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Gameweek 10 Sleepers XI: Fantrax EPL

We look to the waiver wire and free agent pool each week to highlight some under-the-radar players who could be a short-term or even long-term solution for your Fantrax EPL fantasy teams. Our Sleepers XI provides fantasy managers with a full squad of differential picks, and some high upside options to plug in if they are in the starting lineup. Don't sleep on these underappreciated gems as you put together your roster for Gameweek 10!

A game of Premier League football being played at Villa Park

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 10 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 "Big 3" -- the twenty 12-team divisions that comprise the ultra-competitive DraftPL Community League and International Genie League, as well as the eight equally competitive 10-team divisions in the Discord Super 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.

Gameweek 9 was the first in a long while that delivered double-digit returns from multiple players. Chris Wood (32) came through with what should have been a match-winning haul for anyone who took a risk on the former Burnley and Newcastle striker, with Matt Doherty (15.25) and Nathan Collins (12.75) also providing the goods. An honorable mention is warranted for Ryan Gravenberch (8), who looked like he could help continue Liverpool's fantasy transformation in midfield. No-shows and late cameos for a couple selections put a dent in what could have been a first triple-digit score of the season, but the 85.5 points is still a marked improvement over recent results. That tally brings the season total to 591 points and bumps the weekly average up close to 66 points. Still lots of work to be done to get to my season-long target of 75 points per week, but it's a step in the right direction.

Gameweek 10 will definitely present some challenges. For one, by the time the final ball is kicked in the Manchester Derby on Sunday, at least two Premier League clubs will have been in action every day for 9 straight days, with multiple squads involved in European fixtures and Tottenham facing a rare Monday and Friday fixture combination at either end of the match week. In addition to the potential rotation that will result from the extra games, the fixtures aren't particularly well-suited for the teams we'd usually look to for potential streaming options. Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Wolves, Everton, Luton, Fulham and Nottingham Forest all face off against teams at least 6 places above them in the table. While it's still early enough in the season that those gaps can be reduced with a couple results, it still points to a difficult time identifying players you can rely on to propel you toward victory.

The Sleepers XI table below includes a full team of Starters, as well as 5 Reserves -- high-upside players with some question marks around whether or not they'll start in Gameweek 10. Keep an eye out when lineups drop and pick them up if you see them starting and need to fill a spot on your roster. Read on below for the rationale behind each of the Starter selections.

Neto (G, Bournemouth v. Burnley)

With few other attractive fixtures available, the relegation zone scrap between Bournemouth and Burnley may actually be one that's worth targeting on both sides. Neto has regularly been a contender for selection in the Sleepers XI over the past two seasons given his knack for putting up positive scores despite infrequently ending up on the winning side in matches. The Brazilian hasn't been in great form so far this season, but it's hard to see the club captain getting dropped in such a crucial match. With this being one of the first so-called "six pointers" this season, both teams will surely be going for a victory and I expect an open game with lots of attacking chances. Particularly if Burnley are chasing the game, that could result in a lot of low-quality shots for Neto to save.

Dara O'Shea (D, Burnley @ Bournemouth)

After a very difficult opening quarter of the season, the fixtures are starting to turn in the Clarets' favor, and they surprisingly sit second in our fixture difficulty tracker for defenders over the next 5 gameweeks, even with a match against Arsenal on the horizon in GW12. O'Shea returned to the starting lineup against Brentford last week after a spell on the sidelines and put up a respectable 3 points considering his side conceded three goals. The Irish defender has shown that he can offer solid ghost point production and should be the most reliable option among the back line to score well even if they concede against the Cherries.

Joel Veltman (D, Brighton v. Fulham)

James Milner had a torrid time trying to deal with the pace and trickery of Jeremy Doku for Brighton last time out, leading to a halftime substitution for the veteran journeyman. Veltman came in and did a better job containing the mercurial winger and should be in line for a recall to the starting lineup for the visit of Fulham this weekend (though it's worth monitoring how the Seagulls perform in Europe on Thursday for any indications to the contrary). With Solly March and Pervis Estupinan injured, Brighton will likely deploy four players across the back line who can operate as center backs (with Igor the likely LB deputy) as they search for their first clean sheet of the season. Veltman's attacking capabilities from the right back position are more likely to be called upon than they may have been had one of the aforementioned LB options been fit, so there's potential for him to improve upon his 6.1 ghost points per start average so far this campaign.

Nayef Aguerd (D, West Ham v. Everton)

West Ham's back line may be a bit depleted come Sunday, with Emerson serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation and Vladimir Coufal reportedly struggling with a muscular injury, but I still like the in-form Hammers' chances of getting a good result at home against Everton in Sunday's early kickoff (one hour before the rest of the Sunday afternoon slate...did someone forget about the time change?). Aguerd is capable of filling in at left back in the event that neither Aaron Cresswell or Ben Johnson are ready to step in, but if one of them does fill the vacant fullback slot I am also a fan of the Moroccan's points potential at CB. Kurt Zouma will most likely contest for the majority of long balls sent in toward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but Aguerd is no slouch aerially, having won 5 aerial duels on two occasions in Premier League matches already this season. Outside of the three promoted sides, Everton have been the most accommodating team when it comes to fantasy scores for opposition defenders (allowing 9 points per game on average).

