With the Premier League set to return in less than a week’s time, the FPL managers have already started making their first drafts of their respective teams. And, with multiple premium options like Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland, Son Heung-Min, Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne & Raheem Sterling, some budget will definitely have to be set aside in order to acquire most of these players. Considering the above scenario, most Fantasy Premier League managers will plan on saving huge funds when it comes to defenders.
Here are some of the best bargain options in the defenders’ category of the Fantasy Premier League:
NECO WILLIAMS (£4M, NFO)
Neco Williams has joined Nottingham Forest for a reported £17 million transfer fee. During the second half of the previous campaign, the Welshman, age 21, was on loan at Fulham. Out of a total of 14 games, he started 14, and he also scored two goals and provided two assists.
He certainly poses an offensive threat and appears to be the top £4.0 million defender right now. He will start for Forest in place of the now-departed Djed Spence at right-back. Last year, Spence played right wing-back for Steve Cooper’s team in a three-man defence. This season, they are most likely to stick with the same setup, which is ideal for Williams from an FPL perspective.
Last season, Forest retained 17 clean sheets while giving up the second-fewest goals (40) in the Championship. Additionally, they have favourable matchups against Wolves at home, Southampton away, Brighton away, and Everton at home over the initial six games.
RAYAN AIT-NOURI (£4.5M, WOL)
After only playing slightly less than 2,000 minutes last season, Ait-Nouri is anticipated to appear more frequently this year. That didn’t stop Ait-Nouri from producing a respectable final output of a goal and four assists.
His 0.17 assists per game average was the highest in the Wolves team as well as the tenth best among defenders in the league. He also contributed to 20% of Wolves’ goals in games he played in, which was the fourth-highest rate among defenders.
The French wingback did exceed his xA tally by around twice, but he is still one of Wolverhampton’s top defensive picks and one of the noteworthy £4.5 million defenders.
Wolves have consistently been a strong defensive team since their return to the English top flight in 2018. They were among the leading eight defences last season with just 43 goals allowed and an xGC of 58.1, which helped them finish seventh in the league table.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ opening schedule is also quite appealing. Over the course of their first six games, they face Leeds United (A), Fulham (H), Newcastle United (H), Bournemouth (A), and Southampton (H). For the first eight Gameweeks, Crystal Palace and West Ham provide a good rotation for Bruno Lage’s team. Each team has solid £4.5 million defensive options.
LEWIS DUNK (£4.5M, BHA)
Dunk appears to be among the top value defenders in FPL this year. He has the biggest goal threat among his defensive teammates and is a lock to start. Lewis might make a good fourth or fifth defender or be utilised as a rotational duo because he will be difficult to overlook.
He only scored one goal last season due to a minor positional adjustment brought on by Shane Duffy’s (£4.5m) inclusion in the team. As a result, Duffy was the focus of set pieces while Dunk remained on standby.
Dunk’s offensive statistics skyrocketed once Duffy was sidelined. The Englishman has 12 goals and 5 assists in the last 5 seasons.
Additionally, Brighton seems to have a strong defence. Last season, they only let in 44 goals (5th), with an xGC of just 50.1. (7th). They finished fifth with 11 clean sheets retained, and altogether, their defensive statistics were among the top five or six clubs.
Dunk should be back to his best in terms of attacking contributions this season because Duffy is anticipated to return to the bench.
The first six games of the season for Graham Potter’s team include home games against Newcastle United, Leeds United, and Leicester City. The centre-back will be a great rotational asset, as was already mentioned. Throughout the first eight games, the Seagulls and Leicester City alternate nicely.
JAMES JUSTIN (£4.5M, LEI)
James Justin missed most of the previous season due to injury. He didn’t play until Gameweek 17 after suffering a torn cruciate ligament.
Justin had an xG of 1.53 and an xA of 2.53 in the 2020–21 season, with two goals and two assists to his name. He can play left or right back and is a very attacking player.
With a full preseason under his belt and him back in shape, he should be a lock to start in that defensive line. He’s already put in 115 minutes of action.
Last season, Leicester City struggled defensively, but a large part of it was due to the numerous injuries they suffered in their backline.
With a completely fit squad, the Foxes are certain to have a stronger season and we anticipate them playing much better defence this time around. With an xGC of 68.1 and 59 goals allowed last season, they were ranked 14th in terms of goals conceded.
Concerning the schedule, Brendan Rodgers’ team is off to a respectable start, and they rotate with Brighton extremely effectively as mentioned before.
BEN WHITE (£4.5M, ARS)
Fullbacks, or even the more recent wing-back style, are frequently chosen over their central teammates, although this isn’t always the best decision. Takehiro Tomiyasu, a 23-year-old international from Japan who joined the club from Bologna for £4.5 million, is the most expensive Arsenal defender.
Despite playing 1,649 minutes in the EPL, Tomiyasu had little attacking impact. He failed to score an actual goal and only recorded one assist, totaling just 0.6 anticipated goals and 0.8 expected assists. All of that has terrible fantasy value. In spite of playing right fullback, which is perhaps his finest position, the player has only five league goals and six assists during 155 appearances in Belgium, Italy, and England.
It likely comes down to cost and timing if you’re determined to spend in Arsenal defenders. The August opponents for Mikel Arteta’s team are Crystal Palace, Leicester, Bournemouth, Fulham, and Villa. Ben White (£4.5m) is promising potential as a result of that run. The centre-back made 32 starts and contributed to all 13 of Arsenal’s clean sheets in the Premier League.
DIOGO DALOT (£4.5M, MUN)
By their standards, Manchester United had a dismal previous campaign and also struggled immensely defensively. With an xGC of 59.2, they were 13th in goals allowed with 57.
In their first three pre-season games, Man United have performed admirably, scoring 11 goals while only giving up two.
Diogo Dalot has played 150 minutes and has been a significant player thus far. He now appears to be an assured starter at right back. He has so far contributed one assist and made several exciting offensive plays.
Erik ten Hag appears to prefer his full-backs to push forward as the Portuguese has been combining with Jadon Sancho (£7.5m). Manchester United will undoubtedly get better than the previous campaign.
They have made some excellent acquisitions, including Christian Eriksen (£6.5m), and Tyrell Malacia (£4.5m), and are apparently close to signing Frenkie De Jong. Additionally, Lisandro Martinez was signed by the Red Devils, who will undoubtedly strengthen the defence.
Although it may still be too early to declare Dalot a lock, things are looking well so far, and he is definitely someone to keep an eye on as Gameweek 1 approaches. Dalot could end up providing great value at £4.5m.
Man United’s opening six fixtures include games Brighton (H), Brentford (A), and Southampton (A).