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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 29 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 29 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 29 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. Additionally, I've included the rostership percentage from the "Community List" -- the twenty 12-team divisions that comprise the ultra-competitive DraftPL Community League and International Genie League -- to provide some additional context for who is likely to be available and where you might want to follow the wisdom of the crowd.

As always, let's take a quick look back at the week that was in Gameweek 28: Neto (7), Harry Souttar (13), Jacob Ramsey (21) and Raul Jimenez (10.5) pulled their weight, but the rest of the team was uninspiring or downright disappointing. 51.5 points from four players is great, but 70.25 from the full team is less than ideal. That takes the season total to 2331.75 points, or roughly 86.25 points per week.

Gameweek 29 should present an opportunity to get back on the right side of the average score, as it is a massive double gameweek with 12 teams playing two fixtures. Since there are so many teams doubling, that's where my focus is going to be this week. It's worth noting that there are likely plenty of single gameweek players who will be available and will score well, but playing the law of averages here means that as long as the players selected below start both games, they should have a higher probability of scoring more than a similar single gameweek player. Just take a look at the projected scores compared to what we typically see.

That said, there's a quick turnaround between the two fixtures this gameweek and another quickly following in gameweek 30, so rotation is a distinct possibility. If you are looking at picking a DGW player who is questionable to start both matches or a nailed-on starter for a team with only one fixture, it's not a bad idea to go for the more assured starter. Among the teams with only one fixture, I'd be prioritizing defenders from Arsenal and Tottenham; midfielders from Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Everton and Fulham; and forwards from Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham and Wolves. Let's hope the recommendations below will start both games and help you win your matchup!

GK: Jason Steele

Team: Brighton

Opponent: Brentford (home) / Bournemouth (away)

Rostered: 11% (Fantrax) / 85% (Community)

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Prospects:  Since I focused my intro on picking players who are likely to start both matches of the DGW, I've naturally opted to kick things off with a goalkeeper who may not even be first choice. That said, even if Jason Steele only starts the first match in GW29, I still think he's a decent streaming option. Roberto De Zerbi turned to Steele before the international break ahead of the underperforming Robert Sanchez. Whether that decision continues is up for debate, but Brighton's fixtures are solid and Steele is the player among the defensive unit who is most likely to be available in your league. If Sanchez is restored, he's worth pivoting to.

DEF: Nayef Aguerd

Team: West Ham

Opponent: Southampton (home) / Newcastle (home)

Rostered: 4% / 61%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW29 Points: 15.2

Prospects: Despite currently sitting in the relegation zone, I like West Ham players this week as they have two home fixtures. Southampton and Newcastle have both proven capable of scoring multiple goals in recent weeks, but that shouldn't deter you from considering Nayef Aguerd as an option for your team. The Moroccan center back puts up a fair number of ghost points per game to help offset the damage from goals conceded, so long as the Hammers aren't on the end of a...hammering. A potential win and clean sheet in the first fixture against fellow strugglers Southampton would be a massive boost for the London club and fantasy managers alike.

DEF: Wout Faes

Team: Leicester City

Opponent: Crystal Palace (away) / Aston Villa (home)

Rostered: 10% / 28%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW29 Points: 13.1

Prospects: Most of the first-choice Leicester City defense should be fit and available for this gameweek, which boosts their chances of getting some much-needed results to secure their safety in the Premier League. Harry Souttar served the Sleepers squad well last time around, but is much less likely to be available than his CB partner Wout Faes, who will return from suspension to displace Daniel Amartey in the starting lineup. The Belgian has been a frustrating fantasy asset, equally capable of racking up ghost points and clean sheets as scoring own goals and getting sent off. That puts a fair amount of risk on you as the manager if you decide to bring him in, but the fixtures against goal-shy Palace and a solid but not world-beating Villa team offer the potential of great rewards.

DEF: Renan Lodi

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Wolves (home) / Leeds (away)

Rostered: 10% / 38%

Points Last Gameweek: 2

Projected GW29 Points: 10.8

Prospects: While I am a fan of Nottingham Forest's home form and their fixture against toothless Wolves, their second fixture against a Leeds side that just scored 4 gives me a bit of pause, especially when it comes to recommending defenders other than Felipe. I'd normally also include Serge Aurier here as well, but there are some injury doubts hanging over his head at the moment, so I'm opting instead for Renan Lodi. I wouldn't typically recommend the Brazilian fullback, but with a DGW I'm hopeful he can build a solid foundation of two positive scores. Lodi doesn't ghost particularly well, though, so if you're a bit more risk tolerant you could play Cooper roulette and assume the Aurier injury news is a smokescreen or opt for a player with higher ghost point output in Moussa Niakhate.

DEF: Raphael Varane

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: Newcastle (away) / Brentford (home)

Rostered: 50% / 52%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW29 Points: 11.7

Prospects: Despite currently being flagged as an injury doubt, I'm feeling pretty confident that Raphael Varane will return to the heart of defense for the Red Devils for their matches against Newcastle and Brentford. The French center back is another player who, like Renan Lodi, wouldn't make my shortlist in a standard week. However, he has the opportunity to show his class against the likes of Alexander Isak and Ivan Toney, both strikers who are heavily involved in their teams' respective attacks. That should offer up ample opportunity for Varane to claim points through aerial duels, blocked shots, clearances and interceptions.

MID: Fred

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: Newcastle (away) / Brentford (home)

Rostered: 23% / 57%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW29 Points: 17.3

Prospects: With Casemiro suspended and Christian Eriksen not yet ready to return to action, there's a hole in the United midfield that needs filling. Fred has quietly had a very strong season when he's been called upon, and carries the potential for breakout games (as evidenced by his 18 points against Leicester and 24.5 against Spurs earlier this season). With Marcel Sabitzer also an injury doubt, Fred should start at least the first match of the double and likely both. He'll also have to contend with the in-form Scott McTominay after his goalscoring heroics for Scotland over the international break, but Erik ten Hag has used him very sparingly. I'd be thrilled if Fred met his projected score this week, but would be satisfied with a double digit return.

