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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 17 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 17 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 17 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 an enthralling month of World Cup action without any fantasy commitments from yours truly, it's great to be back writing about the Draft Premier League game. As our newly retired friend Draft Genie mentioned in his farewell address, we're essentially at the beginning of a brand new season as we head into Gameweek 17. Premier League clubs and fantasy managers alike will be approaching the return to action with a fresh set of eyes and, ideally, some adjusted tactics for how to make the most of the rest of the campaign.

Especially over the festive period, we can expect to see some unfamiliar faces breaking into starting lineups while their teammates recover from their World Cup exploits or as new managers experiment to find their best eleven. If you have a roster spot or two available to stream over the next three gameweeks, you'll want to jump on some of these options to boost your chances of returning in winning form.

GK: Fraser Forster

Team: Tottenham Hotspur

Opponent: Brentford (away)

Rostered: 1%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Prospects: One of many names poised to get a rare run in the starting lineup is Fraser Forster. The former Southampton stopper arrived at Spurs over the summer but hasn't seen action in the Premier League since signing. With Hugo Lloris on holiday, he'll have the chance to showcase why his new club was eager to bring him in. Forster has historically been a boom or bust type of keeper, but I like his chances of putting up respectable scores for the next few matches if you're looking for a stand-in keeper.

DEF: Matt Doherty

Team: Tottenham Hotspur

Opponent: Brentford (away)

Rostered: 38%

Points Last Gameweek: 1.25

Projected GW17 Points: 7.9

Prospects: In addition to Lloris, Spurs will also have to contend with a bit of time without Ivan Perisic. Matt Doherty is capable of deputizing as a wingback on either flank, and had just begun to work his way into Antonio Conte's plans prior to the hiatus. We've yet to see the Irish defender hit the heights at Tottenham that made him a fantasy legend at Wolves but we know the upside is there, particularly in a Conte wingback system. He'll be eager to prove he's the man for the job long-term, more likely at the expense of Emerson Royal on the right rather than Perisic on the left.

DEF: Pervis Estupinan

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 52%

Points Last Gameweek: 0.5

Projected GW17 Points: 10.2

Prospects: Some players made an even stronger case for their inclusion in their respective managers' plans with their World Cup performances, and Pervis Estupinan is no exception. The Brighton fullback was in imperious form for Ecuador in Qatar, helping fantasy managers who placed faith in him feel a bit better about his prospects after an inconsistent start with Brighton. His relatively low rostership likely accounts for some managers losing patience. Now is a good time to capitalize on that if he's available in your league, as he could be in line for an extended run in the team for the second half of the season. Brighton head to Southampton to take on an unknown quantity in Nathan Jones' Saints side, but should have the quality to earn a result and kick on toward a top-half finish.

DEF: Harry Maguire

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (home)

Rostered: 20%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW17 Points: 8.0

Prospects: Another player who redeemed some faith with his performances in the Middle East is Harry Maguire. The Manchester United center back performed very well for Gareth Southgate's England squad, but that may not be enough for him to earn back a long-term starting spot for Erik Ten Hag over Varane or Martinez. But in the short term, he should get the nod given that both Varane & Martinez have a few weeks off after appearing in the World Cup final. A word of caution, though - Maguire apparently fell ill ahead of the Carabao Cup match earlier this week and was left out. It's worth taking the risk to bring him into your team on the chance he recovers, but make sure you have a backup plan.

DEF: Kieran Tierney

Team: Arsenal

Opponent: West Ham (home)

Rostered: 37%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW17 Points: 7.3

Prospects: The Gunners have had huge troubles keeping their left backs fit in the past few seasons, and the addition of Oleksandr Zinchenko over the summer hasn't alleviated the issue. In fact, the Ukrainian is set to remain sidelined for Boxing Day at least, which should afford Kieran Tierney an opportunity to reestablish himself in the side. The Scotsman has had to contend with some injury layoffs of his own, but the World Cup break will have been a boon for his fitness. Arsenal's upcoming fixtures aren't great for defenders, but the match against an anemic West Ham attack this week should offer some hope of a dominant performance for Tierney.

MID: Adam Lallana

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 17%

Points Last Gameweek: -0.5

Projected GW17 Points: 8.4

Prospects: The midfield landscape this week is pretty barren for players who I feel confident of earning a start, and I'm not even 100% sure Adam Lallana will get the call from the start against Southampton. Alexis Mac Allister's confirmed absence will leave a space in the engine room and Lallana has been a fairly regular selection under Roberto De Zerbi, but there are other players on the fringes making a case for selection (see Estupinan above and the next choice below). I think RDZ can solve the selection puzzle and play all three of my Brighton selections in the same team, but there are definitely risks involved. Still, I like how Lallana's comfort in possession dovetails with his manager's tactics and I wouldn't be afraid to take a punt on him finding form against his former employers.

