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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 22 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 22 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 22 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.

With the festive period and makeup fixtures, it felt like we went through nearly a month of non-stop Premier League action, so the two week break between Gameweeks 21 and 22, while a welcome one, has felt like an eternity. Looking back to gameweek 21, the Sleepers squad put up a third consecutive triple-digit score, delivering 116 points to take the season tally to 1753.5, or roughly 87.75 points per week. Not bad for a rag-tag group of low-rostered & unpolished gems.

Gameweek 22 presents another decent chance at breaking that 100-point barrier, as there is a double gameweek on offer for players from Leeds United and Manchester United. The lack of low-rostered starters on United and the recent return to fitness of attacking talent at Leeds means there may not be as many options available from the DGW players to rely on to start two matches as you might like, however. Let's hope the single gamers can come through for you as well.

GK: Robert Sanchez

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Bournemouth (home)

Rostered: 54%

Points Last Gameweek: -3.75

Prospects: As goalkeeper projections aren't yet part of our offerings, I'm left to make a call based somewhat on past performance and mostly on intuition. As you can see from his score last gameweek, Sanchez isn't a keeper in the same conversation with set-and-forget stalwarts like David Raya and Nick Pope, but we know from last season that he's capable of putting together a run of scores worthy of earning a long-term roster spot. Brighton under Roberto De Zerbi has been much more of an attack-focused side, which has seen Sanchez and his defensive teammates fall more into streaming territory. The good news is that the Seagulls face Bournemouth at home this week, which represents a good opportunity for the Spanish keeper to get back on the right track. If you're wondering why I haven't gone for Illan Meslier, it's because he's in my Starts XI in the Start/Sit article on Fantrax HQ.

DEF: Luke Ayling

Team: Leeds

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (away) / Man United (away)

Rostered: 11%

Points Last Gameweek: 18.75

Projected GW22 Points: 12.6

Prospects: One of a couple carryovers from last week, Ayling is a hot commodity since re-establishing himself as Jesse Marsch's right back of choice. The double gameweek is an opportunity for the veteran to build upon his impressive scores of late, but as you'll see from his projected score, there's a bit of a risk that the match against United eats into any points he puts up against Forest. Add to that a potential shift to center back in the first match to cover for the suspended Robin Koch and Ayling may not be in contention for the highest score this week, but is still putting up the type of ghost point performances that make him a worthwhile choice if you're looking for another defender to bring in to your squad. I'm guessing the rostership numbers haven't been updated since the end of last gameweek, as 11% feels criminally low.

DEF: Benoit Badiashile

Team: Chelsea

Opponent: Fulham (home)

Rostered: 51%

Points Last Gameweek: 16.5

Projected GW22 Points: 10.2

Prospects: Given everything that's taken place over the past week, it's crazy to think that Badiashile arrived as a January transfer. The French center back hasn't put a foot wrong in his two starts so far and there shouldn't be any reason why he wouldn't retain his spot. Chelsea have historically struggled against Fulham, and are actually behind them in the table at the moment, but the early evidence suggests Badiashile will be a ghost point magnet and be able to survive the loss of a clean sheet without losing all of his value.

DEF: Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Team: Man United

Opponent: Crystal Palace (home) / Leeds (home)

Rostered: 56%

Points Last Gameweek: 4.5

Projected GW22 Points: 22.3

Prospects: The AWB revival has been as impressive as it is surprising. With Diogo Dalot's mystery injury still keeping him out of the squad through the midweek Carabao Cup match, Erik ten Hag has little choice other than to continue playing Wan-Bissaka at right back. Dalot could still make a return, but the fact that he wasn't even on the bench against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday suggests he's still a ways off from being ready to start. Most leagues with active managers will have already seen Wan-Bissaka snapped up, but on the off-chance he's still hanging out in your Free Agent pool (or on waivers if someone was overly excited about a January transfer), get your claim in ASAP.

DEF: Maximilian Wober

Team: Leeds

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (away) / Man United (away)

Rostered: 4%

Points Last Gameweek: 11

Projected GW22 Points: 8.4

Prospects: If Ayling isn't around in your league, you could certainly do worse than to draft in new recruit Wober. The versatile Austrian is capable of playing at CB, LB and even CDM, but Jesse Marsch has praised his ball-playing ability and intelligence as a center back, so I expect him to start there more often than not. Wober looks like he'll be more of the ball-winning, front-foot CB as opposed to the deeper-lying, aerially-dominant member of the CB pairing, but he does have the all-around ability to combine aspects of both to deliver those precious aerial duel wins in addition to tackles and interceptions. That should be a recipe for success.

MID: Danilo

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Leeds (home)

Rostered: 5%

Points Last Gameweek: 5.5

Projected GW22 Points: 7.6

Prospects: Sadly, it's not looking like my admiration for Gustavo Scarpa as a player and human being is going to translate into fantasy viability, even if he is on set pieces in the absence of Morgan Gibbs-White. However, his former Palmeiras teammate Danilo may be a decent pick for your fantasy team. The Brazilian put up an impressive 5.5 points in 45 minutes of action on his Premier League debut and nearly scored an excellent goal against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup in a substitute cameo on Wednesday. It remains to be seen how Forest fare without the influence of MGW, but Danilo should be a steadying influence in central midfield with the fitness and ability to join in on attacking sequences from time to time. Leeds are allowing the fourth most points on average to opposition midfielders as well, which adds to the case to take a punt.

