Awards

Vote for the best FPL defenders of 2021/22

The Fantasy Football Scout end-of-season awards are up and running, with the polls for best goalkeeper and defenders open for voting on the sidebar and below respectively.

We’ll be assessing the key candidates in each position in four separate articles, continuing with this look at defenders.


READ MORE: Vote for the best FPL goalkeeper of 2021/22


Overall score, points per match and value in Fantasy Premier League were all factors we considered when compiling this shortlist – the rest we’ll leave up to you.

You’re allowed up to five votes for this poll, with the top three definitely making our Team of the Season at the very least. The vote will be live until Friday at 23:59 BST.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD/ANDREW ROBERTSON

Comparing Alexander-Arnold and Robertson's FPL points potential for 2021/22
  • Points: 208/186
  • Points per match: 6.5/6.4
  • Start cost: £7.5m/£7.0m
  • End cost: £8.4m/£7.3m

Outside of Ben Chilwell, who made just seven appearances, Liverpool’s first-choice full-backs had the best points-per-match averages (6.5 and 6.4) of any FPL defender.

The pair both ended the season on 14 attacking returns apiece, racking up a combined 55 bonus points and 35 clean sheets between them.

Alexander-Arnold was tantalisingly close to breaking the all-time record for most FPL points by a defender in a season, only for his campaign to fizzle out a tad with zero goals and two assists in his final 13 appearances.

Plenty of damage had been done by that point, of course, with his tally of eight double-digit hauls the highest among FPL defenders.

Factoring in clean sheets alongside attacking contributions, Alexander-Arnold (32 in 31 starts) and Robertson (30 in 28 appearances) both averaged more than one FPL return per game.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK/JOEL MATIP

 1
  • Points: 183/170
  • Points per match: 5.4/5.5
  • Start cost: £6.5m/£5.0m
  • End cost: £6.8m/£5.3m

The reliability of Liverpool’s two centre-halves went almost unnoticed thanks to the returns of Alexander-Arnold and Robertson but both van Dijk and Matip joined their teammates in the top five for FPL points among defenders.

The bargain Matip, in fact, was Fantasy Premier League’s best-value player of 2021/22, based on points per million.

The Cameroonian stopper’s points-per-match average (5.5) was bettered by only four defenders, with van Dijk narrowly trailing in his wake.

Matip was the best centre-half for bonus points (20) this season and chipped in with three goals and three assists, while van Dijk matched his teammate for attacking returns and banked more clean sheets (21) than any other Premier League player.

JOAO CANCELO/AYMERIC LAPORTE

The FPL players who are most underperforming their xG ahead of Gameweek 12 10
  • Points: 201/160
  • Points per match: 5.6/4.8
  • Start cost: £6.0m/£5.5m
  • End cost: £7.2m/£6.0m

The Manchester City meat in the Liverpool sandwich was Joao Cancelo, who finished second among FPL defenders for points after cracking the 200-mark.

His total of 11 assists was identical to Robertson’s and only one short of what Alexander-Arnold managed, while the Reds’ right-back was the only defender to better Cancelo’s total of 27 bonus points.

Reliability of starts was another plus point in a side otherwise riddled by rotation: he made Pep Guardiola’s line-up in 36 of the 37 matchday squads he was available for.

If only he could shoot: he attempted a remarkable 81 efforts this season, more than the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Richarlison and James Maddison, but scored only once.

Aymeric Laporte was pretty much as ‘nailed’ as Cancelo, suffering only two benchings in the whole of 2021/22 – and the first of those was because he had spent time in self-isolation and missed training.

The Spaniard chipped in with four goals and two assists to supplement his 18 clean sheets, and to have two secure starters in the joint-best defence in the Premier League really was a gift this year.

What’s perhaps forgotten about are the starting prices of the City pair. Cancelo began the campaign at a now-unthinkable £6.0m, while Laporte was priced up alongside some average names at Manchester United, Leicester City and elsewhere. Harry Maguire, who was also initially listed at £5.5m, ended up scoring 91 fewer points than Laporte.

REECE JAMES/ANTONIO RUDIGER/MARCOS ALONSO

Ronaldo's goals, Chelsea's wing-backs, wasteful Havertz: FPL notes 1
  • Points: 141/150/128
  • Points per match: 5.4/4.4/4.6
  • Start cost: £5.5m/£5.5m/£5.5m
  • End cost: £6.5m/£6.1m/£5.7m

As is the case with Laporte, it’s amazing to think that this Chelsea trio all started the season priced at £5.5m; we really have been spoiled for top-value defenders this season.

