After checking in on the latest movements among the goalkeeper standings in our previous Watchlist review, we now turn our attention to the defenders.
Our Watchlist rankings can be found in your sidebar on desktop, or via your slide-in menu on mobile or tablet.
They give an indication of our thinking on player selection for each position, listing the factors that are contributing to the given rank.
Having emerged from a difficult run of matches with two clean sheets and four bonus points, Manchester United’s Phil Jones (5.5) retains his spot at the top of our current rankings.
With the short-term schedule (NEW BHA wat) now obliging, he is expected to add to the eight clean sheets and eight bonus points accrued so far.
Newcastle United are without a goal in their last two matches, and should provide the ideal opposition for Jose Mourinho’s side to get back on track following the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.
One of only four outfield players to start every league match for United, Jones continues to be rested for their midweek cup matches. He is the second most bought since Saturday’s deadline, attracting over 93,000 new owners.
Having conceded fewer goals (five) than any other side, backing the Man United defence should continue to prove profitable. Indeed, there’s even an argument for doubling up with goalkeeper David De Gea, who is now only 0.2 more expensive than Jones.
With rotation at wing-back now a major factor for Spurs, Jan Vertonghen (6.0) is on the rise ahead of a kind run of fixtures.
The Belgian, who’s been an ever-present for Mauricio Pochettino’s men, took maximum bonus points in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
He registered 11 clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI), five successful aerial duels and four tackles won in a dominant individual display.
Given that Toby Alderweireld (6.0) is struggling with a hamstring problem, Vertonghen’s security of pitch-time looks key over a hectic winter period.
Sitting fifth among FPL defenders in the Bonus Points System (BPS), he is always likely to be in the mix for bonus should Spurs continue to grind out low scoring wins at their temporary home.
That was Spurs’ third clean sheet in their last four at Wembley, and bodes well given how favourable their upcoming home schedule (WBA STK BHA SOT WHU EVE) is.
Trips to Leicester City and Watford also look reasonable as Spurs look to add to the six clean sheets picked up over the opening 11 Gameweeks.
Cesar Azpilicueta (6.7) enjoys a hike up our rankings after climbing to the top of the FPL defender standings.
Confidence has been restored in the Chelsea backline following the return to fitness of key midfielder N’Golo Kante – they’ve registered shut-outs in four of the last six matches he has started.
Indeed, the champions conceded 2.0 big chances per match when Kante was out injured, compared to just 0.7 when he was in the side during their opening seven matches.
The fixture list is very kind for the Blues from Gameweek 14 onwards (SWA NEW whu hud SOT eve BHA STK) in particular, while Azpilicueta also boasts strong attacking potential, with his five assists more than any other FPL defender.
However, we’re wary of dismissing team-mate and long-time Watchlist favourite Marcos Alonso, who continues to lead the way for goal attempts and is just 0.2 more expensive. Further indication of his increased threat and confidence could see him oust his compatriot on our next update.
Favourable short-term fixtures (HUD swa BUR SOT cry) are a major factor behind the rise of Charlie Daniels (4.8), who highlighted his attacking potential by producing three shots and two key passes in the 1-0 win over Newcastle.
That may have only been Bournemouth’s second clean sheet of the season, but having conceded just three goals in their last five, they enter this promising run in good shape.
Following a fourth shut-out from their last six matches, Burnley’s Stephen Ward (4.9) continues to garner plenty of Fantasy interest.
The Republic of Ireland international remains the top among FPL defender for points per million value, and has the schedule (SWA ARS bou lei WAT STK bha) to retain top spot.
He’s already matched last season’s one goal and assist and has accrued more than double the bonus points (seven versus three) from 2016/17 already.
Ward is just edging out centre-back Ben Mee (4.5) in our thinking, although this could change very soon. Ward did have the edge for BPS over the opening Gameweeks, but a recent decline in his key passes has allowed Mee to gain the advantage. We continue to monitor the numbers and may well revise our selection following Gameweek 12.
There’s also a strong case to consider goalkeeper Nick Pope (4.5), who is averaging a staggering 5.6 points per match, compared to 5.1 for Ward, thanks in part to his save point potential.
While he’s still yet to open his account for the season, the goal threat of Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann (4.7) could soon profit from a fantastic run of fixtures (EVE STK bha wba BOU WAT lei swa).
He now leads all FPL defenders for penalty area shots, with 12, and priced very kindly, could prove to be a fantastic differential option given his mere 0.5% ownership.
But the extent of his appeal could be hit by the fact that Julian Speroni (4.0) has started the last four matches, and now looks to be a viable option alongside Newcastle United’s Rob Elliot (4.2) as a budget pairing between the sticks.
Heading in the opposite direction is Manchester City’s Nicolas Otamendi (5.9), who will miss the Gameweek 12 trip to Leicester City due to suspension, after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 3-1 win over Arsenal.
But with a visit to Huddersfield Town and home clashes against Southampton and West Ham United to follow, the Argentine’s 18% ownership may be inclined to hold.
Value is central to the appeal of Liverpool’s Alberto Moreno (4.5).
The Reds have only conceded once in five home matches, and see Southampton, Everton, West Bromwich Albion, Swansea and Leicester all visit Anfield before the turn of the year.
The Spaniard also benefits from Jurgen Klopp’s apparent lack of faith in Andrew Robertson, with the Scot having failed to feature in the league since Gameweek 5.
Further down the ladder, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Shane Duffy (4.5) remains a solid option, with the Seagulls full of confidence having gone four matches without tasting defeat.
Impressively, no team have given up fewer big chances over the last four Gameweeks than Chris Hughton’s side (three).
The centre-back also offers strong attacking potential, firing nine efforts inside the box so far. And Duffy is the number one defender for clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI), which boosts his potential for additional returns via the BPS.
Harry Maguire (5.1) provided another reminder of his attacking prowess with an assist in Leicester’s 2-2 draw with Stoke.
The Foxes have made a promising start under new boss Claude Puel, and fixtures against West Ham, Burnley, Newcastle, Southampton and Palace in the next seven suggest that can continue.
A consistent source of points, Maguire has produced either attacking or defensive returns in six of his 11 Gameweek starts, and shouldn’t be discounted despite his slightly loftier price tag.