FPL

The best FPL defenders for a Gameweek 8 Wildcard

Having looked at the stand-out Fantasy Premier League (FPL) goalkeepers, midfielders and forwards for Gameweek 8 and beyond, we now switch focus to the pick of the defenders.

This is an update of the series we did for Gameweek 7 Wildcarders, with fresh data and a couple of new targets for those deploying their chip this week.

However, it will also be of interest for those using ‘free’ transfers ahead of Gameweek 8.

All stats and graphics included in this piece are taken from our Premium Members Area.

CHELSEA DEFENDERS

Fit-again Watkins can return to 2020/21 form in Villa's new-look 3-5-2 formation 3

If you’re playing a Wildcard right now, the chances are that you’re structuring your defence around at least one Chelsea asset.

The Blues have a very favourable fixture schedule ahead, with three of their next four opponents – plus Watford in Gameweek 14 – among the worst teams for goals scored in 2021/22.

And Thomas Tuchel’s troops are (usually) solid at the back, with their league record under their current boss excellent:

Played26
Goals conceded16
Clean sheets17

So which defender(s) to pick? That will probably boil down to what brand of Fantasy manager you are.

For the safety-first FPL bosses, there aren’t any Chelsea defenders who have escaped a benching under Tuchel to date and there will be more rotation further down the line for all of them. However, Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m) has started a lot more league matches than not when available under Tuchel (circa 90% when available), with his versatility in playing at either wing-back or as a right-sided centre-half giving him two bites of the cherry at a first-team start.

Marcos Alonso’s (£6.0m) ownership now sits at 25.4%, but the previously peripheral Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) is getting more and more minutes as 2021/22 goes on, which does create uncertainty in the left wing-back role.

CHELSEA DEFENDERS UNDER TUCHEL

PlayerStartsSub AppsGoals AssistsClean SheetsBonusPoints per match
Rudiger220201395.09
Azpilicueta2311412134.92
Christensen1520011104.76
Silva12210694.07
Chilwell12022645.58
Alonso14232995.88
James15713693.50

Reece James (£5.5m) is also a major source of discussion. Up there with Alonso as Chelsea’s most attacking defender, James has created more chances (27) than any other member of the Blues’ backline under Tuchel. But he has also been thrown on as a substitute on seven occasions, as many times as the other six players in the above table combined. The raft of cameos reduces his points-per-match average to a fairly poor 3.50, along with his early exits in Gameweeks 4 and 6 of the current campaign.

If FPL managers are going for a Chelsea defender double-up, then Azpilicueta and a riskier punt on James or Chilwell would seem to be the way to go – but beware the one-pointers and have a strong bench in readiness for no-shows.

RUBEN DIAS/JOAO CANCELO

Gameweek 8 marks the start of a favourable, three-match fixture run for Manchester City and if you’re deploying your Wildcard this week, you’ll likely want a defender or two from Pep Guardiola’s rearguard.

Top for clean sheets in the previous two seasons and averaging 18.5 shut-outs per year in the last four campaigns, this is a proven backline.

Following his assist at Stamford Bridge in Gameweek 6, Joao Cancelo (£6.2m) is now top among FPL defenders for points this season. Ruben Dias (£6.2m), who like Cancelo is an ever-present starter in 2021/22 and who was the defender least at risk of rotation last year, is joint-second.

These two are probably the stand-out picks from the City defence.

Dias was benched in only one league match from his Gameweek 4 debut to Gameweek 30 (the point at which Guardiola started focusing on the Champions League and FA Cup, with the domestic title sewn up) last season, and even that was because he had just recovered from illness.

Over the same period, Cancelo tasted substitute duty on six occasions. He’s a less secure starter but does have the advantage of playing at both right and left-back, and he’s a darn sight more attacking that Dias.

Since the league debut of Dias, Cancelo narrowly outscores his fellow premium defender by 182-181 despite the extra no-shows.

A word on Aymeric Laporte (£5.5m): he has 10 shots in the box this season and is a real threat from set plays.

But while Laporte seems settled as Dias’ partner-in-crime for now, Guardiola has historically only built his defence around one centre-half mainstay. John Stones (£5.3m) ultimately represents a threat to Laporte’s place, so the same ‘have a substitute ready’ caveat applies to the Spaniard as it does to Cancelo.

