The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League group stage starts next Tuesday and the UCL Fantasy game returns with it. The list of best UCL defenders will certainly be of assistance!
There are some incredible prizes on offer in this free-to-play Fantasy game, from Champions League final tickets to Playstation 5s and replica shirts.
Our series of preview articles previously got underway with a look at the best goalkeepers on offer, so now we turn our attention to the pick of the defenders.
If you’re new to the game or just need a reminder of the rules, check out our ‘how to play’ guide below.
And don’t forget to join the official FFScout UCL League (pin code: 33TKWHOD07), where there will be additional prizes on offer.
Best UCL Fantasy Defender Strategy
Unlike in Fantasy Premier League (FPL), defenders pick up three points for every ball recovered. Starting from this season, players will also pick up three points for winning Player of the Match in UCL Fantasy.
The balls recovered stat is a great way to pick up easy points and gives some defenders the lowest possible score of 4/5 points after they’ve picked up nine ball recoveries. Selecting these players is a great way to secure points for your team as potential high-reward and low-risk options, with a clean sheet possibly resulting in nine/ten points.
Achraf Hakimi (6.5m) – PSG
PSG’s new right-back is an attacking force who has had a great start to his career in France. He’s picked up a goal and two assists in his first four Ligue 1 starts and is nailed on to start in one of the best attacking sides in the competition. The main issue with Hakimi is PSG’s Matchday 2 game against Manchester City, but their Matchday 1 game in Bruges should still give the former Real, Dortmund and Inter man a great opportunity to score big.
Joshua Kimmich (6.5m) – Bayern Munich
Kimmich has been one of the best UCL Fantasy defensive picks for a few seasons now and somehow continues to be classified as a defender despite playing in central midfield. He grabbed a goal and four assists in last season’s competition and averaged over seven points per 90 minutes.
He continues to be an integral part of this Bayern side under Julian Nagelsmann, picking up two assists in his opening three Bundesliga games, and opens his campaign against a Barcelona side in disarray and Dynamo Kyiv. He even accrued nine points for balls recovered in seven UCL starts last season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6.5m) – Liverpool
Alexander-Arnold is an even better pick in UCL Fantasy than he is in FPL. He averaged two points for balls recovered a game last season alongside two assists. Playing in a Liverpool defence that has Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez back fit and opening his UCL campaign against AC Milan and Porto, there’s plenty of scope for Alexander-Arnold to score big early on this season.
Raphael Guerreiro (6m) – Borussia Dortmund
An attacking full-back in an attacking side with a relatively easy group, Guerreiro continues to be a great under-the-radar pick. He’s put up great numbers so far under Marco Rose and with opening games against Besiktas and Sporting Lisbon, Guerriero is a player with a very high upside. The biggest downside with the Portuguese left-back is that Mats Hummels and Gregor Kobel are both good options in the Dortmund defence at much lower prices.
Reece James (5.5m) – Chelsea
An attacking wing-back who looks set to start in the best defence in Europe against Zenit and a poor Juventus side, Reece James looks kindly priced at 5.5m. The 21-year-old has grabbed a goal and two assists in one-and-a-half Premier League games so far this season and Thomas Tuchel’s side have only conceded one goal.
Robin Gosens (5.5m) – Atalanta
Opening his campaign against Villarreal and Young Boys, Gosens grabbed 11 goals and six assists in 32 Serie A games last season. He also averaged more than one ‘balls recovered’ point per game in last season’s UCL. He’s an attacking force in a side that are building a great reputation in this competition.
Theo Hernandez (5.5m) – AC Milan
Theo is another great attacking fullback from Serie A. He banked seven goals and six assists in 33 league games last campaign and has already got an assist in the first two Serie A matches this season. However, opening games against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid won’t offer him many chances and probably means that there are better options at this price point.
Ridle Baku (5.5m) – Wolfsburg
Despite being a defender in UCL Fantasy, Baku has lined up as a right-winger in Mark van Bommel’s Wolfsburg side so far this season, getting a goal against Hertha Berlin in the league and one against Preussen Munster in the cup. Opening games against Lille and Sevilla could be much harder and Baku is a crucial part of the attack in this Wolfsburg side.
