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Gameweek 35 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 35!

The main stand at Stamford Bridge under a sky of patterned clouds

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 35 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 opted to highlight 8 players from teams with two fixtures in Gameweek 34 and it paid off handsomely, even with a late injury ruling out Jefferson Lerma (0) and both Ivo Grbic (2.25) and Oli McBurnie (5) only making an appearance in the first of Sheffield United's matches. The 150 points scored by the Sleepers XI picks were led by the incredible haul from Jean-Philippe Mateta (64), but there were also notable performances from Daniel Munoz (24.5), Morgan Rogers (14.5), Max Kilman (14.25) and Oliver Arblaster (12.5). Our season total is now 2421.25, bumping the weekly average up 2.5 points to just shy of the 71.25 point mark. With a couple more double gameweeks between now and the end of the campaign, maybe that 75-point weekly target is still attainable. Unlikely, sure, but stranger things have happened.

The upcoming gameweek features two fixtures for Chelsea and Tottenham, though neither are particularly attractive from a streaming standpoint based on the players likely to be available in your leagues. If any of Tottenham's higher upside attackers (Werner, Johnson, Kulusevski, Richarlison) was dropped given their blank last week, however, it could be well worth your while to add them to your roster now since Spurs have two double gameweeks between now and the end of 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 35. 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.

Djordje Petrovic (G, Chelsea @ Aston Villa / @ Tottenham)

As mentioned above, neither of the two teams that play twice this week have particularly attractive fixtures, especially from a defensive standpoint. However, there's an argument to be made that Petrovic could be a worthwhile gamble given the potential to rack up the saves against some pretty potent attacking opposition. The Chelsea keeper hasn't been a great option as anything other than a spot streamer at best this campaign, with the Blues' inconsistent form making it difficult to predict not only what the result will be, but also how often they'll allow shots on goal. The benefit of an extra match is really the main driver for this recommendation. Before you get too anxious about two negative scores being on the cards, it's worth noting that Petrovic put up a positive score against Arsenal in Gameweek 34, despite conceding on five occasions.

Jarell Quansah (D, Liverpool @ West Ham)

Liverpool's hopes of a title-winning send-off for Jurgen Klopp have all but disappeared after the demoralizing defeat to Everton, but they're not completely out of contention just yet. With a few weeks of the season still to be played, there may still be at least some fight left in the Reds before you should jump ship entirely. Quansah should be restored to the starting lineup alongside Virgil van Dijk following the midweek outing from Ibrahima Konate. The young center back has established himself as a Premier League quality player and may be able to make a case for his inclusion as a regular starter to whoever the new Liverpool boss is with some positive displays over the remainder of the season. Quansah has shown a decent capacity for delivering ghost points, and his aerial ability may prove a fruitful avenue for fantasy managers if Liverpool are tested from free kicks.

Kristoffer Ajer (D, Brentford @ Everton)

Ajer was restored to the starting lineup for the 5-1 victory over Luton following his shock omission against Sheffield United in Gameweek 33. The Norwegian defender has delivered four double-digit scores in his last five Premier League starts, though it is worth noting he either scored or kept a clean sheet in each of those performances. The Bees have one of the better fixture runs to close out the season, though with them not really having much to play for at this point there could be some signs of their players being on the proverbial beach sooner rather than later. Everton's crucial victory in the Merseyside Derby has all but confirmed their survival for next campaign as well, however, so they could be set for a come-down from the high emotions of that match and a challenging season in their own regard. There's a small chance Ajer is left out in favor of Mads Roerslev at right back, particularly now that Ethan Pinnock is fit again to partner Nathan Collins in central defense, but if Ajer retains his starting spot he could provide an aerial threat on attacking set pieces and rack up some clearances on the defensive side as well.

Rayan Ait-Nouri (D, Wolves v. Luton)

Given the slight injury the Algerian was dealing with heading into the double gameweek, it's no surprise to see Ait-Nouri's rostership had taken a bit of a plunge heading into this gameweek. RAN was fit enough to play 90 minutes in the midweek defeat to Bournemouth and should be in a good place to start again for the visit of the Hatters this weekend. With Hwang Hee-Chan and Matheus Cunha just returning from their own injury layoffs, there's even potential for Ait-Nouri to spend some time in a more advanced attacking role on the left wing. His dribbling ability could help him find some space to provide attacking opportunities against a makeshift Luton backline, including the right back that he'll be contesting now that Issa Kabore has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Mario Lemina (M, Wolves v. Luton)

I'll be the first to admit that I have no idea when Lemina will have a good fantasy week and when he won't. The Wolves midfielder has been an enigma in that respect this season, flagellating between sub-4 and 8+ scores with seemingly no rhyme or reason. In the GW34 match against Bournemouth, he provided an impressive 12.5 points despite his team not getting on the scoresheet. In the 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest in his previous start, the Gabonese general could only muster a solitary point. The jury is well and truly out on what sort of score you can expect here, but if you find yourself in need of a nailed-on starter against a team with one win in their last 10 Premier League matches, Lemina could be the guy to deliver a double-digit score. Then again, he could hand you a goose egg. If any of the Spurs midfielders looked like they could be in line for two starts, I'd have recommended one of them here instead. As it stands, you may be better off with the nearly guaranteed 90 minutes here.