Pau Torres (D, Aston Villa v. Luton)

One of the most attractive matches on paper for the weekend is Villa's home game against Luton. Unai Emery's charges have been in excellent form so far this season, currently occupying a place in the top 5. Torres has not been a particularly strong fantasy asset this season and has been heavily dependent on clean sheets and a rare goal last week for the majority of his points. This is one of the few occasions where you'll find me making a recommendation for chasing a clean sheet, and it's mostly down to the lack of other streaming options as I mentioned in my intro. Villa have the second highest clean sheet odds after Arsenal this week, so if you're up for a gamble it could pay off handsomely for you. Just know that if the Hatters do get on the scoresheet, you're unlikely to get much in the way of points from Torres unless he somehow sees the back of the net for a second consecutive week.

Boubacar Kamara (M, Aston Villa v. Luton)

Keeping with the Villa - Luton matchup, Kamara is someone who has been producing much better ghost point returns. The defensive midfielder has been surprisingly involved in his side's attacking play, producing 3 key passes against West Ham last week. That performance wasn't a one-off, either, with Kamara delivering 4 KPs against Chelsea and 2 against Burnley already this season. This seems to be a case where the Frenchman's passing ability works to supply the line-breaking runs of Diaby and Watkins up top. I expect Villa to have plenty of opportunities to exploit this against Luton this weekend, as well as some chances for Kamara to showcase the defensive side of his game winning back possession in the middle of the pitch.

Carlos Baleba (M, Brighton v. Fulham)

The Brighton scouting department has found another gem. Baleba was left out of the lineup for the midweek match against Ajax and I expect the teenager to start against Fulham and deliver another composed display that belies his experience. If you can get a more attack-minded piece of the Brighton attack, that's obviously preferable over a holding midfielder, but similarly to other central midfielders on attack-minded teams (the aforementioned Kamara for example, or Bissouma) there is always the potential for a player in this position to contribute to attacking returns. Putting up 5.5 points against Liverpool and 7 points against Man City (in 65 minutes) is nothing to scoff at, and while Baleba may not be as busy against Fulham as he was against either of his previous opponents, we'll likely get to see how he operates with a bit more time and space on the ball.

Josh Brownhill (M, Burnley @ Bournemouth)

After starting 5 Premier League matches on the bounce, Brownhill was a surprise omission against Brentford last week. There's little evidence to point to for why he shouldn't be given an immediate recall by Vincent Kompany. The central midfielder has been responsible for about 50% of his team's set pieces this season and should resume dead ball duties at the Vitality Stadium this weekend. Similarly to their defenders, Burnley have a very good upcoming run of fixtures, with Bournemouth being the second most forgiving of this weekend's teams when it comes to fantasy scoring for opposing midfielders (conceding 11.6 points on average to midfielders on their travels). Brownhill has been closer to the 5-9 point range recently, so you'll be hoping for him to come closer to the top end of that range if he can't meet that average. If Brownhill is available in your league, he could be a worthwhile medium- to long-term hold as a MID 5 level player for your team.

Sean Longstaff (M, Newcastle @ Wolves)

With the news officially confirmed that Sandro Tonali will be suspended for the next 10 months, Newcastle are suddenly looking a bit thin in the central midfield. Add in an injury to Elliot Anderson and a lack of match sharpness for the recently returned Joe Willock and Longstaff should be as close to nailed on as anyone in the Magpies side at the moment. The central midfielder has been deployed in more of a box-to-box role this season and has been a regular contributor to his side's attacking sequences. Wolves have blown hot and cold this season, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where the league's top-scoring side don't rack up at least a few chances from central areas. Longstaff should also be a player you can keep on your roster long-term.

Luca Koleosho (F, Burnley @ Bournemouth)

Let me get this out of the way quickly: the forward landscape this weekend is brutal for streaming purposes. Koleosho hasn't been in the starting lineup for Burnley's last two matches after a Brighton start to the season (at least in terms of passing the proverbial "eye test"). But given the team's dire performance against Brentford it's a pretty safe bet that Kompany will be looking to make some adjustments ahead of the match against Bournemouth. The teenage winger only has one goal contribution to his name so far this season and for all his positive intent and attractive work on the ball he hasn't yet established himself as much of a fantasy asset. The biggest reason for his inclusion is how bad his opponents have been at shutting down attackers. I'd be more inclined to run with an extra defender or midfielder this week if possible, but if Koleosho is in the starting lineup he may be among the best forward options available in your league.

Raul Jimenez (F, Fulham @ Brighton)

Continuing the theme of poor choices up top, I'm choosing to ignore recent form and bet on Jimenez providing an acceptable score as a streaming option this week against Brighton. The Mexican forward has not been able to rediscover his pre-injury form despite the change of scenery this season and is without a single goal or assist across any of his 8 appearances for Fulham this season. He's also lost out on some starts recently to Carlos Vinicius, but the Brazilian hasn't done much of anything to convince me or likely Marco Silva that he's any better as a goalscoring threat. The only real justification I can provide for this selection is that Brighton have yet to keep a clean sheet this season and will be missing some of their key players. If you're desperate for a forward as you come to the end of the gameweek, you could take a risk on Jimenez and hope that this is the week he finally gets back among the goals, but again if you have the option to avoid streaming forwards this week that's what I would advise.

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