TINO LIVRAMENTO

Jimenez ends goal drought as Arsenal claim convincing north London derby win 7

We’ve been treated to a whole host of starting £4.0m-ish defenders in 2021/22 so far but the cream of the crop is starting to rise, seven Gameweeks in.

The likes of Kostas Tsimikas (£4.0m) and Daniel Amartey (£4.0m) are no longer getting regular game-time, while Javier Manquillo (£4.0m) and Brandon Williams (£4.0m) are playing for two of the worst backlines in the division.

Shane Duffy (£4.4m), who has registered more shots in the box than any other defender this season, is deserving of a mention. His form has been generally superb since his return to the Brighton XI and it’s perhaps his shirt to lose now but the return from injury of Tariq Lamptey, Joel Veltman and, soon, Adam Webster (all £4.4m) will swell the defensive options available to Graham Potter.

Enter Valentino Livramento (£4.2m).

The teenage right-back is an ever-present starter this season and has been part of a Saints backline that has shut out Manchester City and West Ham United in the last four Gameweeks.

Encouragingly, Southampton rise to second in our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 8-18.

Livramento doesn’t just offer clean sheet potential but a bit of attacking threat, too: he’s sits second among £4.5m-and-under defenders for final-third touches this season (see below).

Ralph Hasenhuttl will be wary of overloading the 18-year-old and the odd benching may be a concern from Gameweek 13 onwards, when Saints face nine league matches in the space of five weeks.

For now, though, fixtures and form seem to be uniting at an opportune time.

KIERAN TIERNEY

Is this to be Kieran Tierney‘s (£4.9m) year? After delivering 45 attacking returns in 170 appearances for Celtic, many of us have been waiting (and waiting and waiting…) for the current Arsenal left-back to recapture that form in FPL.

A strong chance of a clean sheet is a good base to start for any defender, and Tierney has three in the last four Gameweeks as Arsenal’s backline begins to look solid with first-choice personnel available again after an August decimated by injury and illness.

No team has conceded fewer goals and big chances than the Gunners over the last four Gameweeks, and while the calibre of opposition has to be factored in, Mikel Arteta’s side face more of the same sorts of teams between now and the November international break.

And as Lateriser pointed out in his recent Arsenal analysis, the Gunners have been solid dating back to last season; this isn’t just a kneejerk reaction to the last four games.

Why Tierney over his peers? If you can afford it, simply because he’ll offer the best chance of delivering attacking returns.

Tierney has received the ball twice as often as opposite full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu (£4.6m) in the final third since the latter’s debut, with the Japan international more of a ‘stay at home’ brand of full-back – even if he has had the same number of shots as Tierney.

Tomiyasu and Ben White (£4.4m) are very decent cheaper alternatives to the Scot, who look like week-in, week-out starters especially as the Gunners don’t have the sideshow distraction of the Europa League.

For those who love their budget defender rotation, pairing White with Matthew Lowton (£4.4m) gives the following run of favourable fixtures right the way through to the end of the calendar year: CRY, sou, BRE, WAT, CRY, NEW, wol, new, SOU, WAT, lee, nor, WOL.

Burnley’s defence is some way short of being solid (just one clean sheet this season) but they have had a tricky start, fixture-wise, and Lowton is joint-third among his teammates for chances created in 2021/22.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Salah on target as Liverpool assets prosper at Leeds 1

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) is available for Gameweek 8, when the Reds face Watford.

The England right-back has averaged a whopping 7.33 points per match over his last 15 Premier League matches, delivering eight attacking returns, four double-digit hauls and only two blanks.

While Chelsea and City may boast better short-term fixtures, Alexander-Arnold produced a combined 21 points against two of Liverpool’s less-favourable upcoming opponents, Arsenal and Manchester United, in Gameweeks 30 and 35 of 2020/21.

Joint-top and second among defenders for both chances created and shots attempted, Alexander-Arnold has been one of the very best, if not the best, defensive options in the game for quite some time.

