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 14!
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 14 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.
Last week finally delivered a solid score after a run of sub-par results, with the Gameweek 13 Sleepers XI delivering a tidy 80.75 points. That tally was in large part to Giovani Lo Celso (20), who came through with a goal. After a third of the season, the points tally stands at 838.75, or a weekly average of 64.5. With fixture congestion on the horizon -- beginning with a set of midweek matches next week for GW15 -- it'll be tricky to get starters right over the next few weeks, but hopefully we can keep the positive momentum going by highlighting a few more diamonds in the rough to help your team this week.
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 14. 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.
Caoimhin Kelleher (G, Liverpool v. Fulham)
With Alisson pulling up with a hamstring injury at the end of the Man City game, Kelleher will step into the starting role between the posts for Liverpool for at least the next few weeks. The Reds have a favorable run of fixtures upcoming, beginning with a home match against Fulham this weekend. The Cottagers, after a long stretch of profligacy in front of goal, proved they can score multiple goals in a match with their victory over Wolves in GW13. But facing Liverpool at Anfield is a different prospect, even when the Reds are missing a few of their stars. I like Kelleher as a medium-term play while Alisson is out, so if you're looking to take a brief break from weekly keeper roulette, he's your guy.
Dara O'Shea (D, Burnley v. Sheffield United)
Finding reliable defensive options has proven difficult this season, with fewer clean sheets being kept than ever. That has meant finding players who offer a solid floor of ghost points and hanging on tight, reducing the number of viable options for streaming purposes on a week-over-week basis. O'Shea has been one of the few players to consistently deliver (an impressive 10.3 ghost points per start, level with James Tarkowski and Joachim Andersen) who has yet to find himself as a permanent fixture in the majority of teams. Part of that is likely due to Burnley conceding goals for fun, which offsets his ghost points. Not having a consistent run of decent fixtures doesn't help. Given the fact he plays for Burnley, there really aren't too many "attractive" match-ups in the first place). But he may also be flying a bit under the radar in some leagues as well. The Irish CB has not put up a negative score in the last 5 gameweeks, despite the Clarets losing all five matches and conceding multiple goals in each game. Hosting a goal-shy Sheffield United side could be just the opportunity he needs to put up a double-digit score.
Kristoffer Ajer (D, Brentford v. Luton)
While Brentford have been one of the trickiest teams in the league to predict this season with regard to their performances and results, there's plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to their defenders this weekend. While Ethan Pinnock is out of reach and even Ben Mee is rapidly rising in terms of rostership with his return to fitness and the subsequent injury to Nathan Collins, you may have a better time finding Ajer in your free agent pool. The Norwegian giant has been deployed at RCB or RB depending on which formation Thomas Frank rolls out and has shown an unexpected side to his game, racking up 6 key passes in his last 6 matches. His aerial prowess will likely be called upon in both boxes to offer a set piece threat and also contend with the many crosses Luton Town tend to send Carlton Morris' way.
Valentino Livramento (D, Newcastle v. Manchester United)
Newcastle are down to bare bones at the moment, but that's not keeping them from getting results against top-tier sides. The Magpies shut up shop against PSG in the Champions League and would have kept a clean sheet if not for a very questionable penalty in added time. Livramento featured in that match and could potentially be rotated with Reserve candidate Lewis Hall available for selection again. But the former Southampton fullback acquitted himself well and may have done enough to keep himself in the starting lineup for another big test against a Manchester United side that has won 4 of its last 5 matches in the Premier League. Newcastle have been very difficult to play against at St. James' Park, where they've defended well and scored a boatload of goals. I expect Livramento to be active in all areas of the game if he gets the start. If not, Hall should offer the same mix of attacking threat and defensive involvement.
Curtis Jones (M, Liverpool v. Fulham)
With Ryan Gravenberch getting the start in the Europa League on Thursday, it feels fairly likely we'll see another start for Jones in the Liverpool midfield alongside Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister. Jones wasn't particularly effective against Man City on his return from injury, but that's the most difficult reintroduction to play one could ask for. So I'm willing to give him a chance against less daunting opponents when Fulham come to Merseyside. The England U21 international has so far this season fallen into the same fantasy black hole we've come to expect from Liverpool midfielders in seasons past, but we know from the closing stages of 22/23 that he has double-digit scores in his locker. A stop-start campaign with a red card followed by a minor hamstring injury has perhaps played a role so far this campaign. A run of games could start to see the young midfielder get back to his best. He'll need to do that quickly if he is going to keep his spot ahead of Gravenberch, so if he doesn't come through this game he's likely not a player you'll want to hold through the festive fixtures. If he does perform, however, he would be a nice option to have against Sheffield United in GW15.
