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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 30 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 30 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 30 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 Gameweek 29: The strategy to go all-in on double gameweek players largely paid off, with a season-high score of 137.75 points. Unlikely candidates Emmanuel Dennis (25.5), Jason Steele (23), Nayef Aguerd (20) and Raphael Varane (20) led the way, with a quartet of disappointments (Lodi, Fred, Longstaff and Weghorst combined for a total of 6 points) on the other end. That score brings the season tally to 2469.5 and the weekly average to 88.2 points. Not too shabby.

Gameweek 30 sees us return to a "normal" single game week for all 20 teams, a true rarity in the second half of the season. It's not as straightforward a week as it may seem, though, with many teams facing their third Premier League fixture in the space of a week and a few teams either without a permanent manager or still in the adjustment period. Given these uncertainties, there's a fair amount of risk in the Sleepers squad this week when it comes to likelihood of starting or at least playing close to 90 minutes. Take stock of your team's needs this week when considering who to bring in; can you afford to take a risk on players returning from injury or players who may not be nailed on with a caretaker manager calling the shots? If you're able to make adjustments to your team when lineups are announced, you're likely going to be in a better spot for streaming this week. If you've got lineup lock in your league or are less likely to be able to chop and change on the fly, many of these recommendations may be a bit too risky for you.

GK: Bernd Leno

Team: Fulham

Opponent: West Ham (home)

Rostered: 57% (Fantrax) / 61% (Community)

Points Last Gameweek: 5.25

Prospects:  One player I know can always be counted on is Bernd Leno. Despite missing the first few games of the season prior to his transfer/bedding in period at Fulham, the German goalkeeper is the third overall scorer at his position. Fulham have cooled off significantly since ostensibly securing their top flight status for another season, but their quality should still stand them in good stead when the Hammers come for a visit. West Ham were abject in the 5-1 defeat to Newcastle in midweek and I didn't see much in that performance to suggest they'll turn things around enough to put a dent in Leno's consistently positive scoring trend.

DEF: Joachim Andersen

Team: Crystal Palace

Opponent: Leeds (away)

Rostered: 50% / 28%

Points Last Gameweek: 10

Projected GW28 Points: 6.5

Prospects: Is it possible we could see a fantasy revival for early season favorite Joachim Andersen? There are a couple factors in play that are giving me reason to believe. First, Roy Hodgson's reinstatement as manager should benefit the Palace defense, with the veteran manager's more pragmatic approach to the game likely to see the Eagles tighten up at the back. Second, Palace have an excellent run of fixtures to close out the season. In fact, they currently sit atop the table for defenders in our Fixture Difficulty Tracker over the next 5 weeks. Andersen scored well in his first outing under his new (old?) boss and I think he'll have plenty to keep him busy at Elland Road this weekend.

DEF: Ricardo Pereira

Team: Leicester City

Opponent: Bournemouth (home)

Rostered: 39% / 57%

Points Last Gameweek: 10

Projected GW28 Points: 9.7

Prospects: Okay, risk time. With Brendan Rodgers sacked and no new manager in at Leicester yet, it's anyone's guess how they'll line up against Bournemouth. That said, I have a feeling three starts in the space of a week may be a bridge too far for Victor Kristiansen, who had been injured prior to the international break. Ricardo Pereira had been playing quite well on his own return from injury in Kristiansen's absence and also scored a lovely goal off the bench in the first match of GW 29. I expect the Portuguese to be reinstated for this one, though of course there's no guarantee. When he does start, though, Riccy P is usually a ghost point magnet, which should help him in the event that the Cherries rediscover their best attacking form.

DEF: John Stones

Team: Manchester City

Opponent: Southampton (away)

Rostered: 51% / 28%

Points Last Gameweek: -1.5

Projected GW28 Points: 7.7

Prospects: It's rare to find Man City assets that are worth rostering and fall below the rostership threshold for the Sleepers XI at this stage of the season, but we have the fact that City only played once in GW29 to thank for John Stones fitting that bill ahead of this weekend's match to bottom-of-the-table Southampton. All signs point to this fixture being a dreadful one for the all-but-relegated Saints, so this could be one of those trap matches where City defenders have almost nothing to do all match and then concede a random consolation goal to frustrate the hell out of any managers who bought in. But I still think there's potential for Stones to be deployed more as a midfielder in Pep's 3-2-2-3 system. Stones is one of the few City defenders that typically ghosts well, and if he's pushed up alongside Rodri, I think he could find some extra joy where his fellow defenders may not.

DEF: Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: Everton (home)

Rostered: 26% /66 %

Points Last Gameweek: N/A

Projected GW28 Points: 9.5

Prospects: If not for a reported illness, I think we would have seen at least one start from Aaron Wan-Bissaka last gameweek. Erik ten Hag has shared that while he rates Dalot's attacking nous, he appreciates the former Palace fullback's defensive qualities over that of the Portuguese. That's frustrating for fantasy purposes, as there is likely to be a timeshare over the Red Devils' remaining fixtures. Similar to the case at Leicester, though, I think it's unlikely we'll see Dalot start three in a row if AWB is available. This match is the early kickoff, so you could certainly do worse than to draft Wan-Bissaka into your squad and pivot to another streaming option later on. Everton have been struggling for goals, so a clean sheet is a distinct possibility.

