Pro Pundits - Sam

What has Gameweek 6 taught us about investing in defenders in FPL?

After witnessing a slight drop-off in goals, FPL Family’s Sam wonders if now is the time to start spending more money on our Fantasy Premier League defences.


Sometimes you have Gameweeks where everything goes to plan.

Then there was Gameweek 6.

Injury and suspension dent Everton's FPL appeal and expose squad depth issues 1

Dominic Calvert-Lewin blanked for the first time this season in Gameweek 6

My team ahead of the deadline looked to have the perfect storm of form and fixtures: Mohamed Salah (£12.4m) at home to a defensively poor Sheffield United, Bruno Fernandes (£10.5m) at home to Chelsea in a game that looked to have goals written all over it, an in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.7m)… the list goes on, but come Sunday night my biggest points returns were from Bruno’s clean sheet point and Emiliano Martinez‘s (£4.8m) save points.

Harry Kane (£10.9m) and Son Heung-min (£9.5m) saved the day on Monday evening, turning a complete nightmare week into something that was passable, but it could have been so much better if I’d just not benched 19 points!

Son and Kane celebrate vs Burnley: Son’s goal was the 29th time they have combined and the ninth time this has happened this season

Sometimes on the back of a bad Gameweek, you know that you need wholesale changes – but looking at my team in the aftermath last weekend, that does not seem to be the case. My premium assets still continue to have nice fixtures and in the case of the dynamic duo (Kane and Son), continue to be in good form.

While planning for Gameweek 7, rather than firefighting with my team, it seems to me that I am planning now for a change in FPL strategy.

This season, roughly speaking, correlates to the last few seasons in terms of the number of clean sheets kept across the Premier League. However, the number of goals scored in each of the opening few Gameweeks has been up on the norm, with records broken for the number of goals plundered. As a result, investing in the defence hasn’t been a priority for many FPL managers, myself included, as we look for cheaper options or those who are more likely to achieve an attacking return.

Gameweek 6 felt different and there were just 19 goals scored in the latest round of fixtures, a significant decrease on the two previous Gameweeks (39 in Gameweek 4 and 28 in Gameweek 5).

Similarly, there were four clean sheets registered in Gameweek 4; this rose to five in Gameweek 5 and to six in Gameweek 6. This trend for increases in clean sheets and decreases in goals scored week on week suggests that potentially now is the time that we as FPL managers should be looking to invest more of our budget in our defensive units.

Which defences should we be looking at?

When you sort the Season Ticker by difficulty and by defence, Crystal Palace sit pretty at the top. Tyrick Mitchell (£4.2m) is the Eagles’ most-owned FPL asset and is also the ninth-most owned player in the game. Indeed, he is the second most-owned defender, trailing only Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m).

Alexander-Arnold's consistency continues as Firmino unlucky to blank

Trent Alexander-Arnold in action for Liverpool

Mitchell held his spot in both Gameweeks 5 and 6 when Patrick van Aanholt (£5.4m) was back available. Indeed, when van Aanholt entered the field in Gameweek 6, it was for Nathanial Clyne (£4.5m) rather than Mitchell, which possibly bodes well for his FPL owners as Palace embark on a run of fixtures which should see clean sheet points for their defenders.

Most FPL managers won’t be looking at any more Crystal Palace defenders if they already own Mitchell – so who else should we be paying attention to?

Chelsea

Ben Chilwell celebrates scoring for Chelsea

Over the last year, it has been very difficult to invest in the Chelsea defence. Mistakes from the backline as well as from the goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.8m), meant that money was better spent elsewhere.

However, the signings of Ben Chilwell (£5.8m), Thiago Silva (£5.5m) and new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (£5.0m) have made a big difference. These three players have only started together three times for Chelsea so far in all competitions (as a result of injuries) but all three matches have resulted in clean sheets. Of the three, Chilwell for me looks the most exciting FPL option. Whilst both Mendy and Silva have the potential to return the much longed-for clean sheet points, Chilwell’s potential upside is much greater.

