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. GoonerSteve
    • 12 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Sarr to Saka for free?
    Either that or go Townsend

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

      Saka

    2. Fodderx4
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Luxury transfer as Townsend is a good option, i'd keep the transfer.

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

        I think he's talking about selling sarr for Townsend?

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

          Yes, sorry I could have been more clear.

          I have Sarr currently.

          Thinking of either Saka or Townsend.

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

      I’m pondering the Sarr to Townsend but leaning towards rolling it at the moment.

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

    any tweets to worry about or last minutes treat news ? Caught up with all this already

    Rudiger back is out
    Son has the sniffles
    Brazilians cutting it fine

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

      Jota benched as per Lets talk FPL

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

        I doubt he's sat on the bench if he's supposed to be isolating.

    2. FOO FIGHTER
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      I can imagine many the ladies cutting it fine with their Brazilians.

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

        Despite myself, I did give a small chuckle and shake if the head to that.

  3. AC Yew
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Would you take a hit this week? Or good to go. 1.6 ITB

    Sanchez
    Duffy Dias Cancelo
    Jota Bruno Salah (C) Benrahma Raphinha
    ASM Antonio Lukaku

    Foster Jota Shaw Tsimi

    1. AC Yew
      • 3 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Error: Bruno is Kovacic!

  4. The-Red-1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    So annoyed I broke my resolve and switched out Son after the rumours.

    Watch him bang a hattrick tomorrow

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

      Are the rumours untrue?

    2. Fitzy.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      You're on WC aren't you? Just put him back in if that's how you feel.

    3. Vlad Tepes
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Some said he had covid last night. Was that BS?

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

        Seems to be gathering some genuine traction now to be fair but like always we won’t know until the team sheets probably.

    4. The-Red-1
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      This is how rumours start! I don't know anything. But would be typical if he's actually not got Covid and punishes me

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

    Tierney or Christensen?

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

      T

  6. Echoes
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Start one:

    White
    Livra

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

      Livra

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

      I think Livra edges it.

  7. Squib
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Vast majority of predicted line ups have Reece James starting. What do people on here think for this week and for moving forward?

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

    son to mahrez or foden ? FT

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

    On wc
    1) get Duffy and Duffy to rudiger next week
    2) get James on wc this week

  10. Teror
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    REECE OR AZPI?

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

      OR ALONSO OR CHILLWELL?

      1. Joey Tribbiani
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 13 days ago

        OR SILVA OR CHALOBAH?

    2. No Need
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Username checks out with these demands

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

    Any transfers needed here? 1ft and 0.4itb, no wc

    Guaita
    TAA/Alonso/Duffy/Liv
    Salah/Gray/Pogba
    Ronaldo(c)/Antonio/Armstrong
    (Foster/Harrison/Sarr/Rudiger)

  12. Steve The Spud
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Morning all

    Last decision for me

    Start Raph or Christensen? No other Chelsea defence

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

      Tricky. Any other benchables?

      1. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Nope, gilmour and rudiger

  13. dshv
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    On WC, Need Help

    1. Azpi saka foden hwang (subs headache)
    2. James son esr davis (3-5-2)

  14. Vlad Tepes
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    On WC pick a combo.

    Tierney + Son
    TAA + Mount (max 7,6)

    Tempted go TAA less

    1. Mambino
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      apparently Son out so TAA and Mount

      1. Vlad Tepes
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Source?

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

    I'm gtg, hoping Vardy has a party against the red devils

    Ramsdale

    Trent - Christensen - Cancelo - Livra

    Saka - Salah - Raphinha

    Antonio - Vardy - Lukaku

    (Foster - D Luiz - Brownhill - Rudiger)

  16. Il Capitano
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 13 days ago

    0FT - 0m ITB

    Sanchez
    TAA White Livra Cancelo
    Salah (C) Jota Sarr
    Ronaldo Antonio ASM

    Steele - Shaw Raph* Gilmour

    Any hits/starting XI changes to consider here?

  17. the dom 1
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    why isn't Son flagged as yet?

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

      Its not confirmed

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

      Nothing confirmed.

