With the new season in full swing, Goal takes a look at the best defenders available to virtual coaches, including some bargain buys
The 2017-18 Premier League season is well under way and that means fantasy football leagues around the world are in full swing.
Our very own Goal Fantasy Football is also up and running — and it’s free to play. The mobile app can be downloaded through this link so that you can create and update your squad wherever you are.
The Fantasy Premier League game on the Premier League’s official website is also a popular choice for fantasy managers, but whatever game you use, we’ve taken a look at some of the best fantasy football defenders, including a few bargains to consider!
BEST FANTASY FOOTBALL DEFENDERS
Though they came second to Tottenham in the goals-against column, Chelsea’s backline dominated the top five top-scoring defenders in last season’s fantasy Premier League.
Gary Cahill scored the highest with 178 points, with Marcos Alonso following close behind on 177, while Cesar Azpilicueta accumulated 170 points. Kyle Walker, who recently joined Manchester City from Tottenham, was the next highest with 142 points, while Liverpool’s makeshift left-back James Milner scored 139.
When considering defenders in fantasy football it is important to look not only at the player’s defensive attributes, such as keeping clean sheets, but also the amount of goals and assists they pick up throughout the season. For this reason, full-backs are usually the best choice, with top-scoring Gary Cahill representing an anomaly in last year’s top five as the only out and out centre back.
Top five fantasy football defenders:
|1||Nicolas Otamendi||Man City||£5.9m|
|2||Antonio Valencia||Man United||£6.7m|
|4||Phil Jones||Man United||£5.3m|
*As of October 27
Antonio Valencia (Manchester United – £6.7m)
Having started out as a winger at Old Trafford, Antonio Valencia has evolved into Manchester United’s first-choice right-back as well as one of their most important players in recent seasons. The Ecuador international still possesses explosive pace and his attacking nous means that he is always going to be a threat going forward. He finished last term with just one goal and three assists, but he may be given more licence as Jose Mourinho seeks to improve the team’s win-count.
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea – £6.9m)
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea comfortably cruised to Premier League glory last season and they did so using a fresh 3-4-3 formation, with wing-backs. Marcos Alonso was one of those wing-backs and the former Fiorentina man did a tremendous job, scoring six goals and laying on three more. The Spaniard has begun the new season just as he finished the last and he already has two goals under his belt, a fact that has helped his value increase.
Eric Bailly (Man United – £6.1m)
Jose Mourinho is building his Manchester United defence around Eric Bailly and it is easy to see why as the Ivory Coast international inspires confidence in those around him. Bailly has been ever-present in the Red Devils backline this season and he is one of the main reasons for their impressive defensive record. Not only that, but he can score goals from set-pieces too and is already off the mark this season.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea – £6.6m)
Usually a full-back, Cesar Azpilicueta was deployed mainly as part of a back three at Chelsea last season, meaning he did not have as much of an opportunity to get forward as he would have in previous seasons, but he still managed to chip in with more assists than wing-back Marcos Alonso (4) and a goal in the Blues’ successful Premier League campaign. Like his compatriot Alonso, the Spain international has hit the ground running this term and is the highest scoring Chelsea defender thus far.
Kyle Walker (Man City – £6.6m)
Manchester City paid big money to Tottenham for Kyle Walker and Pep Guardiola will expect plenty of returns from the 27-year-old this season. Part of the best defence in the Premier League last term, Walker contributed five assists from full-back and always looked threatening going forward.
The England international has endured a stop-start beginning this year and lost himself points when he was sent off against Everton, but he is a certain starter, who will pick up plenty of points during the course of the season.
Nicolas Otamendi (Man City – £5.9m)
Manchester City’s rampant attack has been grabbing the headlines this season, but their defence is often overlooked, despite managing to keep its fair share of clean sheets. Nicolas Otamendi, in particular, is City’s highest scoring defender this season and will surely rack the points up if Guardiola’s men can carry on winning.
Ben Davies (Tottenham – £5.8m)
Tottenham full-back Ben Davies has taken full advantage of Danny Rose’s injury absence to cement his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s team and he has repayed the Argentine coach’s faith in abundance. Davies is currently one of the top five scoring defenders in the current fantasy football season and he should find himself up there at the end of the campaign if he continues his form.
BEST BARGAIN DEFENDERS
If careful enough, fantasy football players can cobble together a good defence without spending too much of their budget, freeing up money to be devoted elsewhere in the squad.
Sometimes consistent performers do not see their pricetag increased to reflect their actual worth, while other players can have their value decreased after a single disappointing campaign.
So, if you don’t want to waste funds on the big-name players, we’ve taken a look at some of the better fantasy football defenders that can be picked up for relative bargain fees.
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton – £5.5m)
Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand has been a consistently high scorer in fantasy football over the last few seasons and, barring injury, he should continue that tradition in 2017-18. At £5.5m he is valued less than players such as Antonio Valencia, Hector Bellerin and Toby Alderweireld, who he scored higher than last year.
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Jamaal Lascelles (Newcasle – £4.7m)
Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has been one of the Magpies’ best performers in recent seasons and he has already bagged two goals this season. The 24-year-old centre back began the season as a £4.7m acquisition, but his form has seen his valuation rise. It could be worth adding him to your team now in case his value shoots up again.
Phil Jones (Man United £5.3m)
Jose Mourinho has favoured a partnership between Eric Bailly and Phil Jones this season as his Manchester United side sweep all before them. Both players are consistently gathering points for clean sheets, but while Bailly is priced at £6.1m, his partner Jones is cheaper, despite the latter scoring higher.
Christopher Schindler (Huddersfield Town – £4.6m)
Huddersfield Town have taken the Premier League by surprise since being promoted from the Championship and one of their best players has been Christopher Schindler. The former Germany Under-21 international is one of the best scoring defenders in fantasy football at this early stage and that has been reflected in a valuation increase.