Updated: May 16
Our Gameweek 36 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 36 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.
Let's take a quick look back at Gameweek 35: I was dreading a poor scoring week based on the players and fixtures available to me last week, and by-and-large that dread was borne out through the fantasy scores of my selections. Case in point: Taiwo Awoniyi (21.5) was responsible for a third of the team's 64.5 points on the week, with only N'Golo Kante (13), Harry Wilson (11.5) and Noni Madueke (9.5) carrying their weight along with him. That takes the season total to 2918.75 points, good for a still-respectable average of 85.85 points per week.
The good news is that I like the fixtures more heading into this week. It is a double gameweek for Brighton and Newcastle, but for the most part I'll be focused on players from the teams who only have a single fixture this weekend. Not only are the fixtures not ideal for the double gamers, but it's pretty unlikely you'll be able to get your hands on any of the players you want from either team at this stage...with the possible exception of the two I've decided to include. Let's run down the team sheet.
GK: Sam Johnstone
Team: Crystal Palace
Opponent: Bournemouth (home)
Rostered: 16% (Fantrax) / 38% (Community)
Points Last Gameweek: 3
Prospects: Starting off between the sticks, I'm returning to a recent favorite in Sam Johnstone. The former understudy to Vicente Guaita was on a mission to prove Patrick Vieira wrong for benching him when he finally got his chance under Roy Hodgson, but he has gone off the boil quite a bit since the heady early weeks of the Palace resurgence. Perhaps securing safety was enough for him to feel secure in the #1 role for the rest of the season? In any case, with Bournemouth also safe, there's an opportunity for both teams to play without the handbrake on and just enjoy their football. Hopefully this will lead to plenty of save opportunities for Johnstone rather than the past three matches where he only mustered 5 total saves. He managed more than 3 times that many across the previous three fixtures, so the potential is there.
DEF: Benoit Badiashile
Opponent: Nottingham Forest (home)
Rostered: 36% / 100%
Points Last Gameweek: 15.25
Projected GW36 Points: 9.7
Prospects: It may feel a bit like points-chasing to recommend picking up Benoit Badiashile after his goal in the win over Bournemouth, but he was a strong fantasy performer when he was a regular starter toward the end of Graham Potter's reign. The Frenchman has been a bit out of favor under Frank Lampard, but injuries to other players have given him a chance to show his new caretaker manager what he's worth. Keep an eye on team news here, particularly around Wesley Fofana. But if it looks like he'll get another start you have to like Badiashile's chances to make some defensive contributions against an in-form Nottingham Forest side. If lightning strikes twice and he manages another attacking return as well, that would be the icing on the proverbial cake.
DEF: Matias Vina
Opponent: Crystal Palace (away)
Rostered: 2% / 33%
Points Last Gameweek: 14
Projected GW36 Points: 6.9
Prospects: Another GW35 goalscorer, Matias Vina also gets a call-up, though more for his attacking involvement than was the case with Badiashile. Vina is one of those guys who, to borrow a football cliche, "passes the eye test." I think he may spend as much time in the final third as he does protecting his own penalty area. The on-loan Uruguayan managed three shots on target against Chelsea and will relish his chances to make an impact again when Crystal Palace comes to the Vitality Stadium.
DEF: Joel Ward
Team: Crystal Palace
Opponent: Bournemouth (home)
Rostered: 8% / 47%
Points Last Gameweek: 7.75
Projected GW36 Points: 7.4
Prospects: One man who will be hoping Vina isn't particularly effective this weekend is Joel Ward, who should be the man to square up against the Bournemouth left back. The veteran defender hasn't historically been a particularly prolific fantasy scorer, but has been remarkably consistent in his output over the past three gameweeks (7.75, 7.25, 7.25) despite varying degrees of success for his side. In the two matches prior, where the Eagles kept a clean sheet, he managed pretty much the exact same ghost point output once you remove the clean sheet bonus. Ward isn't one of these modern attacking fullbacks, and he's not going to get you much in the way of attacking contributions, but he's been incredibly solid in his defensive actions since Roy Hodgson made his return. If you're looking for a steady performer for the rest of the season, look no further.
MID: Conor Gallagher
Opponent: Nottingham Forest (home)
Rostered: 53% / 100%
Points Last Gameweek: 17
Projected GW36 Points: 11.5
Prospects: I haven't felt this much like a reactionary bandwagon manager all season, but I'm still licking my wounds from my Mykhailo Mudryk selection last week, so Conor Gallagher comes into my thinking instead. Gallagher feels very much like he should be a Frank Lampard favorite and, at least with Mason Mount missing, that feeling seems to be playing out. This iteration of the English midfielder still isn't close to the fantasy stud from his Palace loan days, though, and he's been oddly goal-dependent for his fantasy points of late. I'm hopeful the goalscoring performance and victory will provide a boost of confidence to the Blues and we'll see a bit more life across their remaining matches. Gallagher should have done enough to retain his starting spot for at least the weekend and could potentially even preside over some set pieces with many of the regular takers missing.