      Medical details confidential for now. Probably don't want Newcastle knowing either.

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

      righto cheers for the feedback.

  18. 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 or James
    B) Mbembo or ESR

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

      Have you considered Dias and James over Azpi and Laporte?

      I prefer Mbuemo over ESR, though there's a case for ESR for now, and maybe Mbuemo in a couple of GWs with those fixtures.

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

        Can’t afford Mbembo over ESR if I do that unfortunately

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

    Pressing WC button. How's this?

    Ronaldo to Lukaku next week and Mahrez to Son when he's back

    Sanchez (Foster)
    TAA Dias Duffy White (Livra)
    Salah Mahrez Raph (Gray, Bissouma)
    Ronaldo Hwang Antonio

    1. Thescaff
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Yeah I'd wildcard

  20. t4thomas
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    well, this is me:

    Ramsdale
    Cancelo (V) | Azpilicueta | White
    Salah (C) | Son | Raphina | Sarr
    Lukaku | Antonio | Toney

    Livramento | Brownhill | Rudiger | Foster

    1FT, £0.0M

    1. Flaming Flamingo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Nitpicky, but I'd put the vice captain on someone who is guaranteed to play

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

      worst case scenario (inc. rumours) is you have one midfielder playing

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

      Looks GTG but I'd stick the V on one of Lukaku, Antonio or Azpi

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

    Lamptey is back!

    1. Joey Tribbiani
      • 1 Year
      3 months, 13 days ago

      was back against arsenal 2 weeks ago

  22. john25
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Considering to bring in Grealish over Foden, any reason not to?

    Cheers

    1. No Need
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      Thinking the same. Only 18pc owned too.

  23. Clueless_91
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Thoughts?

    A) Ramsdale Foster
    TAA Cancelo James Duffy
    Liv
    Salah Foden Mbeumo Saka
    Raph
    Lukaku Antonio Hwang

    Or

    B) Hwang to 4.5
    and
    Saka to Mount
    Or

    C) Any other thoughts?

  24. LLoris
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Best defender for 6.1M?

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

      Azpilicueta

      1. LLoris
        • 2 Years
        3 months, 13 days ago

        Already have him

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

          Okay u should probably tell me who else you have

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

      Yesterday it was Dias

  25. Timon
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Sánchez
    Cancelo Alexander-Arnold White
    De Bruyne Salah Mbeumo Raphinha
    A.Armstrong Hwang Lukaku
    Raya Livramento Douglas Luiz Manquillo

    ITB - 0.2 .
    The WC team looks set. Only negative I see is no chelsea defense. I really want James instead of White. But short of Money.

    Thoughts?

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

      Oh wow. That's a beauty

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

        Very good. Does Brownhill over Luiz and Ramsdale over Sanchez eke out enough for James?

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

          Short by 0.2. So close

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

            That's annoying - can't have 'em all I guess! Good luck mate.

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

              It goes like -

              Sánchez
              Cancelo Alexander-Arnold James
              De Bruyne Salah Mbeumo Raphinha
              A.Armstrong Hwang Lukaku
              Steer Livramento Brownhill Johnson

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

          I can do a 3.9 defender to get james actually.

  26. Tombory
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Start liveramento or raphinia?

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

      Raphinha Easy

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

      yeh, that's a dilemma I am facing also, wait to see if we get any news although that's probably unlikely.
      I will say that Dean Smith confirmed Douglas Luiz would be in the matchday squad for Villa.

  27. sovietrockettes
    • 3 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    1.3 ITB on WC, would you:

    A) ESR>Raphinha and play Livramento
    B) Play ESR and book the transfer for next week

  28. Toonzie
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    A) Foden + Jim
    B) Mahrez + Armstrong

    1. Fodderx4
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      a

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

      A

  29. Fodderx4
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    Bottomed....

    Play 1

    a) Toney
    b) ESR
    c) Livramento

  30. OptimusBlack
    • 8 Years
    3 months, 13 days ago

    For next 4 GWS who to get ?
    A- Grealish
    B- Foden

    1. Fodderx4
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 13 days ago

      b