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. Andrew
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Pretty set on Wildcard Team for this week, just have 1 more decision:

    A) Stones & KDB
    B) TAA or Robertson & Son

    I think B is easily better for the next few weeks yet not owning KDB for this Newcastle game has me scared! Went early with wildcard because it would have needed a hit to get Salah in.

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Hmm tricky, kdb could burn you. But I prefer B

    2. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      B. Just cap Mo this week and pretend City don't exist.

  2. waltzingmatildas
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    So I'm thinking this will be my gw16 wc team :
    Mccarthy Johnstone
    Robbo dias coufal taylor kilman
    Salah Bruno son soucek anguissa
    Kane Bamford adams

    Then between 16 and 19 I would do:
    Kane to martial
    Anguissa to raphina
    Kilman to dier

    What do you reckon?
    Or just make those moves on the wc?

  3. PukkiBlinder
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    A- Wood or
    B- Adams?

    For next 5 GWs and the double

    1. waltzingmatildas
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      B

    2. aleksaa2
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      B

    1. Well you know, Triffic
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      United dream is over 🙁

      1. Breezyy
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        ? You seriously wanted that fraud.?

        1. Well you know, Triffic
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Yes..

      2. Fulchester's New Centr…
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Woodward who hesitates...

  4. Well you know, Triffic
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    @Lateriser how would you approach things if you had WC1 and all the chips? I listened to your podcast and couldn't find a bit where that was addressed. All the talk was focused on not having WC1. Cheers!

    1. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Listen to BlackBox. Mark outlines why WC16, FH18 and BB19 is the best way. And I agree very much. It is clearly the best way imo.

      1. Well you know, Triffic
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Listening now. But wanted LR's view as he doesn't fancy GW18 as the FH! Cheers

        1. Camzy
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          He doesn't fancy GW18 for a FH because he has already used his WC. If you still have WC1 in 16 you can heavily skew your team for 19 which makes 18 FH more appealing.

  5. Dark Side Of The Loon!
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    With Tomkins now fit, will he feature regularly for Palace? Who do you think are the most nailed on defenders in that team?
    Also which defenders from Sheffield?

    1. Fulchester's New Centr…
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      You'd think he'd get in at some point.
      Sheffield Utd? None

      1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Thinking of Holding + another 4.5 def who plays in GW18 as my temporary replacements for James and Mitchell. Cannot decide who.

        1. Fulchester's New Centr…
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          I see. NUFC Clark? Wouldn't want him next few though of course.

          1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
            • 4 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Don't need till GW18. Have Dallas and Coufal who play all. Holding has great fixtures post Chelsea and I see a few CS there.

  6. Firminoooo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Think the plan will be FH GW18 and BB GW19

    The problem is I have Chilwell, James, Kilman (Robertson and Coufal)

    A) Kilman to Dallas( 4.4-4.7)
    B) Chilwell to Matip. Would mean an extra hit later on to get DGW players.

    1. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Kilman > Dallas.

      Hope that the Chelsea guys recover.

  7. Prison Mike
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Semedo -> Dier (-4)

    Worth a hit?

    1. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Not this week. Next week yeah.

  8. tuvok
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Thanks for the article 🙂

    No love for Matip though? Could be a good stop gap and has the double

  9. OptimusBlack
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    Best Defender with in 5.9 M or Less
    For upcoming fixtures and DGW 19 too
    A- Zouma
    B- Dallas
    C- Justin
    D- Taylor

    1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Zouma

  10. Flair
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    3 months, 17 days ago

    The build a team for 19 and save FH looks more and more appealing looking at my team, ugh. Have Son, Dias, Bamford, James, Meslier, Salah and Fernandes plus can add Coufal and co. Will saving FH prove worth it... hmm. Will have to consider it carefully

    1. Dark Side Of The Loon!
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      I am saving. Planning to have 7 or 8 for GW18 including the big boys.
      Will have 7 for DGW too with KDB, Son, Kane and Martinez as players with 1 game in that GW.

    2. thegaffer82
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      I don't really get what you are saying and the players you list are just random in that some have a blank in 18 and some don't.

      So you mean just go into BGW with a handful of players as you have built for 19. Then don't play any chips for 19 either?

      Sounds like a bad plan if I have understood correctly.

