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Gameweek 33 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 33!

Brighton fans wave flags with their team's badge on them at a packed Amex 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 33 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.

Some weeks really make me question my so-called expertise as a fantasy writer, and Gameweek 32 was among the worst offenders. If it hadn't been for Oli McBurnie (20) sparing my blushes, the weekly score would have been in the teens, with Edson Alvarez (5) as the highest scorer. The weekly score of 37.75 adds a drop in the bucket to the season tally to bring it up to 2206.5 and drops the weekly average back below the 70-point mark for the first time in a while to 69. Let's move on from the past two weeks and turn our attention to what will hopefully be a better run of scoring to close out the season.

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 33. 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.

Arijanet Muric (G, Burnley v. Brighton)

One of the key members of Burnley's promotion campaign in the Championship last season, Muric was surprisingly replaced by James Trafford from the beginning of the season. The Kosovar keeper finally got his chance in the Premier League last month and immediately called Vincent Kompany's decision to bench him into question, recording a win and a draw in his first two Premier League starts. He also looked like a potential world beater for fantasy purposes, delivering 11.5 and 24 points in this matches despite conceding in each. His incredible 11-save match against Chelsea has unfortunately been followed by much more expected fare, with only 3 saves across the next two games. Brighton should present Muric with more opportunities to make saves than Everton and Wolves did in the last two gameweeks, so I expect another performance with an above-average return. If Trafford is restored in place of Muric after his return from illness, he's also worth consideration.

Harry Maguire (D, Manchester United @ Bournemouth)

When he starts, Maguire typically scores quite well. The big center back has found starts a bit harder to come by this season than in previous campaigns, but the Red Devils' injury crisis has forced Erik ten Hag's hand lately. With Raphael Varane, Jonny Evans and Lisandro Martinez sidelined, the manager has limited options at his disposal, with Maguire far and away the most experienced in the Premier League among the available options. The England defender is a force to be reckoned with in aerial duels, giving him a built-in floor of solid points and plenty of upside potential as a target on set pieces.

Kristoffer Ajer (D, Brentford v. Sheffield United)

Despite not having any double gameweeks upcoming, Brentford have one of the most favorable fixture lists between now and the end of the season. Ajer has been a mainstay in defense for the Bees since Ethan Pinnock and Ben Mee have been missing through injury. Prior to the -0.75 points he scored in the 3-3 draw against Villa last week, the Dane had been on a run of great scores (17.25, 20.25, 16.25, 6.75 across his four prior starts). Even considering he kept a clean sheet and scored on two of those occasions, he offered up a solid foundation of ghost points. If you're looking for a reliable defender with strong upside potential over the coming weeks, Ajer is a strong option. That said, it's likely still worth prioritizing players who have additional fixtures remaining, particularly if you're in a league with playoffs (don't miss our new playoff planning tool if so!).

Lewis Dunk (D, Brighton @ Burnley)

Earlier in the campaign, Brighton defenders not named Estupinan were to be avoided at all costs (and even he wasn't anywhere near the fantasy asset he was last season). Across the second half of the season, however, Dunk has delivered some massive scores for fantasy managers willing to take the risk. The center back is very much in the boom-or-bust category of fantasy player, but his biggest scores this season have come when Brighton have taken on opponents in the bottom half of the table. This weekend's match against relegation threatened Burnley should be as good an opportunity as any for Dunk to put up another double-digit score.

Elliot Anderson (M, Newcastle v. Tottenham)

Just as it was looking like there would be a rotation headache in the Newcastle engine room, the Magpies suffered yet another injury blow, with Joe Willock substituted off before halftime in the 1-0 victory over Fulham in Gameweek 32. Willock's loss should be Anderson's gain, at least in terms of starting minutes moving forward. The 21 year-old is still getting his feet under him in the Premier League, but has shown plenty of potential to be a regular starter in the top flight. His promising performances haven't always translated into fantasy success, and this week's match against a resurgent Tottenham team may not offer as many opportunities for attacking contributions as against some other opponents. However, if Willock's injury proves to be a serious one (reports are suggesting it's a recurrence of the Achilles injury that sidelined him for a couple months), then Anderson should have a clear path to starts the rest of the season. Newcastle midfielders are ranked second in our Fixture Difficulty Tracker between now and the end of the season, so Anderson could be a worthwhile add even with a tough match this week.

