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 17!
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 17 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.
Totti stepped in to cover for me with the GW16 Sleepers XI article and made me question whether he should be the one making picks on a weekly basis with an impressive 83.5 points. A good chunk of that score came from Tosin Adarabioyo (25.25) and Raul Jimenez (17) as Fulham continued their recent purple patch. That score puts the season total at 1068.25, good enough to raise the weekly average a couple points to 66.75. Hopefully I can keep the positive momentum going as we head into the weekend's fixtures.
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 17. 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.
Jordan Pickford (G, Everton @ Burnley)
Everton's 10-point deduction may be masking the fact that they've actually been quite good recently. In fact, they've recorded three wins on the spin, each with a clean sheet. Like many of his teammates, Pickford had an inconsistent start to the season for fantasy purposes. However, he's been among the best goalkeepers to roster since October, second in points scored over the past 60 days behind only Andre Onana who had that massive 25-pointer (ironically, against Everton). Sean Dyche's former team are hardly as threatening as Everton's recent opponents from an attacking standpoint, so the Toffees boss will be hopeful of his charges picking up another three points on the road this weekend.
Alex Moreno (D, Aston Villa @ Brentford)
It's been a long time in the making, but it looks like we'll finally see Moreno start a Premier League game this weekend against Brentford. Lucas Digne is suspended for yellow card accumulation, which may be the only way his fullback competitor was going to break into the team ahead of him. Moreno was a fantasy favorite after arriving at Villa for the back half of last season and was largely expected to be the first choice left back for Unai Emery, but injuries and the subsequent revival for Digne have meant he's had to be content with a watching brief from the sidelines. It's perhaps slightly unfortunate that his start comes in an away match, with Villa's commanding home form likely a better backdrop for him to stake a claim on a starting role moving forward, but an inconsistent Brentford side could afford him the opportunity to showcase his all-around game nonetheless.
Benoit Badiashile (D, Chelsea v. Sheffield United)
With Chris Wilder reinstated as manager, the days of blindly targeting Sheffield United each week may be a thing of the past. However, they're not going to overcome the lack of quality in the squad, particularly before reinforcements can arrive in January, so they're still a good team to look at when considering streaming targets from most teams. Chelsea have been in woeful form of late, but they have at least been boosted by the return to fitness of Badiashile, who has been a fixture in the starting lineup at the heart of the defense. With a couple fullback options potentially available to fill in for the injured Reece James, it's possible that Pochettino could opt to move Axel Disasi back into central defense at the expense of his compatriot. If you've got the ability to make live lineup changes, this hopefully won't be too much of an issue, as Chelsea play fairly early in the gameweek. Badiashile is a player who offers a solid floor of ghost points to go along with the potential clean sheet, which we've learned not to chase this season.
Dara O'Shea (D, Burnley v. Everton)
Speaking of players who don't need a clean sheet to score well, O'Shea has suffered a slight dip in that output recently but could be in line for a return to a more attractive score given Everton's tendency to pump crosses into the box for DCL to attack. A significant portion of O'Shea's impressive 9.6 ghost points per start comes from his ability to win aerial duels; the Irish CB has won the sixth most aerial duels of any player in the Premier League this season (fourth among defenders). I like his chances of adding to that tally when he comes up against Calvert-Lewin and company this weekend.
Marcos Senesi (D, Bournemouth v. Luton)
Bournemouth have really turned the corner since their 6-1 defeat against Manchester City at the beginning of November, winning four of their last five matches in the Premier League. Senesi has been a key factor in the Cherries' recent success, contributing goals in each of the last two matches to go along with his defensive work. It would be highly unlikely for the player to score and earn a clean sheet in three consecutive matches, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility given the home match against Luton. The Hatters, to be fair to them, have proven to be a more capable attacking side than many expected, though it has to be said they have found life away from their fans at Kenilworth Road much more difficult. In any event, Senesi has put up some monster scores recently, which include quite a few points from counting stats even if you remove his goal contributions and clean sheets.
