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Gameweek 25 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 25!


Kayla the Bald Eagle with her handler at a Crystal Palace game

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 25 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.


Despite a negative score from Gabriel Osho (-3) and a couple no-shows/late cameos for Brereton (0) and Broja (1.5), Gameweek 24 was an excellent week overall for the Sleepers XI picks. Five of the starting eleven managed double digits, with Sergio Reguilon (24.25) and Christian Norgaard (19) the standouts. The 95 point total for the week brings the season tally to 1682.25, lifting the weekly average up to 70 points.


The upcoming gameweek includes two fixtures for Brentford, Luton, Liverpool and Manchester City. Most competitive leagues will find that there aren't many (if any) players from the latter two teams available that are likely to start both games, while the fixtures for the former two are very difficult. For the most part, streaming players with one game this week may be a better strategy than taking the risk on players from the DGW teams. I have included a couple I think could be better options than their single match counterparts, however.


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 25. 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.



Thomas Kaminski (G, Luton v. Manchester United / @ Liverpool)

Considering the fixtures for the Hatters, this recommendation is not for the faint of heart. While Kaminski could easily end up with two negative scores, there's an argument to be made that he could just as easily end up as the highest scoring goalkeeper of the gameweek. Targeting goalkeepers in a DGW is a numbers game, and you're hoping to pick someone who can make a high volume of saves across the two matches. Both Liverpool and Manchester United are capable of generating a ton of shots, and Kaminski has already shown on multiple occasions that he can come up with 6, 7 or even 8 saves in a single match. The downside is that Luton have conceded 7 goals in their last two matches (including shipping 3 to lowly Sheffield United), so you're looking at the ultimate high risk, high reward play here. If you're more risk averse, you can try to find a keeper from one of the teams playing once, but the options available below the 60% roster mark really aren't that inspiring.


Harry Maguire (D, Manchester United @ Luton)

With the news that Lisandro Martinez's knee injury is a serious one that's set to keep him out for at least a couple months, if not the rest of the season, Maguire should find himself as a starter more often than not the rest of the campaign. Not only is the England defender a good option for the rest of the season given his ghosting ability (9.3 ghost points per start this season), he should also be a great option for this week in particular. Rob Edwards has been fielding both Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo in the starting lineup for Luton lately and encouraging a lot of route one football to get the ball up to his front men. This should offer up plenty of opportunities for Maguire to contest aerial duels, where he excels. Add in a couple other defensive contributions and potential attacking threat from set pieces and you've got a recipe for success.


Jarrad Branthwaite (D, Everton v. Crystal Palace)

If rumors are to be believed, Branthwaite could partner Maguire at Manchester United as early as next season. The young center back has been showcasing his quality on a weekly basis for Everton this season and on several occasions has been a solid fantasy asset as well. Granted, his scores without the bonus of a clean sheet haven't been much to write home about, but a home match against a Crystal Palace side that will likely be transitioning between managers and still missing their most potent attacking threats offers a decent shot at that possibility. Branthwaite offers a solid floor of ghost points (nearly 8 per start), so as long as the Toffees can keep the goals conceded to a minimum he should deliver solid, if unspectacular, value even without a clean sheet.


Tariq Lamptey (D, Brighton @ Sheffield United)

All things considered, Brighton have done remarkably well to be in the top half of the table this season considering the number of injuries and extended international absences they've had to contend with. Roberto de Zerbi has been able to call upon one of his oft-injured contingent in recent weeks with Lamptey, however, and the timing couldn't have been much better. Stand-in right back Jack Hinshelwood appears likely to miss the rest of the season, so the Ghanaian wingback has an opportunity to make the spot his own in the coming weeks. He'll likely have to contend with the return of Joel Veltman sooner rather than later, but he's also shown he has the versatility to fill in on the opposite flank ahead of or instead of Pervis Estupinan. The Seagulls have been on a poor run of form recently, but will view the trip to face bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United as an opportunity to get back to winning ways and push for a European berth. Lamptey is a high upside fantasy asset given his ability to join the attack and contribute accurate crosses and key passes. He notched an assist in the victory over Crystal Palace in GW23 and scored a respectable 4.25 points in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham last weekend.


Adam Wharton (M, Crystal Palace @ Everton)

Surprisingly given their recent history, Palace were one of the few teams to splash the cash and bring in a first-team quality player during the January transfer window with the signing of Wharton from Blackburn Rovers. The 19 year-old was thrust straight into action and hasn't looked at all out of place in the Premier League across his first match and a half. He's also shown some promising signs that he may be a decent fantasy asset, scoring 5.5 points in 60 minutes on his debut and following it up with 13 in his full debut against Chelsea last gameweek. The youngster appears to fit the same mold as another Palace defensive midfielder who could rack up the points, Cheick Doucoure. Set your expectations appropriately that Wharton's fantasy points very likely won't come from attacking categories too frequently, but he did manage two key passes against Chelsea, so the potential is at least there for upside to go along with what looks like a solid floor of defensive points.


