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Gameweek 27 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 27!

A view of the pitch from the stands at AFC Bournemouth's Vitality 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 27 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.

While Gameweek 26 didn't quite hit the triple-digit heights of the previous round of fixtures, there was still plenty to be happy about. Rayan Ait-Nouri (18.5) and Daniel Munoz (17.5) led the way with their excellent wingback displays, while Mario Lemina (10) and Vini de Souza (9.5) continued their workman-like performances in central midfield. And don't let Lorenz Assignon's relatively low score (4) dissuade you from future consideration; that's while playing a man down and conceding three goals. What might have been...The 81.25 points from last week take the season total up to 1863.5, pushing the weekly average up to 71.67. Could the season target of 75 points still be reached? It'll take some doing, but it's not out of the question with a dozen gameweeks to go.

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 27. 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 @ Nottingham Forest)

There were always going to be concerns about Liverpool's ability to maintain their defensive stability without Alisson, but Kelleher hasn't put a foot wrong since stepping into the Reds' starting lineup. The keeper has kept consecutive clean sheets in the Carabao Cup final and FA Cup quarterfinal matches over the past week, and even in the matches where he's conceded he's made enough saves to provide respectable scores. Liverpool travel to face a faltering Nottingham Forest team this weekend, but the home side have still been creating plenty of chances with their dangerous front four of Gibbs-White, Elanga, Hudson-Odoi and Awoniyi, so Kelleher will likely be called upon to make a fair number of saves yet again.

Ben Godfrey (D, Everton v. West Ham)

After spending the vast majority of the first half of the campaign sidelined through injury, Godfrey has worked his way into Sean Dyche's starting lineup recently and helped the Toffees pick up some crucial points (despite not recording a League victory in 2024). Godfrey offers a solid floor of ghost points to build upon, with 8.1 ghost points per start across his 6 starts this campaign. He'll be tasked with keeping tabs on Lucas Paqueta, which should provide ample opportunities to win tackles. Hopefully he can avoid any sort of disciplinary action and help his side continue to climb up the table. The points deduction being reduced from 10 points to 6 may provide a bit of a morale boost to the squad now as well, as they are no longer in the relegation zone.

Emerson Royal (D, Tottenham v. Crystal Palace)

With Pedro Porro still likely to be sidelined for another week, Royal should keep his place as the starting right back for the home fixture against Palace. The Brazilian has frequently come under criticism in the past, but in my opinion a lot of it is unfounded. Royal may not offer quite as much attacking upside as Porro, but he can't be faulted for the effort he puts in while on the pitch. He scored 5.25 points in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves last gameweek despite the two goals against and four dispossessions. Obviously you want to avoid those negative points as much as possible, but delivering double-digit ghost points is a good sign for his fantasy prospects when he's in the starting lineup. Crystal Palace are still in their new manager bounce period and earned a confidence boosting 3-0 victory over Burnley in Oliver Glasner's first match in charge, but they won't be facing one of the worst teams in the league this weekend and likely won't have a man advantage for the majority of the match, either.

Malo Gusto (D, Chelsea @ Brentford)

Another defender who has been the subject of undue criticism this season, Gusto has finally started delivering the fantasy scores to reflect his impact on the pitch. The French fullback had to overcome the collective disappointment from Chelsea fans at the extended absence of Reece James, but he's kept his head down and started to break free of those associations to be regarded in his own right as a player. Gusto offers a lot of quality in attacking sequences and build-up play down the right flank, but is also a capable 1v1 defender. With Brentford likely lining up with three central defenders and employing wingbacks on the counter, I expect Gusto to find space in the types of areas where he's at his most dangerous. With Christopher Nkunku again sidelined through injury, Gusto should benefit with taller players like Cole Palmer and Nicolas Jackson in the central areas to attack his crosses.

Marcos Senesi (D, Bournemouth @ Burnley)

Depending on how your league dealt with the abandoned Luton-Bournemouth match in Gameweek 17 (when Tom Lockyer had a cardiac event), Bournemouth could have a double gameweek in the next round of fixtures, meaning it could be particularly beneficial to invest in their players. That said, even in leagues where the Cherries will only have a single fixture in Gameweek 28, their upcoming schedule is attractive enough to buy in regardless. Senesi has been a major contributor to Andoni Iraola's success this season, helping out on both ends of the pitch. The Argentine is a major threat from set pieces, an aspect of the game Burnley has struggled to deal with for much of the season, but he also offers plenty on the defensive side of the ball through aerial duels, tackles and interceptions. One word of caution, particularly if you're planning on picking him up with the double gameweek in mind, is that he is currently two yellow cards away from a two-match ban.

