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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 21 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 21 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 21 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.


The fixtures keep on coming with less than 48 hours separating the end of GW20 from the beginning of GW21. Before we focus on what's ahead, let's take a brief look back at the Sleepers XI for the week that just concluded. It was mostly the players with only one fixture who helped the squad break the 100-point mark for a second week running. The 120.25 points scored brings our season tally to 1637.5 and bumps our weekly average up to 86.25.


We're back to a standard single game week in Week 21, which should level the playing field a bit for those of you who may not have been able to capitalize on the DGW performances over the last two weeks. There are still quite a few fixtures that need to be rescheduled, however, so don't expect the standard weeks to stick around. In fact, in addition to the confirmed DGW for Arsenal and Man City in GW23, there could be a DGW for Man United and at least one other team in GW22. Keep an eye on the fixture calendar for confirmation and review our Fixture Difficulty Tracker (an Inner Circle exclusive) to start looking ahead and potential under-the-radar targets in the coming weeks.


Back to the task at hand, though, let's look at some players who could help seal a victory for you this week.


GK: Wayne Hennessey

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Bournemouth (away)

Rostered: 1%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Prospects: I'll be the first to admit that the prospect of Nottingham Forest without Dean Henderson is not a welcome sight. The Man United loanee has been imperious between the posts for the club this season, and a critical factor in their recent run of good form. However, it's not all doom and gloom given the 4-6 week injury Deano faces. Wayne Hennessey has only appeared once for Forest in the EPL this season, filling in for the ineligible #1 when they faced his parent club at the end of December. United were comfortable 3-0 winners, but the veteran keeper still managed 4.25 points on the back of 5 saves. Bournemouth may not get as many chances at goal, so there's a possibility of the one shot faced, one goal conceded nightmare scenario, but I'm feeling confident in Forest continuing their hot streak with another solid performance here. At only 1% rostered, Hennessey is a near guarantee to be available in your league if you're in need (perhaps as a Henderson rosterer?).


DEF: Alex Moreno

Team: Aston Villa

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 9%

Points Last Gameweek: 4.25

Projected GW21 Points: 8.5

Prospects: Unai Emery has reportedly not been impressed by Lucas Digne and moved quickly to bring in Alex Moreno from Real Betis. The 29 year-old Spaniard was called into action a bit sooner than planned following a shoulder injury to Digne in the opening minutes of their GW20 contest with Leeds, and it was immediately clear why the manager was keen on signing him. Unlike Digne, who has often relied on his delivery into the box from wide areas to make an impact, the Spaniard was much more advanced with his runs and got into the penalty area on numerous occasions. With Digne still set to be sidelined this weekend, Moreno has another chance to impress and stake a claim on the starting berth for the rest of the season. His attacking involvement coupled with a struggling Southampton attack leads me to believe he'll put up a respectable score in his first start.


DEF: Luke Ayling

Team: Leeds United

Opponent: Brentford (home)

Rostered: 4%

Points Last Gameweek: 7

Projected GW21 Points: 8.8

Prospects: While he was unavailable in the early part of this campaign through injury, many EPL fans and fantasy managers (myself included) assumed the signing of Rasmus Kristensen would effectively relegate Luke Ayling to an understudy role at Leeds, particularly with Jesse Marsch having managed the big Dane during his time at RB Salzburg. The veteran fullback has had to be patient, but has recently leapfrogged Kristensen in the pecking order for Premier League matches. Ayling's positive displays in real life have mirrored his fantasy output. Even with Leeds conceding twice in each of their last two matches, the defender has put up scores of 7 and 7.5 points. Brentford have been in impressive scoring form of late, but Ayling's ghost point contributions mean he's a viable and likely available option to call on.


DEF: Vladimir Coufal

Team: West Ham

Opponent: Everton (home)

Rostered: 27%

Points Last Gameweek: 8

Projected GW21 Points: 8.3

Prospects: I can't remember the last time I recommended a West Ham defender. With good reason, I might add. The Hammers are slumping under the weight of David Moyes' stagnant tactics and misplaced loyalties, and they haven't kept a league clean sheet since October 24. With the manager reportedly on The Last Straw (h/t KPC), will his side rally behind him and produce a win over fellow strugglers Everton? I don't have too much faith in that happening, but still see Vladimir Coufal as an unlikely candidate to help you keep your fantasy team afloat. The Czech fullback has been in and out of the first team this season, but his recent run of fixtures has at least restored some faith in him as a viable fantasy asset (anyone remember when he was set-and-forget a few seasons back?). Similar to Ayling, Coufal has been providing enough ghost points to offset the goals his team has conceded in the past few matches. Fortune favors the bold, and this pick is about as bold as they come.


DEF: Pervis Estupinan

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Leicester City (away)

Rostered: 37%

Points Last Gameweek: 11

Projected GW21 Points: 9.6

Prospects: Boy do Brighton look good with Roberto De Zerbi at the helm. The Seagulls are flying high as the in-form team in the Premier League at the moment, and with the news that apparently toxic dressing room presence Leandro Trossard is on his way to Arsenal, there's one fewer player available to compete with Pervis Estupinan for the left back role. The Ecuadorian came into the league with high expectations, but found it difficult to establish himself. He's been a regular starter since RDZ arrived, however. That said, he still hasn't quite been the fantasy stud many managers were hoping for. Maybe that has more to do with this season's defender underperformance than anything else, but he is projected to score well this week as Brighton look to follow up their GW20 result with another win against Leicester.


