Pro Pundit Teams

The best FPL defenders to replace Chilwell and James following recent injuries

Fantasy Premier League managers have been handed a Christmas dilemma this year as a number of popular defenders pick up festive injuries.

Ben Chilwell (£6.1m) and Reece James (£5.3m) are both “doubtful” to face Arsenal and Aston Villa according to Frank Lampard while Tariq Lamptey (£4.8m) has been ruled out of Gameweek 15 with an ongoing hamstring problem.

But it is not just about finding direct replacements for these players. With the Blank and Double Gameweeks now announced, it is time we let those fixtures guide our transfers…

Replacements for injured defenders

Rúben Dias (£5.7m) looks like the number one option in my books if you are hunting for a defender. This season, Manchester City are playing two defensively minded midfielders and Pep Guardiola is definitely looking to build from the back.

Not so long ago, Raheem Sterling (£11.4m) mentioned how Dias is emerging as a vocal leader in the dressing room and talking about the impact he’s made which reminds him of Vincent Kompany. Guardiola was of high praise for the centre-back as well and he looks the most nailed Manchester City defender to me. These quotes from Guardiola recently are very encouraging:

“Ruben has helped us a lot to be solid and he has settled perfect with John [Stones]. It’s incredible [the defensive solidity] – that is how we can still be there. Knocking on the door of teams above us. We need it to be stable and maybe one day players will be fresh to score the goals. Ruben [Dias] doesn’t make a single mistake, he is always focused. He is able to lead the line, the same with John [Stones]. Our club bought an exceptional defender – especially for the personality. What is important when you buy a player is that you have a feeling they will be settled for the next years. And we are pretty sure [that] Ruben will give us big moments.” – Pep Guardiola

Dias has started every Premier League game he has been available for this season and is a threat from set pieces as well.

But, more importantly, Manchester City have kept four clean sheets in the last six games. Don’t let the Everton and Chelsea away fixtures put you off. Without their recognised full-backs, they are not quite the same attacking beast while Frank Lampard has showed us this season that he has learnt his lessons from last year and is adopting a very conservative approach against big teams.

The one thing I like about going for a Manchester City defender (or two) right now is that they have a fixture in Blank Gameweek 18, they have a playable single fixture in Gameweek 19 and they have a great schedule from Gameweeks 20 to 22.

So the state of your team after Gameweek 20 is in good shape if you own some Manchester City assets and it might likely save you a Free Hit chip in Gameweek 18 if you feel like saving it for later (more on this later).

John Stones (£4.9m) is an option too if you ask me bust he doesn’t inspire as much confidence in terms of starts as Dias, having dropped out in Gameweek 13. That said, the one game he missed since Gameweek 10 (when Stones reclaimed his place) is the only time City actually conceded, so Guardiola should understand his importance to the team by now.

Whether you go for Stones depends on how you rate him as a player. At the point, if he continues playing this way, he will remain City’s starting defender.

There are is another key aspect in Stones’ favour. He is a great passer of the ball which helps the partnership with Dias function properly and, in addition, helps Stones get bonus points as well. He has pulled in a total of four across his last two starts.

West Ham have one of the best combination of fixtures in Double Gameweek 19, Burnley and West Brom at home, as well as an appealing run of matches beyond that. Accordingly, I would highly recommend Vladimir Coufal (£4.6m).

Aaron Cresswell (£5.2m) is an option as well but in the last six Gameweeks, Coufal has created 13 chances compared, while his more expensive colleague has fashioned just six, now deployed in a deeper role since the switch back to a back-four. Therefore, Coufal is also more likely to get assists, and bonus points for chance creation.

Can Robertson sustain value advantage over Alexander-Arnold after 10-point haul?

I think we should be talking about the Liverpool full-backs too. They showed us in the win at Crystal Palace that a glimmer of their former glory is still there.

Like Manchester City and West Ham, the Reds have two home games in the Double Gameweek and boast three decent fixtures before that, so I think if you move early enough, Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.2m) can be a handy differential.

I still prefer Andrew Robertson (£7.2m) purely based on eye-test though. The simple fact is that the left-back is just spending a lot more time in and around the box this season and, due to the fact that he’s making so many overlapping runs, his likelihood to assist is very high. In addition, he also remains on certain set pieces.

Chip strategy

There is a lot of chaos and confusion around the Blank and Double Gameweeks but, if you ask me, any good Fantasy manager worth their salt sees this as an opportunity and not a hindrance.

If you want to get up to speed with what is the current state of play, I recommend going through this article on the website.

As for my chip strategy, you can read my initial thoughts on the Blanks and Double Gameweeks here. For your information, I have already used my first Wildcard.

Initially, I was thinking about Free Hitting in Gameweek 18 since I have a not so great team for Blank Gameweek 18 and then attack Double Gameweek 19 (without a bench boost). I am now thinking about saving my Free Hit Chip in Gameweek 18 because of three reasons:

  • Apart from Manchester City and, to some extent, Spurs, very few fixtures look exciting for Fantasy managers
  • If, in the next few weeks, I am buying Spurs assets (they have great Gameweek 16 and 17 fixtures) and Manchester City assets for their aforementioned kind schedule, then I don’t really need much else in Gameweek 18 and I can see myself somewhat getting by in that Gameweek.
  • It looks likely that we will have a big Double Gameweek in Gameweek 26 and a big Blank Gameweek in Gameweek 29. Since I will likely be Wildcarding in Gameweek 24 or 25, Bench Boosting in Gameweek 26, I don’t want to spend transfers between Gameweek 26 and 29 focusing on Blank Gameweek players.

Just so you know, this strategy is specific to my team only and you should do what suits your team the most.