MID: Marc Roca

Team: Leeds

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (away) / Man United (away)

Rostered: 18%

Points Last Gameweek: 8.5

Projected GW22 Points: 12.4

Prospects: After a strong January window, competition for starting places in the Leeds squad is strong. Even with the recent addition of Weston McKennie, I think Roca will retain his place in central midfield due to his passing ability. McKennie's stats from his time at Juventus are...less than stellar, but the passing success percentage stands out in particular as a justification for the Spaniard to stay in the starting eleven. Roca doesn't have the fitness question mark over his head that Tyler Adams does, either, so he should be the safest way into the Leeds midfield if you're looking to buy into the DGW. You can expect 5-8 points from him in each match, which will get you to that double digit target you'd be happy to have from each of your players.

MID: Pablo Sarabia

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Liverpool (home)

Rostered: 27%

Points Last Gameweek: 0.5

Projected GW22 Points: 7.5

Prospects: Wolves did some solid business in the January transfer window as well, with the acquisition of Sarabia from PSG the marquee signing of the bunch. The former Getafe, Sevilla and PSG midfielder joins a similarly crowded attacking setup to the situation at Leeds, but has a clear advantage in quality over Hwang Hee-Chan, who has been starting for Wolves lately. Sarabia should break into the starting lineup and have some time to secure his spot in the team before Pedro Neto makes his long-awaited return from injury, and could establish himself as the preferred set piece taker for his new club over Joao Moutinho, particularly with the veteran Portuguese international facing more competition for time in central midfield. Liverpool have been poor in midfield and defense, so there should be plenty of opportunity for Wolves to create chances, even if they are having trouble putting the ball in the net.

FWD: Wilfried Gnonto

Team: Leeds

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (away) / Man United (away)

Rostered: 46%

Points Last Gameweek: 5

Projected GW22 Points: 16.1

Prospects: I'm hoping the third time will be the charm for Gnonto in the Sleepers squad after two underwhelming scores (I still maintain he was robbed of an assist in GW20). With the DGW and the excellent "real-life" form of the Italian, it's hard to imagine he won't get his chance from the start against Forest and potentially be one of the few Leeds players to start both fixtures. Gnonto has proven he has a goalscorer's touch, but he's also a more than useful dribbler and passer of the ball. His long-term prospects in the Leeds team are murky at best with all of the attackers, but you should feel confident rolling him out this week if your league mates have been reluctant to play him and he's a free agent.

FWD: Noni Madueke

Team: Chelsea

Opponent: Fulham (home)

Rostered: 0%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW22 Points: 8.5

Prospects: I originally intended to have Wout Weghorst here as another player who could come through with two starts, but with him not getting a rest in the Carabao Cup and Anthony Martial returning from injury to score in a substitute appearance, I'm not feeling as confident about his chances to start twice. Instead, I'd recommend taking a chance on Madueke, who I believe will start on the right wing for Chelsea in Friday's match against Fulham. The youngster was likely intended to be more of a signing for the future, but with Joao Felix suspended, Raheem Sterling injured and Hakim Ziyech doing his best Peter Odemwingie impersonation on deadline day (this is probably an unfair comparison, to be fair...Ziyech doesn't appear to have done anything wrong and Chelsea owe him an apology), there is a hole in the squad that he can fill. Of course, we could see Mason Mount pushed back up into the front three, but if Madueke does get a start, he's got the attacking chops to make an immediate impact. If he doesn't, you've got the entire rest of the GW22 slate to choose a replacement from.

FWD: Chris Wood

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Leeds (home)

Rostered: 29%

Points Last Gameweek: 4

Projected GW22 Points: 9.1

Prospects: A Chris Wood recommendation in 2023? You're eyes aren't deceiving you. The former Burnley and Newcastle big man should earn an immediate recall to the starting eleven after a breather in the dead rubber tie against Man United in the league cup. Leeds is one of the top three teams to target with opposition attackers this season (only behind Forest and...Liverpool), and his new club will be relying on his target man abilities in the absence of Gibbs-White. He and Brennan Johnson could form an interesting big-small strike partnership over the next few weeks, which could see Wood racking up points from aerial duels and key passes. If he can add a goal or assist to that foundation, you'll have yourself a star performance to push you toward a victory this week.

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!

  • Matty Cash, Defender, Aston Villa. Opponent: Leicester

  • Tariq Lamptey, Defender, Brighton. Opponent: Bournemouth

  • Naby Keita, Midfielder, Liverpool. Opponent: Wolves

  • Patrick Bamford, Forward, Leeds. Opponent: Forest / United

  • Adama Traore, Forward, Wolves. Opponent: Liverpool

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