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A Starting XI of Fantrax EPL Sleepers for 23/24

Sleepers are a very much hit or miss type game. As you approach the later rounds of the draft, every manager will have their list of preferred targets, but striking gold with even just 1 late round gem could be your ticket to a proper title challenge. This article will give you a full starting XI of sleepers to consider adding to your draft queue as you try to find the next Solly March! For more great analysis check out our 23/24 Draft Kit and our Pricing Plans.

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Sleepers XI

The players below all need to have an ADP of 120 or higher at the time of writing this article in order to qualify as a sleeper. This should mean they're still available to draft after round 10 in most 12-team leagues, allowing you to get good value from some of the most underrated gems going into the 2023-2024 EPL Season.


GK: Bernd Leno

Team: Fulham

ADP: 128

Recommended Round to Draft: 12-13

Prospects: Leno is a top-tier goalie, regularly racking up a ton of points for saves and other defensive stats. Leno made the 2nd most saves last season with 144, only behind Raya. Fulham having a mixed start to the season actually makes Leno a good option. Despite fixtures against City and Arsenal, if Fulham can keep those two to scoring 2 goals or less, Leno has every chance for double digit outings due to save points. Fulham's defense is quite weak but there are rumours of a CB overhaul incoming (Calvin Bassey is now confirmed, and Mohammed Salisu is fully in the works). In that case, Leno could improve his clean sheet output, giving him an even higher ceiling. After being the 3rd overall keeper last year, there's no reason he can't repeat that. On top of that, he has been going significantly later in mock drafts than goalies on "top 6" teams such as Alisson, Onana, and Kepa.


DEF: Levi Colwill

Team: Chelsea

ADP: 133

Recommended Round to Draft: 11-12

Prospects: With Wesley Fofana suffering an injury that may keep him out for the entire season, there should be a clear path to starting minutes for Colwill. There were heavy rumours of him heading back to Brighton, but Chelsea and Poch have put their foot down, saying he is staying. The Seagulls have brought in Igor Julio, so it's assumed they've given up their pursuit. It seems that Silva + Colwill will be Chelsea's CB pairing to start off the season in a back 4 under Poch. After gameweek 1, Chelsea have one of the best schedules in the EPL for the next 5+ weeks. I would expect Colwill to provide DEF2 or potentially lower-end DEF1 value over that timeframe and potentially beyond. He made 13 starts for Brighton last season and managed 2 assists. We have already seen a few glimpses in preseason of Colwill being a ball-playing CB for Pochettino with long balls to the wingers and strikers. Think similar to an Alderweireld type. I do think Colwill will provide a decent floor for ghost points as well. At Brighton it was a mixed bag, but none of the Brighton CB's were really racking up counting stats. He is decent in the air to add a set-piece threat and has all the potential to replicate Fofana's decent numbers when he did play for Chelsea last season. Depending on your league mates you should be able to get Colwill in round 11 or later, but if you are set on him I wouldn't mind a reach in the 9th-10th round.


DEF: Joachim Andersen

Team: Crystal Palace

ADP: 133

Recommended Round to Draft: 13-14

Prospects: Andersen had an incredible purple patch for Palace to begin last season when he was racking up stats like a DEF1, but he was far more inconsistent after the World Cup. He still offered a somewhat decent 6.2 PPS average over the course of the year, but I think he will have a strong start to the campaign. Out of the first 6 games, 5 of them are against teams that Palace have the ability to beat. Andersen should see himself pick up a few clean sheets and double digit performances to start off the season. With Hodgson getting a full preseason with Palace, I would expect them to play a lot tighter at the back, and Palace defenders' fantasy scores should improve as a result. The recent signing of Lerma will also add some more defensive stability in the midfield, which will help protect the back 4 even more. Andersen will go undrafted in many leagues, but he is a solid option to draft in the last few rounds as a DEF3/4 to plug in during the friendly opening run.


