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Gameweek 31 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 31!

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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 31 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 30 saw a return to positive form, with the Sleepers XI squad delivering 79.5 points. Mykhailo Mudryk (26.5) led the way, supported by respectable performances from Gustavo Hamer (9.5), Lyle Foster (8.5) and Dean Henderson (8). That takes the season tally up to 2123 points, ever so slightly increasing the weekly average to 70.75. Reaching that 75-point mark is going to be a real challenge from here.

This is no time to rest and reflect, however. The start of the next gameweek is already upon us, with yet another round on the horizon at the weekend. With the fixtures coming thick and fast, there is a strong likelihood of rotation. I've made some educated guesses at some players who could get the nod this week, but it would be wise to have a few backup options staked out in case any of your players find themselves on the bench.

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 31. 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 v. Sheffield United)

Jurgen Klopp is likely to make some adjustments to his back line for the tasty top- against bottom-of-the-table clash on Thursday, but with it being the penultimate match of the gameweek there's too much uncertainty to recommend anything other than a safe bet for the purposes of this article. With Alisson still sidelined through injury, Kelleher will continue in goal for the Reds. The Blades have been surprisingly potent in attack in recent weeks, which should mean plenty of chances for the Irish keeper to make saves. If you're the type that likes to gamble on clean sheets, there's also a decent shot of one here with Liverpool playing at Anfield.

Chris Mepham (D, Bournemouth v. Crystal Palace)

Since coming in for the injured Marcos Senesi, Mepham has yet to score fewer than 10 points in a match, despite only keeping one clean sheet across those four games. With the Argentine center back set to be sidelined, Mepham should continue alongside Iliya Zabarnyi against the Eagles, and will have a good chance of continuing his streak. The Welshman is excellent in the air, with 6 aerial duels won in each of his last two matches and a stunning 13 headed challenges won in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United. Palace are a team that emphasizes deliveries from wide areas under Oliver Glasner, so we could see Mepham heavily involved in those contests again. There's a small possibility that Andoni Iraola could restore Lloyd Kelly to central defense now that he's returned from injury, but it may be more likely that we see Kelly eased back into things after a significant spell on the sidelines.

Felipe (D, Nottingham Forest v. Fulham)

A fantasy favorite for many managers last season (myself included), Felipe has failed to hit the heights he did in 22/23 so far this campaign. The Brazilian has only made 7 appearances during an injury-riddled season, and only completed 90 minutes on two occasions. The good news is that the veteran center back completed one of those matches last time out, coming through unscathed in the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace with 11 points to show for his efforts. With Willy Boly likely still out with an injury and Andrew Omobamidele failing to impress in his limited appearances under Nuno Espirito Santo, Felipe should be in line for another start. There is, of course, the potential that the aging defender doesn't have a second start in his legs on such a tight turnaround, but with Forest only above the relegation zone on goal difference, the manager can ill afford to drop his best players. Felipe's experience and aerial prowess should come in handy against an in-form Fulham attack.

Lewis Hall (D, Newcastle v. Everton)

This has not been the season anyone would have hoped to see for Hall. The Chelsea youngster had an impressive breakout for the Blues at the tail end of last season and there was plenty of warranted excitement around a potential loan move. Unfortunately for fantasy managers (particularly those who drafted him), Hall ended up at Newcastle rather than Crystal Palace, where he's been relegated to substitute appearances at best all season. The versatile defender has only made one Premier League start all season to this point, recording 10 points despite being replaced at half time in the 2-0 loss against Bournemouth. With Newcastle's injury woes going from bad to worse with Sven Botman replacement Jamaal Lascelles also suffering a season-ending injury, Eddie Howe has almost no choice but to play Hall this week. We only have the one 45-minute start to reference for his fantasy potential at Newcastle, but he was a ghost point magnet for Chelsea during the last month of the 22/23 season. Could this finally be the moment he's worth rostering? Worth a shot.

Sergio Reguilon (D, Brentford v. Brighton)

Fantasy managers were licking their lips at the prospect of Reguilon running riot against an out-of-sorts Burnley in blank gameweek 29, but their hopes were cut short when the on-loan fullback was given his marching orders just seven minutes into the match. That -7 and the subsequent suspension was likely more than enough for most to unceremoniously dump the defender to the free agent pool. If you can look past the red card, there are some promising signs that Reguilon can be a viable fantasy asset this week (if not the rest of the season). The Spaniard averages 7.3 ghost points per start, putting him in similar company to decent streaming options like Vitalii Mykolenko, Tosin Adarabioyo and Josko Gvardiol. If you take out that -7, however, his gPPS jumps up to 8.375 and puts him in much more favorable company alongside Malo Gusto, Lucas Digne and Joachim Andersen. Reguilon may lose out on some set pieces now that Mathias Jensen has been reinstated, but he should still take command of left-footed deliveries.