ALSO CONSIDER

If we knew for sure that Aston Villa will persist with a wing-back system, Matthew Cash (£5.1m) would be a name to consider.

Since Cash took up that role in Gameweek 4, only one FPL defender has registered more penalty box touches.

The formation switch has served to make the Villa defence more robust, too, with two clean sheets arriving in their last three fixtures.

Whether Smith sticks with a 3-5-2 in the easier fixtures ahead is another question – particularly with the likes of Emiliano Buendia (£6.4m) and especially Leon Bailey (£6.4m) to crowbar into the team. It goes without saying that Villa had looked more suspect at the back without a third centre-half and three across the midfield, so that has to be a consideration.

If you have the luxury of benching a budget defender until Gameweek 10 or so, then a Brentford asset is worthy of consideration.

One of the better-performing backlines until the six-goal thriller against Liverpool, the Bees sit top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 10-19.

Pontus Jansson (£4.6m) and Ethan Pinnock (£4.6m) will supplement their clean sheets with the additional goal or assist and indeed already have four attacking returns between them.

Marcal‘s (£4.6m) grip on a first-team spot looks to be weakening by the week, so Nelson Semedo (£4.9m) is our Wolves asset of choice for their ongoing favourable run. Only a few defenders have had more penalty box touches than the gung-ho wing-back, who continues to be presented with – and spurn – some excellent goalscoring chances.

avfc82 https://fantasy.premierleague.com/entry/818/history”

1,021 Comments Post a Comment
  1. CERVELO
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Start one of these;

    - Sarr
    - White
    - Livramento

    1. ViperStripes
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Liv

    2. Bavarian
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Sarr

  2. ViperStripes
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 12 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Bench Semedo or Gray.

    The former means 5 at the back this week.

  3. Teror
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    On WC:

    Do I get Raf for the longterm or Saka for two games and book in a transfer for Raf in GW10?

    1. ViperStripes
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Raph

    2. CERVELO
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Rapha

  4. boroie
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Thoughts on WC:

    Mendy
    TAA Cancelo James
    Salah(C) Foden Raphinha ESR
    Lukaku(VC) Antonio Toney

    Foster; Livramento Duffy Brownhill

    1. CERVELO
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Would rather have Jimmy over Toney

      1. boroie
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Any particular reason?

        1. CERVELO
          • 8 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Simply - Wolves have a higher propensity to sore goals that Bournemouth.

          1. CERVELO
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Predictive text! Argh

    2. Teror
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Don't waste your moneys on Mendy. Just get Ramsdale and upgrade ESR or James

      1. boroie
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Not really buying the Ramsdale hype train. A clanger or 2 (which he has shown in the past that he’s well capable of) and he’s dropped for Leno.

  5. Bobadoba
    • 12 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Alonso or James?

    1. CERVELO
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      James

  6. Maeki2
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 8 days ago

    What to do?
    Rudiger -> james/chilwell/ other 5.7
    Or
    Rudiger + CR7 -> TAA + Vardy -4

    Hold and play manquillo

  7. valderramasbarber
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Is Son definitely one of the 2 covid players?

    1. Teror
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Yeah I play golf with his doctor who told me it's true

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

        Finally, a reliable source

  8. HAMMERTIME107
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Please any help with this mess would be appreciated. No wildcard

    Schmeichel
    Marcal | Duffy | Alonso
    Raphina | Benrhama | Salah | Sarr
    Ronaldo | Saint-Max | Lukaku

    Bissouma | Manquillo | Amartey

  9. Abaddon
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Rjames, Cancelo, raph and foden in my team. To many rotation risks?

    Have Brownhill, White and Livra on the bench

  10. FDMS All Starz
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Would you SAVE FT here?

    (1FT & 0.0ITB)
    Sanchez
    Marcal Cancelo White
    Salah Greenwood Benrahma Gray
    Lukaku Ronaldo Antonio

    (Foster D.Sanchez Tsimikas Brownhill)

  11. Lallana
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    The temptation to do:

    Lukaku>Armstrong
    Benrahma>De Bruyne (C) is real

  12. Iceball
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 8 days ago

    Do you think James will play?

