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Fantrax EPL: Gameweek 8 Sleepers XI

Our Gameweek 8 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 8 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!

Let's try this again, shall we? With Game week 7 postponed in the wake of the Queen's passing, we never had the opportunity to find out how the likes of Jordan Ayew, Vitaly Janelt and Lloyd Kelly would have fared in their Sleepers XI debuts. On second look, perhaps that's for the best.

We've got a limited slate of matches from which to make our selections from in GW8, with postponements keeping players from Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester United on the sidelines this time around. As always, I'm relying on a combination of player form, projected scores, and my own intuition to determine who gets a call up to the Sleepers squad. I'm still left wondering what might have been had the previous set of matches gone ahead as originally scheduled. Here we go.

GK: Bernd Leno

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (Away)

Rostered: 20%

Points Last Gameweek: 12

Prospects: We don't have long to wait for my first carryover from last week, with Leno again attracting my interest as the best low-rostership option in goal. As I mentioned in my GW7 post, the German netminder has been in good form since taking over the number one role at Fulham, and I'm backing that form to continue when the Cottagers travel to face Nottingham Forest on Friday. Steve Cooper's side have yet to find their best form in attack, but are still creating a decent number of chances, which bodes well for Leno to collect some save points. Fulham have only kept the one clean sheet so far this season against an anemic Wolves attack, so that may be a bridge too far in terms of your expectations this week. But it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that you could be looking at another double digit score in goal this week.

DEF: Nathan Patterson

Team: Everton

Opponent: West Ham (Home)

Rostered: 12%

Points Last Gameweek: 10.25

Projected GW8 Points: 4.4

Prospects: Here's a little look at how the sausage is made, so to speak. Each week, I go through the list of players under 60% rostered and add them to my Watch List in a proxy league to get a sense of who is available for selection. Then I winnow down those options to a group of around 20-25 players. I then compare my choices to DraftLad's weekly point projections and choose players who are projected to score at least 6 points in a given week (though I usually aim for the highest among my initial selections) to build out the Sleepers XI. There's never been an instance where my initial picks didn't meet my self-imposed 6-point projection threshold, until now. I'm not sure what this says about Patterson and his chances this week, but he's my hunch to do well this week despite very poor projections. The Toffees have been fairly solid defensively and Patterson has delivered better peripheral stats than his fellow fullback Mykolenko. With the addition of Idrissa Gueye in midfield, I think we could see the typically defensively minded fullback given a bit more license to get forward to add to his counting stats. This comes down to whether you trust my intuition or the projections, and time will tell which side comes out on top this week. I'm more inclined to go with the projections, but I can't shake the feeling there's a surprise score on the cards here.

DEF: Romain Perraud

Team: Southampton

Opponent: Aston Villa (Away)

Rostered: 9%

Points Last Gameweek: 3.75

Projected GW8 Points: 6.3

Prospects: I could have very easily gone with Kyle Walker-Peters, Mo Salisu or Armel Bella-Kotchap here, but none of them met the aforementioned projection threshold and I felt like that was tempting fate a bit too much for one week. Perraud was also featured as a Waiver Wire target this week, as he has returned to full fitness and looks to have reclaimed the starting LWB role from Moussa Djenepo. I've mentioned previously that trying to read Ralph Hasenhuttl's mind is an exercise in futility, though, so who knows whether this will actually be the case. Still, with limited options to choose from, the French fullback offers decent upside in a winnable match against an Aston Villa side that has struggled to get the best from their attacking talents so far. Saints have also shown more attacking promise of their own of late, so Perraud could stand to benefit from returns on both sides.

DEF: Ashley Young

Team: Aston Villa

Opponent: Southampton (Home)

Rostered: 0%

Points Last Gameweek: 3

Projected GW8 Points: 7.1

Prospects: Another theme emerging, beyond my insistence on keeping a few players from last week, is that there's a decent amount of overlap between my selections and the players highlighted in the Waiver Wire posts we put out this week. That was bound to happen in a week where we have six fewer teams to choose from, but I have to say I'm still surprised that Totti and I are both tipping Young to perform well this week. Given his literal ZERO percent ownership, we may be the only ones. I agree with Totti's assessment that the veteran defender was a bright spot when he came on for the injury stricken Matty Cash against Man City in GW6. Cash looks set to be sidelined until after the international break, so Young will likely continue in his stead and will be eager to help his side build upon their solid performance against the Champions when they host Southampton on Friday.

DEF: Kurt Zouma

Team: West Ham

Opponent: Everton (Away)

Rostered: 22%

Points Last Gameweek: 5

Projected GW8 Points: 9.4

Prospects: It's been a long time now since Zouma was a set and forget defender for our fantasy teams, and we may never see the heights he achieved at Chelsea while he's wearing the claret and blue of West Ham. But hope springs eternal, and I'm buying in on the possibility that we see something like the Zouma of legend this weekend. His chances for a monster score may have been improved if he was expected to challenge DCL for aerial duels rather than facing the diminutive trio of Gordon, Gray and Maupay, but the Hammers' defense is improving with the return to fitness of Angelo Ogbonna. Those two formed a strong partnership in seasons past and if the Italian joins his French teammate at the heart of the defense, I like the chances of a clean sheet to go along with some set piece involvement at the other end of the pitch. I'm not expecting a 20-pointer here, but I would be somewhat surprised to see a single-digit score.

