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. JabbaWookiee
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Start one:

    A) Mbeumo (CHE)
    B) Semedo (avl)
    C) Livra (LEE)

    1. Gabbiadini
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      a

    2. Indio
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      A

    3. TheBiffas
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 13 days ago

      C

  2. corderz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Think I'm gunna. Go Grealish over Foden.....

    Anyone convince me otherwise?

    1. Pratik
      • 12 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      I just don't see great attacking returns for him on the horizon....

      1. AC/DC AFC
        • 6 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        I agree.

        I think Pep is playing him to take pressure off and relax into it a bit, but he's looking a touch frustrated and lost at times as false 9.

    2. Lanley Staurel
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 11 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Have been pondering the same but Grealish just hangs around n the left whilst Foden et al are in the pen area. Basic analysis I know(!) but it doesn’t for me.

    3. thegaffer82
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      I went for Grealish several weeks ago on WC (Foden not an option then really).
      Given the chance now, I’d probably go Foden

      1. Eastman
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Foden for me

    4. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Think they are both bad picks, sorry.

      1. *Reformed-Character*
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        oh dear

    5. Hotdogs for Tea
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      go for it, great call 🙂

  3. Pratik
    • 12 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    1. Azpi or James
    2. Jiminez or Hwang

    Currently
    Foster/Ramsdale
    Duffy, Azpi, TAA, Cancelo, Livramento
    Mbuemo, Brownhill, Salah, Foden, Raphina
    Antonio, Jiminez, Lukaku

    0.0 in bank. Wildcard.

    1. JabbaWookiee
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Azpi and Jim

    2. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Jimjams

  4. Jdpz
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    a) Trossard (nor)
    b) Saka (CRY)

    1. SHOWSTOPPERRR
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Saka

  5. Gabbiadini
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Trent vs Watford & United, -4 points
    or.
    Rudiger vs Norwich

    That's also presuming Rudiger starts next week.

    1. thegaffer82
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      If you haven’t got a good option on bench then just get Trent I think

      1. Gabbiadini
        • 4 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Raphinha is my first sub, Allan second sub.

  6. Inazuma X1
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    I might just cap Duffy at this rate

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      I dare you

    2. Lindelol
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      which stupid rate is this?

    3. TheBiffas
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Duffy > Salah for sure

  7. Gudjohnsen
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Jota to Son for free?

    1. Van der Faart
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Son possibly out with Covid but nothing confirmed

    2. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Might not be your best move.

    3. I Must Break You
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Son might he out today

    4. Hotdogs for Tea
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      … mmm …

  8. chaser123
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Ramsdale
    Dias Cancelo Alonso
    Salah Saka Benrahma Raphinha
    Lukaku Antonio Jimenez

    (Foster Rudiger Livramento Brownhill)

    1) Alonso to TAA
    2) Benrahma to Foden
    3) Save FT
    4) Something else

    1. yeahbuddy
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Did a very similar trade to 1 to bring TAA back in. Otherwise save

    2. TheBiffas
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 13 days ago

      1 urgently

  9. Van der Faart
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Dias or TAA more important this week as part of a hit?

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Taa

    2. Gabbiadini
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      I'd be going TAA, greatest upside.

    3. I Must Break You
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      I had same decision with my FT. Went Dias

  10. Lindelol
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    How long is Rudiger out?

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Prob just this GW

      1. I Must Break You
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        You spelled hopefully wrong

  11. tbos83
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Start

    A) Shaw (v Lei)
    B) Digne (v WHU)
    C) Livra (v Lee)

    1. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      B

  12. andre_c
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Any Ideas here?

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

    1FT, $1.5 in the bank

    Possibly a wildcard?
    Thanks

    1. tbos83
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Template move would be Ron > Luk

      1. I Must Break You
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        I’d wait a week before making that move

      2. andre_c
        • 3 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Could be worthwhile but i have got other issues including (Rudiger, Chilwell, Torres, Benrahma etc)
        Might hold a week for that one

    2. Scotty84
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      I'd get lukaku and trent for a hit

  13. Peskey
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Play which two:
    Livramento
    Semedo
    Gallagher
    Raphinha

    1. Miguel Sanchez
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Liv and Gall

    2. Sid07
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Liv and raphina

  14. Sid07
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    On wc
    1) mbeumo + jimi
    2) saka + Toney

  15. Jdpz
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Play Jota or Raphinha?

    1. Sid07
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Jota

    2. RamaJama
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Seems like Raphina played the full 90 last night, so will probably not start?

      1. Eh, just one more thing ...
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Yeah 70 odd mins.

  16. Daniyal
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    any news on Son catching covid ?

    1. Hotdogs for Tea
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      lots of you google it

  17. Dynamic Duos
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Good morning all. Which one here ? A or B?

    A) Marcal to James
    B) Rudiger and Gray to Tierney and Foden -4?

  18. RamaJama
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Play Livra or White?

    1. Dynamic Duos
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Livramento

  19. Super John McGinn-
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    RMWCT

    Ramsdale, Foster
    TAA, Cancelo, Azpi, Laporte*, Livramento
    Salah, Foden, Raphinia, Mbembo*, Brownhill
    Lukaku, Antonio, Toney

    A) Laporte + Mbembo
    B) Chelsea def (was Rudiger) + ESR

  20. JJO
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    With Rudi,Raph and Luiz should i transfer Rudi to James to be sure that i wont be down to 10 players?

    1. Lindelol
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Will James play every game?

      1. JJO
        • 9 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        He wont but i need a player this gw

  21. corderz
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Traore > Grealish worth a -4?

  22. Big_Andy_GAWA
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Hi Folks,

    Williams to White

    OR

    Williams & Sarr to Tierney & Mbuemo?

    Thanks

  23. Eastman
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Anyone starting Raph?

    1. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Not this time … worry about 1 point cameo.

  24. Big Al Stankovic
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Which duo to go with Cancelo,TAA and Livramento?

    A) Tierney and Dias
    B) R. James and Laporte
    C) R. James and Christensen (+0.5 itb that can be handy on a rainy day)

  25. LochineFDC
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Lukaku or Son on a wildcard?

    If I get son, I put werner instead

    1. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      You probably don't want Son if he has to isolate.

    2. Konstaapeli
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Son rumored to have covid

    3. LochineFDC
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      cheers

  26. tiger
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    1st sub...

    Livramento
    or
    Mbeumo?

  27. Mr_Barbs
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Play one:
    A) Marcal
    B) Traore

  28. G Banger
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    I mean it's pretty template,but is there anything wrong with this WC?

    Ramsdale
    Azpi / TAA / Cancelo / Duffy
    ESR / Salah / Foden
    Luakaku / Antonio / Toney

    (Foster / Livra / Raph / Brownhill)

    🙂

    1. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Good … apart from Foden.

      1. Dynamic Duos
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Foden is a great pick

    2. Konstaapeli
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Like it. Similar to mine. I've got Walker, James and Werner to your Azpi, Duffy and Antonio

  29. prichardson311
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Rudiger to James for a -4

    Or

    Play Marcal - AVL(a)
    ?

  30. RealSocialDads
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    A. Rudiger -> Cancelo (-4)
    B. Play Livramento

    1. Eh, just one more thing ...
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      B