In the three Premier League matches he has played for Chelsea so far, he has returned in every one. With two clean aheets, two assists and a goal, as well as all three bonus points in Gameweek 4, Chilwell looks a great option.

West Ham United

At the start of the 2020/21 season, most FPL managers had a hard avoid on West Ham. The fixtures from Gameweek 2 all the way through to Gameweek 9 looked incredibly difficult and it was hard to see where West Ham would pick up any Premier League points, never mind any FPL points for their owners.

Fast forward to now and West Ham have managed to win two games against Leicester and Wolves as well as pick up two draws against Spurs and Manchester City. As a result of their strong performances in the league, FPL managers are starting to take note of the Hammers and their FPL prices are on the rise. However, it is mostly the likes of Michail Antonio (£6.3m), Thomas Soucek (£4.9m) and Jarrod Bowen (£6.3m) that appear on FPL radars as a result of their attacking underlying stats.

But the West Ham defence shouldn’t go overlooked. The Hammers have already kept two clean sheets so far this season, against Wolves and Leicester, which came at a time when many FPL managers were expecting West Ham to get turned over.

Factor in attacking returns for both Aaron Cresswell (£5.0m) and Vladimir Coufal (£4.5m) as well as a fixture shift after they play Liverpool in Gameweek 7, and the West Ham defence looks a promising opportunity for points returns and differentials too.

Cresswell and Ogbonna celebrate West Hams win over Leicester in Gameweek 4

Cresswell is West Ham’s most-owned player, aside from their understudy goalkeeper David Martin (£4.0m), and it isn’t hard to see why: from Gameweeks 3 to 5 he returned seven, 15 and five points in FPL respectively. These hauls included clean sheets, assists and bonus points to illustrate his broad appeal but at £5.0m, he may be seen as a luxury pick for many FPL managers. Enter Coufal.

The Czech Republic international made his first start for West Ham in Gameweek 4 and has played every minute for them in the Premier League since then. In that time he has returned a total of 16 points in matches against three of last year’s top six, made up of a clean sheet, two assists and two bonus points.

Coufal looks like a fantastic option after the Liverpool game in Gameweek 7. His link-up play with Antonio was superb and managers who invest in the Hammers’ new boy will be hoping for a quick return for Antonio following his hamstring strain in Gameweek 6, as the prospect of a nice run of fixtures from Gameweek 8 until Christmas looks great for an in-form £4.5m defender.

Leicester City

Vardy and Ings start in Sunday's early kick-offs

Leicester have had a difficult start to 2020/21 in terms of their injury list. Having lost key players such as Caglar Soyuncu (£5.4m), Wilfred Ndidi (£4.8m), Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m) and, at points this season, both Jamie Vardy (£10.0m) and James Maddison (£7.0m), Leicester have struggled with consistency both in terms of the personnel deployed and Premier League results.

However, with Vardy and Maddison back from injury and Wesley Fofana (£5.0m) starring at centre-half, there is now much more upside to investment in Leicester, as well as the potential for increased clean sheets with a decent run of fixtures over the next few weeks.

James Justin (£4.8m) and Timothy Castagne (£5.8m) have impressed so far, with both managing two clean sheets in their opening six games as well as returning two goals and four assists between them in that time. With Soyuncu and Pereira both still on the sidelines for many Gameweeks yet, Justin especially looks like an increasingly good FPL option.

At a whole million less than Castagne, Justin enables FPL managers the opportunity to enhance their defence without having to hugely increase the budget spent. For me, he is just as good an investment as his more expensive teammate.

Southampton

Walker-Peters has fixtures but as yet unproven pedigree as a budget FPL defender

Southampton definitely don’t offer the differential defensive picks that some of the other teams discussed do. However, after two very disappointing results to start the season, the Saints have found their feet.