      What exactly are you saving all your chips for? This blank-double is a prime chance to use at least one chip to gain points. Not sure why anybody would pass up that chance.

      I'm using one chip (FH19), but some are using 3 chips around these weeks.

      1. Flair
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        3 months, 17 days ago

        I'm pretty sure I'm just talking nonsense while thinking out loud 😆

        Yeah, these DGWs and BGWs are here to be maximized and if I just carry players through there's a significant opportunity cost. My current plan is FH19 with 8~ players in BGW18 but I was considering transfers to enable FH18 BB19 or TC19 as many are doing due to me already having plenty of key players in place for 19. I do like the potential of FH19 so I will probably stick with it, cheers.

  11. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 17 days ago

    With Canelo most likely to be rested this weekend, Ayling or Taylor first on the bench?

    I don't think there will be a CS in this game and with Ayling still at CB, Taylor is probably the better pick since he has a better chance of an attacking return.

    WC16
    0FT 0.2itb
    Martinez
    Robbo Coufal Cancelo
    Grealish Salah KDB Bruno
    Watkins DCL Bamford
    (Peacock Ayling Taylor Bissouma)

    1. Camzy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 17 days ago

      Ayling. This is the sort of game that Leeds can keep a clean sheet in imo. If Burnley can't get out of their own half they can't score.

      1. Flair
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Bielsa is very likely to be reverting to 3ATB too and Llorente's aerial ability will be useful against Wood and co.

        1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          They have a number of injuries to their CBs. Who is available to play alongside Ayling and Llorente?

          1. Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Struijk

        2. Zladan
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Who would be the back 3 and 2 wide men for Leeds in a 3atb?

      2. Hazz
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Burnley only need a couple of corners. Then it's bye-bye Leeds CS.

        1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          This is the reason why I don't see a CS in this game

        2. Bielsa Murderball
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Leeds can easily keep a CS against defensive, low-block teams. They already have 4 CS's, same as Liverpool. It's because of the pacy attackers of Man United that they were beaten badly.

            1. Bielsa Murderball
                3 months, 17 days ago

                CS*

              • Ruth_NZ
                • 6 Years
                3 months, 17 days ago

                No, it's because Bielsa is an arrogant obsessive that they were beaten badly.

      3. Shark Team
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        For those WC25 it seems like Tammy Abraham is a great option for gws19-24. Werner and Giroud can challenge him for the Striker role though.

        1. Tonyawesome69 WC31 & FH…
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Lamps is only considering Abraham and Giroud for the centre FW role

        2. thegaffer82
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Way too early to be planning this. By then Abraham could be perma-benched, could be their undisputed number 1 striker, or anything in between

      4. Breezyy
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Hope Roy says something Positive about Mitchell

        1. Pep Roulette
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          This

        2. thegaffer82
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Have a feeling he will play after they keep getting hammered these days

      5. Kante Touch This
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        What are Matip's chances of starting? Has he been injured or is it just general fitness he's lacking?

        1. thegaffer82
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Very strong chance I think.
          I'm pretty sure he's first choice while VVD & Gomez are out. He's just injury prone is all

      6. Shark Team
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Does the YC number for suspension gets extended before GW19 or after?

      7. Camzy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 17 days ago

        Good chance of DCL going up by deadline? I could really use that 0.1m...

        1. Pep Roulette
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          It looked certain until yesterday!

        2. winchester
            3 months, 17 days ago

            where/how to see if the price will go up? i need the 0,1m as well 😀

        3. Pepeye
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Stones, Dias, Walker Ederson Gundogan, Jesus nailed on for Box Day

        4. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Good morning all and happy Xmas Eve!!!! Play two out of these three.....
          A- Zouma
          B- Coufal
          C- Dallas
          Thoughts appreciated!!!! Thankyou

          1. Kante Touch This
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            AC

            1. 1912 F.A Cup Winners
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Thank you mate!!

        5. Jinkys Oars
          • 7 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Need to get Salah back in.

          Have to drop one of Vardy or Kane to.do so.

          Which one?

          1. Pep Roulette
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            If you're FHing in GW18 then Kane, if not then Vardy.

            1. Jinkys Oars
              • 7 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Yeah going to use the FH in GW 18, thanks!

