While Southampton started the season sluggishly, their recent form means a Saints player tops the tree in our gameweek eight recommendations.
The score combines form, cost, ownership and upcoming fixture difficulty rating (FDR), with form accounting for 50 per cent of the score and the other categories weighted equally.
And one free-kick wizard has emerged as the in-form man.
FPL’s official form metric counts matches from the last 30 days, and James Ward-Prowse outscores every single player in the game in this timeframe, with three goals and an assist in his last two.
Whilst you might not expect him to continue to outscore the likes of Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, the English midfielder costs less than half as much as either Liverpool star.
Even when comparing him to players closer to his price he is going under the radar, not even making the top 10 most owned midfielders under £7.5m.
The only thing that negatively impacts his score at all is the difficulty of Southampton’s fixtures, but even then their toughest fixture in the next five according to FDR is a visit from Manchester United.
On current form, the four out of five difficulty rating for that fixture appears a little generous to the Red Devils.
Prosperity within Palace
The team with the easiest run of fixtures according to the model is Crystal Palace who are faced with four fixtures rated two out of five for difficulty.
Wilfried Zaha is the obvious choice as the spearhead of their attack but Jairo Riedewald is an intriguing option to balance the books.
At the beginning of the season, it was not possible to get a midfielder for less than £4.5m, but midfielder Riedewald has dipped to £4.4m – having registered three starts in a row and a goal in one of those matches, he looks as good an option as any to free up cash for spending elsewhere.
Up front, Michy Batshuayi provides another feasible option in the Palace camp.
The striker has two assists in his last three starts and, despite the dearth of viable forwards under £6.0m, he is still only owned by 0.9% of managers.
For the same price as Batshuayi, you could also choose to back a Southampton player who is in slightly better form – Che Adams has finally turned impressive underlying numbers into actual returns with two goals and two assists in his last three appearances.
In defence, our picks include a third Southampton player to match the three Palace recommendations – Jannik Vestergaard has bagged himself two goals and a clean sheet in his last three matches and carries a modest £4.6m price tag.
Kurt Zouma was our top pick last week and a 14-point haul against Burnley did little to hurt his score, but Chelsea have fixtures against high-flying Tottenham and early pace setters Everton on the horizon.
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