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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 19 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 19 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 19 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.

A quick look back at the Sleepers XI from GW18 shows a continuation of the upward trend in weekly averages since the World Cup, with Brentford duo Ethan Pinnock and Christian Norgaard leading the way to a 75 point haul. That brings our season tally to just shy of 1400 points and is not too far away from the weekly average of 82. Hopefully the positive points trend can continue again this week.

The new year begins with a run of five consecutive days of Premier League fixtures, with Gameweek 19 beginning the day after the conclusion of Gameweek 18. With such a quick turnaround, predicting how the managers will set up their squads will be a challenge, but I'll call out which players I'm feeling a little less than confident about than others. I've made my selections this week before the weekly projections were in, so we'll see how following my intuition compares to weeks when I can make more data-driven decisions. Take special note of the Reserves this week, as I expect many of them will earn starts.

Another subplot to factor into your thinking this week is that it's a double gameweek for Fulham (against Leicester & Chelsea) and Chelsea (against Man City & Fulham), with the two London sides facing off a week from Thursday to close out an extended game week. Neither DGW team looks particularly enticing, but Fulham have quite a few players that qualify for selection in the Sleepers squad and look likely to start both games. That's not the case for Chelsea, as even last gameweek's selections in Kepa and Azpilicueta have surpassed the 60% rostership threshold that prevents them from inclusion in the team for a second week running. Considering they face Man City in one of their matches, though, maybe that's for the best.

Alright, you don't have much time to get your team together before the deadline. Let's get to the picks:

GK: Bernd Leno

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Leicester (away), Chelsea (home)

Rostered: 51%

Points Last Gameweek: 3.5

Prospects: I'm featuring a Fulham player in each position this week given their additional chance at putting points on the board. There's more risk in that approach for goalkeepers and defenders given they can rack up the negative points for conceding goals, but even in a single week Bernd Leno would be in contention here. The German has been an excellent fantasy asset for the Cottagers since joining from Arsenal in the summer. In fact, he's yet to post a negative score despite conceding 25 goals in the matches he's played. That bodes well for racking up the points, even if Fulham fails to keep a clean sheet against either of their opponents.

DEF: Liam Cooper

Team: Leeds United

Opponent: West Ham (home)

Rostered: 24%

Points Last Gameweek: 17.5

Projected GW19 Points: 7.4

Prospects: I roster Liam Cooper in all three of my leagues and left him on the bench for the match against Newcastle over the weekend. A clean sheet and an impressive ghost point haul staring at me in the reserves was a painful reminder of why I brought the Leeds captain into my teams in the first place. On the heels of the much improved defensive display against the Magpies, Jesse Marsch's men host a Hammers side in disarray to begin a favorable run of fixtures through January. Injuries and poor form have seen Cooper's rostership numbers steadily declining since draft day, but this could be the beginning of a series of scores more in keeping with his fantasy favorite status from last year.

DEF: Wout Faes

Team: Leicester City

Opponent: Fulham (home)

Rostered: 47%

Points Last Gameweek: -7.75

Projected GW19 Points: 5.9

Prospects: You have to feel for Wout Faes following the loss to Liverpool. The Belgian joins a club of seriously unlucky players to have conceded two own goals in the same Premier League match. Aside from the desperately unfortunate set of circumstances that gave Liverpool their victory, Faes has been one of Leicester's best performers this season and his fantasy scores have been more than decent. Some managers may have jumped ship following the deeply negative score last time out, but it's very unlikely that the center back will face a similar fate any time soon, if ever. Faes is strong in the air, which will likely see him matched up against Aleksandar Mitrovic. Aerial duels have been the best way for CBs to rack up ghost points this season. I'd bet on him setting things right this time around.

DEF: Mohammed Salisu

Team: Southampton

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (home)

Rostered: 21%

Points Last Gameweek: 2

Projected GW19 Points: 8.0

Prospects: The Saints are still propping up the rest of the Premier League after a disappointing loss to Fulham in GW18, but they are at least beginning to show some signs of improvement under the tutelage of Nathan Jones. Mohammed Salisu and Armel Bella Kotchap have the potential to be one of the better central defensive pairings in the league if given enough time to develop their partnership. I'm recommending the Ghanaian here over his German teammate because of his stronger proof of performance, but either of them could be solid options against a Nottingham Forest side that has been far less successful on their travels than at home this season. Salisu's ghost points per start are down from last season (8.2 this season vs. 10.2 in 21/22), but even in their current state that's a good foundation to build from, particularly if he and his teammates can stem the flow of goals going into Gavin Bazunu's net.

DEF: Kenny Tete

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Leicester (away), Chelsea (home)

Rostered: 53%

Points Last Gameweek: 12

Projected GW19 Points: 11.4

Prospects: I included Kenny Tete in my picks for GW18 and he didn't disappoint, contributing 12 points through a late assist to Joao Palhinha for the match winning goal against Southampton. The Dutch fullback keeps his place here for the double gameweek largely due to his attacking contributions. I'm not a huge fan of playing any other Fulham defenders this week, as both of their opponents have the potential to put a few goals past them on the way to a dreaded double negative score. While Tete has had some injury issues this season, I believe the length of time between matches (9 days) should mean he'll start both. As I mentioned last week, however, Fulham are reportedly closing in on a move for Cedric Soares from Arsenal, which could be secured well in advance of the second game of the gameweek. It's unlikely, but worth mentioning that Tete could face rotation for the contest with Chelsea.