DEF: Rico Lewis

Team: Manchester City

ADP: 314

Recommended Round to Draft: 15-16

Prospects: The futures of Walker and Cancelo are really up in the air at the moment, which could be a huge benefit for young Lewis. There were heavy rumours of Pavard coming into City to occupy the RB spot, but that has gone quiet recently. There is every chance Lewis is given the starting RB role in the first few matches of the season to make it his own. Even if Cancelo stays, he wasn't exactly in Pep's good books so could be set for some time on the bench. In the last round of the draft you could do a lot worse than the Manchester City RB. The role Pep allows him to operate in makes Lewis a viable DEF3 option to start the season, and will have the most upside of any City defender in the XI. Lewis has shown in the past he can take up the "Cancelo" role which as we see is just full of upside. While Stones can also rotate in at RB, I expect Lewis to get first swing at this position.


MID: Giovani Lo Celso

Team: Tottenham

ADP: 367

Recommended Round to Draft: 13-14

Prospects: Lo Celso is starting to become an option for Ange throughout preseason, which is hinting at him potentially occupying the #8 role for Spurs. Maddison is a lock to be the most attacking of the midfielder, but Lo Celso's good performances have given him a shot of gaining the starting role alongside him. He is one that will really slip under the radar in drafts unless you have a Spurs fan in your league. When he starts, don't expect him to go more than 60-70 minutes, but he could still offer a solid floor with some Key Passes to the front 3 and some defensive stats mixed in. I would expect him to offer MID5 value when he starts, with the potential for some upside in easier fixtures. If you have all of your starting attacking slots filled, Lo Celso is worth a punt as you start to go for upside players. If he doesn't start the first gameweek, I think he is worth holding until gameweek 2/3 depending on your roster.


MID: Conor Gallagher

Team: Chelsea

ADP: 127

Recommended Round to Draft: 11-12

Prospects: There are strong rumours of Gallagher getting a move to West Ham. Regardless of if this happens he is worth a punt even at Chelsea. I think regardless of where he ends up, Gallagher will have a big role to play this season. His preseason performances have impressed Pochettino and Chelsea fans alike. It seems that Gallagher will stay at Chelsea unless a big name midfielder comes in, and he should start the season in the first choice XI alongside Enzo. Gallagher's role will be up in the air but he should at the very least be a solid MID5. Last season, he averaged 6.9 PPS in 18 starts. Under a much more attacking manager than the mix of Chelsea managers last season, Gallagher should see that increase at least slightly. Similar to the reasoning behind recommending Colwill, an incredible fixture list to start the season will allow you to get good value from Gallagher if he performs above expectation. Let's not forget the 21-22 season where he had a double digit PPM, and 8 goals and 2 assists. The potential and upside is there with this punt.


MID: Tahith Chong

Team: Luton Town

ADP: N/A

Recommended Round to Draft: 15-16

Prospects: There is a solid analysis of Chong in our Luton team preview and how he may fare in this side. I believe that he is worth a punt in the late rounds. He will most likely be available in the last 2 rounds of every league, and is one of the most upside punts you can take there. He should gain a starting wing role, and has the pace and dribbling ability to rack up some solid counting stats. Luton are very much favourites to be relegated, but Chong can still have some good boom or bust MID4-5 value. If he manages to take the odd set piece for his new club (although unlikely), added in his attacking threat and ability on the counter, he is the upside punt that could really pan out this year. A tough 2 games to start the season for Luton could tempt managers away from Chong, but this is one I would recommend patience with. As long as he is in the XI and involved in the attacking play whenever Luton get their chances I would at least wait until after the Fulham game to make a drop decision on the former United winger.


MID: James Garner

Team: Everton

ADP: 270

Recommended Round to Draft: 15-16

Prospects: Garner featured in my Way too Early Diamonds in the Rough article, and he is back a few months later. There is no reason for me to have changed my opinion on Garner. Dyche has recently praised him for his versatility and ability to adapt to where the team needed him last season. I expect he will be part of the first choice XI to start the season potentially over Onana, who he ended up starting over the last few games of 22/23. Garner will have a full preseason to fully adjust and understand the role Dyche wants him to play. This should allow him more confidence on the pitch, and to finally show he belongs in the EPL. I expect him to steal a few sets off McNeil, and he should offer a mix of offensive and defensive stats. If Everton improve their attacking ability, expect Garner to have MID4 upside. He is a player who will go undrafted in many leagues, so grabbing him as your MID6/7 might pay off to start the season. Everton have a very friendly start to the season where Garner could establish himself as a season keeper.