Mario Lemina (M, Wolves @ Nottingham Forest)

With a double gameweek on the horizon in Gameweek 34, you should be looking to fill gaps in your roster with reliable starters, even when they're not typically the highest scorers. Central midfielders like Joao Gomes and Lemina are ideal candidates to deliver 10-15 points in a double gameweek just through their typical 5-7 point scores. Lemina's slightly more attacking role may set him up for even greater success than his midfield partner over the course of the two matches. While he's probably not the most attractive option for this gameweek alone, he can still provide the occasional 8-10 point performance. Coming up against a Nottingham Forest side reeling from their recent points deduction isn't the worst time to run out the Wolves midfielder. If you can stash him on your roster this week to go with a higher upside option, however, that may be your best bet.

Vinicius de Souza Costa (M, Sheffield United @ Brentford)

I'm tempted to tell you to just refer to the paragraph above and swap in Souza for Lemina. All the same logic applies here, with the Blades also set to double in Gameweek 34. The Brazilian midfielder was given a rare night off by Chris Wilder given the quick turnaround between matches last week, but will be expected to come straight back in and continue to start the remainder of the matches in Sheffield United's desperate battle for survival.

Vitaly Janelt (M, Brentford v. Sheffield United)

I'll be the first to admit this set of midfield recommendations isn't the most exciting in terms of upside potential, but after the debacle of non-starting players over the past couple weeks I'm leaning into players who are more likely to spend at least close to the full match on the pitch. Janelt, much like the team he plays for, has had plenty of highs and lows this season. Most of the German's low scores have come against the top teams, however, and he's generally scored pretty decently against sides outside the top 6. In a tough week for streaming midfielders, Janelt can offer some steady consistency. Again, though, if you're looking to set yourself up for a late-season push rather than a single gameweek, you may be better served starting with a higher upside player and keeping players like Janelt on your watch list to draft into your team as a backup.

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

At this stage of the season, it starts to feel like I've recommended most players multiple times. That's certainly the case with Hudson-Odoi, who looked for all the world like he'd break free from Sleepers XI eligibility after three consecutive goals back in February. A brief but poorly timed spell back on the sidelines for the former Chelsea winger has seen his rostership drop back below the threshold, though admittedly teams across the Big 3 leagues either held on or picked him back up as soon as he was reinstated to Forest's starting lineup. If CHO happens to be available in your league, he's likely one of the better options in terms of scoring potential. Nuno Espirito Santo has a tough challenge on his hands to keep Forest in the league, particularly if their points deduction stands through their appeal, so he'll almost certainly turn to his best attacking players as often as possible. An in-form Hudson-Odoi may just have what it takes to keep the team in the top flight for another season.

Dango Ouattara (F, Bournemouth v. Manchester United)

The extent of the injury sustained by Marcus Tavernier in the loss against Luton in GW32 has not yet been revealed, but it's a safe assumption the winger will be in the treatment room for this weekend's match at the very least. While there are some scenarios where Ouattara remains an impact substitute for Andoni Iraola against Manchester United (Billing and Unal could both be deployed alongside Semenyo in support of Solanke), it would require a setup we haven't seen from the manager on more than one occasion. When I last recommended Dango, I had suggested his time at left back was over, only for him to be thrust back into the lineup as a fullback. I'm going to take the same risk here and venture to say he'll be utilized in his preferred attacking role here, which should be a good sign for his scoring potential given the Red Devils' defensive frailties in recent matches.

Danny Welbeck (F, Brighton @ Burnley)

With no more European fixtures to influence the heavy rotation we saw from Roberto de Zerbi earlier this season, Welbeck should be a safe bet to continue as the Seagulls' lone striker for their trip to Turf Moor. Evan Ferguson has largely been held in reserve for the future, despite (or perhaps because of) all of the hype surrounding him as the next £100 million signing. Welbeck, to his credit, has done little wrong to influence his manager to make a change. The former Arsenal and Manchester United forward is fairly heavily dependent on goals and assists for his points (43% GACS reliance), but with Burnley having conceded the second most goals in the Premier League this season there's plenty of reason to be optimistic that another goal contribution is on its way.

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