Jean-Ricner Bellegarde (M, Wolves @ Newcastle)

I really wanted to include Harvey Elliott in this space, but you've already been alerted to his prospects in this week's waiver article so, as ever, I won't double up. That does leave the pool of available options slightly shallower, but hopefully also provides some available options in smaller and/or more competitive leagues. One such name to consider this week is Bellegarde. The French midfielder has found adjusting to life in the Premier League a bit difficult and hasn't quite made the impression many had hoped. That said, Gary O'Neil is dealing with an injury crisis in attack, with Matheus Cunha definitely out and Hwang Hee-Chan doubtful after pulling up with a hamstring issue in the FA Cup fixture midweek. Bellegarde has been name-checked by his manager as being capable of playing in a false nine role, which would allow Pedro Neto and Pablo Sarabia to continue on the flanks. Alternatively, O'Neil could deploy Bellegarde out wide and move Neto into a central role as he did on occasion when Hwang was away at the Asian Cup. The fixture isn't the greatest, but if you're short on options and want to take a chance on a player who offers higher upside than an additional defender or holding midfield streamer does, Bellegarde could be a good option this week, and potentially beyond, if Hwang misses extended time.

Joe Willock (M, Newcastle v. Wolves)

It almost felt fated that Willock would score a goal against his former employers on his return to the Newcastle team in Gameweek 26. That the goal came in a 10-minute cameo and wiped out an Arsenal clean sheet only added insult to injury for those who have been burned by the former Gunner in the past. Willock has historically been a frustrating fantasy asset to roster, as he is just as capable of putting together a run of matches where he scores 20+ points as he is a similar string of sub-5 scores. Eddie Howe will certainly be happy to have him back, however, with the Magpies midfield looking worse for wear in the absence of Sandro Tonali and Joelinton for a long stretch of the season. Willock will bring some much-needed attacking impetus to the middle of the pitch, and with Alexander Isak also making a return from injury there is hope for a Newcastle resurgence following a lackluster couple months that has seen them slide to 10th in the table. Willock's influence will likely be a key factor in Newcastle's push for a European place, and he could be someone you can hang onto for the rest of the season given the other options likely to be available at this stage.

Lewis Cook (M, Bournemouth @ Burnley)

There was a time earlier in the season when Cook was heavily rostered in most competitive leagues, and for good reason. The Cherries midfielder had been dominating set pieces and Bournemouth were on a great run of form. Then, Alex Scott made his return from injury and it appeared as if Cook might lose out on what had made him an attractive fantasy asset. He was in and out of the starting lineup for a brief period, but has re-established himself as a regular starter for Andoni Iraola. He's played nearly the full 90 in each of Bournemouths Premier League fixtures since the beginning of the calendar year, and while his production levels haven't been as high with Marcus Tavernier in the team, he's still shown he's capable of some solid scores (11 against Spurs, 9.5 against Newcastle and 9 against Forest) without an attacking involvement. Even discounting the double gameweek fixture, Bournemouth top our fixture difficulty tracker over the next 5 gameweeks, so Cook can be a set and forget midfielder for your roster for the medium term, at least.

Yves Bissouma (M, Tottenham v. Crystal Palace)

During the early months of the season, Bissouma and the rest of the Tottenham midfielders were putting up higher than expected scores on a regular basis. As other Premier League teams came to grips with Ange Postecoglou's style of play, and as Spurs themselves dealt with some changes in available personnel, those points returned to their more expected levels. Bissouma missed the festive period through suspension and then most of January and part of February while he was away at AFCON. The Malian made his return to the starting lineup against Wolves last gameweek and put up a score more consistent with his early season exploits. It will be interesting to see whether he can replicate that output with the majority of the squad fit and available for the home match against a Crystal Palace side starting to get some of its own players back to full fitness. Bissouma would likely be tasked with marking Eberechi Eze if he was to return to the starting lineup this weekend, which would provide plenty of chances for him to pick up points through defensive contributions.

Ansu Fati (F, Brighton @ Fulham)

With the news that Kaoru Mitoma is set to miss the remainder of the season through injury, options are thin on the ground for Roberto De Zerbi. Joao Pedro also remains out, while Danny Welbeck and Evan Ferguson were also not fully fit for the midweek FA Cup match against Wolves. Fati started as the central striker in that match and didn't do a whole lot to convince his manager he deserves another run in that role, but with such limited options available he may get one more chance to repay the club's faith in him. I wouldn't advise picking up Fati if you need a guaranteed starter, as he could find himself benched in favor of someone like Adam Lallana (as we are currently predicting), but with limited forward options available he is worth taking a punt on in the event he starts. If he can deliver a positive performance, he's also got the potential to make the left wing role his own for the next few weeks, or at least until Pedro is fit again.

Wilson Odobert (F, Burnley @ Bournemouth)

Recent results for Burnley, and subsequently Odobert, have been less than stellar. The forward has managed just 11.5 points across his last three League games, but some context is helpful before you completely write off this recommendation. Two of those matches came against Liverpool and Arsenal and the third was last week against Palace where Josh Brownhill was sent off in the first half. Prior to those very challenging fixtures, Odobert had been putting up pretty solid scores, especially in more favorable matches. The youngster is an excellent dribbler, leading the way for Burnley this season with 34 successful contests despite only making 17 appearances. Beyond that, he's also shown that he has some end product to his game where fellow left wing teenage sensation Luca Koleosho did not when he was the starter in that role. A match away to Bournemouth will be a challenge for the Clarets, but they should be able to make more of it than they have against the opponents Odobert has scored poorly against. If the Cherries are weaker in any one area of the pitch than another, it's the right back position that Odobert will look to exploit.

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