Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 1 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 1 Sleepers XI article provides Fantrax managers with a lineup of Fantasy EPL hidden gems. Our starting eleven of Draft Premier League differential picks will help you find a golden ticket to a big score this weekend! These hints and tips will give you a better chance of picking up an all-important victory, as one of our picks could easily make the difference in a Head-to-Head game!

We'll be focusing on players that will bring us not only attacking returns or clean sheets, but also those players that score Ghost Points in the sophisticated and statistics based Fantrax Scoring System!


Fantasy EPL Gameweek 1 Sleepers XI

For this article, we use the % rostered from Fantrax. Our only rule is that each player we highlight is required to be rostered in 60% of leagues or less at the time of writing. Therefore there's a good chance some of these players will be free agents in your Fantrax Draft League!


For Gameweek 1, we will be using DraftLad's season player projections to give a sense of what you can expect, on average, from the players represented here (with the exception of the goalkeeper). Moving forward, we'll be able to include previous gameweek scores and weekly projection numbers for what should hopefully be more representative of the expectation for the selected players' form and fixtures.


This week, the Sleepers XI is rolling out a 5-3-2 formation, with the big push to take midfielders and forwards in drafts not leaving much in the way of likely starters that meet the roster criteria in those positions.


GK: David Raya

Team: Brentford

Opponent: Leicester (Away)

Rostered: 45%

Prospects: Playing the sleeper keeper game is always a gamble, and Gameweek 1 might just be the biggest gamble of all. That unpredictability can hopefully be countered with reliability, and that's what you get from Raya. The Bees' shot-stopper is the only regularly starting goalkeeper who didn't put up a negative fantasy score last season, with the saves he makes offsetting the negatives of goals conceded. Brentford will be missing Ethan Pinnock in the heart of defense, but Ben Mee is an able deputy, and facing a Leicester side currently embroiled in the chaos of the transfer rumor mill may come at the right time for them to get a surprise result. In any case, Raya shouldn't go deeply negative in a loss, but could put up a massive score if he can help his team keep the ball out of the net.


DEF: Nathan Ake

Team: Man City

Opponent: West Ham (Away)

Rostered: 35%

Projected Points Per Start: 8.6

Prospects: It looked for all the world like Ake was headed for the exit door earlier this summer, but Aymeric Laporte is out injured for the first month or so of the new season and John Stones ineligible to participate in City's pre-season tour. This leaves the door open for the former Chelsea and Bournemouth man to stake a claim for the starting berth next to Ruben Dias for the Manchester club's mouthwatering opening fixture run. He typically scores well when he starts, and the high odds of a clean sheet combined with his strong ghost point average puts him in with a good shot at a double-digit score to start the season.


DEF: Cesar Azpilicueta

Team: Chelsea

Opponent: Everton (Away)

Rostered: 26%

Projected Points Per Start: 8.6

Prospects: Uncertainty is the word of the week for GW1, with question marks over the Chelsea captain's future contributing to him falling down or completely off the draft board. The Blues' struggles to secure CB replacements for the departed Rudiger and Christensen may finally be coming to a close with Cucurella and Fofana looking likely arrivals, but neither deal will be completed in time for the opening fixture against an Everton side without a recognized striker available. Azpilicueta looks set to start alongside Silva and Koulibaly in central defence and, while he won't likely be involved in as much of the attacking play as when he played fullback, he's been a consistent fantasy performer over the years. Tack on a potential 6 points for a clean sheet and you've got a recipe for success.


DEF: Timothy Castagne

Team: Leicester

Opponent: Brentford (Home)

Rostered: 42%

Projected Points Per Start: 7.2

Prospects: Just as Leicester City looked to be heading into a season with their horrible run of injuries behind them, Ricardo Pereira pulled up with a problem in the first half of their final pre-season match. While it's another unfortunate blow to the Portuguese fullback's career, Castagne looks primed to reap the rewards of additional time in the starting lineup. There are some question marks in the Leicester defense, with Kasper Schmeichel departing and Wesley Fofana pushing for a move to Chelsea, but the Belgian's attacking output is strong enough that Rodgers had been playing him at RW ahead of Ricardo in the aforementioned match. Expect him to be involved up and down the pitch this weekend.


DEF: Jonny

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Leeds (Away)

Rostered: 45%

Projected Points Per Start: 6.6

Prospects: Of the four defenders expected to start at Leeds in GW1, only Rayan Ait-Nouri is more than 60% rostered at the time of writing. Given their favorable fixture difficulty to begin the season, I could have highlighted any of the remaining members of the backline (Collins & Kilman have even lower rostership percentages), but I'm choosing to highlight Jonny as a shorter-term punt. Nelson Semedo is back in training and should return soon to reclaim the RB spot, but Jonny proved to be a more than capable deputy upon his return from a long injury layoff last season, popping up with a couple goals at the tail-end of the season. His attacking endeavor is what tips the scales in his favor over the CBs, especially given Jesse Marsch's move away from a crossing-based attack (not as many aerial duels to challenge for).


