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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 14 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 14 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 14 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! As always, we'll take form, fixtures, projected points and a healthy dose of intuition into account to make our selections.

After being caught out by my prediction of heavy rotation in GW12, a return to more predictable starters for Gameweek 13's Sleepers Squad resulted in a much better 85.75 points. That takes our season tally to 1066.75, or about 89 points per week. For any of the teams not involved in European competition, this is the first time in a while they'll have had a full week to prepare for their upcoming fixture. As a result (but also in large part because most of those teams in Europe tend to have more highly rostered players), I'm placing a lot of faith in players from teams that traditionally finish outside the top 7 places in the Premier League.

I do want to stress, however, that GW14 is a great week (at least on paper) for the Big Six teams, as they all have attractive fixtures. As this is the case, be ready to jump for any unexpected starters from Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man United (in order of my preference based on this week's fixtures) if you can monitor lineup announcements. Here are some players you can consider bringing into your team in the meantime:

GK: Gavin Bazunu

Team: Southampton

Opponent: Crystal Palace (away)

Rostered: 7%

Points Last Gameweek: 3.5

Prospects: Southampton put in one of their best performances of the season in their 1-1 draw against Arsenal in GW13. Bazunu surprisingly wasn't too heavily involved against the potent Gunners attack, only amassing two saves on the day. If that's a sign of an improved defense in front of him, that's a good sign against a more profligate Crystal Palace forward line. If not, though, the good news is that the former Man City goalkeeper has delivered positive points in each of his Premier League starts this season.

DEF: Duje Caleta-Car

Team: Southampton

Opponent: Crystal Palace (away)

Rostered: 2%

Points Last Gameweek: 6.5

Projected GW14 Points: 6.0

Prospects: I am admittedly a nervous wreck doubling down on Southampton defensive assets for the trip to London to face the Eagles, but here we are. Salisu and Perraud have been touted by TDS staff for their ghost point potential in recent weeks, but it was actually the Croatian center back Caleta-Car who delivered the highest score among Saints defenders in GW13. The shift to three center backs meant Caleta-Car was at the heart of the action, which likely resulted in him outscoring his other CB partners Salisu and Lyanco by 6 fantasy points. It remains to be seen whether Hasenhuttl will keep the faith with the more defensive setup, or if he'll revert to a 4-at-the-back system against less imposing opposition which could impact Caleta-Car's scoring. But I'm hopeful the manager will realize not to mess with a successful formula and we'll see this very under-the-radar pick exceed expectations.

DEF: Ethan Pinnock

Team: Brentford

Opponent: Wolves (home)

Rostered: 42%

Points Last Gameweek: -1

Projected GW14 Points: 7.4

Prospects: Someone who very much did not exceed expectations when he was part of the Sleepers Squad last week was Pinnock, who had conceded three goals in 15 minutes on the way to the 4-0 demolition against Aston Villa. So why haven't I kicked him to the curb? First, there aren't many low-rostered defenders projected to score well this week, and even fewer with the Jamaican's upside. Second, the fact that he nearly made it back to a positive score despite conceding four goals is a more positive sign than it seems at face value. Third, Wolves have struggled mightily in attack this season, so the potential for a clean sheet is there for a very inconsistent Brentford side. Finally, we're likely to see a fair number of aerial duels for the Bees' defense to contest if Diego Costa is in the lineup. Pinnock is looking like he may be a frustrating asset to roster, but I'm feeling hopeful this is one of the weeks that keeps the faith alive in him returning to last season's exceptional fantasy form.

DEF: Antonee Robinson

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Everton (home)

Rostered: 24%

Points Last Gameweek: 3.75

Projected GW14 Points: 6.7

Prospects: Contrary to last week, where I maxed out my quota of defenders, I'm going for the bare minimum this time around. Again, there aren't a huge number of options that are appealing and that I feel confident of earning a start, so my Robinson recommendation is more a case of making the best of a bad situation than a choice I'd stand behind in better circumstances. If you're in a bind and need a defender with a decent shot at a clean sheet with some potential to deliver additional peripheral stats, the American left back may come through for you. "Jedi" was a more than useful fantasy performer the last time Fulham were in the Premier League, but hasn't been nearly as consistent so far this campaign. A match against a low-scoring Everton side earns the Fulham fullback a rare call-up. If that isn't damning with faint praise, I don't know what is, but make of this what you will. It's a risk.

MID: Stuart Armstrong

Team: Southampton

Opponent: Crystal Palace (away)

Rostered: 13%

Points Last Gameweek: 18

Projected GW14 Points: 7.2

Prospects: What's this? More Southampton love? I'm playing a dangerous game here, but it's hard to ignore the boost of confidence that comes from a struggling side getting an unexpected result (even if it was only a draw) against a team at the other end of the table. Armstrong scored the goal that secured that all-important point against Arsenal, and I like his chances of securing an extended run in the team after a promising all-around display. The Scot has been a personal favorite of mine in seasons past, though he is admittedly a streaky player who blows hot and cold even when he is a regular starter. Is this his time to shine? It's been nearly impossible to predict the Southampton team, so it may not be, but if you can get in ahead of the curve you could be in for a few more decent returns leading up to the World Cup break.

