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 6!
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 6 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.
As feared, it was a difficult week to predict starters in Gameweek 5, with three no-shows (Boly, O'Shea and Barkley) and an equally "effective" display from Raul Jimenez (0) putting the rest of the Sleepers squad behind the eight ball. Neto (21.25) did his best to bail out the rest of the team, with good showings from Manor Solomon (12.5) and Marcus Tavernier (9.5) also contributing to the 61.5 point weekly score. Lyle Foster's controversial disallowed goal and wholly unnecessary dismissal turned his 23.5 point score into 5.5 in a hurry. What could have been...The season tally now stands at 335.75 points, or about 67.25 points per week. Not exactly what we're looking for. Hopefully this week will see an upturn in fortunes for these lower-rostered gems.
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 6. 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.
Wes Foderingham (G, Sheffield United v. Newcastle)
While they've yet to manage a victory so far this season (they were awfully close against Spurs last week, only to capitulate in spectacular fashion at the death), Sheffield United have shown some surprising defensive strength. They've made things difficult for each of their opponents so far, yet to concede more than twice in a match despite facing strong attacking sides like Man City and the aforementioned Tottenham. Some of that lies with the defensive unit for forcing their opponents to take low-quality shots, but quite a bit of the responsibility also lies with Foderingham, who has racked up 28 saves in his first 5 Premier League matches. If you're a regular reader, you know I'm always on the lookout for a keeper who faces a high volume of shots, particularly if their team isn't conceding a handful of goals each week. The Blades shot-stopper fits the bill this week, with a somewhat goal-shy Newcastle unit visiting on Sunday.
Issa Kabore (D, Luton v. Wolves)
My colleague Ryan was effusive in his praise for Kabore in his Ghost Point Hunters article this week, and I'm inclined to agree with his assessment of the Man City loanee. While a clean sheet may be hard to come by for the Hatters in any match, the wingback has shown his propensity to rack up the peripheral stats (or "spooky scores" as Ryan calls them) to cancel out any negative points that may come in from conceding. As you can see from this week's selections, I've invested fairly heavily in recommending Luton assets in part due to their favorable upcoming DGW in Gameweek 7. If you can bring in one of the higher upside players like Kabore, you could set yourself up for success not only in GW6, but for the next match as well.
Jan-Paul van Hecke (D, Brighton v. Bournemouth)
As excellent as Brighton's form has been to begin the season, we've yet to see them keep a clean sheet. They've conceded exactly one goal in each of their four victories and scored one goal in their solitary loss. Queue up another 3-1 or 4-1 score line, then...Van Hecke hasn't exactly been a prolific scorer so far this season, but he did manage 12.5 ghost points in the season opener (albeit against Luton) to showcase his fantasy potential. Brighton host a Bournemouth side this weekend that has so far been the most forgiving side for opposition defenses to face, allowing 10.4 points on average (likely contributing to his high projected points score). At the time of writing, the Europa League and Europa Conference League matches were not completed, so be sure to keep an eye there for any clues that van Hecke may not be called upon this weekend. At the moment he appears to be first choice alongside Lewis Dunk, but we've already seen that Roberto de Zerbi is not afraid to chop and change his lineups on a whim.
Nelson Semedo (D, Wolves @ Luton)
Wolves have conceded 11 goals so far this season, second worst behind Burnley. The good news is that they are coming up against a Luton side that has only scored twice across their opening four games, so there's a chance they can shore things up this weekend. Semedo has looked dangerous on the attacking side of the ball under Gary O'Neill and finally saw some of that good offensive work translate into fantasy output last time out against Liverpool. The Portuguese fullback managed 5.75 points in GW5 despite conceding three goals and picking up a yellow card. He also managed just 8.75 points with a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory over Everton in GW3, so it's tough to know which player to expect. I'm optimistic that he'll have his chances to contribute to the attacking sequences against Luton and if he can back that up with a rare clean sheet he'll be in for a gameweek winning score for your team.
Sergio Reguilon (D, Manchester United @ Burnley)
With the news that Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to be sidelined for up to two months with an injury, as well as the long-term absence of Luke Shaw, Reguilon suddenly has little-to-no competition for his place in the starting lineup. The former Tottenham left back has been thrown in the deep end for the struggling Red Devils, but has so far given a pretty good account of himself despite nothing to show from a fantasy perspective (just 0.25 points last GW). United will face a much less prolific side than Brighton or Bayern Munich this weekend when they travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley, and I'm backing Reguilon to have a better showing for fantasy purposes. In his time at Tottenham, he was a good fantasy player who put up points for both defensive and attacking stats and had a very high ceiling for a defender (he once scored 30 points without a goal or assist). He won't be available for much longer if he's still out there in your league, but is a good medium-term play while Shaw and AWB are out.
