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Gameweek 28 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 28!

Crystal Palace enter the pitch at Selhurt Park for a Premier League match.

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 28 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 27 was another successful one, led by the stellar display of Lewis Cook (24.5) and supported by double-digit scores from Malo Gusto (15), Wilson Odobert (14) and Caoimhin Kelleher (12). The weekly score of 94.75 is enough to lift the weekly average up to 72.5 points, with the season total now reaching 1958.25. With a number of double gameweeks to come, the season target of 75 points per week is within sight. This week sees a double gameweek for Bournemouth and Luton as they make up the abandoned game from earlier in the season. I've included a few of the less obvious selections from these teams, but if any of the higher upside guys projected to play twice are available (Carlton Morris, Chiedozie Ogbene, Antoine Semenyo, Ryan Christie, etc.) you should definitely prioritize bringing them in. Next gameweek is a massive blank week, so some of the selections I've made here are included with an eye to having an additional player or two on your roster then as well.

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 28. 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.

Aaron Ramsdale (G, Arsenal v. Brentford)

David Raya has been the clear first-choice keeper for Mikel Arteta all season, but this week will afford Ramsdale a rare opportunity to make the case for more minutes. The Spanish #1 is ineligible to face his parent club this week, so the English understudy will come in for the visit of the Bees. The Gunners have won 7 straight matches in the Premier League to keep themselves firmly in the title race conversation. In addition to the excellent attacking form, the team has also only conceded three goals across that run. Ramsdale is prone to the occasional lapse of judgment, but with the team ahead of him in such stellar form, there's reason to believe a clean sheet is possible. Even without it, he may face a handful of low-quality shots as Brentford attempt to get a foothold in the match.

Adam Smith (D, Bournemouth v. Sheffield United, v. Luton)

Bournemouth are in the midst of one of the most favorable fixture runs in recent memory (on paper, at least), with two matches at home against promoted sides this gameweek. Smith has rarely been worth rostering this season as he offers little to no attacking threat from his right back spot, but is almost certainly nailed on to start both matches. Given his lack of ghost point output (5.2 gPPS on average), this is a riskier play than going with his fullback counterpart, Kerkez, but Smith is more likely to be available at this point to draft into your squad. The Cherries are coming off a clean sheet against the other promoted side, Burnley, last gameweek, where Smith picked up 10.75 points despite being cautioned. You're likely not going to be looking at a huge score from the veteran defender unless Bournemouth keep clean sheets in both matches, but Smith has contributed two assists this season, so there is at least potential for him to balance out his lack of additional stats across two matches.

Chris Richards (D, Crystal Palace v. Luton)

The Oliver Glasner era at Palace is showing some signs of promise despite the 3-1 defeat against Spurs in Gameweek 27. One player who looks like he'll benefit from the German's appointment is Richards, who has been deployed in his preferred role as a central defender. The American was the hero in his new manager's first match in charge against Burnley, scoring a goal and helping to keep a clean sheet. I expect him and his fellow center backs to be tested with cross-happy with Luton coming to Selhurst Park, so the potential is there for plenty of aerial duels and clearances. The goal he scored was his first for the Eagles, but it's worth keeping an eye on Glasner's tactics from set pieces; if Richards can add more consistent goal threat to his game, he'll become even more valuable for the run-in.

Teden Mengi (D, Luton @ Crystal Palace, @ Bournemouth)

While Luton haven't been as effective on their travels as they've been at Kenilworth Road this season, Mengi has been a consistent scorer for the Hatters regardless of venue. Granted, his scores have fluctuated depending on how many goals are conceded in a given match, but his 8 ghost points per start average is in the top 25 for all defenders and puts him in the same company as fantasy favorites Morgan Gibbs-White, Conor Gallagher and Chiedozie Ogbene. With a litany of injuries to other defenders, Mengi is even more nailed on than he already was and will be busy keeping the likes of Mateta and Solanke at bay this week. The fact that Luton have a fixture in GW29 as well makes him an even more attractive option to bring into your team.

Timothy Castagne (D, Fulham @ Wolves)

After flirting with relegation earlier in the season, Fulham have been able to climb up to midtable in recent weeks and are on a run of three wins from their last four matches in the Premier League. They'll come up against another in-form team battling for a top-half finish in Wolves this weekend, but I am a fan of Castagne in this fixture and even more so considering Fulham are among the 8 teams to play in GW29. The Belgian defender appears to have won the battle to be first-choice right back for Marco Silva, staving off the challenges of Kenny Tete. While he isn't nearly as involved in the attack as his fullback counterpart Antonee Robinson, Castagne does tend to fill the stat sheet on the defensive side of play. He'll have his hands full against Pedro Neto and Rayan Ait-Nouri, which should equate to at least a few interceptions and tackles won.

