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Gameweek 20 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 20!


A game of soccer being played in a packed stadium

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 20 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 19 was among the best Sleepers XI selections of the season, coming in at 95.25 points. A massive chunk of that came from hat-trick hero Chris Wood (37), but there were also admirable performances from Alex Scott (15.5), Gustavo Hamer (11) and Marcos Senesi (10.75). That result brings the season tally to 1311, and raises the weekly average at the halfway point of the season to 69 points. Another 48-hour turnaround between gameweeks will likely see some more rotation and early substitution risks come into play, which I'll try to call out to the extent possible in the analysis.


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 20. 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.



Jose Sa (G, Wolves v. Everton)

Gary O'Neil has Wolves in fine fettle during this festive period, and they'll look to build on their impressive 4-1 win over Brentford midweek with another victory against Everton this weekend. There were some question marks over whether Sa would immediately reclaim the starting role over Daniel Bentley upon his return from injury, but his manager has backed his number one and praised him for making the "big saves" to keep his team in matches. While he has been pretty inconsistent in terms of scoring so far this season, the Portuguese keeper offers huge upside as far as goalkeepers are concerned. Case in point, Sa scored nearly 30 points the last time these two teams faced each other at Goodison Park in August. I like his potential to make a handful of saves against an Everton team that has the ability to create plenty of scoring opportunities.


Harry Toffolo (D, Nottingham Forest v. Manchester United)

It didn't take long to get to the starting risks I mentioned in my introduction. A new manager joining a team at this stage of the season is a nightmare for predicting lineups, but despite the excellent performance against Newcastle midweek I'm expecting Nuno Espirito Santo to make some changes this weekend. The manager dropped both Toffolo and Neco Williams for GW19, but I'd expect one or both to return to the lineup for the match against the Red Devils. Toffolo may be the more likely given Nuno's preference for attack-minded fullbacks, as he'd ostensibly replace the more defensive Ola Aina in the starting eleven. Forest will be flying high after their confidence-boosting victory over the Magpies that included a haul of ghost points for set piece taker Morgan Gibbs-White. Toffolo had been commanding a fair share of sets when he was in the starting lineup under Steve Cooper. If he can reclaim some portion of dead ball duties, he could be in a good place to capitalize on a shaky United defensive unit.


Jarrad Branthwaite (D, Everton @ Wolves)

Following a trio of clean-sheet victories, Everton have backslid a touch with consecutive (and perhaps expected) defeats to Tottenham and Man City. As mentioned, Wolves have been in good form of late but may not pose quite as much of a challenge for Toffees defenders as Spurs, let alone City. In any event, streaming defenders is going to be a challenge this week given the fixtures and availability of players under the 60% rostership threshold. Branthwaite has been a near ever-present in the lineup for Sean Dyche this season and there's no reason to think he'll be dropped for the trip to the Molineux. The youngster averages 8.6 ghost points per start, good enough for a place in the top 20 defenders who have started at least 6 games in the Premier League this season. A nailed-on starter with this level of output is very tough to find right now and the strong ghost point average is a good indication that he can still deliver a positive score even if Everton concede.


Malo Gusto (D, Chelsea @ Luton)

A lot has changed since the last time Chelsea and Luton squared off back in August; in particular, the Hatters have gotten their bearings in the Premier League and are holding their own -- especially at home. That said, Gusto provided two assists on the way to 27.5 points in the 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season. The French fullback has returned to the starting lineup due to the injury absence of Reece James and offered another assist against Crystal Palace midweek. His attacking potential makes him a strong option to draft into your squad this week despite the impressive scoring trend for Luton at Kenilworth Road.


Jack Hinshelwood (M, Brighton @ West Ham)

With the injury crisis at Brighton, Roberto de Zerbi has had to find creative solutions in his squad. Luckily for him, Hinshelwood has broken into the first team and offered some much-needed versatility. The teenager has been deployed in central midfield and in both fullback berths since coming into the team and hasn't looked at all out of place. With Igor and potentially Facundo Buonanotte joining their stricken teammates in the treatment room this week, Hinshelwood should retain his place in the Seagulls' starting lineup. He blasted home a brilliant goal to kick off the scoring against Spurs midweek, showcasing his attacking potential to go along with his defensive contributions. As with pretty much any Brighton outfielder, he will be at risk of an early substitution, so be sure to factor that into your thinking. Additionally, this match is the final one of the gameweek on Tuesday, so if you're not able to make live lineup changes or are worried about other worthwhile streamers being available, consider looking elsewhere.