Last year, the defeat to Leicester acted as a catalyst for change at Southampton, who went back to basics and toughened up defensively, resulting in some excellent returns for the likes of Alex McCarthy (£4.5m) and Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m).

The Gameweek 2 defeat to Spurs seems to have had the same effect on the Saints this season, with three clean sheets out of four games since. The improvements in the performances from the Southampton rearguard make them worthy of our investment. However, with McCarthy owned by 19% of the game and Walker-Peters 10.7%, they aren’t differential picks.

At the start of the season, I made the decision to invest in both McCarthy and Walker-Peters. After Gameweek 2, I thought that was a big mistake. However, the double-up of defensive points when they keep a clean sheet means that actually, they have become differentials in my team as a result of owning both.

Southampton play Aston Villa, Newcastle and Wolves in their next three. Both Wolves and Aston Villa have made strong starts to the season but the latter’s result against Leeds and Wolves’ unconvincing one-goal wins in both Gameweeks 5 and 6 make me think there is potential for clean sheets for Saints, especially if the defence remains as tight and focused as we saw against Everton last weekend.

Wolves

Romain Saiss in action for Wolves

The loss of Jonny (£5.4m) to injury, alongside the departure of Matt Doherty (£5.8m) to Spurs, meant that for many FPL managers – myself included – the usually solid and investable Wolves defence felt risky. However, with three clean sheets in six matches, Wolves have started the season well.

Romain Saiss (£5.3m) is at the heart of this. His goal, four clean sheets and seven bonus points so far show why he has had three price rises already. The Moroccan is a prime example of a player that is worth moving some of the budget out of the attack and back into defence for. The potential for clean sheets coupled with the attacking upside of his game and the fact that he is a bonus point magnet mean that Saiss is a player that FPL managers should ignore at their peril.

However, if the budget really can’t stretch to Saiss, then Max Kilman (£4.2m) offers a potential option. Kilman has played really well in the Wolves defence, earning a lot of credit from captain Conor Coady (£5.0m) as well as a man of the match award in the game against Leeds where he kept the clean sheet, registered an assist and collected all three bonus points.

Fernando Marcal’s (£4.9m) return from injury, however, could prove to be a potential banana skin for Kilman: if Wolves bring Marcal straight back into the starting XI, it would leave Kilman and Saiss potentially competing for the same position. Saiss can of course play further forward in Leander Dendoncker’s (£4.9m) role, which would allow both Kilman and Saiss to start alongside Marcal, but we haven’t seen that tactic used in a while and Kilman does feel a little risky until we learn more about how Wolves plan to line up moving forwards.

Big at the Back?

The 2020/21 season has all been about the attacking assets. With some of the highest scoring Gameweeks in Premier League history as well as huge points returns for FPL forwards and midfielders, the defence has been an area to invest less in – both in terms of time planning and thinking as well as budget.

Suddenly, owning Alexander-Arnold feels good again on the back of a really positive performance in the Champions League on Tuesday which saw him keep a clean sheet and register an assist. He was unlucky not to register points in Gameweek 6, too.

Alongside him, it no longer feels ok to have a series of £4.5m defenders. Whilst the likes of Coufal and Mitchell look like great options if they continue to start, freeing up cash for the likes of Chilwell, Saiss and other £5.0m+ assets seems like a really good FPL strategy.

For me, a rethink of budget distribution is definitely on the cards to ensure that I have the right defensive options now that the rate of clean sheets is on the rise.


How Scout Network managers are finding balance in midfield

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649 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Hryszko
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 3 days ago

    What would you do with this lot this GW, use the FT or roll it to next week? Want to get a City player in there somewhere in the next couple of weeks.

    Martinez (Steer)
    Trent - Saiss - Taylor (Lamptey & Dallas)
    Salah - Son - Zaha - Podence (Burke)
    DCL - Jimmy - Kane

    0.6m ITB.

