Fantasy Premier League managers may find some interesting differential options in defence from Gameweek 17 onwards.
The last round of action saw a welcome return to form for a number of richly-owned offensive assets.
There were double-digit hauls for the likes of Harry Kane (£10.9m), Jamie Vardy (£10.1m), Mohamed Salah (£12.2m), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.8m) and Son Heung-min (£10.0m) and many of these could continue to set the agenda for premium spending over Christmas.
However, as always, five of the top 10 Gameweek 16 scorers were owned by 5% of Fantasy managers or less.
There is still plenty of budget value to capitalise on, especially among backline assets, which will be the focus of this latest Spot the Differential article.
GW17 Opponent: Brighton and Hove Albion (home)
With three consecutive clean sheets in a row, it’s becoming hard to ignore Vicente Guaita (£5.1m) and the Crystal Palace defence.
Since Gameweek 14, no goalkeeper has scored as many Guaita, who has amassed 26 points, more than the 24 recorded by Vardy, over that period.
The Palace shot-stopper has been helped by a decent run of generous fixtures which continue to have appeal all the way up to New Year’s Day.
It seems surprising that more FPL managers own the injured Hugo Lloris (£5.3m) than Guaita, even though the injured Spurs man in 3.6%. But that just highlights the potential for differential gains that Guaita offers and I’d be surprised if his ownership did not rise between now and the beginning of 2020.
Perhaps the biggest concern with Crystal Palace is the injuries that are being picked up by their defenders recently, including Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m), Joel Ward (£4.4m) and Jeffrey Schlupp (£5.5m) while Mamadou Sakho (£5.0m) is suspended for the next two.
This may weaken them during the festive fixtures although ongoing defensive absences haven’t stopped them in recent outings.
Some might consider Kasper Schmeichel (£5.3m) for a little more of their budget given Leicester’s defensive form but he still has to face Manchester City and Liverpool in Gamweeks 18 and 19 respectively.
This weekend, Gutaita goes up against Palace’s rivals Brighton who have the seventh-worst away record in the league since August and only three teams have scored fewer goals on their travels since Gameweek 1 too.
GW17 Opponent: Norwich City (home)
After a fantastic run of form that has catapulted Leicester second place in the league, you would be forgiven to think that all of their defenders would be highly owned.
But despite being a regular starter for the Foxes, Jonny Evans (£5.2m) is still a de facto differential, sat in just 4.8% of teams.
It might seem strange that he hasn’t attracted more attention but up until very recently, Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.1m) was offering exactly the same as Evans but for much cheaper.
However, with their prices now similar, the former Manchester United man is starting to look more attractive.
He has scored 20 points over the last two Gameweeks and last weekend he had more penalty touches (four) than Kane (3), indicating that he can be a threat for the Foxes.
Leicester have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games and are more than capable of making it six from eight against a Norwich team with the worst away record in the league.
Bigger tests lie ahead after that, with a trip to the Etihad followed by hosting Liverpool on Boxing Day and it may be a tough ask for Leicester to hope for clean sheets in those matches.
But one thing is for certain, they are a completely different unit under Brendan Rodgers, both in defence and attack. Therefore, Evans is a viable long term pick if you don’t currently have anyone from the Leicester defence.
GW17 Opponent: Aston Villa (home)
If you missed out on the John Lundstram (£5.1m) bandwagon or are looking to double up on Sheffield United defensive assets then look no further than George Baldock (£4.8m).
In recent weeks, the right wing-back has shot up to fifth for FPL points scored among defenders. As things stand, Baldock has registered a higher season total than Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) and Virgil van Dijk (£6.4m).
Of course, his tally received a massive boost after he found the net and assisted against Norwich last Sunday, but he has actually outscored Lundstram by 34 points to 31 since Gameweek 11 anyway.
That said, Sheffield United’s lack of clean sheets of late is slightly problematic. Since Gameweek 9 they have only kept one and it’s somewhat surprising that they conceded three goals in their last two games, against Newcastle United and Norwich.
However, Baldock’s offensive potential combined with Aston Villa’s defensive problems could see him register more attacking returns.
Become a Member and access our data
Memberships for the rest of the 2019/20 campaign are now available for the discounted price of £9.99 or the monthly price of £2.99.
Join now to get the following:
- Plot your transfer strategies using the fully interactive Season Ticker.
- Get projections for every Premier League player provided by the Rate My Team statistical model.
- Use Rate My Team throughout the season to guide your selections and transfers.
- Get access to over 150+ exclusive members articles over the season.
- Analyse our OPTA-powered statistic tables specifically tailored for Fantasy Football Managers.
- Use our exclusive tool to build custom stats tables from over 100 OPTA player and team stats.
- Enjoy our brand NEW Flat-Track Bully feature which introduces an opposition filter to your tables.
- View heatmaps and expected goals data for every player.
- Use our powerful comparison tool to analyse players head-to-head.