MID: Joao Palhinha
Opponent: Southampton (away)
Rostered: 47% / 90%
Points Last Gameweek: 12.5
Projected GW36 Points: 11.7
Prospects: Holding midfielders are rarely featured in TDS articles, especially when they only have a single fixture, but I'd be remiss not to single out Joao Palhinha for praise given his recent form. The Portuguese enforcer has been racking up the ghost points of late, with his double-digit effort against Leicester largely due to a massive 7 tackles won. Fulham should count themselves lucky that they'll be in the top flight next season, as Palhinha would have plenty of suitors for his services. This match may seem like a "dead rubber" (to take another page out of the football cliche handbook), with neither Fulham nor Southampton realistically having anything to play for, but with Aleksandar Mitrovic back from his ban I expect we'll see a Fulham side eager to carry on from their 5-goal display in GW35. If Palhinha isn't available, I also like the rest of the Cottagers' midfielders to score well against the Saints.
MID: Curtis Jones
Opponent: Leicester City (away)
Rostered: 29% / 80%
Points Last Gameweek: 4
Projected GW36 Points: 6.2
Prospects: Dean Smith was supposed to help resolve the defensive issues that plagued Brendan Rodgers' Leicester squad this season, but if last week is anything to go by the Foxes are kindred spirits with Tottenham Hotspur; no manager is going to fix the problem without some turnover among the players. Leicester's rear guard was woeful against a coasting Fulham side and I can't see their fortunes being much better against an in-form Liverpool. As such, I'm taking the rare occasion to promote a midfielder from the Reds as a viable fantasy option. Curtis Jones has made a case for himself to at least be in contention for a starting role moving forward after some promising recent displays. I expect him to be in the starting lineup this weekend and to get in good positions in the attacking third to capitalize on the organizational deficiencies of his opponent.
MID: Jacob Murphy
Opponent: Leeds (away) / Brighton (home)
Rostered: 36% / 100%
Points Last Gameweek: 2.5
Projected GW36 Points: 14.7
Prospects: As will be the case with my other DGW recommendation, my selection of Jacob Murphy is entirely contingent upon his inclusion in the starting lineup against Leeds. With Miguel Almiron back to fitness, that may not happen. We've seen time and again this season that Eddie Howe tends to stick with teams that perform well, but following the 2-0 defeat against Arsenal he may be prepared to ring the changes. Murphy has been one of the bright spots in the team in the absence of his Paraguayan teammate, however, and may have done enough to keep him at bay for another game. If the winger gets a start, I like his chances of logging 100+ minutes across the two fixtures. I would definitely prioritize the start in the much more forgiving fixture against Leeds, so I would not keep him in my lineup if he's benched for the first game.
MID: Kamaldeen Sulemana
Opponent: Fulham (home)
Rostered: 7% / 52%
Points Last Gameweek: 4.5
Projected GW36 Points: 8.4
Prospects: While he wasn't in the starting lineup against Nottingham Forest, I think we'll see Kamaldeen Sulemana restored for the fixture against Fulham. Southampton are all but relegated at this point and it's time for Ruben Selles to start preparing for life in the Championship. While I don't think he'll drop the talismanic James Ward-Prowse (who gave us a reminder of why he's an all-time great in GW35), I could definitely see some of the team's elder statesmen like Theo Walcott given less prominent roles as the season winds down. This would allow some of the youngsters and recent transfers more top-flight experience together before leading a promotion charge next season. If he sticks around, Sulemana is the type of player who will light up the second division. With the pressure essentially off beginning this weekend, I expect him to play with the type of freedom that will lead to attempted dribbles, shots and hopefully not too many dispossessions.
FWD: Julio Enciso
Opponent: Arsenal (away) / Newcastle (away)
Rostered: 47% / 100%
Points Last Gameweek: 6.5
Projected GW36 Points: 16.2
Prospects: Brighton's players generally feel like a DGW trap this week, as the Seagulls face two brutal away fixtures against Arsenal and Newcastle. Here's why I'm still backing Julio Enciso to come good: Not only is the youngster an absolute livewire when he's on the pitch (a capable dribbler with an eye for goal), he also has a fairly clear path to the starting lineup. With Solly March going off against Everton with a hamstring injury and Facundo Buonanotte not doing anything to impress Roberto De Zerbi, Enciso should be part of the team that lines up to try to crush the Gunners' title hopes. Again, he's not worth running out if he doesn't start the first match, but if he does he's in the category of quantity (of minutes) over quality (of fixture) given the dearth of other viable options at forward.
FWD: Dango Ouattara
Opponent: Crystal Palace (away)
Rostered: 43% / 100%
Points Last Gameweek: 11.5
Projected GW36 Points: 8.8
Prospects: Finally this week, I'm back on the Dango Ouattara train. April was the cruellest month for the Burkinabe baller since his January arrival, but he's moved on from the waste land of fantasy returns to deliver scores of 7 and 11.5 in his two matches since returning to the starting XI. Crystal Palace have been a fairly stingy outfit for opposition attackers (allowing 9.5 points on average; fewer than 12 other teams), but again, the forward landscape is a dry stone that gives no sound of water. Let's hope Dango can open the flood gates and deliver us some fantasy points in the form of a goal, assist or at least some successful dribbles and key passes.
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!
Matt Targett, Defender, Newcastle. Opponent: Leeds, Brighton
Lewis Hall, Midfielder, Chelsea. Opponent: Nottingham Forest
Kalvin Phillips, Midfielder, Man City. Opponent: Everton
Paul Onuachu, Forward, Southampton. Opponent: Fulham
Manor Solomon, Forward, Fulham. Opponent: Southampton
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