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. Ask Yourself
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Why no one considering Gundogan? Either plays striker or CM whereas Foden is locked at competing with Grealish for LW

    1. BoomXhakaLaca1
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      When has gundogen ever played striker?

      1. El Matador
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        False 9 last season

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

      Foden doesn't really play left either...

  2. Mane Mane Mane
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Who starts out of Livramento, Douglas Luiz or Chris Wood?

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Livramento

  3. Fadi AMJK
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    James or Christensen instead of Rudiger?

    Bringing Azpilicueta would require transferring him out for gameweek 12 to afford Son.
    I can navigate it with other transfers if having either James or Christensen

    I like the explosiveness of James but the one-pointers are holding me back

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      James

  4. Aladdin Sané
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    A) Striker:
    1) Jiménez
    2) Hwang
    3) Toney (I have Mbuemo)

    B) Defender:
    A) White
    B) Duffy (I have Sanchez)

  5. Brad1807
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Hey guys I have 3.6 itb and 1 ft

    Maybe jota to teileimans or someone

    Any help or ideas would be appreciated.

    Sanchez , foster
    Rudiger , alonso , semado, regilion, livermanto

    Jota,salah,Gray,benrahma, bissouma

    Dennis , Antonio, Ronaldo

  6. winchester
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 10 days ago

    on WC. GTG? Have 3.1m itb. cheers,

    ramsdale (foster)
    taa-cancelo-james (duffy-livra)
    salah(c)-mount*-mbeumo (luiz-raph)
    antonio-lukaku-hwang*

    A) GTG. mount->son with the cash when son is fit. (latest for gw12)
    B) mount+hwang->esr+vardy

    Start:
    1) Duffy
    2) Livra

  7. Muscout
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Sanchez
    Cancelo Duffy Liv
    Salah (c) Raph Benrahma Galla
    Luk Ron Antonio

    Foster Rudiger DougLuiz Manq 0.1 itb

    Any changes needed or save?

  8. Lord of Ings
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Start raphinha or jota?

    1. BeWater
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Jota

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

      Jota could start and will probably get at least 25 mins. Raph could get zero, or last 10.

  9. dhamphiir
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Which transfer is better?
    I’m on SkySports Fantasy
    A. Rudiger —> TAA
    B. Rudiger + Raya —> TAA + Ramsdale

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      A

  10. Miguel Sanchez
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Good luck all, this is me this GW saving FT

    Ramsdale
    TAA Alonso Duffy
    Salah(c) Benrahma Sarr Doucoure
    Ronaldo Lukaku Antonio

    Steele Livramento Tsimikas Sissoko 1FT 0.0 ITB

  11. Jullepuu
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Should I do Son to Foden? Raphinha and Rudiger on the bench already

    1. Cantonascollar7
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      I would!

  12. Mr_Barbs
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    A) Rudiger > James (-4)
    B) Traore > Mbuemo (-4)
    C) Marcal > Livramento/White (-4)
    D) Save

    Sanchez
    TAA, Cancelo, Marcal
    Salah, Sarr, Benrahma, Raphina*
    Antonio, Lukaku, ASM

    Foster, Traore, Tsimikas, Rudiger*

  13. Cok3y5murf
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    FFS broken?

    1. Nomar
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Again!

  14. Egg noodle
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Can't believe I missed the fact that Rudiger is out...
    When was it announced? When do we reckon he's back?

    1. Maddamotha
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      The site is buggin

  15. Taegugk Warrior
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Sanchez
    White-Cancelo-livra
    Salah-Sarr-Gray-Benrahma
    Lukaku-Ronaldo-Toney

    Steele, brownhill, amartey, rudiger

    A. G2g
    B. Rudiger to TAA (-4) bench sarr.
    Just thinking if cancelo dont play i will be stuck with 10 players

  16. Inazuma X1
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Ronaldo 4 goals today

    1. La Roja
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Nailed on

    2. Egg noodle
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Stop posting questions. The Reply button doesn't work.

      1. Egg noodle
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Oh it does work. Maybe. Lol I'm lost

    3. drughi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      a bit optimistic

  17. La Roja
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Site is going bananas

    1. Gold Monster
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Yup

    2. Van der Faart
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Anyone else having issues with side bars etc not working?

      1. Sim Simma 🤷 🔑 🚘
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        All the navigation bars are activated making it difficult to click on the top of the page article

  18. We Go Again
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Start Raphinha or Livra?

  19. dshv
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    Final thinking on WC

    1. Azpi or James
    2. Son esr or saka foden hwang (15 playing players)

  20. AdamJ91
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 10 days ago

    On a WC; Mount or Werner?

    I agree that both aren't "nailed" but in terms of fixtures, I feel like I'd need one to triple up alongside Lukaku & James.

    1. Maarrrr17
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Werner for the fun.

  21. Erange
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Who should I pick for a mid under 8.0 (already have Raph and Benrahma)?

      A. Foden
      B. Mount
      C. Saka
      D. Doucoure ( this enable Antonio to Vardy next week)

    • Maarrrr17
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Hi Fellas,

      Im wildcarding and atm Im holding Ronaldo for this week with the plan to drop to Lukaku next week.

      Thoughts on having a booked transfer?

      Wc is currently

      Sanchez/Foster

      Cancelo TAA James Duffy Liv

      Salah Jota Mahrez Mbeumo Brownhill

      Hwang Antonio Ronaldo

    • BoomXhakaLaca1
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Any changes?

      Sa
      Azpi dias cancel Livramento white

      Grealish/foden Salah Townsend Saka Benrahma

      Hwang Lukaku Antonio

    • rilo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Sanchez
      Dias White Livrsmento TAA
      Salah Rapinha Jota
      Antonio Jimenez CR7
      Steele Luiz Sarr Marcal

      G2g ? No FT

    • Gold Monster
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Can’t access the members zone, nice work on the site guys

    • Maddamotha
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      I dont know if its worth holding on to Rudiger? Might miss next game week too. Or at least we dont know.

    • Tibbs
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Am I mad to want to captain Lukaku over Salah? Just have a feeling he will bully that defence. Main options are:

      Salah
      Lukaku
      Vardy
      Saka

      1. Maddamotha
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 10 days ago

        Go with your gut

    • Flynny
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Hi....is my wildcard looking OK, with bench set up correct? Thanks

      Ramsdale
      Taa cancelo dias james
      Salah foden mbuemo
      Lukaku antonio Armstrong

      Bench....raphinha livra normann

    • Boss Hogg
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      Play Sarr or Livra?

    • Toonzie
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 10 days ago

      A) Foden + Jim
      B) Mahrez + Armstrong