DEF: William Saliba

Team: Arsenal

Opponent: Crystal Palace (Away)

Rostered: 57%

Projected Points Per Start: 6.5

Prospects: It's time for the magic word again, but in a different way this time. While Saliba appears to be a lock in the GW1 lineup for the Gunners while Ben White fills in for Tomiyasu at RB, the uncertainty this time is with how well the young Frenchman's overall game will translate to fantasy points. We've yet to see him in competitive action in the Premier League, but his performances on loan in France last season earned rave reviews. Mikel Arteta's charges have a great run of opening fixtures, and if Saliba proves his worth to his real life and fantasy managers, he could even be a longer-term hold.


MID: Miguel Almiron

Team: Newcastle

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (Home)

Rostered: 18%

Projected Points Per Start: 7.1

Prospects: I've honestly never been a huge fan of Almiron and his baby giraffe on a skating rink style of play, but such is the state of the available midfielders that he almost requires selection here. The Paraguayan has never quite clicked in the Newcastle team after his big-money transfer from MLS, but he has been the in-form player for the Magpies through pre-season and looks to have wrenched the starting role on the right wing away from Ryan Fraser for the time being. You never know what you're going to get from a newly promoted side on the opening weekend of the season, but Forest haven't had a whole lot of time for all their new arrivals to gel just yet, so Almiron and company could be primed to take advantage with a strong attacking performance.


MID: Morgan Gibbs-White

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Leeds (Away)

Rostered: 24%

Projected Points Per Start: 9.3

Prospects: Following a brilliant season on-loan with Sheffield United in the Championship last season, there was a lot of interest in Gibbs-White to begin the summer. There was a bit of a will-he or won't-he game being played with Wolves until injuries to Chiquinho and especially Raul Jimenez solidified Bruno Lage's plans to keep the midfielder at Molineux for the upcoming season. With Trincao also leaving and Adama Traore seemingly running down his contract, MGW has made the RW role his own in pre-season, joining Neto and Podence to form a very exciting attacking trident. Leeds have historically given up plenty of chances to attacking players and will be without their first and second-choice left backs. Take from that what you will.


MID: Thomas Partey

Team: Arsenal

Opponent: Crystal Palace (Away)

Rostered: 35%

Projected Points: 7.9

Prospects: Arsenal's central midfielder is another player who tumbled down draft boards, primarily due to off-the-field allegations against him and questions around whether he would be available to participate in the team's matches this season. So far, it looks like the Ghanaian will retain his role in the engine room for the Gunners to kick off the campaign. Partey was in impressive form at the back-end of last season and has shown he has the potential to be a set-and-forget midfielder when he's fit and available.


FWD: Rodrigo

Team: Leeds

Opponent: Wolves (Home)

Rostered: 44%

Projected Points Per Start: 7.5

Prospects: The arrival of Brenden Aaronson was looking like a potential end for Rodrigo's time in the starting lineup for Leeds, with the American set to take up the #10 role behind Patrick Bamford and between Jack Harrison and fellow new arrival Luis Sinisterra. But a pre-season hamstring injury for the Colombian opened the door for Rodrigo to step back in and stake a claim. And he did just that, scoring a hat-trick in the Whites' final pre-season match. With Sinisterra's injury confirmed to keep him out for a few weeks, the Spanish forward will get his chance to reinstate himself in Jesse Marsch's plans for the rest of the season. He'll look to build on his great form against a new-look Wolves defense.


FWD: Yoane Wissa

Team: Brentford

Opponent: Leicester (Away)

Rostered: 25%

Projected Points Per Start: 9.5

Prospects: Perhaps I was a bit too harsh on Wissa in my Brentford Sleepers post when I said his time in the starting lineup was coming to an end following the arrival of Keane Lewis-Potter. While I still think KLP will earn the starting role on the left wing, Wissa should be the starter for the opening few weeks, and is one of the very few forward options who went largely undrafted that could deliver a decent score in GW1. Wissa had a slow start last season, but came on strong in the home stretch. If he can continue that form into this season, he'll make plenty of fantasy managers happy when they're in a bind and need a starter to lead the line for them. Don't be afraid to take a punt against a discombobulated Leicester side.



The Reserves

If you're playing on Fantrax with Live Lineup Changes, you should definitely keep an eye on starting lineups for the following high upside players who could get a look in this week. If any of these guys get a surprise start, snap them up and plug them into your starting eleven!

  • Davinson Sanchez, Defender, Tottenham. Opponent: Southampton

  • Ibrahima Konate, Defender, Liverpool. Opponent: Fulham

  • Joe Willock, Midfielder, Newcastle. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

  • Naby Keita, Midfielder, Liverpool. Opponent: Fulham

  • Adama Traore, Forward, Wolves. Opponent: Leeds


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