After Meltens’ review of Goalkeepers, it is time to take a look at defenders ahead of the Allsvenskan season. Unlike many other Fantasy games, the Allsvenskan Fantasy game heavily favours defenders over attacking options. Not just in terms of value, but also in absolute terms: eight players still in the game scored 150 points or more last year – whereof half of those are defenders! While focusing on defenders in this article, it is interesting to note that no forward still in the game reached 150+ points.
As a result, the “Park the bus” chip – which provides x2 for all defenders in a chosen GW – is often the season-defining chip in Allsvenskan Fantasy, and many defenders are viable captain options most weeks.
Two teams stood out last season as the main sources for returns from the back: Djurgården and Norrköping
The champions returned an impressive 16 clean sheets in 30 games. Captain Marcus Danielsson was the heart of the defence but has left for China. There is however much speculation around a return on loan if the Chinese league fails to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The prospect of Djurgården defenders is heavily boosted if Danielsson would come back. Aslak Witry (7.0) is the most expensive defender in the game having registered 3 goals and 7 assists last year but his value is debatable, however, as Elliot Käck (6.0) is available for a full million less, being on set-piece duties and having registred 6 assists last year. If Danielsson is not available for Djurgården again, Jakob Une-Larsson (6.5) could be partnered by former Sweden international Erik Berg (5.5) who is ongoing rehabilitation for an injury that kept him out for the majority of last season and the season before that. Should Danielsson return, Berg is likely to move up to play as a central midfielder and could prove great value for money!
Main picks: Käck (6.0), Witry (7.0)
After a slow start, Norrköping really picked up pace last season and equalled Djurgården for clean sheets (16).
The highest scoring defender in the game last season was Lars Grogh Gerson (6.5) with 174 points, 4 goals and 5 assists. Having been a million cheaper last season, Rasmus Lauritsen’s (6.5) 5 goals and 154 points has seen him increase in price and join Grogh Gerson at 6.5. Having offered a cheaper route last year, Lauritsen is only chosen by 11.9% of the teams compared to Krogh Gerson’s 31.5% ownership. At the same price point, Krogh Gerson seems like the better option as he’s on set-piece duties and from time to time penalties too. For those with a slightly lower budget, Dagerståhl (6.0) seems like the last nailed Norrköping defender and comes in at 6.0 – which is still a heavy price tag.
Main pick: Krogh Gerson (6.5)
Malmö actually got 15 clean sheets last season, but their squad depth and rotation when combining Europa League with Allsvenskan meant only Eric Larsson (6.5) took part in all 15 with Rasmus Bengtsson (6.5) behind in second with 10. Those following the Europa League closely, however, noted that new coach and former AC Milan player Jon Dahl Tomasson favoured Anel Ahmedhodzic (5.5) to partner Bengtsson in both of the round of 16 games against Wolfsburg. Having spent last season on loan in the Danish Superligaen, Ahmedhodzic seems like the value pick from the Malmö defence – something registered by 25% of all submitted teams to date.
Adam Andersson (6.0) started last season with a bang and quickly became a popular pick. This year all of the nailed Häcken defenders are priced at 6.0, meaning both Ekpolo and Lindgren are 0.5 cheaper than last year. For an attacking side that kept 11 clean sheets last year, they could all become viable options.
The best defensive force over the last few years seems a bit shaky at the minute. Karol Mets (6.5) is providing a decent option but there is a lot of uncertainty around the other spots. Not even Per Karlsson (6.0) seems completely nailed as Robin Tihi (not added to the game as he is still to sign a professional contract) was preferred in central defence in the must-win cup game against Kalmar. Many were curious about Erick Otienno (5.5) who was the standout pick in AIK’s pre-season, but an injury on the same day the league was announced to return means a spell on the side-line for 6-8 weeks. That could, however, open up a left wingback slot for Eric Kahl (4.0), who many AIK supporters think will start ahead of Rasmus Lindkvist (5.5). Having said that: keep a close eye on both Tihi and Kahl!
IFK Göteborg’s Wernersson (6.0) has seen a 1.0 increase from last year having registered 6 assists and 12 clean sheets, but teammate Calisir (5.5) had 2 goals and 2 assists last year and will likely be preferred by those picking premiums from the other clubs. Da Graca (5.0) and Toko (5.0) could offer even cheaper options into a solid defence which should be further strengthened by the return of Jakob Johansson (5.5) in midfield. Johansson was a regular starter for the Swedish national team and scored the only goal in the playoff that sent Sweden to the World Cup in 2018, beating Italy. Johansson injured himself ahead of the tournament and has since been struggling with injuries playing for French side Rennes, but is known for his hard defensive work which could prove gold for those investing in the Göteborg defence.
Jakob Voelkerling Persson (4.0) is looking likely as a starting CB for Helsingborg, who together with the Swedish national team captain Granqvist (5.0) and Figueroa (4.5) are the only CB options, although Figueroa normally plays as a left-back.
Simon Sandberg (5.5) managed 7 assists last year in an attacking Hammarby side that struggled to keep clean sheets – if they manage to shut up shop he can prove the be a great pick (selected by 22%) but as for now we will have to rely on attacking returns for points. The same goes for Kalmars’ Aliti (5.0) who registered 2 goals and 3 assists but only 3 clean sheets.
Falkenbergs’ Jacob Ericsson (5.0) broke the 100 point barrier with 5 assists and 7 CS and looks like one of the more appealing mid-price options again this year.
Johan Larsson (5.5) is an attacking full-back that was part of the Elfsborg side that won Allsvenskan in 2012. He has now returned after a short session in Ligue 1 and a longer spell in Bröndby
The Allsvenskan premium defenders are as always appealing, but who are you picking? And which of the cheaper options are you turning to initially? I’m personally looking at 4 at the back given the plethora of options – let’s see if it works out.