Moises Caicedo (M, Chelsea @ Luton)

The midfield battle between the Blues and the Hatters will be a crucial component to the success of either side in Saturday's early kickoff. Caicedo has not quite hit the heights at Chelsea as were expected following his move from Brighton in the summer, and his fantasy scores reflect that as well. However, the Ecuadorian recently scored 11 points in an all-ghost point outing against Sheffield United, showcasing his potential to fill the stat sheet. With Marvelous Nakamba still missing for Luton, Caicedo and his teammates may be able to exploit the space in the central areas to set up scoring chances. I'm still not a huge fan of Caicedo's potential to score double digits this week, but if you want to ensure you have a starter in play early in the gameweek he could help get some early points on the board and let you take some higher upside risks elsewhere in your squad.


Ross Barkley (M, Luton v. Chelsea)

On the other side of the aforementioned midfield contest, Barkley has been one of the most influential players in Luton's uptick in form over the past few months. The former Chelsea player will relish the opportunity to take on his former employers and build upon his impressive form. As you can see from his rostership in the Big 3 leagues, Barkley is well worth a spot in your squad regardless of opponent. Barkley is averaging a respectable 8.2 points per start but is outperforming that average by quite a bit in December, where he's got four double-digit returns in his last 5 matches.


Said Benrahma (M, West Ham v. Brighton)

The Africa Cup of Nations is on the horizon and we may see players begin to join up with their national teams as early as this weekend. Benrahma could very well be included in Algeria's squad, which has yet to be announced at the time of writing, but should still be available for the Hammers for the match against Brighton. However, with the game falling on Tuesday, there's a possibility he could be expected to travel beforehand. If he is still around he should get the nod in the lineup to replace Lucas Paqueta, who suffered an injury in the warmup prior to the match and had to be substituted in the first half against Arsenal. With Mo Kudus and Maxwel Cornet also potentially joining their AFCON camps in the coming days, we could instead see Pablo Fornals get a rare start. If Benrahma starts, however, he is the type of boom-or-bust player that can make or break your gameweek. High risk, high reward is the possibility here.


Vitaly Janelt (M, Brentford @ Crystal Palace)

Despite Brentford falling to a heavy defeat at the feet of Wolves in GW19, Janelt delivered a 10.5 point performances without an attacking return. The German midfielder has been asked to fill in at left back in the absence of Rico Henry and has done about as well as could be expected in an unfamiliar role. His fantasy performances have flown a bit under the radar, as well. Without the penalty for goals conceded, he's been able to rack up a steady supply of ghost points to make him a viable fantasy asset. With the exception of the -1.5 point anomaly against Villa in GW17, he's been in MID3 territory since late November with scores of 8, 10.5, 15.5, 8 and 10.5 otherwise. He's also been an ever-present for Thomas Frank this season, which adds to the appeal.


Keane Lewis-Potter (F, Brentford @ Crystal Palace)

Quite a few fantasy-relevant forwards are on offer in our GW20 Waivers article, but Lewis-Potter is also worth consideration this weekend following a few promising displays in the festive fixtures. The former Hull City winger hasn't been the fantasy favorite I was hoping he would be, but he's still young and is showing signs of adaptation to the Premier League. KLP scored a goal against Aston Villa in GW18, but actually managed a better fantasy score against Wolves last time out (14 vs. 11.5), despite not scoring or assisting. If he can build upon the strong ghost point outing (which included 4 successful dribbles, two key passes and two shots on target), he'll start to make the case for longer term inclusion in our fantasy squads. In the short-term, he's not a bad option against a Palace side that has failed to keep a clean sheet in its last eight Premier League matches.


Luis Sinisterra (F, Bournemouth @ Tottenham)

It's possibly a case of wishful thinking, but the match against Tottenham could finally be the opportunity we've been waiting for with regard to a start for Sinisterra. The Colombian winger is one of those players who excites every time he is on the pitch and fantasy managers have been clamoring for the former Leeds man to break into the starting lineup at Bournemouth for a long time, to pretty much no avail. In Andoni Iraola's defense, the Cherries have been in exceptional form without him. Bournemouth have now gone seven matches without defeat in the Premier League and are well-positioned to take advantage of a Spurs side that conceded four goals midweek amidst a defensive injury crisis. With Antoine Semenyo likely to leave for AFCON duty in the coming days, Sinisterra may have to wait another week for his time in the sun. He has been making a case for his inclusion, however, with a goal and assist in two of his last four appearances.


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