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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 23 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 23 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 23 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.


Let's take a brief look back at how the Sleepers XI performed in GW22. I fell just short of extending the 100+ point streak to four consecutive gameweeks, but a 98.75 is about as close as I could have gotten. Unfortunately, not everything came off, particularly in midfield, and the score is a bit flattering to the selections outside of the defense and star performer Wilfried Gnonto, who delivered a massive 30-pointer to spare my blushes. That brings the season total to 1852.25 points, or roughly 88.25 points per week.


Looking forward to Gameweek 23, we have yet another double gameweek (this is starting to become the norm rather than the exception), with the league's top two teams in Arsenal and Man City playing twice. As you might have guessed, there aren't many players from either team that are expected to start twice that fall below the 60% rostership threshold for the Sleepers XI selections, so I (like you, unless you've managed to build a stack from these teams) am scouring the waiver wire and free agent pool for some under-the-radar picks to push our teams toward victory this week. Here's who I found:


GK: Keylor Navas

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Fulham (away)

Rostered: 14%

Points Last Gameweek: 18.25

Prospects: I was tempted to go with Sleepers XI favorite Bernd Leno this week, as he's fallen just below 60% again, but I'm hoping by now you know to pick him up if he's available in your league. Instead, I'm opting for his opposing number this week in Keylor Navas. The Costa Rican was something like the 85th transfer for Nottingham Forest since the beginning of the season (don't quote me on this; it may have been higher), but has arguably made the most immediate impact. It's no surprise Steve Cooper went in for the former PSG and Real Madrid goalkeeper after seeing his side falter badly with Wayne Hennessey deputizing for the injured Dean Henderson. Fulham present a sterner test for the new arrival than last week's opposition, but I feel confident in his shot-stopping prowess to offset any points from conceding a goal or two.


DEF: Manuel Akanji

Team: Man City

Opponent: Aston Villa (home) / Arsenal (away)

Rostered: 49%

Points Last Gameweek: 8.25

Projected GW23 Points: 9.6

Prospects: We only have to look back to Man City's last DGW to see why I'm not a fan of playing their defenders. And yet, I've found myself drawn to Manuel Akanji as a worthwhile stream this week. The Swiss center back has found himself among the first names on Pep Guardiola's team sheet since the restart and even ghosted pretty well last week - while that 8.25 looks like a typical City CB score with a clean sheet, the champions did in fact concede in their last match against Tottenham. There's a not-insignificant chance that Pep Roulette kicks into high gear with the resumption of the Champions League on the horizon, but you probably wouldn't feel too terribly about sending Akanji out against Villa in a single gameweek. Buyer beware here, but if you're looking to buy in on a City defender, this is who I'd look to first.


DEF: Craig Dawson

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 5%

Points Last Gameweek: 23.75

Projected GW23 Points: 6.1

Prospects: I've got quite a few Wolves players in my recommendations this week. Some of the rationale behind that is due to their resounding 3-0 victory over Liverpool, but the Reds are in such poor form that it's not a good indicator of whether a team that beats them is actually any good. The second and more pertinent reason is due to the club's favorable upcoming run of fixtures, which sees them face Southampton and Bournemouth before they double in GW25. Craig Dawson (or "CMFD" to the initiated) joined up with Julen Lopetegui's outfit near the end of the January transfer window and made an immediate impact with a goal and clean sheet in his first start in old gold. As the lads discussed on the latest episode of the Key Pass Collective, CMFD isn't going to set the world on fire like this every week, but he's a solid streaming option in favorable match-ups, and Wolves defenders have the second best run over the next five weeks according to our Fixture Difficulty Tracker (available to Inner Circle subscribers). Keep an eye on team news for other Wolves starters as well (I've got RAN in the reserves this week, but actually prefer him over CMFD if he starts and you have the luxury of choice).


DEF: Tariq Lamptey

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Crystal Palace (away)

Rostered: 34%

Points Last Gameweek: 9

Projected GW23 Points: 8.7

Prospects: With Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo available again for Brighton, there's a possibility Tariq Lamptey returns to fantasy obscurity after a brief moment in the sun. I'm hoping the former Chelsea youth product has done enough to keep his place in the starting lineup for the trip to Selhurst Park, however. Lamptey is a frustrating player to roster as he rarely puts together a string of more than a couple starts, but the Ghanaian has the potential to be a high-upside streamer to fill in for you when you're in a pinch. I wouldn't invest any funds in him or drop anyone you see long-term value in, but I do think Lamptey could realize his very high fantasy potential with time to integrate into the attack-minded De Zerbi ball style of play.


MID: Cheick Doucoure

Team: Crystal Palace

Opponent: Brighton (home)

Rostered: 26%

Points Last Gameweek: 12

Projected GW23 Points: 7.8

Prospects: Crystal Palace have struggled in the Premier League this season, particularly in the goal scoring department, but Cheick Doucoure has been a revelation in midfield, delivering points from just about every stat category available. The fixture against Brighton is a challenging one, but Doucoure should be kept plenty busy trying to interfere with the possession build-up from the Seagulls, particularly through the middle of the pitch. He delivered an assist in the last match to get him his points, but I'm expecting defensive involvements like tackles and interceptions to be his bread and butter here.