MID: John McGinn

Team: Aston Villa

ADP: 146

Recommended Round to Draft: 13-15

Prospects: McGinn disappointed fantasy managers last season by having his worst EPL fantasy season to date. He only managed 6.8 PPS. There was a time McGinn was considered a MID1. While I doubt he will ever reach those heights again, he is worth a punt to start the season. Ramsey is out for the first few weeks with an injury, so McGinn should be guaranteed starts alongside Luiz and Tielemans. Kamara is in with a shout to get in the XI ahead of one of McGinn or Youri, but I think Emery will use Kamara from the bench to start. McGinn should be able to get a bit more advanced as Youri plays the more box-to-box role which could see an uptick in his output. My main reasoning for including McGinn is the fact that last season could have been a one off. 2 of the previous 4 seasons he has been above 9 PPM, and based on talent alone there is no reason he can't at least offer MID2-3 value this year. With Villa strengthening their attack this summer, a few more assists to McGinn's name would only help his case. Once you have 4-5 midfielders drafted, McGinn is worth serious consideration.


FWD: Callum Hudson-Odoi

Team: Chelsea/Fulham

ADP: 326

Recommended Round to Draft: 14-16

Prospects: This punt is strictly based on Hudson-Odoi getting a move to Fulham. If he doesn't move, drop him instantly as he will be a non-factor at Chelsea this year. A move to Fulham doesn't guarantee playtime, but I would expect Hudson-Odoi to put up a serious battle with Wilson for that RW spot. His versatility will also allow him to rotate in on the LW with Willian as age starts to creep up on him. Marco Silva has already saved the careers of Willian and Pereira, so why can't he do it with one of the previously most sought-after talents? Hudson-Odoi has shown flashes of brilliance over the years and I fully believe Silva can get the best out of him. Given his poor injury record and lack of consistency you have to be ready to exercise some patience with Hudson-Odoi. It took Willian until mid-September to have his first double-digit outing last year. I would recommend taking CHO as a FWD4 for your team. If he pans out, he will have serious upside this year under Silva.


FWD: Anthony Elanga

Team: Nottingham Forest

ADP: 257

Recommended Round to Draft: 13-15

Prospects: Another United reject makes the list! The forward pool is shallow as per usual, and the later we get in the draft the less quality in this position there is. Elanga is one of the few forwards you can get in the late rounds who could not only get quality minutes in the XI, but also provide consistent FWD3 value. For United he was really a non-factor in real life and fantasy. He only got 2 EPL starts last year and was hooked at half-time in one of them. He did manage 8+ points in both starts which shows he could offer sneaky fantasy value. Given how poor he was for United, and the fact he is going to a team that really hasn't produced many consistently good fantasy attackers, a lot of managers may turn away from Elanga. This should allow you to get him later than he probably should go in the draft. Similar to CHO, he is a player I would recommend as a FWD4 due to rotation risk and lack of certainty of output. Forest also have a very difficult start to the season playing Arsenal, United, Chelsea and City in their first 6 fixtures. If you missed out on Elanga in your draft you should be able to get him a bit cheaper in a trade or even off of the waiver wire during this difficult stretch. He is another upside punt that may require some patience, so use that as a word of caution when drafting him.


Honourable Mentions:


Matt Doherty (DEF - Wolves) - Reunited with his old club that made him a fantasy star. If he wins the RB spot from Semedo he could be one of the steals of the draft.


Tom Lockyer (DEF - Luton) - A ghost point king in the Championship. If Luton are able to be a somewhat decent defensive team he could put up Tarkowski-esque numbers.


Jordan Ayew (FWD - Crystal Palace) - Offered solid FWD3 value last season, and could start the season in the Palace XI due to Zaha leaving and Olise out injured.


Justin Kluivert (MID - Bournemouth) - More assured of starts with Tavernier out to start the season. If he hits the ground running could offer MID3 value. A solid preseason for him so far.

 
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