Amadou Onana (M, Everton @ Burnley)
It's that time of the season when injuries and suspensions start to be more prominent with fixture congestion. One such instance is at Everton, where Idrissa Gueye will be sidelined after picking up his fifth caution of the season against Chelsea in GW16. There's good news, however, with the news that Onana is fit again after missing three matches. The Belgian made a 45-minute cameo last week, so he should be in a good spot to start this weekend. Onana doesn't offer a huge amount of upside, but is usually good for a score in the 5-10 point range. If you're in a tight spot after the early matches on Saturday, Onana can be a reliable option to call upon if you're not feeling great about taking a punt on a more boom-or-bust type player who could earn you 2 points or 20.
Andros Townsend (M, Luton @ Bournemouth)
As mentioned, Luton have come into their own from an attacking standpoint recently, with players like Doughty, Barkley and Townsend all contributing double-digit scores in recent weeks against opponents like Arsenal and Man City. Bournemouth are one of the league's form teams at the moment, but those recent scores showcase the potential that Luton's attacking players have to deliver points regardless of opponent. Like Barkley, Townsend has been rolling back the years and rediscovering some of the form that made him a fantasy favorite in years past. He's notched two assists in his previous two matches and will look to keep his recent momentum going. Townsend has yet to play close to a full 90 minutes this season, so you are betting on him getting his points in a shorter timeframe than many other players, but he does offer that high upside potential of a 15+ point scores if you're willing to take the risk.
Harry Wilson (M, Fulham @ Newcastle)
Fulham's excellent recent form has meant that Wilson has been confined to substitute appearances, but he's certainly done himself no harm with his performances off the bench. The Welsh winger has a goal and two assists as a sub in the past two matches to follow on from the goal he scored when he started the match against Liverpool in GW14. An injury to Willian in the match against West Ham last time out could see Wilson restored to the starting lineup against Newcastle, though there have been reports of the Brazilian returning to training. This recommendation is more of a pick up and hold to see if he makes the starting lineup, so if you aren't able to make changes to your roster after the gameweek begins, you may want to look for a more assured starter.
Justin Kluivert (M, Bournemouth v. Luton)
With all of Bournemouth's recent success, you'd expect their starting number 10 to be consistently putting up excellent scores, but that hasn't really been the case for Kluivert. Outside of his 23.5 point performance against Sheffield United back in GW13, the Dutch attacker has actually been scoring poorly (just 6.5 points total across the last three matches). So, why am I recommending him? Luton have been very accommodating to opposition midfielders away from home, allowing 11 points per game on average so far this season. With a full week to recover from the last match, Kluivert should be nailed-on in the starting lineup and will have the opportunity to supply the in-form Dominic Solanke with shooting opportunities.
Elijah Adebayo (F, Luton @ Bournemouth)
One of the key factors in Luton's recent uptick in attacking output has been the reintroduction of Adebayo to the starting lineup. The giant striker has been preferred over the underperforming Carlton Morris and has taken his chance well, scoring in consecutive matches against two of the league's top teams. A word of warning, however: Adebayo has been extremely reliant on attacking returns for his points, with more than 50% of his total points for the season coming from the four goals he's scored. If he doesn't get on the scoresheet against Bournemouth, you're probably looking at a score closer to 2 or 3 points, so be aware of what you're getting yourself into if you decide to plug him into your lineup this weekend.
Wilson Odobert (F, Burnley v. Everton)
With Luca Koleosho set to be sidelined long-term with a serious knee injury, Odobert has an opportunity to make the left wing role his own. The teenager was thrown straight into the starting lineup by Vincent Kompany and he repaid his manager's faith with a goal in the 1-1 draw against Brighton last time out. He will face competition from Mike Tresor, but it would be harsh on the youngster to take him out of the starting lineup following last week's performance. We haven't seen enough of Odobert yet to know exactly what type of fantasy asset he'll be, but goals in each of his two starts in the Premier League is enough to get excited about given the lack of fantasy-relevant forwards available on the waiver wire at this stage of the season. At least until we see what the January transfer window brings us, Odobert could be one of the best available options if you're in need of a starting striker for your squad.
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