Alfie Doughty (M, Luton v. Wolves)
I'll start this with a disclaimer that this is a risky pick and one that may come back to bite you if you aren't able to make live adjustments to your roster once the gameweek begins. I say that because Doughty and the aforementioned Issa Kabore could be competing for the same position at RWB and, given his positive display last week, I'd imagine Rob Edwards giving the nod to Kabore. However, there is still a possibility that both players start, with Amari'i Bell dropping out or shifting back centrally to allow for Doughty's return to the starting lineup at LWB. There's also Ryan Giles in contention for the role, though he was very poor defensively and I'd be surprised to see him restored with all of Kabore, Bell and Doughty available. When he's been on the pitch, Doughty has shared set piece duties with Giles and Ross Barkley, but should have full command over them if both are absent as I expect (Barkley's no-show last week was due to a minor hamstring injury which will likely keep him on the sidelines for at least this match). This could be a breakout match for the 23 year-old and be a springboard into the starting lineup on a more consistent basis if he can combine his attacking threat with assured defending.
Jean-Ricner Bellegarde (M, Wolves @ Luton)
A deadline day addition that flew a bit under the radar, Bellegarde is a player I've got high hopes for in this Wolves side. As we discussed in our transfer round-up at the end of the summer window, the 25 year-old should step straight into the role vacated by Matheus Nunes. Bellegarde was immediately selected as a starter against Liverpool and showed some promising signs of a dynamic, front-foot attacking player who will be pivotal to the team's attacking output. A trip to Luton should offer a bit more freedom to work with the ball and show what he's capable of. As you can see, the Big 3 leagues are already on board the Bellegarde train. If you need another midfielder for your team that could offer season-long value, look no further.
Jeffrey Schlupp (M, Crystal Palace v. Fulham)
I'm back to call upon Mr. Reliable Jeff Schlupp yet again. It was beginning to look like the Ghanaian's days in the starting lineup were numbered due to the imminent return of Michael Olise, but with the French winger suffering a setback in his recovery, we should see Schlupp continue in an advanced role for Crystal Palace at least through the next international break. After a sub-par outing against a tough Aston Villa side in GW5, I'm expecting the utility player to be much more involved against Fulham. Schlupp is a safe bet if you're taking risks elsewhere on players who have question marks surrounding their starting status or minutes played, or if you're more invested in boom-or-bust players who could get you 0 or 20. He's not likely to win you a gameweek on his own, but sometimes you need those 7-9 points to get you over the finish line.
Sean Longstaff (M, Newcastle @ Sheffield United)
Given the match between Newcastle and Sheffield United is the final match of the gameweek, this is also a bit of a risky recommendation if you're looking for a starter to plug into your lineup. If you need cover, however, or if you have other options to choose from in this match (perhaps Reserve selection Elliot Anderson?), Longstaff could be a good player for you to pick up. Following a grueling Champions League match against AC Milan midweek, Eddie Howe may look to freshen up his team in a few areas, including in central midfield. Longstaff is a player who is underrated in my opinion and often treated purely as a defensive midfielder, but he actually has the qualities of a box-to-box midfielder and can find himself in more advanced positions than people expect. His energy will be useful to help break down a stubborn Sheffield United defense and could afford Howe the opportunity to give a breather to either Bruno Guimaraes or Sandro Tonali ahead of another difficult fixture against Man City in the EFL Cup next week.
Jacob Brown (F, Luton v. Wolves)
Following a few encouraging cameos, summer transfer Jacob Brown earned his first Premier League start against Fulham last weekend. While he wasn't able to get on the score sheet, the youngster put in another promising display including hitting the post from an Issa Kabore cross. Even without an attacking return, he managed 11 points. I expect Brown to keep his place in the starting lineup ahead of Elijah Adebayo based on that performance, and he could be a very sneaky value pick-up for the double gameweek so long as he continues in the same vein. Even if he is dropped for GW7, he faces a leaky Wolves defense that has given up a lot of chances so far this campaign, so Brown could be in for a repeat of his ghost point performance from last week.
Luca Koleosho (F, Burnley v. Manchester United)
All signs in preseason pointed to Benson Manuel and Anass Zaroury being the preferred starters on the wings for Vincent Kompany's newly promoted Burnley side, but the form of Italian teenager Koleosho has been impossible to ignore. The youngster has made a huge impression with his dribbling ability and pace, and can count himself unlucky not to have more than one assist to his name to show for it. As a player in the old-school winger mold, he can be somewhat predictable, but there's also plenty of growth potential that coaching can help with given his age. I expect him to give Diogo Dalot a torrid time this week and am hopeful he'll continue to be called upon as a regular starter with Burnley also playing twice in GW7.
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