MID: Jefferson Lerma

Team: Bournemouth

Opponent: Fulham (home) / Brighton (home)

Rostered: 26% / 100%

Points Last Gameweek: 8.5

Projected GW29 Points: 11.1

Prospects: Sorry for those of you in the DraftPL Community League or International Genie League - Jefferson Lerma is apparently a hot enough commodity that you're not getting him ahead of this weekend. Such is the nature of a nailed-on starter in a DGW. For the rest of you, I recommend following the crowd and treating the Colombian midfielder as the quintessential holding midfield player that's worth rostering when they have two fixtures (for additional examples, see below). Lerma has flown under-the-radar until recently, but has benefitted from the additional attacking talent brought in at Bournemouth in the January transfer window. He has put up scores of 13.5, 11, 8.5 (x2), 5.5 and 0.5 since the window closed, with the 0.5 coming in a match where he only played 45 minutes. If he can replicate his average score from that period over the two fixtures this week, he should come through with a very respectable 15-16 points.

MID: Sean Longstaff

Team: Newcastle

Opponent: Man United (home) / West Ham (away)

Rostered: 33% / 57%

Points Last Gameweek: 6

Projected GW29 Points: 11.0

Prospects: It remains to be seen what Eddie Howe will do now that he has all four of his first-choice central midfield options available to him. Joelinton, Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock have all been regular starters for Newcastle this season, but so has Sean Longstaff, who provides the steel needed at the base of the midfield to allow for the more fluid attacking displays of his teammates. With a couple of potentially tricky fixtures on the docket, I think Howe will take the pragmatic route and continue with Longstaff for both matches, perhaps deploying Joelinton on the left flank or dropping Willock back to the bench. While he had a brief purple patch where he was scoring around 11 points per match, I think it's best to temper expectations and assume his projected score of 11 across two matches is more realistic than 22. Still, he's got the potential to pop up with an unexpected goal or assist to be the hero you need.

MID: Wilfried Ndidi

Team: Leicester City

Opponent: Crystal Palace (away) / Aston Villa (home)

Rostered: 7% / 42%

Points Last Gameweek: 8

Projected GW29 Points: 12.5

Prospects: If not for the injury issues that have seen him in and out of the Leicester starting lineup throughout the season, Wilfried Ndidi would almost certainly be ineligible for selection in Sleepers XI. When I think of those holding midfielders that are ideal for DGWs, he's one of the first names that springs to mind. Ndidi is fit again, for the moment, though of course there are some question marks over whether he'll be able to start two games in quick succession. Ndidi managed 8 points in the 1-1 draw against Brentford in GW28, with nearly all of them coming in quick succession in the first half. He has also put up 5.5 points in a 20 minute cameo and 6 points in just 17 minutes, so even if he doesn't start both he could come through with a few additional points off the bench. If he starts the first, I'd be happy to give him a run out.

FWD: Emmanuel Dennis

Team: Nottingham Forest

Opponent: Wolves (home) / Leeds (away)

Rostered: 9% / 33%

Points Last Gameweek: 10.5

Projected GW29 Points: 17.8

Prospects: Injury news at Nottingham Forest has become a bit of a joke this season, with Steve Cooper regularly providing updates and timescales on injured players that end up being entirely inaccurate. I'm sure there are some of you out their still licking your wounds from dropping Morgan Gibbs-White when he was expected to be out for more than a month, only to return the following game. The latest injury news comes in the form of a season-ending injury to Chris Wood, which should open the door for Emmanuel Dennis to stake a claim for the starting role up top the rest of the season. The Nigerian made the most of his start in GW28, scoring a goal on his return to the lineup. Dennis hasn't lived up to the amazing stats he managed during his stint at Watford, but we know he has that potential and with a run in the team he could build up the confidence to regain his best form. Beware, though, that there are reports of Taiwo Awoniyi returning to training, and even Andre Ayew could be called upon to lead the line.

FWD: Wout Weghorst

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: Newcastle (away) / Brentford (home)

Rostered: 36% / 85%

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW29 Points: 17.5

Prospects: Fans of both clubs will have to forgive the comparison, but I've started seeing Erik ten Hag's use of Wout Weghorst a bit like Jurgen Klopp's selection of Roberto Firmino. He's more a facilitator than a true goalscorer in the system, creating space and time for his teammates and occasionally popping up in positions to contribute with a goal or assist. Firmino typically has a couple games a season where he goes wild, but we've yet to see that from Weghorst. I'm not suggesting this is the week to expect 40 points from the Dutchman, but I do think he's been unlucky not to have made more of a fantasy impact in his time with the Red Devils. He does tend to be one of the first sacrifices made for a tactical switch, but ten Hag has relied on him from the start of every game he's been available for since arriving in January. You're likely looking at 120-150 minutes, then, which puts Weghorst in a better situation than most single gameweek strikers in this rostership bracket. Why not take a chance?

The Reserves

If you're playing on Fantrax with Live Lineup Changes, you should 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 do get a start for their team, snap them up and plug them into your starting eleven!

  • Levi Colwill, Defender, Brighton. Opponent: Brentford/Bournemouth

  • Vladimir Coufal, Defender, West Ham. Opponent: Southampton/Newcastle

  • Jacob Murphy, Midfielder, Newcastle. Opponent: Man United/West Ham

  • Marcus Tavernier, Midfielder, Bournemouth. Opponent: Fulham/Brighton

  • Danny Welbeck, Forward, Brighton. Opponent: Brentford/Bournemouth

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