Ehor Yarmolyuk (M, Brentford v. Luton)
19-year-old Yarmolyuk earned his first Premier League start against Arsenal last week after a string of brief substitute appearances. The Ukrainian has caught the eye of Brentford fans and, while he was likely earmarked as one for the future, he has shown some signs of being ready now. His scores to-date haven't been much to write home about, though he notably managed 5.5 points in just 17 minutes against Liverpool in GW12 on the back of four successful dribbles. That statistic alone should be enough to pique the interests of fantasy managers. With no concrete news as yet regarding Mathias Jensen's recovery timeframe from an adductor strain we could see Yarmolyuk called upon from the start yet again, particularly considering the opponent and the midweek fixture that could provide Jensen with a few extra days' rest.
Gustavo Hamer (M, Sheffield United @ Burnley)
While the boys were all out on Hamer in the most recent episode of the Key Pass Collective, I'm of the same opinion as fellow TDS analyst Robbie that he's deserving of one final chance this week before it's time to drop him. Admittedly, Hamer and the rest of his Sheffield United teammates haven't done a whole lot to make the case that they are worth holding long-term. But targeting players who face any of this season's promoted teams has proven to be a fruitful venture more often than not. Burnley have allowed more than 10 points to opposition midfielders on average at Turf Moor, making them one of the best teams to stream mids against this gameweek. Hamer has seen his impact wane as Oliver Norwood has made himself a fixture in the starting lineup, taking a good chunk of set pieces away from the former Coventry City man, but he's still taking roughly half of them and will have the added benefit of Oli McBurnie to aim for with his crosses. If he isn't able to manage double digits (which he has only done on two occasions this season; both coming with a goal scored), he's a sure drop ahead of matches against Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Man City. It's worth monitoring what the impact is of having an aerially dominant striker available from the start.
Ross Barkley (M, Luton @ Brentford)
Don't let last week's -0.5 point score dissuade you from taking a chance on Barkley this week; prior to GW13, the former Chelsea and Everton midfielder was averaging more than 8 points per start. He seems to have established himself as a regular starter for Rob Jones and with a small share of set piece duties there's always a chance for him to rack up some relatively easy points through shots on target, key passes and/or accurate crosses. Even without sets, though, Barkley notoriously likes a shot from distance and can help his teammates transition from defense to attack. Particularly if Marvelous Nakamba makes his return to the starting lineup and pushes Barkley further forward, he should be in for a score more in line with what he's offered earlier this season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (F, Nottingham Forest v. Everton)
With our GW14 waivers article featuring three forwards this week, differentiating was a real challenge, but I've still managed to find three of my own who could come through for your team this weekend. They're just a little less assured of starts and/or production. Hudson-Odoi made an impressive return from injury as a substitute in last week's match against Brighton, drawing a penalty and earning the subsequent fantasy assist when Morgan Gibbs-White converted the spot kick. Steve Cooper spoke of CHO's potential to come back into the side and he could offer his manager the opportunity to field a more fluid attacking unit and using Chris Wood as a more direct option as a way to shift the game state if needed. There's a good possibility Hudson-Odoi could still be on the sidelines for another game, though, with Anthony Elanga and the aforementioned MGW in excellent form of late. Given this match is the late game on Saturday, you should only buy in here if you have some reasonable options to pivot to in the event of a benching.
Cameron Archer (F, Sheffield United @ Burnley)
With a goal in his first start for the Blades, there was hope that Archer would prove to be one of those players who can transcend the quality of the team he plays for to be a viable fantasy option for the long-term. That hasn't quite panned out, with the former Aston Villa forward only managing one additional goal since that match in early September. However, he did form an exciting partnership with Oli McBurnie and I'm optimistic that playing both of them from the start will pay dividends. Perhaps not in the form of a goal, but at least in terms of working into better goalscoring positions and adding some key passes and/or shots on target. Again, it's hard to ignore the players who are up against the promoted sides and the pool of available starting forwards is shallow. If you're in a tight spot this week, you could do worse than to take a chance here.
Chiedozie Ogbene (F, Luton @ Brentford)
I went against my own advice when recommending an Ogbene pick-up a few weeks ago, and I have to admit I'm regretting my choice a bit. The pacy Irish winger has been putting up more than respectable scores as a FWD4 option for your squad and is making the case that he could be a suitable FWD3 given his scores of 7, 8 and 8 against the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United. A 13-point haul last week only adds to the case for giving him a shot against Brentford and potentially longer term. That said, the next two fixtures for the Hatters after this week are Arsenal and Man City, so he may be one to pick up now if you need a streamer and to revisit ahead of the match against Bournemouth in GW17.
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