MID: Kaoru Mitoma

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 47%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW17 Points: 11.3

Prospects: A new fantasy favorite in the #DraftPL community, Kaoru Mitoma announced himself on the world stage with some brilliant cameos for Japan at the World Cup. The wingback/winger started to work his way into the starting lineup for the Seagulls in October and November and quickly proved his worth with his excellent vision, passing range and work rate. We at TDS have high hopes for Mitoma to establish himself as a regular starter and be a breakout fantasy star for the rest of the season, but his ability to affect games as an impact sub may see him face a bit more rotation than we'd like. If he's still available in your league, though, please don't sleep on him as one of the best low-rostered players available in the entire Premier League.

MID: Harrison Reed

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Crystal Palace (away)

Rostered: 29%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW17 Points: 7.2

Prospects: As discussed, the pool of midfielders that are projected to start and score well is less than thrilling with all of the uncertainty. As that's the case, I'm doing a bit of forward planning with my selection of Harrison Reed. Fulham are set to have a double gameweek in Week 19, so getting a jump on your league mates and bringing in a player or two who have an extra match could stand you in good stead for the next couple weeks. That said, there are only a few players from Marco Silva's side worth rostering in the interim. Reed has gone a bit under the radar as a fantasy asset, but has delivered scores of 22, 14, 9 and 7.5 prior to the 1-pointer against Man City in his last match. A trip to Crystal Palace should be at least marginally more fruitful for fantasy purposes.

FWD: Patson Daka

Team: Leicester City

Opponent: Newcastle (home)

Rostered: 54%

Points Last Gameweek: 9.5

Projected GW17 Points: 8.3

Prospects: Given the dearth of midfield options, I'm begrudgingly going for a full complement of forwards this week. That means backing Patson Daka for a premium performance against one of the league's best defensive units in Newcastle, but the sleepers game calls for placing your bets somewhere and this is where I've landed. Daka has yet to live up to his massive potential and yet to convince Brendan Rodgers that he's the man to lead the line ahead of an aging Jamie Vardy. But I have high hopes for him to cement that role across the rest of the campaign. A strong performance against the Geordies will do his chances no harm.

FWD: Goncalo Guedes

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Everton (away)

Rostered: 24%

Points Last Gameweek: 6.5

Projected GW17 Points: 7.8

Prospects: Another forward who has yet to come good on the promise of his form at his previous club is Goncalo Guedes. The former Valencia man was a strong fantasy asset in La Liga, but hasn't put up particularly impressive numbers in the Premier League, despite passing the proverbial eye test. He will hope for an upturn in fortunes under new boss Julen Lopetegui, who will be desperate to get his Wolves side back to scoring goals. Confirmation of some new blood in the attacking positions, coupled with a return to fitness for Raul Jimenez and eventually Pedro Neto means Guedes will need to perform well in the near term if he's going to nail down a starting role under his new manager. I like his chances of getting off on the right foot against Everton.

FWD: Eddie Nketiah

Team: Arsenal

Opponent: West Ham (home)

Rostered: 18%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW17 Points: 12.0

Prospects: Sometimes the obvious selection has to be made, and even though he's likely been included in every fantasy recommendation article out there this week, I've got to include Eddie Nketiah. The unfortunate injury to Gabriel Jesus has opened the door for the striker to break into a very settled team and remind his manager and fans of his talent. While he may not have quite as exquisite a skillset as his stricken teammate, Nketiah has proven in the past that he's a more than able deputy and fantasy performer. Given Arsenal's excellent form to begin the season and the talent around him, the striker should do quite well for himself not only this week but across the expanse of time when Jesus is recovering. He's very likely already been picked up if you're in a competitive league, but on the off-chance he's still on the wire, make a mad dash. Otherwise, start thinking about how you might convince the manager to make a trade, as the next few months could prove crucial to your team's prospects at the business end of the season.

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!

  • Cesar Azpilicueta, Defender, Chelsea. Opponent: Bournemouth

  • Matt Targett, Defender, Newcastle. Opponent: Leicester City

  • Alejandro Garnacho, Midfielder, Man United. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

  • Christian Pulisic, Midfielder, Chelsea. Opponent: Bournemouth

  • Adama Traore, Forward, Wolves. Opponent: Everton

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