't have much going for it. A former member of the Fnatic.Rising academy team, kst showed some flashes of talent before choosing to look for a spot in a senior team instead of remaining in the Academy league. It appears kst might have overestimated his own talents as he has struggled mightily even in the third tier of European CS:GO. FTW did qualify for Pro League, which is easily kst's best chance to show what he can do against the best, but so far he's shown little to imply he has the talent to hang.
Stats courtesy of HLTV.org