Marquinhos (5.5m) – PSG
65 balls recovered was the fifth-highest total last campaign and meant that the Brazilian centre-back averaged more than two balls recovered points per game. He also grabbed three goals in just nine starts. As with Hakimi, a Matchday Two fixture against Manchester City is the only real downside for Marquinhos, but he still has plenty of ways of scoring points.
Mats Hummels (5m) – Borussia Dortmund
Hummels’ 75 balls recovered was the second-most in the last UCL campaign and gained him an extra 22 points. Back fit and opening his campaign against Besiktas and Sporting, Hummels could be a great way into the Dortmund backline with a low points floor and a high ceiling, given that he can pop up with a goal or an assist.
Denzel Dumfries (5m) – Inter Milan
Fresh from a very impressive Euro 2020, Dumfries is Inter’s replacement for Achraf Hakimi. Although he’s yet to start in Serie A, that full debut could come this weekend, just in time for his opening UCL game against Real Madrid. The combination of not quite being established in the side and a tough opening game may mean that Dumfries is more of a wait-and-see pick, but for those willing to take a risk, he could pay off handsomely.
Diego Carlos (4.5m) – Sevilla
Another centre-back with a penchant for balls recovered, Carlos picked up more points for this statistic (18) than he did for appearances (16) last season. Opening fixtures against Salzburg and Wolfsburg are favourable and Sevilla look set to continue their strong form at the back.
Noussair Mazraoui (4.5m) – Ajax
Having accumulated a goal and two assists in his three Eredivisie starts this season, Mazraoui is a great pick in UCL Fantasy. He recorded 44 balls recovered in six UCL appearances and is nailed at right-back for an Ajax side who start their campaign against Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas. A very solid budget selection.
Mohamed Simakan (4.5m) – RB Leipzig
The opening game against City is very tough, but if Simakan picks up balls recovered points at a similar rate to the duels won points he’s been getting in Fantasy Bundesliga, he could turn out to be a steal. The Matchday 2 game against Club Brugge is a must-win game for Leipzig and he could be a great pick for that.
Rasmus Kristensen (4.5m) – RB Salzburg
Salzburg proved they can hold their own in the UCL last season and Kristensen has got three goals and two assists in five Austrian Bundesliga starts so far in the current campaign. Sevilla and Lille are solid opening games and, with a 0% ownership currently, Kristensen could prove to be a real boom-or-bust differential in the group stage.
Maximilan Wöber (4m) – RB Salzburg
The safer pick in the Salzburg defence, Wöber is another balls recovered machine. He managed 53 recoveries in the group stage last season, averaging nearly three balls recovered points per game. As with Kristensen, Sevilla and Lille are kind opening fixtures and he’s the most nailed of the three 4m budget options on this list.
Jerome Roussillon (4m) – Wolfsburg
Filling in at left-back for Wolfsburg while Paulo Otavio is out injured, Roussillon is a great budget pick for the early games this season. He grabbed Wolfsburg’s only goal in their 1-0 win over Leipzig in Bundesliga Matchday 3 and could add to those in Wolfsburg’s early fixtures against Lille and Sevilla.
Alberto Moreno (4m) – Villarreal
Moreno seems to have nailed down the left-midfield spot for Villarreal and is a solid option at 4m. However, opening games against Atalanta and Manchester United are tough and he’s yet to play 90 minutes so far this season, which may make Roussillon and Wöber better picks in the bargain-bin price bracket.
Join the UCL Fantasy Discussion
Enter FanTeam’s €250,000 Champions League Fantasy game
NOMINATED FOR ‘BEST IN FANTASY FOOTBALL’ AT THE FOOTBALL CONTENT AWARDS 2021
VOTE FOR FANTASY FOOTBALL SCOUT BY
Become a Member and get unrestricted access to our data and articles
Full-year memberships and monthly subscriptions are now available.
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.