Adam Wharton (M, Crystal Palace v. Luton)

The pool of midfielders who have a single favorable fixture this week and are less than 60% rostered is very shallow, especially once you look for players projected to score halfway decently. Wharton was a hot commodity in the Big 3 leagues following his January arrival, especially with his unexpected command of set pieces in the absence of Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze. With Eze back to fitness, however, Wharton will miss out on the added benefit of dead ball situations. That was the case against Spurs last time out, where the teenager recorded his lowest score since making his move to the Premier League. I know all of this sounds like a reason to stay away, but I think we'll see Wharton relishing the midfield battle with Ross Barkley and I expect an open game where he can contribute a few attacking statistics as well. Luton have allowed more than 10 points on average to opposition midfielders away from home this season, so there's reason for optimism despite the aforementioned drawbacks.

Harry Wilson (M, Fulham @ Wolves)

With Willian recently sidelined through injury, some of the creative onus has fallen to Wilson, who has just started consecutive matches in the Premier League for the first time this calendar year. It would be well within the realm of expectation for Marco Silva to shunt the Welsh winger back to the bench, but an influential performance in the victory over Burnley last weekend may have been enough to earn Wilson another match in the starting lineup. The former Liverpool wide man contributed a goal and assist on his way to 26 points in Gameweek 27, reminding fantasy managers of the explosive upside he offers. A look through his player profile reveals why he's not more highly rostered to begin with, though. In addition to his inconsistency in the starting lineup, he's also one of the most boom-or-bust players out there. Just look at the 2 points he scored in the 2-1 victory over Manchester United in Gameweek 26. Still, if he can build upon last week's performance, there's every chance he keeps his starting spot not only against Wolves this week, but in the match against Spurs in Gameweek 29. The potential upside is worth the risk, especially with so few teams in action next week.

Sander Berge (M, Burnley @ West Ham)

The Clarets will also be in action next week, which certainly bolsters the recommendation for adding Berge to your lineup, but it's not without its merits even as a one-week play. The Norwegian has been nearly ever present in Vincent Kompany's lineups this season and has completed 90 minutes in each of Burnley's previous six EPL matches. The defensive midfielder isn't someone you should look to if you're after upside, but if a consistent source of 5-10 points each week would help you balance your more explosive players he's as reliable as they come. The Clarets have had a brutal schedule of late, coming up against the league's top three teams in the space of six weeks. A reinvigorated West Ham could also prove a challenge from a results standpoint, but Berge's scores haven't been negatively impacted by how his team has fared, nor the competition; 8.5 points against City and 9.5 against Liverpool in 3-1 losses proves that point.

Antony (F, Manchester United v. Everton)

With Rasmus Hojlund remaining out injured and Omari Forson failing to make much of an impact in his Premier League debut a few weeks back, we could see Erik ten Hag reinstate Antony to the starting lineup for the match against Everton. The Brazilian winger hasn't started in the EPL in 2024, but did start in the 5th Round FA Cup match against Nottingham Forest last week. The Red Devils were victorious in that match, so it's not completely out of the question that this could be the beginning of the out-of-form winger working his way back into the conversation as a more regular starter. The next step beyond that is to actually put in a performance that delivers a respectable number of fantasy points. There's a precedent for that, although it wasn't super recently; Antony had a run of four matches in December where he averaged about 8.5 points per game without a goal or assist. High-scoring forwards are hard to come by at this stage of the season, so if he can replicate that form you'd have to consider it a win. The good news is that this is the first match of the gameweek, so you can easily drop Antony if he returns to the bench.

Ben Brereton (F, Sheffield United @ Bournemouth)

Brereton began his Blades career with a bang, scoring twice in his first two matches, but has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since the match against Aston Villa at the beginning of February. The Villarreal loanee was an unused substitute for the 6-0 defeat against Arsenal last time out, so he may not be quite match fit enough to play a full match, but his inclusion in the squad suggests he could have played some part last week if the match was closer. I expect Chris Wilder to play the Chilean from the start against Bournemouth in the hope of grabbing an early advantage and taking him off around the hour mark. The fact that he likely won't play the full match is a cause for concern, of course, as it leaves less time to pick up points, but Bournemouth have been fairly accommodating to opposition attackers and Brereton only played 66 and 45 minutes in the two matches he scored in previously.

Jean-Philippe Mateta (F, Crystal Palace v. Luton)

Despite a relatively unimpressive start under Glasner (if you can call a goal in two games unimpressive) I'm backing Mateta to return to his best against Luton this weekend. The French striker had been on a tear, ghosting very well and adding in the occasional goal and/or assist over the festive period and in the build-up to Roy Hodgson stepping down, but the ghost points have been nearly non-existent in the past two gameweeks under the new manager. The Hatters should be far more forgiving than Spurs were in the previous fixture, where Mateta was starved of service (just 3 touches in the penalty area over 90 minutes). With Eze back and pulling the strings in midfield behind him, look for Mateta to find himself on the ball in dangerous areas more often.

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