Elliot Anderson (M, Newcastle v. Everton)

We're getting into riskier territory with selections the rest of the way, with the aforementioned rotation permutations complicating the usual expectations around starting lineups. Anderson has yet to start since coming back from a long-term injury at the beginning of March, but has been steadily increasing the number of minutes he's been playing and earned half an hour off the bench against West Ham in GW30. The central midfielder offers a slightly different profile to Joe Willock, and Eddie Howe may prefer Anderson's work rate off the ball (not to mention taking the chance to offer some players a well-deserved rest; with the injury crisis, the Magpies starters have had to play a significant number of minutes). I wouldn't expect a huge score from Anderson against Everton, nor do I envision him completing 90 minutes, but he managed to deliver 7.5 points in just 32 minutes against the Hammers. If he can offer similar production, even if over a longer timeframe, he'll be worth the investment this week.

Harvey Elliott (M, Liverpool v. Sheffield United)

The title race is as tight as ever and Jurgen Klopp will need to manage his Reds squad carefully to ensure they are all fit and firing for the run-in. The manager is usually one who makes a few adjustments in weeks with multiple matches, though he may not be as willing to chop and change given Thursday's match is still a Premier League fixture. Still, with Dominik Szoboszlai recently returning from a spell on the sidelines, it would make logical sense to give him a breather midweek. Elliott is the likeliest replacement for the Hungarian in central midfield, so if you have the flexibility to roster him (only the Chelsea-United fixture comes after Liverpool this gameweek), he could be well worth an add. We've seen Elliott's full potential on display already this season, with his 33.5 point performance in the 4-1 victory over Luton in February. He's just as likely to deliver 3-3.5 points, but the upside potential is very enticing against the league's basement dwellers.

Josh Brownhill (M, Burnley v. Wolves)

After being one of the first names on the team sheet for most of the season, Brownhill has not started any of the last four Premier League matches for Burnley. He was suspended for one of those after being sent off against Crystal Palace at the end of February, but Vincent Kompany has stuck with the midfield setup through March to good effect. The Clarets have picked up 5 points from their last three matches as they make a late push for survival. The good news for Brownhill is that he was heavily influential in his side's comeback against Chelsea at the weekend. The central midfielder came on at halftime with his side a man down and contributed an assist along with a litany of other contributions to earn his side a point (and a tidy 17 fantasy points, to boot). I wouldn't be surprised to see Kompany reinstate Brownhill to the starting lineup against Wolves. If he performs well here, he could earn his starting place back for the crucial remaining fixtures.

Tom Cairney (M, Fulham @ Nottingham Forest)

Another player who made his mark off the bench in GW30 was Cairney, who helped the Cottagers avoid a shock defeat to Sheffield United with a late assist to Bobby de Cordova-Reid. Fulham's captain had a decent spell in the starting lineup earlier this campaign, but has dropped back out of Marco Silva's preferred XI over the past month or so. Nevertheless, I think we could see Cairney given a chance to impress from the start against Nottingham Forest. When he has been in the starting lineup, the Scot has scored pretty well from a fantasy standpoint, averaging about 8 points per start and occasionally delivering double-digit returns.

Beto (F, Everton @ Newcastle)

Beto is yet another player who delivered as an impact substitute in GW30, with the big Portuguese striker scoring the equalizer against Bournemouth before Seamus Coleman's shocking own goal robbed the Toffees of a point. The forward has been more involved in Sean Dyche's thinking of late, starting the two matches leading up to the March international break in place of the out of form Dominic Calvert-Lewin. DCL was restored to the starting lineup against Bournemouth last week but was fairly ineffective, so he could drop out again for the trip to Newcastle. Another option for Dyche would be to deploy both forwards together as he did for the closing stages of the match against the Cherries. It's not a guarantee that Beto will start by any means, but he has been one of Everton's biggest attacking threats recently. Given their need for goals, Dyche may set out his stall with an attacking lineup against the Magpies.

Dango Ouattara (F, Bournemouth v. Crystal Palace)

Following an excellent second-half cameo against Sheffield United and a subsequent start against Luton heading into the international break, it was a bit of a shock to see Ouattara back on the bench for Bournemouth's match against Everton in GW30. Given Andoni Iraola's penchant for tinkering, I expect to see the Burkinabe winger in the first eleven against the Eagles. With Milos Kerkez and Lloyd Kelly back to fitness, Dango won't need to fill in at left back, meaning he would likely replace Marcus Tavernier in his more natural attacking position. The Cherries have a difficult couple of upcoming fixtures against Man City and Liverpool after this week, so this is a short-term recommendation, but Dango has the potential to win a gameweek on his own with his explosive potential. Just look at the 28.5 points he scored in 45 minutes against the Blades for evidence.

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