Zophar, BigManBakar and I have covered the Blank and Double Gameweeks in depth in this week’s episode of The FPL Wire (embedded below for your convenience). We discuss Gameweek 18, 19 and what strategies would be worth going for depending on whether you have your first wildcard in hand or not.

As for my own team, I finally had a good round last Gameweek, scoring 88 points, having signed Anthony Martial (£8.7m) and captained him.

As I already owned Bruno Fernandes (£11.0m), there was enough insurance to go for the higher upside with Martial. As you guys know, this is just how I play the game and genuinely how I most enjoy playing it.

For me, there is no point playing this game if you don’t back your own gut feeling. It was good to see a non-template move finally pay off. I jumped from 2.95 million to 2.24 million and I’m hoping this is a start of a good run.

While I’ve got you, I would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. See you on the other side of the madness!

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353 Comments Post a Comment
  1. BremerHB
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    A or B?

    A) James & Grealish -> Robbo & Raphinha -> Play FH in GW18
    B) James & KWP -> Stones & Dier -> Play 8 players in GW18. FH 29.

    1. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      I did A, but Chilwell out instead of James.

      However I'd already set my mind on playing FH in GW18.

      1. BremerHB
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        Yeah, if I was already set on it, I’d probably do that too. I’m just not quite yet certain. Would like to see if the Utd vs Burnley game ends up in GW18.

    2. thegaffer82
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      B) looks fine to me as 8 players should be plenty for BGW18 and if you take that route you can bank a chip for later in the season

      1. BremerHB
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        That’s the hope. Thanks!

  2. Hazz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    A) James > Dias
    B) James > Stones
    C) Mitchell > Stones

    I -could--hold onto James, but the only reason I'd be doing that, given when he's expected to return, would be for the DGW; not even sure he'd play both matches now.

    1. Hazz
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Note: Planning for BB so the extra pennies are probably important.

      1. BremerHB
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        C and play Stones as part of the BB?

      2. RamaJama
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        Then B

    2. Teahupo'o
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      B

      I just moved James out, myself. Likely FH'ing in 18 and TC in 19. It also gives you more wiggle room for moves instead of C.

  3. Deulofail
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Bnech one

    A) Martinez (CPL)
    B) McCarthy (ful)

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      B, away fixture and Martinez plays very solid

  4. RamaJama
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Very difficult to decide on mid for DGW 19 below 8.5:

    A) Rapinha
    B) Bowen
    C) Soucek
    D) Mount
    E) JWP
    F) other suggestion?

    1. OptimusBlack
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      I think Mount big difference and may get high pts

    2. Teahupo'o
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      D

    3. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Mount worth the 1.5+ mill extra over the other above mentioned?

    4. thegaffer82
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      I like the cut of Raphina's jib personally. He's so exciting and involved in everything... whether that translates into consistent points or not is another question though!

    5. Deulofail
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      A>C>E>B>D

    6. FPL_Motty
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 23 days ago

      SOUCEK

    7. Traction Engine Foot
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Maddison might be worth a shout?

  5. thegaffer82
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Thinking ahead to the blank GW 18 - I've already decided I'm not playing a chip for that week.

    I have a decent-ish team already for BGW, but I'll make one or two small transfers - maybe Soucek > Neto/Pody and maybe a DFer in.

    But I also need to make a major transfer to bring in a big hitter for that week too. And, this will mean I have to lose one of Salah or Bruno for what will end up being one week only (BGW when they don't play anyway).

    So I have two questions:

    Lose -
    A) Salah
    B) Bruno

    Get -
    A) Sterling
    B) Son

    (If I lose Bruno, not Salah, then I won't be able to afford Sterling by the way)

    Very interested to hear what fellow FH19 ers are doing to maximise GW18...

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      BB

    2. Bagpuss
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Do you have similar value tied up in each or did you get one of them pretty cheap? I wouldn't make the decision based on Sterling tbh and prefer Son anyway

  6. only2
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 23 days ago

    Who is more nailed? Jack Robinson or Ampadu? Need a 4.4 playing def in gw18. Got lewis already

    1. FPL_Motty
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Neither really. Risk kilman?

      1. only2
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 23 days ago

        I just transfered him out lol

    2. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 23 days ago

      I am struggling with this too.

  7. s11m
      3 months, 23 days ago

      Worth doubling up on everton attacking vs sheffield?

      1. Bartowski
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Not really unless James is back.

    • Bartowski
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 22 days ago

      Soucek a better bet than Zaha to start in my team?

      1. St Pauli Walnuts
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        Nah, pick the striker on pens.

    • Warby84
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 22 days ago

      No free hit so plan is

      Over 17/18 2 frees,
      Trent/Branthwaite—-> Dias/Lewis

      Play 9 in 18
      Martinez
      Dias Dier Lewis
      Son De Bruyne(C) Bissouma
      Brewster DCL

      GW 19

      De Bruyne Bissouma to Mane Soucek

      Martinez (s)
      Coufal(d) Dias (s) Dier (s)
      Salah (d + Tc) Mane Fernandes (d) Son(s) Soucek (d)
      Bamford (d) Calvert-Lewin (s)

      Taylor (d) Lewis (s) Brewster

    • Denver Omelette
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 22 days ago

      Which one to replace Chilwell:
      A. Dias
      B. TAA (already have Robbo)
      C. Zouma
      D. Other

      1. s11m
          3 months, 22 days ago

          Would go with Dias over TAA, equal or even better chance for city to get cs and TAA not in form currently.

      2. Faxof
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 22 days ago

        I've made a WC team.
        Gone for big hitting Mids
        Bad idea?

        martinez
        zouma stones justin cancelo
        kdb salah son fernandez
        dcl welbeck

        bench:steer bruster anguisa bogle
        0.1 itb