  13. GC123
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Start Shaw or Demarai Gray?

      1. Eastman
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Gray

    • Emp
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Still stuck on James dont mind if he doesn't start but can't take the cameos. anyone got a convincing argument why he won't make as many cameos as he did last season?

      1. No Need
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Service for Rom

    • cheekymonkeytoo
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Ramsdale
      Christensen White Cancelo
      Doucoure Saka Salah (c) Luiz
      Antonio Ronaldo Lukaku

      Sanchez Livramento, Benrahma Semedo

      Cant help thinking need City midfield starting this week. What you think
      1) Ronaldo or Lukaku/Benhrama >> Vardy/Mahrez for -4
      2) Ronaldo or Lukaku/Benhrama >> Hwang/KDB for -4
      3) Dont be stupid not worth it.

    • wildnothing
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 8 days ago

      Is Kyle Walker a bad pick? Plays most of the games right?

    • GC123
        3 months, 8 days ago

        Should I start Demarai Gray or Shaw?

        1. Bob.
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 11 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Gray

      • The Tinkerman
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 8 days ago

        G2G? Don’t think it’s worth -4 to get rid of rudiger when I have a playing bench:

        Sa
        Cancelo, Livramento, Tierney
        Salah (C), Jota, Traore, Raphinha
        Lukaku (V), Antonio, ASM

        4.0; Rudiger, Semedo, Allan

        Might be worth starting Semedo over Raphinha…?

      • Meechoo115
          3 months, 8 days ago

          On WC

          A. Dias Jota
          B. Dias mount
          C. Laporte Foden

          Ramsdale
          Trent. Dias. Cancelo. James
          Salah. Jota. Mbuemo
          Lukaku. Antonio. Armstrong

          Foster. Raph. Livra. Brownhill

          Zero itb

          1. Bob.
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            B

        • Eh, just one more thing ...
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 10 Years
          3 months, 8 days ago

          Andy on LTFPL saying lots of rumours Stones finally gets a start today. Had to happen at some point … presumably Laporte would drop out.

          1. Meechoo115
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Assume so yes

            • Bennerman
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Manager's comments, don't need some guy on Twitter saying their are lots of rumours

          2. Dynamic Duos
            • 8 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            For my brother , Greenwood to Foden-4?

          3. Sturridge Wars
            • 6 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Which one?

            A) Vardy
            B) Saint Maximin

            1. Eastman
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Really? Vardy

            2. Bavarian
              • 4 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              C - Delete the post

          4. HMC
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 11 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Would rather start Saints attacker or defender this week?

            Gut feel says it’s time for Armstrong, would you change bench order?(pending Jota news)?

            Guiata
            Trent James Dias
            Salah Jota Foden Gray
            Lukaku Antonio Armstrong
            Steer Livra White Gilmour

            1. No Need
              • 8 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Attacker all day v Leeds

          5. Clueless_91
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            GTG?

            A) Ramsdale Foster
            TAA Cancelo James Duffy
            Liv

            Salah Foden Mbeumo Saka
            Raph

            Lukaku Antonio Hwang

          6. Kay317
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 2 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Those who own Raphinha, are you starting him?

          7. andre_c
            • 3 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            I think I need to wildcard, thoughts?

            Sanchez, Foster
            Rudiger, Chilwell, Cancelo, Livra, Tsimikas
            Salah, Torres, Benrahma, Raphinha, Doucoure
            Ronaldo, Antonio, Toney

            1FT, $1.5 in the bank

          8. Sparkys Barmy Army
            • 7 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            Is Mbuemo and Toney too much Brentford?

            1. Bob.
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 11 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Both good long term options on wc

          9. Sun Jihai
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 10 Years
            3 months, 8 days ago

            There's no angle/commentary as to whether Alonso or Chilwell will start right? Have Chilwell but might switch for TAA

          10. Meechoo115
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Start one

              A. Mbuemo
              B. Livra

              1. Sun Jihai
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 10 Years
                3 months, 8 days ago

                A

            • Taegugk Warrior
              • 3 Years
              3 months, 8 days ago

              Take out TAA to bring cancelo in at early transfer this week.
              Now i take -4 hit for Rudiger to get back TAA..