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Gameweek 34 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 34!

Crystal Palace's bald eagle mascot is held in the crowd among the fans at Selhurst Park.

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 34 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.

Had it not been for a couple no-shows, Gameweek 34 might have provided one of the better gameweek scores this season. Choosing a Brentford defender was the right call, but Kristoffer Ajer's surprise absence definitely put a damper on the weekly score, as did the continued absence of Vini Souza. Arijanet Muric (13.75) led the way, though managers could be forgiven for wanting the extra 15 points that were on offer had he not passed the ball into his own net. Elliot Anderson (10), Callum Hudson-Odoi (9.5), Vitaly Janelt (8.5) and Danny Welbeck (8) also came through with decent scores to help the squad to 64.75 points for the week. That takes our season total up to 2271.25, but drops the weekly average ever so slightly to 68.75. It's pretty safe to say the 75-point weekly average I targeted at the beginning of the season is out of reach now, but hopefully we can finish strong and get back above 70.

This week is one of two big double gameweeks remaining, with a smaller DGW for Chelsea and Tottenham on the horizon as well. With so few fixtures remaining between now and the end of the season (particularly if you have playoffs starting in GW35 or 36), you should be prepared to let go of some of the players you've held long-term if it means more of a short-term payoff. I'm not suggesting going all in on DGW players for the sake of it, but "rest-of-season value" diminishes more with every passing week, so be sure to think on whether holding a player with fewer fixtures will be worthwhile given your league situation.

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 34. 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.

Ivo Grbic (G, Sheffield United v. Burnley / @ Manchester United)

It's pretty likely at this stage of the season that the better fantasy assets have been snapped up, but if someone like the recently returned Alisson is available in your league, definitely prioritize picking him up. In the event that you're not so lucky, a double gameweek provides players like Grbic with a lot more upside potential than you may otherwise expect to see. The Blades' keeper has averaged more than 5 saves per game across his last 6 starts in the Premier League and will be coming up against two teams that take a high volume of shots without converting too many. Even if Sheffield United concede a handful of goals over the two matches, Grbic could provide a double digit scores with all of the saves he'll be required to make.

Daniel Munoz (D, Crystal Palace v. West Ham / v. Newcastle)

There's a massive discrepancy in rostership for Munoz between general Fantrax roster % and that of the Big 3 leagues. Whether that's an indication of inactive leagues not picking up January transfers or otherwise, the fact that the most active and engaged managers are almost all-in on the Palace right back should be a motivating factor for you to add the Colombian to your roster if he's still available in your division. Oliver Glasner has the Eagles playing a significantly more attractive brand of football than his predecessor, and the German's tactical setup places a lot of the attacking onus on the wingbacks. Surprisingly, Tyrick Mitchell has proven to be the more attack-minded fullback (Munoz has only recorded one assist since Glasner's arrival), but if Munoz can add a couple key passes and/or accurate crosses to his excellent floor of defensive points he'll be in line for a gameweek winning performance for your team.

Dara O'Shea (D, Burnley @ Sheffield United)

Sleepers XI regular O'Shea has seen his roster % tank following his red card and subsequent suspension over the past two gameweeks, but he should be one of the better options among defenders with a single fixture this week. Burnley is set to do battle with fellow relegation candidate Sheffield United, which should afford the Irish center back plenty of opportunities to contest aerial duels against Oli McBurnie and co. So long as he avoids another disciplinary issue, I expect O'Shea to come through with his typical strong ghost point output (8.8 gPPS, even with the red). So long as Burnley aren't blown out by the Blades, he score close to his projection this week.

Max Kilman (D, Wolves v. Arsenal / v. Bournemouth)

Given Wolves' difficult fixtures this gameweek, I'll admit that putting faith in their defenders is a risky proposition. That said, I think Kilman could be the best of the bunch to hitch your wagon to if you're taking the leap. The center back very rarely scores in the negatives even when his team concedes multiple goals, he's not a player who suffers many disciplinary setbacks and he's a threat from set pieces. Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League matches, but have proven they can play spoiler to the teams above them on multiple occasions this campaign. Kilman is by far the most nailed on starter among the rear guard, especially with question marks surrounding the fitness of Craig Dawson and Rayan Ait-Nouri, so he's the safest bet for 180 minutes of action this round.

Giovanni Reyna (M, Nottingham Forest @ Everton)

It took a lot longer than fantasy managers would have hoped (especially those who dumped some FAB to pick him up in February), but Reyna finally claimed his first Premier League start for Forest last time out against Wolves. The on-loan midfielder delivered the type of fantasy performance managers would have been hoping for, putting up 16.5 points in his 70-minute appearance. The American had a very good real-life performance to coincide with his strong fantasy output, which should earn him another start in the crucial relegation six-pointer against Everton this weekend. Reyna can be a threat from set pieces to go along with his excellent vision and passing range in open play, and could be key to unlocking an Everton defense that just conceded six to Chelsea.

