You can’t win or lose a league at the draft but you can get a head start! How do you do that? By identifying those sleepers that you can wait until the right moment to pounce open in your draft!
A sleeper is basically a player that you can pick up in a draft much later than they probably should be due to a poor previous campaign or for other similar reasons. I great example from last season is Jarrod Bowen who went between round six and round eight in most drafts but after a stellar season went on to finish at the 7th best player in the whole game. Bargain!
In this part of the draft kit, we run through each Premier League team picking out potential sleepers to watch out for in your draft. In this one we start with Arsenal and run through to the Graham Potter roulette that is Brighton!
Sleepers are definitely harder to come by amongst the top teams ( do Arsenal just about count as one of the top teams again?) but there’s a couple worth exploring from Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.
The supremely talented but slightly out of favour Emile Smith Rowe is the name that jumps out. Gabriel Martinelli deservedly got the nod at left wing for the second half of the last campaign but it remains to be seen whether it’ll be ESR that’s preferred at the start of this one.
Takehiro Tomiyasu’s first Arsenal campaign was a mixed one but he will surely start evey game that he’s fit at right back and should be available right at the end of the draft. The same should be true for Kieran Tierney but you’ll have to reach a little higher for him. Round 10 is a good spot to get the Scot.
Ollie Watkins was flying off the board at the end of the first round in last season’s drafts but only ended the season as the 36th best player overall. The end of the campaign was an improvement for the striker, however, and he’s definitely Steven Gerrard’s first choice. Grabbing Watkins in round three this season should represent great value. If he falls any lower it’s a massive win!
Speaking of first rounders who didn’t deliver, none were more disappointing than Emi Buendia (not that it’s entirely his fault). Villa fans were crying out to see Buendia on the field by the end of the campaign after a series of impressive substitute performances. The Argentinian is absolute gold when he starts and should be available in round six which, if Gerrard finds a way to fit him into the same team as Philippe Coutinho, would be an absolute bargain.
Dominic Solanke will be Bournemouth’s first name off the board despite previous struggles at the top level. I’ll be giving their talisman a wide berth personally but there’s gems to be had elsewhere.
Full backs Ryan Fredericks and Jordan Zemura are on my radar as they’ll be instructed to fly forward to join the attack at most opportunities. The likelihood is they’ll be available right up until the very end of your draft.
Phillip Billing was one of those who stayed at Bournemouth despite the relegation two years ago and he filled his boots in the Championship last season with 10 goals and 10 assists from midfield. If you can get Billing in round 10 or 11 you should be pleased as you’ll be getting a guy with Premier League experience who, it seems, now knows where the goal is!
Yoann Wissa is top of our Brentford watchlist going into the new campaign. Talisman Ivan Toney should go in the first three rounds this summer after a fantastic first campaign in the top flight but I’ll be happy to see him go by if it means I can get hold of his team mate Wissa who was on fire at the end of last season.
Wissa’s current ADP is around 122 on Fantrax, meaning he’s falling to the 10th round in most recent mock drafts. He’s well worth a punt at that stage.
The real potential sleeper for The Bees is giant Defender Ethan Pinnock, however. Don’t be fooled by his difficult ending to last season. Despite missing basically seven matches through injury, Pinnock finished the season 44th overall and 11th among defenders. He will fall in many drafts and should be an absolute bargain if you can pick him up anywhere past round seven.
It’s hard to know where to start with Brighton as Graham Potter’s roulette wheel gathers even more momentum than Pep Guardiola’s nowadays.
Midfielders Enock Mwepu and Moises Caicedo finished last season well but have been drafted after round 10 in many mocks I have seen.
You just feel like Tariq Lamptey has everything needed for him to explode at some point and establish himself as a top right back. Will this be the season? As much as he passes the “eye test”, he’s a disappointing Fantrax scorer which will lead to him falling far in most drafts. I always feel like he’s worth a late punt for excitement value alone. Maybe this is finally the season where he puts the numbers up that he do often deserves.