MID: Sean Longstaff

Team: Newcastle

Opponent: Bournemouth (away)

Rostered: 22%

Points Last Gameweek: 9

Projected GW23 Points: 6.5

Prospects: After a few weeks of passing the proverbial eye test while delivering sub-5-point fantasy scores, Sean Longstaff has finally started contributing points to go along with his positive performances. In the past three gameweeks, the holding midfielder has delivered scores of 13.5, 8.5 and 9, with only a single goal contribution coming in the form of an assist in the draw with West Ham in GW22. That may not be enough of a sample size to reliably say Longstaff will continue delivering roster-worthy performances long-term. But it does warrant consideration in the short-term as a sort of "ride til the wheels fall off" play. The four key passes he managed against Fulham suggest he's getting much more involved in the attack than you might have expected, and with Callum Wilson finally finding the net again and some additional attacking reinforcements joining the squad recently, he may be able to build upon the solid points foundation he's established of late.


MID: Matheus Nunes

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 20%

Points Last Gameweek: 11

Projected GW23 Points: 8.2

Prospects: When Julen Lopetegui was appointed manager at Wolves, Matheus Nunes was one of the players we (Joe, especially) were excited about developing into a fantasy-relevant asset. It's taken some time for the manager to get his system and players to where they're functioning as intended, but that prediction was finally borne out this past weekend in the match against Liverpool. Matheus was one of the best players on the pitch, putting in an all-action display that earned him his first double-digit score since he delivered the assist for the game-winner in the 1-0 win over Southampton all the way back in early September. Perhaps he was showing off for reported suitors Liverpool, but I think it's more likely we're finally seeing the Portuguese midfielder utilized in a way that plays to his strengths. The January reinforcements also help bolster his potential.


MID: Dwight McNeil

Team: Everton

Opponent: Liverpool (away)

Rostered: 35%

Points Last Gameweek: 17.5

Projected GW23 Points: 6.9

Prospects: It was pretty much written in the stars that Dwight McNeil would serve up a cross for James Tarkowski to sink league leading Arsenal in Sean Dyche's first match in charge. The former Burnley winger spent most of the season on the fringes for Frank Lampard's Everton, but should see an increase in minutes played across the rest of the campaign even if a true revival to his previous fantasy heights isn't on the cards. It remains to be seen how Dyche will accommodate the return of Demarai Gray and likewise what he plans on doing without the services of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but I still like McNeil as a player who will deliver a solid floor of ghost points in a Dyche team. If he retains set piece duty, all the better.


MID: Thomas Partey

Team: Arsenal

Opponent: Brentford (home) / Man City (home)

Rostered: 58%

Points Last Gameweek: 3.5

Projected GW23 Points: 13.2

Prospects: As the only eligible regular starter for Arsenal to qualify for selection, I feel almost obligated to include Thomas Partey in the Sleepers squad this week. A rib injury meant the holding midfielder was replaced by Jorginho earlier than fantasy managers would have preferred against Everton. The Ghanaian has been one of the most important players for the Gunners this season, though, so you shouldn't be overly concerned about him losing his place in the lineup unless a more serious injury sidelines him. Jorginho was an excellent depth signing for Arsenal as they push for their first title since their Invincibles season in 2003-4, but Mikel Arteta has been remarkably resistant to rotating his squad and I think Partey will continue as first choice. This selection follows the typical rule to take a chance on defensive midfielders playing in a double gameweek, but we've also seen that Partey can pop up with an occasional long-distance goal.


FWD: Tete

Team: Leicester

Opponent: Tottenham (home)

Rostered: 27%

Points Last Gameweek: 17.5

Projected GW23 Points: 9.0

Prospects: There was a fair amount of speculation following Leicester's signing of Tete in the January transfer window as to whether the Brazilian winger would be an immediate and regular starter. He certainly did his chances no harm with a goal in his first start. Brendan Rodgers has spoken about the impact of having the right players on the pitch when praising Kelechi Iheanacho's man-of-the-match performance, so it stands to reason we'll see a similar lineup rolled out against Tottenham. I expect his rostership to skyrocket with another start, so get in while you can if he's still available in your league. Otherwise, you may need to wait for a poor performance and try to trade for him.


FWD: Adama Traore

Team: Wolves

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 26%

Points Last Gameweek: 13.5

Projected GW23 Points: 8.3

Prospects: Completing the Wolves and Sleepers contingent this week is none other than the perennial will-he-or-won't-he pick Adama Traore. While he doesn't appear to be first choice for Julen Lopetegui, Adama was the player who got the call when Hwang Hee-Chan picked up an injury in the first half against Liverpool last weekend. The Spanish winger took his opportunity well, putting in a very assured attacking display and contributing an assist to seal his team's victory. With his South Korean teammate set for a spell on the treatment table, Adama has a good chance of regaining his place in the starting lineup for the favorable fixture run to come. He's got competition from the likes of Daniel Podence and the newly-fit Pedro Neto, but the manager may stick with a winning formula for the time being, and we have all learned over the years that Adama can be a top-tier fantasy asset when he's in the starting lineup.



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!

  • Rayan Ait-Nouri, Defender, Wolves. Opponent: Southampton

  • Emerson Royal, Defender, Tottenham. Opponent: Leicester

  • Sergio Gomez, Midfielder, Man City. Opponent: Aston Villa / Arsenal

  • Hakim Ziyech, Midfielder, Chelsea. Opponent: West Ham

  • Evan Ferguson, Forward, Brighton. Opponent: Crystal Palace


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