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Gameweek 30 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 30!

Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates scoring a goal for Everton against Newcastle in the Premier League

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 30 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.

I bemoaned the 49 points the Sleepers XI team scored in Gameweek 28 as a disaster. Little did I know that Gameweek 29 was on its way to make that score look like a great day at the office. There wasn't a single player among the starting 11 that provided a double-digit score; in fact, Youri Tielemans led the way with a paltry 5.5 points. Sometimes you get a couple picks wrong, but it's more than a bit humbling to see a weekly score of 36 when you could field a full squad. The season tally now stands at 2043.25 points, good enough for a weekly average of 70.5.

That will hopefully be the low-water mark for the season and we can close things out on a high note. The good news heading into the upcoming gameweek is that some players who were right on the cusp of being worth rostering longer term may have been dropped in the blank gameweek last round in order for managers to field more starters. That means there's likely some surprisingly good value available to pick up for the home stretch.

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 30. 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.

Dean Henderson (G, Crystal Palace @ Nottingham Forest)

With Sam Johnstone picking up an elbow injury on England duty over the international break, Henderson should be reinstated as the de facto starter between the posts for the Eagles. The former Man United keeper has had a difficult season with injuries and a lack of form, but we have seen in seasons past that he is capable of delivering fantasy value on a week-to-week basis when fit and given a run of starts. This weekend's fixture against Nottingham Forest will be a crucial one for both teams as they look to secure survival for another season, and Forest will be desperate to score goals to get them out of the relegation zone following their points deduction. That should mean plenty of opportunities for Henderson to make saves. While Palace's upcoming run of fixtures includes Liverpool and Man City, they are one of a handful of teams that will double in Gameweek 34 as well, so it's worth seeing how Henderson does over the next few weeks to determine whether he'll hold rest of season value for your team.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka (D, Manchester United @ Brentford)

Another player whose return from injury could prove fruitful for fantasy purposes is Wan-Bissaka, who has missed the last 7 EPL matches but was fit enough to start and complete 70+ minutes against Liverpool in the last round of the FA Cup. The Red Devils have sorely missed the defensive solidity provided by the former Crystal Palace fullback and it seems likely that Erik ten Hag will look to the defender to start as often as possible over the remainder of the season. Wan-Bissaka isn't a player who offers much in the way of attacking contributions, but he does provide a solid floor of ghost points (7.9 gPPS) from defensive actions. Even with their defensive injuries, United have recorded the joint-second most clean sheets this season, so there's certainly a possibility that AWB's return results in a few more before the season ends.

Jamaal Lascelles (D, Newcastle v. West Ham)

With the news coming in over the international break that Sven Botman is set to miss the rest of the season, there's a place up for grabs in central defense for Newcastle. There are some arguments that we could see Dan Burn shifted centrally to allow Tino Livramento and Kieran Trippier to occupy the fullback positions, but Eddie Howe has very rarely played the big man anywhere other than at left back unless it was out of absolute necessity. I expect Lascelles to step back into the role alongside Fabian Schar as he did in the first half of the campaign. The Magpies' captain has had to be contented with more of a figurehead role when all of Newcastle's defensive unit has been fit and available, but he's a more than capable deputy and should offer decent rest-of-season value. Newcastle are currently ranked at the top of our fixture difficulty tracker for defenders over the next five gameweeks.

Joseph Gomez (D, Liverpool v. Brighton)

The combination of the blank gameweek and an international break injury for Andy Robertson means there may actually be a starting Liverpool defender or two available in your league. The absence of Robertson and TAA would likely mean a share of set pieces if reserve player Kostas Tsimikas got the nod at left back, so keep an eye out for any team news that would suggest the Greek fullback is set to start, but more than likely it will be Gomez who fills in. The longest-serving player in the Liverpool squad has proven to be a fantastic utility player, capable of playing anywhere across the back line and even in defensive midfield on occasion. His excellent form when called upon this season will likely see him deputize for Robertson for as long as he's out (which doesn't appear to be long, but there are multiple matches scheduled over the next week). Brighton have been inconsistent at best this season, but have looked very out of sorts in recent weeks and could find it difficult to muster much in the way of attacking output when they travel to Anfield on Sunday.

Amadou Onana (M, Everton @ Bournemouth)

After a season of scores in the 5-6 point range, I'm slightly skeptical of Onana's recent returns of 12.5 and 7.5 without any goals, assists or clean sheets. That said, he's delivered 6 key passes in his last two Premier League matches for the Toffees along with a shot on target. That's enough to suggest to me that the Belgian is being encouraged to get more involved in the attacking play for his team. With Bournemouth conceding twice to Sheffield United last time around, there's plenty of room for optimism that Everton can go to the Vitality and get a result. Fantasy managers will have to hope that Onana's recent attacking exploits aren't just a flash in the pan, but if you're looking for a midfielder who is trending in a positive direction, Onana could be a cheeky pick-up to roll out through Everton's DGW in Gameweek 34, at least.