        6. waltzingmatildas
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Those wildcarding 16,which of these big hitters will you have?
          A) son
          B) kdb
          C) salah
          D) Bruno
          E) Kane
          F) vardy

          I'm thinking A, C, D and maybe E

          1. Pep Roulette
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            A C and F surely.
            B & E surely not.
            I might keep Firmino as my 4th big hitter. Good fixtures until the DGW19 or else I'll just get Bruno/Martial/Rashford

            1. waltzingmatildas
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Interesting. I like vardy but worried about rests for him.

          2. Tsparkes10
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            ACD as my funds are low af

            1. waltzingmatildas
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 10 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Yep same here! Can't have them all!

        7. Tsparkes10
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          100.6M is my SV... any point trying to build a bb team with my wc?

          1. LLoris
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            yes

          2. Zim0
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Damn that's low. I wouldn't.

          3. CONNERS
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            I'd wait personally and concentrate funds on your first 11.

            Trying to BB with that SV will mean losing key players.

            1. Zim0
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Yup

        8. LLoris
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Which is the better strategy?
          A) WC in 16 FH in 18 BB in 19
          B) WC in 16 6 players in 18 TC in 19

          1. Tsparkes10
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            A easy

            1. LLoris
              • 2 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Thing is I wanna save my FH for later

              1. Indpush
                • 3 Years
                3 months, 17 days ago

                B then. Haha

        9. Kante Touch This
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 3 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Currently have Lamptey, Chilwell and Cancelo (who apparently might be rested?), I'm considering:

          Chilwell to Matip FT
          Lamptey to Coufal (next GW)

          If I only make 1 FT this week, i might only have 2 defenders starting if Cancelo is benched (Matip and Justin)

          Should I take a -4 hit to get Coufal in this week?

        10. RossoneriHammer
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          1st WC team draft, all DGers apart from Son with that Sheff utd game.

          McCarthy Johnstone
          Robertson Dallas Justin Walker-Peters Coufal
          Salah Son Mount Fernandes Soucek
          Martial Bamford Adams

          1. LLoris
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            whats your strategy?

            1. RossoneriHammer
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              WC 16, FW 18, BB 19

        11. fcsaltyballs
          • 5 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Who to play:

          1. Dallas (BUR)
          2. Coufal (BHA)

          Thanks.

          1. Tsparkes10
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            2

          2. Pep Roulette
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            1

        12. CONNERS
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Hi & Merry Xmas all,

          Do you think Vardy will play both games in the DGW?

          Not see him in many teams which surprised me.

          1. Kante Touch This
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Both quite tough fixtures, I hope so!

          2. LLoris
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            I think hell miss the Palace game

            1. Pep Roulette
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Had a full week rest this week!

          3. Flair
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Yes

            Fixtures aren't great and it's not easy to get to him for some - bar a Kane -> Vardy switch so he's unlikely to be in many teams.

            1. Pep Roulette
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 17 days ago

              Fixtures aren't great? Palace, Newcastle, then a DGW against Southampton & Chelsea, followed by Everton, Leeds & Fulham. What's not to like?

          4. CONNERS
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 17 days ago

            Thanks

            I could fit either him or Kane in for the double. Will probably stick with a sgw Kane v Sheffield.

        13. ishmailc
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 1 Year
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Some help please. Team for next GW:

          McCarthy
          Taylor, Justin, James
          Salah, KDB, Son, Fernandes
          DCL, Bamford, Adams

          Subs: Kilman, Mitchell, Podence

          Replacement for James? Bring in Grealish? Any suggestions? Will have to take a hit if I need to replace James and bring in Grealish.

        14. andres
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          James replacement - priced out of dias, should I go cancelo or play Dier (and have no bench)?

          McCarthy
          Coufal Dier Targett (James, Mitchel)
          Son KDB Bruno Salah (Soucek)
          DCL Bamford Adams
          1FT, 0.4.

        15. In a Rush
          • 4 Years
          3 months, 17 days ago

          Help/thoughts on my set up much appreciated please?

          Feel I should maybe play Welbeck I’m not sure!?

          Martinez
          Kwp Zouma Dallas Coufal
          Salah(c) Grealish Bowen Bruno
          Dcl (v) Kane

          Button Welbeck Lookman Taylor

          Cheers all happy Christmas Eve