    1. Dexters Laboratory
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Save. Wolves out when there fixtures turn is your priority. Keep for the moment

        1. Pegboy
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Agree. You need the 2FT to dump Wolves next week.

          1. Hryszko
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Sound thanks guys.

    2. AD2110
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Have 2FT and 0.1 ITB

      Would you do Dallas to Coufal this week?

      Would bench him against Liverpool but mainly to get him in for the nice fixtures coming up.

      Team below:
      McCarthy (Steer)
      Robbo, Chilwell, Saiss, (Mitchell, Dallas)
      Salah, Pulisic, Grealish, Son, (Stephens)
      DCL, Kane, Wilson

      1. Pegboy
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Yep, good move.

    3. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Captain:

      A) Salah (WHU)
      B) Son (BHA)

      1. Boly Would
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Tough one. I'm going Son. For now.

      2. what\'s my name
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        majority will say Salah and He is a good choice but you know deep inside you wanna put C on Son ))

        1. what\'s my name
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          MS what are your thoughts on Bruno(C)?

          1. Miguel Sanchez
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Not sure on that one, seem to recall Bruno is better away from home than at OT.

      3. Dexters Laboratory
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Heart says Son but head knows I'll be captaining Salah

        • Camzy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Salah.

      4. JS27
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        One week striker punt?

        I'm looking at doing Maupay to someone for a 1 week punt before moving to Antonio (have 2 FTs so not a waste), these are my options:

        Mitrovic (WBA)
        Bamford (LEI)
        Watkins (SOU)
        Adams (avl)
        Wilson (EVE)

        Thoughts?

        1. Miguel Sanchez
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          If Antonio is fit I quite like him this GW at Anfield

          1. BENOIT
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Rumoured to be.

          2. Pegboy
            • 10 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Agree. Just bring in Antonio a week early and give yourself an extra transfer next week.

            1. JS27
              • 10 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              If I don't use it this week I lose the transfer anyway, so no risk of that

        2. IRBOX ⚽
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          May as well keep Maupay imo. Could sneak a goal and Spurs aren’t entirely solid defensively. On pens also. Would use that transfer elsewhere

        3. LegendMoon
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          I think Watkins could do well against the Saints high line

      5. TaiwanHC
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        I have absolutely no idea what to do with my team. 2 FTs and 0.4 ITB.

        Martinez
        Robbo - Saiss - Lamptey - Taylor - Mitchell
        Salah - Sterling - Son - Foden - Burke
        Jimenez - DCL - Maupay

        I know that Kane is a viable option, but to what expense?

        What would you guys do?

        1. CONNERS
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          I guess Sterling would have to go to fund Kane, but then you'll likely want him (or KDB) back in your side soon...

      6. IRBOX ⚽
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Lundstram being a Karen clearly.. I would take Sheff U’s lucrative deal if I were him. Who does he expect to sign with!? Although.. Sheffield will be in the Championship next season so perhaps it is the correct decision

        1. Reeker
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          I don't think he's a premier league player anyway. He just fits Wilders system. Poor decision by him.

        2. jtreble
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Lundstram seems to be confident he’ll get other offers.

        3. Forever In Our Shadow
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 7 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          He’s just a Poxford reject. He will be out for all he can get. I’d let him go back to where he came from. He was only popular because he was soo cheap last year. A one year wonder and back to his level.

      7. RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Who to bench?

        A) Lamptey (TOT A)
        B) Mitchell (WOL A)

        1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          A

        2. IRBOX ⚽
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          B

        3. CONNERS
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          I have both and will be playing Mitchell. Though having said that, Lamptey has proven quite the troll for me in the past with his points staring at me from the bench.

          1. Camzy
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            What points? He hasn't gotten more than 4 points all season...

        4. El Presidente
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Both

      8. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Play 1:

        1) Podence
        2) Bamford

        A) Dallas
        B) Mitchell

        1. 2OLEgend
            1 month, 3 days ago

            2
            A

        2. 1zverGGadeM
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          What's happening with this promise lad Liam Delap??!

          Why Pep not taken him even in match squad anymore?

