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 upon in your draft!
A sleeper is 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. This is a big one covering several top teams, starting with Leicester City and running through to newly rich Newcastle United!
It was a funny old season for Leicester last time around but with James Maddison and Jamie Vardy back for and firing at the end of it and no European football last time around, this season should be much better.
There’s been a distinct lack of transfer activity so far which you’d expect will change and with a team not prone to much rotation, picking out sleepers is a tall order.
We’re backing Harvey Barnes to take it up a level or two this time around and seeing him go in round 5 in most mocks screams “bargain” to me.
We’re struggling apart from that…does former Fantrax darling Ricardo Pereira roll back the years and reach the dizzying heights of two/three years ago? If you think so he’s still going to be knocking around right at the end of a lot of drafts this summer. Certainly worth a late punt!
Is there such a thing as a sleeper in this Liverpool team? They’re either snapped up in the first two/three rounds (see three of the back for and most of the attacker) or left on the waiver wire until an easy fixture (hello Jordan Henderson) or so it seems.
One fella who should probably feature here is Diogo Jota. The Portuguese star enjoyed a maiden Liverpool season to remember but still doesn’t make it into most people’s favoured Liverpool XI. A pre-season injury will now see Jota fall further in drafts, meaning he could be around by round 4 in many leagues.
Jota should play a big part in Liverpool’s season despite the capture of Darwin Nunez. It’d be incredibly harsh if he doesn’t.
The same can probably be said for Roberto Firmino while most are expecting the impressive Ibou Konate to be the favoured Virgil Van Dijk partner this time around. Both should still be lingering in the draft pool by round nine or ten.
See above. Not many sleepers here. It’s a shame that Nathan Ake and Oleksandr Zinchenko have seen their prospective moves finalised in one way or another as they could’ve been sneaky late picks had their futures still been up in the air.
League winning hero Ilkay Gundogan probably isn’t getting the attention he deserves in the mocks. He should see more minutes this season, especially if Bernardo Silva finds himself part of the right wing rotation once again.
We’re also tipping Jack Grealish to enjoy a much better year this year. Those who took him at pick five overall last season (that’s a lot of people by the way) will have been sorely disappointed but it wouldn’t be a surprise if you get a first round performer in the third round this time round now that he’s settled in under Pep.
Is Anthony Martial this year’s pre-season trap? Three goals in three games is certainly giving the new manager something to think about and I’d be surprised if the enigmatic Frenchman was in the plans of many Fantrax managers before the recent friendlies.
Similar, his fellow forwards Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford are looking sharp and should be there to pick in rounds three and five respectively. I’d prefer a punt on Rashford as you’ll have had the opportunity to get four solid picks in before him.
Defensively, United have a lot of work to do but Diogo Dalot could be a huge differential this season. Aaron Wan Bissaka doesn’t seem to be part of Ten Hag’s plans so Dalot should lock down the right back position, a role which has, so far, seen him high up the field in some central, attacking positions. He can be claimed from round ten onwards and could be a risk free bargain there!
Who knows what’s to come from Newcastle this season? Eddie Howe will have had a full summer to enjoy spending the millions and expectations will be higher than ever as the Toon looks to mount a charge for Europe.
Sleepers are few and far between though with Allan Saint-Maximin and Bruno Guimaraes going early in many drafts, as are full back Kieran Trippier and Matt Targett.
Callum Wilson is on my watchlist (fitness depending) and I’d be happy with the hitman any time from round six. The right wing spot is also a mystery. A signing is surely coming but, if not, will Ryan Fraser get yet another chance there?
Honorary mention goes to big Dan Burn who, as always, will be criminally under drafted!