Gustavo Hamer (M, Sheffield United @ Fulham)

One of the few bright spots for Sheffield United since Chris Wilder came in has been the development of Hamer into the fantasy asset many managers were hoping for when the Brazilian signed from Coventry City in the summer. The diminutive midfielder had shown some fleeting signs of his potential under Paul Heckingbottom, but never delivered the consistency required to make him a mainstay on fantasy managers' rosters. Hamer finally showcased his full potential with his 25-point performance in Gameweek 29, delivering a goal, 5 key passes and 5 interceptions as he dragged his team to a point against Bournemouth. There was a brief period prior to last week's explosion where Hamer had reverted back to scoring poorly, but two of his poor scoring matches were in the 6-0 and 5-0 losses to Arsenal and Brighton, respectively. If the Blades can make a halfway decent fist of it against Fulham, I expect Hamer to be pushing double-digits again.

Jefferson Lerma (M, Crystal Palace @ Nottingham Forest)

I'm returning to the well this week for another serving of Lerma, perhaps the most enigmatic player in the league in terms of fantasy output. One week, the Colombian will deliver 3 key passes and an accurate cross. The next, 11 aerial duels. Then another week he's only good for a yellow card and a dispossession. I'm choosing to believe the midfielder's recent spell of promising scores bodes well for another week of respectable fantasy value, but it really is difficult to predict when Lerma will go off the rails (8.5 points away against Arsenal, -1 at home against Sheffield United, 12.5 at home to Burnley and 0.5 away to Everton is a good representative sample of just how all over the place he can be). As you can tell, this is a recommendation based on Lerma's upside potential rather than a vote of confidence in his consistency, but I do think his role in Oliver Glasner's system affords him the opportunity to contribute points for both attacking and defensive actions, and a fixture against Nottingham Forest could prove fruitful for him to have a busy day in the engine room.

Mykhailo Mudryk (M, Chelsea v. Burnley)

It's been a difficult start to life in the Premier League for Mudryk, who has seen his stocks decline significantly since his big-money move to Chelsea when he so clearly pined for a transfer to Arsenal. The mercurial midfielder has dazzled with his electric pace on occasion for the Blues, but Mauricio Pochettino has been reluctant to hand the Ukrainian many opportunities from the start this season (just 9 starts across 21 appearances in the EPL this campaign). Mudryk could get another opportunity to impress from kickoff this weekend, however, with Raheem Sterling's woeful FA Cup performance leading many fans to cry out for his replacement. Another possibility is that both Mudryk and Sterling start, with Cole Palmer moving centrally and Conor Gallagher shifting further back in midfield to accommodate Enzo Fernandez's late return from international duty. In fact, that's the lineup we're currently predicting for the match against Burnley. Mudryk has bags of potential, and with Chelsea set to play an extra match more than any other team in the Premier League between now and the end of the season, could end up being a hugely valuable pick up if he can cement a place in the starting lineup.

Divock Origi (F, Nottingham Forest v. Crystal Palace)

I had been a big proponent of Callum Hudson-Odoi's resurgence for Nottingham Forest, and then he was promptly benched by Nuno Espirito Santo. There's a possibility the former Chelsea winger could be restored to the starting lineup, but Origi seems to be the preferred option for the time being. The striker is perhaps best-known as an impact sub given his exploits off the bench during his time with Liverpool, but he's obviously done enough in training to impress his manager and earn him some time from the first whistle. There's not a huge amount of historical data to reference in his new team and role on the wing, but a 9-point fantasy performance without an attacking return in the 1-1 draw against Luton suggests there's potential for another solid score against Palace this weekend.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (F, Everton @ Bournemouth)

One of the biggest names among players that may have been dropped in your league recently is Calvert-Lewin. The Everton striker was replaced in the starting lineup by Beto in Gameweeks 27 and 28 before the blank in 29, dropping his rostership into the territory where he's available for consideration here. Beto performed well in the match against West Ham in GW27, but was much less effective against Manchester United in GW28. The fact that Everton lost both of those matches also contributes to a general feeling that DCL will come back into the starting lineup for the trip to the South Coast to take on the Cherries. At his best, the forward is an absolute menace to deal with, but injuries have kept him from reaching top form for most of this season. Still, Bournemouth have been leaky in defense of late, so there's plenty of opportunity for Calvert-Lewin to provide an attacking return or two.

Lyle Foster (F, Burnley @ Chelsea)

While the majority of the recommendations this week have been made with one eye to the fixtures over the remainder of the season, this one is likely a one-week play. With David Datro Fofana ineligible to face his parent club this week, Vincent Kompany will almost surely look to Foster to lead the Burnley attack. The South African was a pleasant surprise in the early stages of the season before stepping away to address some mental health challenges. Since returning, he's frequently had to play second fiddle to the in-form Fofana but should be given the chance to remind his manager of his credentials at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a pretty strong chance of keeping a clean sheet against the Clarets, but if Burnley do manage to breach the Blues' back line it wouldn't be a surprise to see Foster's name on the score sheet.

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