MID: Emiliano Buendia

Team: Aston Villa

Opponent: Newcastle (away)

Rostered: 55%

Points Last Gameweek: 8.5

Projected GW14 Points: 8.4

Prospects: With Steven Gerrard getting the sack and Unai Emery now in the managerial role at Aston Villa, there's the possibility for some of the players who had been on the fringes under the previous manager to make a case for their inclusion moving forward. Buendia is one of those players who struggled for consistent game time under Stevie G, but any manager who has been around for a handful of seasons will remember the potential Emi has to be a set-and-forget player in your fantasy team. Villa's record signing was immediately recalled by caretaker manager Aaron Danks for the bounceback win over Brentford last weekend and while he wasn't involved in any of the goals, he came through with a respectable 8.5 points. It will be interesting to monitor whether he nails down a starting role for Emery, but you have to imagine the new boss will be hesitant to make too many adjustments in his first match in charge after the resounding 4-0 victory, so I am anticipating another start for Buendia to showcase why Aston Villa were so eager to sign him.

MID: Casemiro

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: West Ham (home)

Rostered: 53%

Points Last Gameweek: 14

Projected GW14 Points: 8.7

Prospects: It took a bit of time for the former Real Madrid man to get settled in Manchester, but Casemiro has been going a bit under the radar with some decent fantasy performances recently, even before his dramatic late equalizer against Chelsea in GW13. The Brazilian looks to be establishing himself as a regular starter under Erik ten Hag, and now that he's learned what's expected of him in this system he's been creating chances for his teammates in addition to his defensive contributions. I can see Casemiro becoming a similar fantasy asset to his opposite number this week, Declan Rice. He's rarely going to win you your match, but will have a solid floor of points with the potential for the occasional double-digit haul.

MID: Jordan Henderson

Team: Liverpool

Opponent: Leeds (home)

Rostered: 25%

Points Last Gameweek: 0

Projected GW14 Points: 8.9

Prospects: Liverpool's away struggles have been well-documented this season, but they have still been solid at Anfield. The high-intensity pressing style employed by Leeds may see Klopp continue with his captain Henderson to shore up the midfield and allow Trent Alexander-Arnold to join the attack more freely. Hendo has rarely been an attractive option for fantasy purposes, but in more free-flowing matches against teams like Leeds (who allow 10.4 fantasy points per 90 against midfielders) he does tend to pop up with some counting stats for defensive and attacking contributions. Keep an eye on late team news here, as Henderson picked up a knock in the Champions League match against Ajax in midweek. If it looks like he'll be out, Curtis Jones would be a good player to pivot to if he's available in your league.

MID: Matheus Nunes

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Brentford (away)

Rostered: 42%

Points Last Gameweek: 8

Projected GW14 Points: 8.7

Prospects: Wolverhampton's club-record signing Nunes is one of those players who consistently passes the proverbial "eye test" as a player who can be a difference-maker for his team, and I'd hate to imagine where Wolves would be without him. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, he hasn't proven to be the most exciting player to roster as yet. Now that there's at least some medium-term certainty around who will be in the managerial hot seat, Nunes and the rest of the Wolves squad can hopefully establish some semblance of consistency to drag them out of the relegation scrap. The former Sporting Lisbon midfielder has shown signs of fantasy promise in the most recent two matches, racking up 5.5 and 8 points in 57 and 65 minutes, respectively. If he can return to playing the full 90 as he did earlier in the season, we could see his numbers creep closer to double digits. He has the quality to dominate the midfield against Brentford and reward those who place their faith in him this week.

FWD: Danny Ings

Team: Aston Villa

Opponent: Newcastle (away)

Rostered: 39%

Points Last Gameweek: 28.5

Projected GW14 Points: 8.0

Prospects: I can't tell you how many times I've said "never again" to Ings after bringing him into my fantasy team on the back of a strong performance, only for him to score less than 5 points. I'm a bit more optimistic for his prospects, not only this week, but longer term, now that Unai Emery has arrived in the midlands. The former Southampton and Liverpool striker is well-suited to Emery's system, which could see Ollie Watkins shifted into the wide role he played in his first season at Villa. I don't expect Ings to repeat his massive GW13 score against a very strong Newcastle defense, but think Ings is worth starting this week if needed with an eye to him being a potential long-term option for managers looking for an extra forward from a shallow pool.

FWD: Willian

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Everton (home)

Rostered: 37%

Points Last Gameweek: 19

Projected GW14 Points: 11.2

Prospects: Speaking of the shallow forward pool, I'm keeping the faith with Willian following another excellent performance in Gameweek 13. The Brazilian's rostership numbers have begun to creep up, but the fact that he remains on under 40% of teams is an indication of the healthy dose of skepticism fantasy managers carry with them when deciding whether to pick him up. Many of us still remember the pain of his drop-off after an incredible start to his time at Arsenal. That said, Willian has made the most of Fulham's kind schedule over the past month, delivering three 15+ scores in four matches. The home fixture against Everton is likely the last time you'll want to start him before the World Cup break, as Fulham face both Manchester clubs in weeks 15 and 16, so get in while you can and consider trading out on a high if he comes through with another strong performance. If not, Fulham's fixtures look good heading into the new year.

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 have some question marks around their starting status this week. If any of these guys does get a start for their team, snap them up and plug them into your starting eleven!

  • Kieran Tierney, Defender, Arsenal. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

  • Kostas Tsimikas, Defender, Liverpool. Opponent: Leeds United

  • Lucas Moura, Midfielder, Tottenham. Opponent: Bournemouth

  • Hakim Ziyech, Midfielder, Chelsea. Opponent: Brighton

  • Eddie Nketiah, Forward, Arsenal. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

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