MID: Alex Iwobi

Team: Everton

Opponent: West Ham (Home)

Rostered: 43%

Points Last Gameweek: 3.5

Projected GW8 Points: 7.7

Prospects: Death, taxes, and an Iwobi call-up to Sleepers XI...If you're a regular reader by now, you've probably already made a move to bring the Everton midfielder into your team if he was available in your league, so I'll commit to not recommending him again after this least for a little while. I just continue to like his chances to score well as he's given more and more license to join the attack. With Onana and now Gueye added to the midfield ranks, Iwobi has a solid defensive foundation behind him to add the creative side back to his game. If he's not an option for you, Onana and Gueye are also reasonable stand-ins, though they will likely offer less going forward.

MID: Joao Palhinha

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (Away)

Rostered: 23%

Points Last Gameweek: 4.5

Projected GW8 Points: 7.1

Prospects: Perhaps my most unorthodox inclusion this week is a defensive midfielder from Fulham. Palhinha is the quintessential example of a player who is better in real life than in fantasy. And yet, here he is. The Portuguese midfielder has been inconsistent with his scoring so far this season, mostly due to a penchant for picking up yellow cards (4 already this season). When you look at the underlying statistics, though, there is the promise of better returns. Palhinha has popped up with one goal already this season, and has also seen his points come from a variety of scoring categories. Nottingham Forest are the second most forgiving opponent for midfielders based on our Fixture Difficulty Tracker, so this recommendation is more a case for playing the fixtures than anything else.

MID: Jacob Ramsey

Team: Aston Villa

Opponent: Southampton (Away)

Rostered: 43%

Points Last Gameweek: 10

Projected GW8 Points: 8.8

Prospects: Another carryover from last week, and honestly, much of my rationale from GW7 still applies. Here's what I wrote: "Gerrard has chopped and changed quite a bit, but has shown faith in Ramsey in important games so far this season. The England youngster looks to have established a good rapport with Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara, so it remains to be seen whether Stevie G will stick with a successful combination or look to switch things up by reintroducing Coutinho and/or Buendia. If Ramsey continues, particularly in the more advanced role he was deployed in against City, he looks like a solid choice to bolster your midfield for this week against a much more forgiving Foxes side." Swap out Foxes for Saints and you're all set for this week.

MID: Joe Willock

Team: Newcastle

Opponent: Bournemouth (Away)

Rostered: 48%

Points Last Gameweek: 6

Projected GW8 Points: 10.7

Prospects:  My final repeat inclusion from last week also retains much of the rationale from GW7. Let's run back the tape: "Former 'Steady Eddies' like Declan Rice and John McGinn have suffered from poor form and results so far this season, but it looks like Willock may be one of the players to take up the mantle this season. The Newcastle midfielder has seemingly shifted away from being a boom or bust type fantasy asset last season to being a model of consistency so far this campaign, putting up scores of 6, 8, 7, 10, 8.5 and 6 so far without any goal involvements. Still, we know there's a goalscorer in there and it feels like it's only a matter of time before he contributes with a goal or assist." Sounds about right, especially with Bournemouth being the team that allows the most points to opposition midfielders at the moment.

FWD: Bobby De Cordova-Reid

Team: Fulham

Opponent: Nottingham Forest (Away)

Rostered: 18%

Points Last Gameweek: -0.5

Projected GW8 Points: 8.9

Prospects: Another example of playing to the fixtures, the third Fulham inclusion this week is De Cordova-Reid, who has often flattered to deceive when called to deliver fantasy returns. That said, Nottingham Forest are currently allowing opposition forwards to rack up a staggering 16.4 Fpts on average when they face them. Reid faces some competition for his starting role with the additions of Willian and Dan James, and will almost certainly be replaced when Harry Wilson returns to fitness, but should be safe for one more week at least. With Marco Silva's side in action on Friday, you should be able to pivot to another option in the event that he doesn't start.

FWD: Neal Maupay

Team: Everton

Opponent: West Ham (Home)

Rostered: 36%

Points Last Gameweek: 10

Projected GW8 Points: 7.8

Prospects: Another surprise double up from me and Totti sees the much-maligned Maupay earn a starting spot in the Sleepers squad for GW8. The former Brighton man fell out of favor with now-Chelsea manager Graham Potter last season before completing a move to Everton this summer. That sentence should tell you everything you need to know about how quickly things can change in the Premier League. Maupay himself presented a surprising change of tune in his first start for the Toffees, shocking everyone at The Draft Society by delivering 10 ghost points. In his previous endeavors, Maupay was often lucky to reach double digit scores with a goal. It's too early to tell whether the change of system and scenery has transformed him into a viable long-term fantasy asset, and the imminent return of Calvert-Lewin may mean we never find out. But for this week at least a home match against a travel-weary West Ham side may give you something to cheer about.

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!

  • Matt Doherty, Defender, Tottenham Hotspur. Opponent: Leicester

  • Sergio Gomez, Midfielder, Man City. Opponent: Wolves

  • Dwight McNeil, Midfielder, Everton. Opponent: West Ham

  • Samuel Edozie, Forward, Southampton. Opponent: Aston Villa

  • Willian, Forward, Fulham. Opponent: Nottingham Forest

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