MID: Conor Gallagher

Team: Chelsea

Opponent: Liverpool (away)

Rostered: 55%

Points Last Gameweek: 16

Projected GW21 Points: 10.7

Prospects: Who will start in the attacking positions at Chelsea after their quest to sign every available winger on the market is anyone's guess, but I'm feeling slightly more confident of another midfield start for Conor Gallagher after a positive showing versus Crystal Palace. That said, the start against his former club was his first since before the World Cup. Graham Potter is obviously still working on getting his players up to speed on his system and hasn't settled on his preferred lineup (injuries and suspensions certainly aren't helping him), but a crucial victory may see the manager stick with a winning formula for the mid-table 6-pointer against Liverpool. Gallagher is one of the players who takes set pieces when he's in the lineup ahead of regular takers like Mason Mount, so could capitalize on those dead ball opportunities to deliver another good score (particularly if Ziyech is supplanted at right wing).


MID: Gustavo Scarpa

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Bournemouth (away)

Rostered: 13%

Points Last Gameweek: 4.5

Projected GW21 Points: 6.8

Prospects: Ask any of my TDS colleagues and they'll tell you I'm a Gustavo Scarpa fanboy. I really enjoyed learning about his background and interests (including skateboarding, guitar playing and Rubik's cube solving) in this excellent piece on him from The Athletic. That, coupled with some rumors that the Brazilian was a set-piece specialist, got me excited about the prospect of Forest finding a "big fish in a small pond" type player for fantasy purposes. That expectation hasn't materialized (at least not yet), with Morgan Gibbs-White retaining his near monopoly on set pieces, but there are plenty of points on offer in this Forest side and I think we'll see Scarpa grow into his role behind MGW and Brennan Johnson. Even that may be in danger of changing with the loan signing of Chris Wood, but for this week I'm backing my boy to come through on the fantasy front.


MID: Jacob Ramsey

Team: Aston Villa

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 49%

Points Last Gameweek: 8

Projected GW21 Points: 7.5

Prospects: I mentioned in my recommendation for Douglas Luiz last week that Jacob Ramsey could be another good streaming option if he was in the starting lineup against Leeds. That came to bear, and the youngster delivered a solid 8-pointer in his first match back from injury. I like his chances to equal or better that score this week against a Saints side that allows 9.5 points on average to opposition midfielders. Ramsey has shown he has goals in his locker and offers plenty of upside, but can be a bit boom-or-bust.


FWD: Evan Ferguson

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Leicester City (away)

Rostered: 39%

Points Last Gameweek: 13

Projected GW21 Points: 11.8

Prospects: Similar to Kaoru Mitoma earlier in the season, we're witnessing another Brighton breakout with Evan Ferguson's meteoric rise from complete unknown to starting striker for one of the Premier League's most exciting teams. Now, with the imminent departure of Leandro Trossard, Ferguson seems to have established himself as first choice for Roberto De Zerbi. Our friend Gordon at Overthinking Football wrote an excellent, in-depth assessment of Ferguson's prospects that's well worth your time--after you put in your waiver claim to bring him into your team.


FWD: Wilfried Gnonto

Team: Leeds United

Opponent: Brentford (home)

Rostered: 25%

Points Last Gameweek: 6

Projected GW21 Points: 9.4

Prospects: I'm sticking with Wilfried Gnonto for a second consecutive week, somewhat out of a sense of perceived injustice after Joe Gelhardt stole his assist by getting a shoelace on the Italian's through ball to Patrick Bamford. The teenager is already a full Italian international, and has showcased why with his recent performances. He added a brace in the FA Cup in midweek (don't miss this potential Puskas candidate) to make Jesse Marsch's selection headache even more difficult. I expect him to earn another start this week while Luis Sinisterra and Crysencio Summerville work themselves back to fitness and new signing Georginio Rutter gets up to speed. It's getting crowded up top for Leeds, though, so be sure to keep an eye on team news.


FWD: Brennan Johnson

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Bournemouth (away)

Rostered: 53%

Points Last Gameweek: 26.5

Projected GW21 Points: 8.5

Prospects: I originally planned on including Danny Ings as my third forward this week, but with the news of his imminent move to West Ham (and, to a lesser extent, reports of a return to fitness for Ollie Watkins), I've opted to draft Brennan Johnson back into the Sleepers Squad. Lest you think this is a classic example of points-chasing after his monster score last week, I hinted at an uptick in form for BJ back in Gameweek 19: "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." The youngster has made the most of his chances in a two-man front line with Morgan Gibbs-White, and will be eager to continue his excellent form again in that role in the absence of Taiwo Awoniyi.



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!

  • Rico Lewis, Defender, Manchester City. Opponent: Wolves

  • Kurt Zouma, Defender, West Ham. Opponent: Everton

  • Siriki Dembele, Midfielder, Bournemouth. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

  • Naby Keita, Midfielder, Liverpool. Opponent: Chelsea

  • Patrick Bamford, Forward, Leeds. Opponent: Brentford


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