Defenders: Players to Watch | Premium, Budget & Value FPL Picks
Posted by FFPundits
5:40pm Jul 15 2019
Premium defenders from Liverpool are likely to dominate our FPL back-lines, but who are the value and budget picks worth picking up?
Continuing the pre-season ‘Players to Watch’ series, today’s instalment will be looking at FPL defenders, with an eye on the best premium, budget and value picks for the 2019/20 campaign.
Last season, we saw 3 defenders finish in the top 10 for overall points, with Robertson’s total of 213 only bettered by big hitters Mané, Sterling, Hazard and Salah.
Van Dijk (208) and Alexander-Arnold (185) join him in the top 3 ranking defenders, after Liverpool kept a league-high total of 21 clean sheets.
Premium Pick: Trent-Alexander Arnold £7.0m
First 3 fixtures: Norwich (H), Saints (A), Arsenal (H)
Although Robertson finished as the top-scoring defender, Alexander-Arnold’s average of 6.4 points per game ranked joint-2nd amongst teammates; on par with Mané and only bettered by Salah (6.8).
He also had a slight edge over Robertson when it came to FPL assists, with 13 to the Scotland international’s 12.
Only Fraser (14) and Sterling (15) provided more, across all positions, amongst current players.
What’s even more remarkable is the fact that 10 of his 13 assists came since Gameweek 28, with the 20-year-old offering an incredible average of 8.3 PPG, across those final 11 matches.
One apparent reason for the late flurry of attacking returns seems to be his greater involvement in set pieces, with James Milner getting less gametime towards the end of the season.
Before Gameweek 28, Milner had taken 75 corners, compared to Trent’s 25; an average of just 1.4 per game.
Between Gameweeks 28 and 38, however, Alexander-Arnold was Liverpool’s most frequent corner taker, delivering 49 compared to Milner’s 17; improving his average to 4.5 per game.
If he’s able to hold on to those set pieces, the 2019/20 FPL season looks very promising for the young right-back.
Budget Pick: Lewis Dunk – £4.5m
First 3 fixtures: Watford (A), West Ham (H), Southampton (H)
At the lower end of the defenders, Lewis Dunk stands out having been linked with a move to Leicester.
The 27-year-old is rumoured to be a possible replacement for Harry Maguire, should he leave for Man Utd.
The Foxes kept 10 clean sheets last season and ranked 5th best in the league for big chances conceded.
But even if he were to stay at Brighton, Dunk may still be an FPL asset to watch.
5 of the Seagulls’ first 6 matches fall against teams outside the ‘top six’ and those include home ties with West Ham, Southampton and Burnley.
Their home form last season increases the appeal of using one of their defenders as part of a rotation strategy, though we should be wary of the impact new manager Graham Potter may have.
Excluding the ‘top six’ teams, only Leicester and Wolves allowed opponents fewer ‘big chances’ than Brighton during home matches last season, with the side keeping 5 of their 7 clean sheets at the Amex.
Value Pick: Seamus Coleman – £5.5m
First 3 fixtures: Crystal Palace (A), Watford (H), Aston Villa (A)
Although Coleman made 29 appearances last season, it was only during the second half of the campaign that we started to see the best of him.
Between Gameweeks 21 and 38, the right-back earned 13 starts and helped Everton secure 10 clean sheets.
His average of 6.5 PPG during that spell was only bettered by Laporte (6.5) and Alexander-Arnold (7.1), amongst defenders who featured regularly.
Although his 13 attempted assists was far below Lucas Digne’s tally of 33 for this period, the pair each created 4 big chances.
Similarly, the Irishman took just 7 shots compared to Digne’s 14 but still managed to find the target more often (5 to 3) and 6 of his efforts came from inside the box, compared to just 3 from the Everton left-back.
Having been priced £0.5m cheaper than his teammate, Coleman has the potential to deliver value during Everton’s favourable run of fixtures to start the 2019/20 season.
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