Moises Caicedo (M, Chelsea @ Aston Villa / @ Tottenham)

The only outfield player with two fixtures that I'm recommending (in part due to Noni Madueke's presence in this week's Waivers article) is Caicedo. With the vast majority of Chelsea and Spurs players unlikely to be available in your leagues, there aren't too many options to choose from. That said, the former Brighton enforcer fits the mold of the type of player you can rely on to be a better fantasy asset than usual in a double gameweek. With Enzo Fernandez sidelined for the rest of the season following hernia surgery, Mauricio Pochettino is short of options to play instead of the Ecuadorian. Similar to Lemina, Caicedo is pretty inconsistent with his scores. His last five matches have produced scores of 1.5, 12, 6, 2.5 and 1.5. An earlier stretch of the season was much more promising, however, with scores of 8, 9.5, 1, 8 and 10. Depending on which version of Caicedo shows up, you could be looking at either 5 points or 15 come the end of the gameweek. That's a gamble that's likely worth taking considering the single fixture alternatives.

Vitaly Janelt (M, Brentford @ Everton)

Since moving back into his preferred midfield position following the arrival of Sergio Reguilon in February, Janelt has been a serviceable streamer. Improved form from Brentford over the past month or so has also coincided an uptick in his fantasy output. The Bees are undefeated across their last five Premier League outings, with the German averaging just shy of 10 points per game over that stretch. As I mentioned previously, this fixture could be one where Everton players take their foot off the gas just a bit and open themselves up to an onslaught from their opponents. Given Brentford's recent goalscoring streak, where they've scored 10 goals in three games, that could help Janelt add some attacking points to his typical floor of defensive contributions.

Will Hughes (M, Crystal Palace @ Fulham)

Had we received the news of Jefferson Lerma's injury even slightly earlier, I may have slotted Hughes into the Sleepers XI squad last gameweek for Palace's double and I would have been very happy with that call. The former Watford midfielder provided an assist in each of the Eagles' victories in GW34, rewarding any fantasy managers who took the gamble with an impressive 28.5 points. This output is almost certainly not sustainable, but it's hard to argue against anyone potentially delivering the goods in this new-look team under the tutelage of Oliver Glasner. There may even be some added upside on offer for Hughes, with some set piece opportunities potentially up for grabs if Eberechi Eze misses out through injury. Michael Olise and Adam Wharton could just as easily take all of those, however. Regardless, Hughes typically offers a solid mix of points from defensive and attacking contributions from central midfield and could be a very shrewd pick-up this week.

Ben Brereton (F, Sheffield United @ Newcastle)

Relegation is all but confirmed for the Blades, but that shouldn't stop you from thinking about Brereton as an attacking option for your squad. With Oli McBurnie set to miss the remainder of the campaign through injury, much of the attacking onus will fall to the Chilean. The forward can never be criticized for a lack of effort and is often one of the top two or three players on the pitch for Sheffield United. With no reason not to go all-out in search of victory at this late stage of the season, Chris Wilder's side have begun scoring more frequently. An away day at St. James' Park is a tricky one, but Everton were able to claim a point and West Ham scored 3, so there's certainly some cracks in the armor to be exploited.

Julio Enciso (F, Brighton @ Bournemouth)

A dismal performance against Manchester City on Thursday may pave the way for Roberto de Zerbi to make wholesale changes for the trip to the South Coast on Sunday. Enciso has missed the last two matches with a minor recurrence of an injury, but was fit enough to be included on the bench in GW34. It remains to be seen whether he is fit enough to start, but with the Seagulls on a 5 match winless slide it wouldn't be a shock to see the Paraguayan get a chance from the first whistle. Like the Brighton side in general, there were high hopes surrounding the 20 year-old at the beginning of the season following his breakout at the end of the 22/23 campaign, but injuries have hampered his progress. With little left to play for, the manager may opt to protect him for next season, but if he does get the start Enciso is one of those players who can create something out of nothing. It's certainly a risk, so make sure you have a backup plan in mind in case he doesn't break into the starting lineup.

Lyle Foster (F, Burnley @ Manchester United)

Despite sitting in sixth place, Manchester United have only just recently reached a positive goal differential in the Premier League. Part of that is down to not scoring a huge number of goals (compared to the rest of the top 6, they're roughly 15-30 goals behind), but another factor is how many goals they've conceded...especially lately. The Red Devils have let in 10 goals across their last four Premier League matches, which should help assuage any fears you may have had when considering whether Foster could be a good fantasy play this weekend. Vincent Kompany has rallied his Burnley troops to fight for survival and they've surprisingly picked up enough points recently to find themselves just three points from safety. The South African striker has been pretty goal dependent for his fantasy points, but with the number United are conceding at the moment you wouldn't bet against him adding to his tally for the season.

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