MID: Anthony Gordon

Team: Newcastle

Opponent: Brentford (away)

Rostered: 59% / 61%

Points Last Gameweek: 4

Projected GW28 Points: 9.4

Prospects: While he's not currently projected to start in DraftLad's estimation, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest Anthony Gordon will be called upon from the first whistle against Brentford this weekend. Eddie Howe has been fairly change-resistant, but with a top 4 spot on the line and some relatively fragile players called upon for significant minutes in the past few games he could turn to the new boy for an injection of energy against the Bees. Any one of Allan Saint-Maximin, Joe Willock or Jacob Murphy could drop out to accommodate the former Everton attacker. Gordon has made a few cameos off the bench in the last couple matches, and managed 4 points in 25 minutes against West Ham midweek. Whether that's an indicator of his fantasy potential this week or a reflection of how open the Hammers were is up for debate, but I like this pick as a high-upside punt.

MID: Marc Roca

Team: Leeds

Opponent: Crystal Palace (home)

Rostered: 17% / 42%

Points Last Gameweek: 27

Projected GW28 Points: 6.7

Prospects: With Tyler Adams sidelined for the majority of the remaining campaign, we should be seeing a lot of Marc Roca in the starting lineup for Leeds. The attacking positions are crowded and it can be a frustrating game to predict which of Summerville, Sinisterra, Rodrigo, Aaronson, Harrison, Gnonto, Bamford and Rutter will fill the 3-4 attacking spots in the lineup each week, so if you are in the camp that is a bit more risk-averse this week, the Spanish central midfielder may represent a good option. Roca doesn't offer the same explosive potential as any of the aforementioned octet, but can still come through with the occasional return on top of his solid floor of ghost points, as evidenced by the 20.5 he dropped midweek. Don't go in expecting a repeat of that, obviously, but I think a safe 7+ points is a fair expectation with the potential for more, depending on which Palace team shows up.

MID: Marcel Sabitzer

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: Everton (home)

Rostered: 38% / 76%

Points Last Gameweek: 17

Projected GW28 Points:

Prospects: As I touched on above, Fred was a shock omission and major disappointment for fantasy managers in GW29. Marcel Sabitzer ended up being the better choice of the two, starting both matches and contributing the assist for Rashford's match winner against Brentford. I do think we could see Fred return, but I'd guess it would be at the expense of Scott McTominay rather than the Austrian. I was intrigued to see Sabitzer take a direct free kick as well; a piece of the set piece pie always adds a little extra value to players from a fantasy perspective. Again, with this being the first fixture of the gameweek, you should be able to find a decent replacement option in the event Sabitzer is benched.

MID: Marcus Tavernier

Team: Bournemouth

Opponent: Leicester City (away)

Rostered: 52% / 100%

Points Last Gameweek: 20.5

Projected GW28 Points: 9.7

Prospects: I do my best not to include players in these recommendations that you're not going to have the opportunity to pick up in the DPL Community League or Genie League, but I'm making an exception to call out the return to fitness of former fantasy darling Marcus Tavernier for anyone who is able to swing it. In all honesty I was pretty surprised to see Tavernier at 100% rostership on the Community List given that he didn't start either of Bournemouth's matches in the DGW. However, that fact speaks to his potential and reinforces the recommendation to bring him in if you can. It's not a guarantee that he's reinstated to the starting lineup, of course, but with Jaidon Anthony and Ryan Christie flattering to deceive on the left flank, I think it's a pretty safe bet we'll see Tavernier from the start against Leicester. It will be interesting to see what the share of set piece duty looks like between him and Hamed Traore, although Tavernier did take a few while both were on the pitch in midweek. That bodes well for him to replicate some of the form that made him a popular pick in the first half of the season.

FWD: Carlos Vinicius

Team: Fulham

Opponent: West Ham (home)

Rostered: 4% / 9%

Points Last Gameweek: 2

Projected GW28 Points: 9.1

Prospects: The forward landscape has been the trickiest to navigate for under-rostered picks this season, so it's no surprise that both Totti and I are recommending Carlos Vinicius this week. Thanks to the 8-game ban for Aleksandar Mitrovic's ill-advised contact with a match official, we now have a practically guaranteed starting forward who will play the majority of the rest of the season. Will he be as good a fantasy asset as the man he's replacing? Almost certainly not. Still, it's hard to argue against bringing in a forward against a West Ham team that just gave up 5 quite simple goals in their last match. I'm curious to see what a run of starts will do for Vinicius. If he can get an attacking return in the next game or two, he could build the confidence needed to be a solid FWD3 for your team for the rest of the season.

FWD: Anthony Martial

Team: Manchester United

Opponent: Everton (home)

Rostered: 57% / 66%

Points Last Gameweek: 1

Projected GW28 Points: 7.9

Prospects: I've saved the biggest risk for last, and honestly I hadn't seen the news that Erik ten Hag isn't sure that Anthony Martial is in good enough condition to start a match just yet before I had made this selection. Still, I'm going to keep this recommendation with a massive caveat that you need to have a backup plan. I've stated before that there is at least the benefit of United playing first this weekend, so if it is an unlikely case of mind games from EtH you will at least not have to be checking lineups for the early kickoff. Martial has made a few appearances off the bench as he works his way back from a long-term injury and, given his injury record, the United manager is probably right to ease him back into action. That said, it looks like he could be ready to pull the plug on the Weghorst experiment. That still might look like Jadon Sancho getting another start before Martial, however. I'd recommend pivoting to whichever Leicester striker starts if they're available and you're able to swoop in when lineups are announced.

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!

  • Aaron Cresswell, Defender, West Ham. Opponent: Fulham

  • Max Wober, Defender, Leeds. Opponent: Crystal Palace

  • Conor Gallagher, Midfielder, Chelsea. Opponent: Wolves

  • Bertrand Traore, Midfielder, Aston Villa. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

  • Kelechi Iheanacho, Forward, Leicester City. Opponent: Bournemouth

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