Premium defenders have historically played an important part in Eliteserien Fantasy.
In the last two seasons, we have seen a host of options playing out of position, while Rosenborg’s clean sheet potential has been easily the most reliable in the league.
With Eirik Horneland arriving at the Lerkendal Stadion from Haugesund with his more rigid style and preference for being compact at the back, the reigning champions could continue their form into the 2019 campaign.
Rosenborg left-back Birger Meling (7,0) and centre-half colleague Tore Reginiussen (7,0) have been priced up as the most expensive defenders in the game this year. I would not be surprised to see the former finish as one of the top scoring defenders again this time around. Considering that Horneland’s left-back at Haugesund Alexander Stølås (6,5) was the highest scoring defender in 2018, I don’t think Rosenborg’s new manager will limit Meling’s attacking potential.
However, goalkeeper Andre Hansen (7,0) might struggle to justify his price-tag this season. He was the go-to keeper last year, but with Horneland’s tighter style, he may face fewer shots and therefore find it harder to tag on the extras for saves and bonus. Considering that Meling can still help you cover Rosenborg’s strong defence, and bring in attacking threat, he may be the better choice. Meanwhile, there are other defenders at the same club that are 0,5 cheaper like Vegar Eggen Hedenstad (6,5).
Brann’s Vito Wormgoor (6,5) still stands out as one of the top defensive picks in 2019. He’s more expensive than he was last season but still plays for one of the best defensive sides in the league. He might still be on penalties and is likely to attract a lot of bonus points too.
The already mentioned Stølås had an incredible season for Haugesund last time out. Thanks to his amazing left foot, he scored four goals and assisted eight more, keeping 12 clean sheets too. However, there are big question marks over Haugesund’s defence, as they have lost their first choice goalkeeper, right-back and one of their best central defenders. FKH have replaced all of those players in the last few days but it remains to be seen whether the quality of signings will be good enough.
When everyone thought age was catching up with Odd right-back Espen Ruud (6,5), he burst back onto the scene at the end of last season going on a crazy run of attacking returns, scoring eight goals and providing three assists across the campaign. I’m a bit unsure if he can justify the 6,5 price tag, but we are talking about a defender who is always capable of big scores, with an Eliteserien hat-trick under his belt.
I do think Odd might be better at the back this season, but I’m more keen on left back Birk Risa (5,5) or goalkeeper Sondre Rossbach (5,5) who are better priced in my opinion. Risa might not have the same offensive potential as Ruud, but he is still fairly attacking and could be used out-of-position (although it isn’t very likely). Meanwhile, Rossbach was among the goalkeepers with most bonus last season.
At Molde, the signing of Martin Bjørnbak (6.0) could mean more clean sheets for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s club. The centre-back is a bonus magnet and comes with good goal threat for a defender. He silently ended up as the eighth highest scoring player in his position while playing for Bodø/Glimt, in 2018, despite keeping just five clean sheets. Bjørnbak scored four goals and racked up 14 bonus points in 29 games, as well as scoring five goals in 28 games for Bodø/Glimt in the second tier in 2017.
Molde’s full-backs Kristoffer Haugen (6,0) and Kristoffer Haraldseid (5,5) could also be decent picks if Molde’s defence manages to tighten up this year, as both have decent assist potential. Haraldseid assisted five for Haugesund last year, while Haugen assisted five and scored two for Molde.
I’m not sure if we count 5,5 defenders as premium, but I’ll mention the Sarpsborg full-backs Joachim Thomassen (5,5) and Jon-Helge Tveita (5,5). Both are attacking in their style, and play for a Sarpsborg side that I expect to improve their league form a lot. Amin Askar (5,5) is still around and could play on either side as a full-back or as a midfielder. He’s been injured for most of the pre-season, so Tveita and Thomassen should be more nailed-on at the start. Both of them have been playing as a part of a back-three in the last few friendlies because of injuries to the centre-backs so we might have to wait and see what their role is for the 2019 season.
Goalkeeper Aleksander Vasyutin (5,5) came in last season and put in some impressive performances for Sarpsborg. He could be one of the best options between the sticks this year, although team-mate Aslak Falch (5,0) has featured a lot in pre-season as well. Sarpsborg also have central defenders available at 5,0.