Amadou Onana (M, Everton v. Crystal Palace)

Sean Dyche's side have been on a dreadful run of form over the past couple months, with their last victory coming in mid-December. That run has coincided with the absence of Abdoulaye Doucoure, and while the Malian midfielder is back in training, this weekend will almost certainly come too soon for him. The good news for the Toffees is that fellow midfielder Onana made his own return from a short-term injury with a brief cameo last gameweek. The Belgian was one of the goalscorers in the 2-0 victory over Burnley just before the festive period and his return to the squad should give Everton a boost as they look to lift themselves back out of the relegation zone in a critical match against Crystal Palace. Onana is a threat from set pieces, but without an attacking return is typically a player from whom you can expect 6-8 points. The Eagles have offered up more than 9 points on average to opposition midfielders away from Selhurst Park this season, so there's reason to believe Onana could exceed his projected score this weekend.


Jacob Ramsey (M, Aston Villa @ Fulham)

Perhaps even more impressive than the situation at Brighton is the fact that Aston Villa currently find themselves one point outside the top 4 despite a litany of long-term injuries. Unai Emery was hit with yet another injury blow with Boubacar Kamara suffering an ACL tear in Gameweek 24. Kamara's absence will likely see John McGinn shifted into a more defensive central midfield position alongside Douglas Luiz, though Youri Tielemans could also play in the deeper role to allow McGinn to support Ollie Watkins ahead of him. With the spot opening up in central midfield, there should be more of an opportunity for Ramsey to keep his place in the starting lineup. While he didn't provide much of anything for fantasy purposes against Manchester United, Ramsey did look a lot more threatening than on any other occasion this season. The England U-21 international has struggled to find form this campaign after picking up an injury on international duty over the summer, but was one of Villa's standout players in the closing stretch of last season. With a good run of upcoming fixtures, he could be a strong medium- to long-term asset for your squad.


Vitaly Janelt (M, Brentford v. Liverpool / @ Manchester City)

If you missed out on Christian Norgaard last week, Janelt is likely the most stable backup option that could be available to you for Brentford's challenging double week against the League's current top two. The versatile German had been scoring very well as a left back deputy to the injured Rico Henry, but has found himself back in his more traditional central midfield role since the arrival of Sergio Reguilon. Janelt didn't score particularly well in the first few matches back in his preferred role, but provided an assist and 9 points (despite a yellow card) against Wolves last week. He's not quite as much of a set piece threat as Norgaard, but can piece together a double-digit score across two matches regardless of opponent. This isn't a high-upside play, but if you're short on options in midfield, he at least has two chances to put points on the board.


Callum Hudson-Odoi (F, Nottingham Forest v. West Ham)

Could we finally be seeing the long-awaited breakout of Hudson-Odoi? After so many stop-start campaigns and unsuccessful loan moves, the former Chelsea winger appears to be hitting stride for Nuno Espirito Santo. CHO has scored two goals and created another across his last four EPL appearances, and doesn't currently face too much competition for his starting spot unless Nuno wants to change formation to integrate Gio Reyna. While results haven't been going Forest's way, it's difficult to see a scenario in which the manager drops one of his most in-form players. Shockingly, West Ham give up nearly 13.5 points per week on average to opposition forwards when playing at home, which is third worst among this week's fixtures after Bournemouth and Burnley (both 13.9). While he can be quite goal-dependent for his points, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Hudson-Odoi adds to his tally against the Hammers.


Danny Welbeck (F, Brighton @ Sheffield United)

Things may change up a bit once European action resumes, but for now it seems like Welbeck is firmly ahead of Evan Ferguson in the pecking order at striker for Brighton. The veteran forward brings needed experience to an otherwise youthful attacking corps, and will likely be called upon to lead the line against the Blades on Sunday. The former Arsenal and Manchester United striker has only scored two goals this season, which is a cause for concern, but with Kaoru Mitoma and potentially Simon Adingra (though not likely) back for this match, he could have some more dangerous players alongside him to supply him with chances, or vice versa.


Matheus Franca (F, Crystal Palace @ Everton)

It took a slew of injuries for Franca to finally get his first Premier League start of the campaign against Chelsea in GW24. Roy Hodgson has been reluctant to play the promising youngster, but with the elder statesman manager on his way out, the Brazilian may stand to benefit. The general consensus on Franca's performance against the Blues was that he didn't quite look up to the required level, but was lively and eager to get involved. Hodgson may have been correct to take his time with the young attacker, but with Michael Olise out long-term the Eagles need another dynamic player who can make things happen. If Franca gets a run of starts, he could prove to be quite useful, especially considering he scored 7 points in what was deemed to be a sub-par performance. With this match being the last of the single gameweek fixtures in GW25, make sure you either have cover or can stash Franca for the upcoming weeks in case he does nail down that starting spot.



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