With Fantasy Premier League managers frantically drawing blueprints for the impending double gameweeks (DGW) announced this week, Gameweek 33 has gone a bit under the radar, which is understandable.
In many ways GW33 is the unattractive friend of GW34 (which features a DGW for three teams); a gameweek that could yet make or break your season, but by the time GW34 rolls around you’ve swiftly moved on.
Well, stop thinking like that. There’s great value to be had for GW33, and statistics point to one player in particular who we’re significantly interested in backing.
Wilfried Zaha (£5.9m), owned by 11.8% of FPL users, is not what you’d call a valuable differential – he probably won’t single-handedly catapult you to mini-league glory – but he is a player improving significantly ahead of some exciting fixtures approaching for Crystal Palace.
Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Here’s another uninspired article eulogising a player’s form as reasoning to transfer him in.’ Well, kind of. But I can assure you that there is sound statistical logic for transferring Zaha in for GW33; we’ll come to that further down.
Crystal Palace’s Revival
Palace host Leicester in GW33, and given the visitors’ midweek return trip to Atletico Madrid, there’s every reason to believe that Craig Shakespeare could rotate his squad at Selhurst Park.
Christian Fuchs (£5.3m) and Danny Simpson (£4.9m) were among the Leicester regulars rested in the Gameweek 32 defeat at Everton, while key attackers Riyad Mahrez (£9.0m) and Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) played just 90 minutes between them.
Basically, it’s easy to make a case for Palace winning this one. Leicester’s starting XI is unpredictable ahead of the second leg with Atletico next week; Palace’s team has been settled for a number of weeks, and is on an upward trajectory.
The beginning of that trajectory traces back to Gameweek 27, where Sam Allardyce’s team, marooned in 19th prior to kick-off, collected an impressive 2-0 victory away at West Brom, a game in which Zaha scored – his first since Gameweek 20.
This is where we come to those aforementioned stats. Since that GW27 win, Zaha has been the fifth-highest scoring Premier League midfielder with 36 points according to our Form Tracker.
He’s also seventh among midfielders for Bonus Points collected during that time.
Zaha’s FPL Consistency
Some of you might be screaming at your screens: “What about Andros Townsend? He’s outscored Zaha in recent weeks!” And you’d be right to scream. This article could easily have been about Townsend but for two reasons. Firstly, there’s a concern about his fitness, and secondly, Zaha’s consistency.
Only three players (Sterling 15, Eriksen, 15, De Bruyne 14) have more Premier League assists this season than Zaha, who is level on 11 with Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.6m).
When coupled with the fact that Palace are the eighth-highest goalscorers since GW27 (scoring in every one of those games), a rotated Leicester defence will likely struggle to keep Palace out.
We’re confident in Zaha’s potential for FPL gains in GW33, although we’d stop shy of backing him as a captaincy pick, albeit only just.
Oh, and Palace are one of those three teams with a DGW in Gameweek 34.