Jefferson Lerma (M, Crystal Palace v. West Ham / v. Newcastle)

It's probably beginning to sound like I'm a broken record, but double gameweek fixtures are the ideal opportunity to bolster your side with "Steady Eddie" players like Lerma who are consistent starters for their teams. Two games of 6-8 points each without the worry of rotation or going missing entirely is a good way to set yourself up for success in a DGW, particularly if you're able to balance that output with some high risk/reward picks elsewhere in your lineup. As a central midfielder (or even as a CB, where he's been deployed lately), Lerma doesn't offer the highest ceiling, but is averaging right in that 7-7.5 point range since Glasner came in as Palace manager. The Colombian is about as nailed-on as you can get, too; he's played the full 90 minutes in every game since the start of the calendar year.

Oliver Arblaster (M, Sheffield United v. Burnley / @ Manchester United)

Chris Wilder, to his credit, took some drastic measures to give his side a chance at Premier League survival, dropping some of his more experienced and bigger name players to give chances to up-and-comers like Arblaster. The 19 year-old has repaid his manager's faith with some exciting displays in central midfield, which have translated into some decent signs of fantasy potential. Arblaster was unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in the loss against Brentford in GW33, with his touch deflecting into the net for an own goal. Despite the -5 that comes along with that action, he still managed a positive score in large part due to 5 successful dribbles. The previous week against Chelsea, the youngster delivered 5 key passes on his way to 13 points. It's still too early to say whether Arblaster will be a consistent fantasy asset, or even where the majority of his points will come from, but he appears to have earned the starting role and could be one of the breakout performers this gameweek against two sides with questionable defenses.

Wataru Endo (M, Liverpool @ Fulham / @ Everton)

Liverpool had not played their Europa League second leg match against Atalanta at the time of writing, so be sure to take that match into account before deciding to draft Endo into your team. If the Japanese midfielder plays the full game against the Italian side, it's possible that Jurgen Klopp may look to freshen up the team in either of the two Premier League matches over the course of the next week. With Curtis Jones and Ryan Gravenberch both back in the picture after fitness concerns and Alexis Mac Allister capable of playing the deepest role in central midfield, Endo is less guaranteed of minutes than he was earlier in the campaign. However, if it looks like he will be fresh enough to start the matches against Fulham and Everton as the Reds look to get their title challenge back on track, he falls into a similar category as Lerma. Endo's ceiling is a bit lower, but Liverpool have shown a tendency to take a ton of shots in recent matches. A few simple key passes in each match will put you well on your way to a double-digit scores from a player who is very likely available.

Jean-Philippe Mateta (F, Crystal Palace v. West Ham / v. Newcastle)

On the opposite end of the availability spectrum (at least in the Big 3) is Mateta, who has come on leaps and bounds this season to be a reliable scorer for Crystal Palace and fantasy managers alike. The French forward has contributed 7 goals and 5 assists for the Eagles this season, already his best campaign since joining the London club in 20/21. Surprisingly, he still finds himself less than 50% rostered across all Fantrax leagues. Two bites at the apple this gameweek (and two home fixtures to boot) should be more than enough incentive to pick up the striker if he's still in league's your free agent pool.

Morgan Rogers (F, Aston Villa v. Bournemouth)

The left-sided midfield role has been a thorn in Unai Emery's side for a big chunk of the season, with Nicolo Zaniolo failing to impress leading to John McGinn being played out of position. With McGinn required in his more natural central midfield role given the suspension of Douglas Luiz, Rogers has stepped in and staked a claim to be the de facto starter on Villa's left flank. The January arrival from Middlesborough was seen by many as one for the future, but the 21 year-old has proven he's ready for the Premier League now with a handful of encouraging displays for his new team. Rogers is a bit of an unorthodox profile given the tendency to prioritize pace on the wings these days, but what he lacks in speed he more than makes up for in guile and decision-making. He's already contributed a goal and an assist in April and will look to bounce back from a low-scoring performance against Arsenal despite being on the winning side. There's little reason to believe that Emery will move away from a winning formula when Aston Villa host Bournemouth on Sunday.

Oliver McBurnie (F, Sheffield United v. Burnley / @ Manchester United)

Since making his first start on return from injury in early March, McBurnie has been a top-15 forward for fantasy purposes, outscoring Chris Wood, Darwin Nunez and even Mo Salah and Erling Haaland. The Scottish striker is a longstanding fantasy favorite for a reason, and looks to be back to his best ahead of the crucial run-in for Sheffield United. If the Blades are going to make a miraculous turnaround and survive the drop, McBurnie will almost certainly be a central player. His aerial prowess and hold-up play, combined with solid finishing, means he'll be a handful for any defenders he's coming up against. With both Burnley and Manchester United offering up double-digit scores on average to opposition forwards, McBurnie could be in for a massive points haul.

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