          The boy looked sharp from the games Ive been watching him..

          1. IRBOX ⚽
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            He’s rubbish, and very young. But mostly rubbish

            1. LegendMoon
              • 3 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              very harsh, looks a good player to me but you're right- young, so Pep will obviously take his time playing him, look at Foden he's still only a bit part player after 3 years

          2. 1zverGGadeM
            • 3 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Cheers

        3. IRBOX ⚽
          • 3 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          What’s the appeal of Bruno? A 10.5 Milivojevic. I might consider him for a sneaky captaincy against WBA in GW9 before GW10 but I just can’t see how he is good value this season.

          1. CONNERS
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 1 Year
            1 month, 3 days ago

            I think I will go for Rashford if I decide to bring in a United player. Comparing Bruno to Mili is a bit harsh though - ha.

          2. 2OLEgend
              1 month, 3 days ago

              Eehh. Bruno is basically involved in everything going forward, on pens, on corners, on freekicks - and united is finding form. What's not to like?

            • Dark Side Of The Loon!
              • 4 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              11 goals 9 assists in 19 games! Well, I will take that for 10.5!

            • Giggs Boson
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              No player has created more chances than Bruno this season, and he played a game less. Certainly got more to his game than pens.

              1. Camzy
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                He played a game and a half less...

                1. El Presidente
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 1 Year
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Yes, subbed off at HT vs Spurs...

          3. Elly88 > KTR (Kevin The …
            • 8 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            RMT
            X/10

            Martinez
            Keane - Justin - Konsa
            Salah - Son - Mane - JRod
            Kane (c) - DCL - Bamford

            Steer Jorginho - Mitchell - Dunne

            1. Ings_is_the_king
                1 month, 3 days ago

                7/10, you need a premium defender but double Liv attack compensates

            2. Ings_is_the_king
                1 month, 3 days ago

                What do you guys think of Man City's Dias for 5.5m?

                1. Camzy
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 10 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  GW10. Maybe.

              • MoSalalalalalalalalah
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Hey fellas. I'm struggling a bit here on what I should do. Is taking Digne out because he is suspended and my defence is rather weak the move? Or should I be looking elsewhere? Cheers

                0.4 ITB

                TAA | Säiss | Mitchell
                Salah | Sterling | Podence | Son | Anguissa
                Werner | DCL

                GK: Steer | Lamptey | Brewster | Digne

                1. MSTRKRFTSMN
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Digne only misses one game

                2. the dom 1
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Digne to Chilwell?

                  1. MoSalalalalalalalalah
                    • 2 Years
                    1 month, 3 days ago

                    Interesting, could be a good move. Thanks

                    1. the dom 1
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 6 Years
                      1 month, 3 days ago

                      bank the 0.5 for next GW upgrade if needed 🙂

                3. The Ilfordian
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 2 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  I've got the same problem. Can't bear the possibility of having Saiss and Mitchell benched and thinking of Chelsea defender. Zouma gives me cash for changes elsewhere. Doesn't look like any price movements this evening so will decide tomorrow.

              • Tsparkes10
                • 2 Years
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Save or downgrade Egan maybe? 0.5itb

                Mccarthy
                TAA KWP Konsa
                Son Greal Hamez Bruno
                DCL Werner Ings
                (Nyland,Podence,Mitchell,Egan)

                Feel free to ask a question aswell

                1. the dom 1
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 6 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Egan > Kilman imo 😉

                2. Forever In Our Shadow
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  Egan to coufal

              • Fit_to_drop
                • 1 Year
                1 month, 3 days ago

                Anyone fancy Rashford? They have a decent run from Arsenal onwards.

                I've been watching him closely prior to last nights hat-trick and he was starting to show a return to form.

                1. Forever In Our Shadow
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 7 Years
                  1 month, 3 days ago

                  I’m sure his Mrs fancies him. The issue with him is that he is too streaky. However, he is on a streak so good for now but in a couple of weeks, he may need replacing again