MID: Emiliano Buendia

Team: Aston Villa

Opponent: Wolves (home)

Rostered: 59%

Points Last Gameweek: 18

Projected GW19 Points: 9.8

Prospects: Unai Emery and his charges at Aston Villa will be in a bouyant mood following their comprehensive 2-0 victory over Tottenham on Sunday, and will look to carry that momentum into their match against Wolves. Emi Buendia was at the heart of Villa's attacking display and appears to have earned the trust of his new manager. The Argentine spent much of the early part of the campaign behind Philippe Coutinho in the pecking order, perhaps contributing to his low rostership. Many managers in active leagues will have already scooped up the attacking midfielder, but in the event he is still available in your league he should be near the top of your priority list to add to your roster.

MID: Joao Palhinha

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Leicester (away), Chelsea (home)

Rostered: 39%

Points Last Gameweek: 20

Projected GW19 Points: 14.6

Prospects: This pick hopefully won't feel like chasing points or jumping on the bandwagon a week too late. Joao Palhinha was in my plans for this double gameweek before he scored the dramatic winner last time out, I promise. That said, I wasn't thinking he'd be a player that would provide managers with too high of a ceiling for points, but rather that he fell into the category of Steady-Eddie type CDMs with a solid floor that can add up to a double digit tally over the course of two matches. It would be fantastic if he could add another goal contribution in GW19, but temper your expectations and hope for a score that's at least marginally better than a player with only a single fixture would manage. 10-15 points should be viewed as a win.

MID: Ayoze Perez

Team: Leicester City

Opponent: Fulham (home)

Rostered: 2%

Points Last Gameweek: 8.5

Projected GW19 Points: 7.5

Prospects: With only two teams having a double gameweek, you may need to find some single game players to fill some gaps in your roster this week as well. Ayoze Perez may be an unlikely candidate to boost your fantasy output this week. The Spaniard has rarely started under Brendan Rodgers, but has put in a couple decent displays since the restart. With James Maddison out injured for an unspecified amount of time, Perez could be a good short-to-medium term option for your team, particularly since he is likely to share set piece duties. Leicester's poor fixtures after GW20 may mean Perez is more of a short-term play, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option less than 25% rostered.

MID: Crysencio Summerville

Team: Leeds United

Opponent: West Ham (home)

Rostered: 46%

Points Last Gameweek: 0

Projected GW19 Points: 9.3

Prospects: We thought we might be looking at a new fantasy darling in Crysencio Summerville after he scored 4 goals in 4 games leading up to the World Cup, but an injury has meant we've had to wait for his comeback. The diminutive winger made his EPL return as a substitute in the 0-0 draw against Newcastle in GW18, with an uneventful 20 minute cameo. A few additional days to recuperate will hopefully see him recalled to the starting eleven for the winnable home match against West Ham. Summerville is an interesting player, as we don't really know what his floor looks like without a goal contribution. He's a bit of a risk to start and a bit of a risk to bust without a goal, but those are sometimes risks worth taking for the upside he can deliver. Try to find some cover for him if you can in case he's on the bench again.

FWD: Bobby De Cordova-Reid

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Leicester (away), Chelsea (home)

Rostered: 53%

Points Last Gameweek: 3

Projected GW19 Points: 13.0

Prospects: I have to admit I didn't see Bobby De Cordova-Reid becoming a mainstay in Marco Silva's starting lineup, but the Jamaican's versatility has made him a favorite of his manager's. BDCR has kept Harry Wilson out of the side even as the Welsh winger has returned to full fitness, and I expect that to continue to be the case until he gives the boss a reason to make a change. Low-rostered forwards are already hard to come by, so finding one with a double gameweek is an added bonus. Leicester are quite accommodating to opposition forwards and we've just seen Chelsea struggle to keep Nottingham Forest at bay. Push the buy button.

FWD: Brennan Johnson

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 45%

Points Last Gameweek: 9

Projected GW19 Points: 6.1

Prospects: Similar to their opponents, Nottingham Forest will be desperate for a result in GW19 to push them in the right direction toward Premier League survival. The comeback draw against Chelsea will give Steve Cooper's side a boost, as will the excellent performance from Brennan Johnson on Sunday. The wide man put in one of his best displays of the season against the Blues, causing Marc Cucurella all kinds of problems on the right flank. Johnson was one of Forest's best players in their promotion campaign, scoring 18 goals and assisting a further 10 in the Championship last season. If he can rediscover his goal-scoring form to add to his improved ghost point production from GW18, he'll be a force to be reckoned with. Southampton could present a good opportunity for him to play into his best form.

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!

  • Kostas Tsimikas, Defender, Liverpool. Opponent: Brentford

  • Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Defender, Man United. Opponent: Bournemouth

  • Stuart Armstrong, Midfielder, Southampton. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

  • Danny Ings, Forward, Aston Villa. Opponent: Wolves

  • Adama Traore, Forward, Wolves. Opponent: Aston Villa

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