There is a big disclaimer around James and Alonso when it comes to ‘Team of the Season’ credentials, in that they made only 21 and 25 starts respectively.

But when the pair, and James in particular, were on the pitch, they carried such explosive potential.

James’ points-per-match average includes four blanks as a substitute and when we eliminate these, he averaged almost as many points per game (6.3) as Robertson (6.4) and Alexander-Arnold (6.5).

A rate of 0.65 attacking returns per 90 minutes was also comfortably better than what the Liverpool premium pair were delivering; had Chelsea been as defensively sound as the Premier League’s top two, James could have had some even more monstrous scores.

Alonso himself finished fifth among defenders for attacking returns, banking four goals and five assists despite the restricted game-time. A Gameweek 34 haul was particularly memorable for his owners.

As for Rudiger, he was the Laporte of Stamford Bridge, making the starting XI in 34 of the 35 Premier League matches he was available for. Such reliability came to be appreciated as Thomas Tuchel tinkered to his heart’s content but Rudiger wasn’t just an appearances-and-clean-sheets man, venturing forward in both open play and dead-ball situations to chip in with three goals and as many assists.

GABRIEL MAGALHAES/BEN WHITE

FPL Gameweek 36 team and injury news: Live press conference updates
  • Points: 146/107
  • Points per match: 4.2/3.3
  • Start cost: £5.0m/£4.5m
  • End cost: £5.3m/£4.6m

Ben White’s end-of-season points tally doesn’t look all that impressive on paper but from Gameweeks 4-30 he was one of the best budget defenders in the game.

A nailed starter for those of us who needed him as either a playable option or emergency bench cover, he kept clean sheets in 13 of his 25 appearances during this period (the same shut-out count as Robertson and Cancelo, for instance) and averaged a commendable 4.1 points per match.

As was the case with Ramsdale, a season-ending run of 10 matches without a clean sheet did somewhat blot his copybook.

Gabriel Magalhaes was White’s partner in crime during that purple patch, also banking 13 clean sheets.

What the Brazilian offered over his fellow centre-half was attacking threat and, in fact, no FPL defender scored more goals than Gabriel (five) in 2021/22.

Matip was the only centre-back to accumulate more bonus points than Gabriel (16) over the season, meanwhile.

MATTY CASH

 1
  • Points: 147
  • Points per match: 3.9
  • Start cost: £5.0m
  • End cost: £5.3m

Aston Villa’s marauding right-back was the highest-scoring FPL defender outside of players from the ‘big six’, finishing eighth overall.

A total of 20 returns (be it clean sheets, assists or goals) were delivered in his 38 starts, which was again a tally that nobody outside of the Premier League’s top half-dozen clubs could better.

Brownie points are also awarded for being an ever-present starter.

Cash ended the campaign particularly strongly, finishing second only to Matip for FPL points over the final 12 Gameweeks.

CONOR COADY

The best FPL defenders for a Gameweek 4 Wildcard
  • Points: 138
  • Points per match: 3.6
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £4.7m

Of the FPL assets who started the season out at £4.5m, Coady scored the most points.

One of just two defenders to start every single game in 2021/22, the Wolves stopper combined the ‘nailed’ status we had come to take for granted with a newfound goal threat.

Having scored just one goal in his previous three Premier League campaigns, Coady was let loose by Bruno Lage at set-piece situations and found the back of the net on four occasions in the season just gone.

As was the case with Arsenal, Wolves’ season somewhat petered out after the March international break.

From Gameweeks 4-29, however, Coady was the fifth-highest-scoring defender, delivering 14 defensive and/or attacking returns in 26 starts.

TINO LIVRAMENTO

Armstrong ends goal drought as Livramento keeps up fine FPL form 1
  • Points: 80
  • Points per match: 2.9
  • Start cost: £4.0m
  • End cost: £4.2m

Had we ran a ‘half-season’ awards poll in December, Livramento would surely have been a feature in the backline.

But his exploits over the course of the season are still worth mentioning in this end-of-season vote, even if his inclusion is debatable.

Livramento was the only real success story of the defenders who were initally priced up at a rock-bottom £4.0m and he was superb bench cover for the opening 19 Gameweeks, confounding pre-season expectations to start every week.

His peak came in Gameweeks 4-11, when he ran up five clean sheets, two attacking returns and 44 FPL points – over half of his season’s total. During this period, he blanked only once.

Another 20 points were scored across Gameweeks 26 and 27, although returns were non-existent outside of these purple patches.

Still, he was there for, at the very least, emergency appearance points as an auto-sub in a total of 25 starts of an injury-curtailed campaign, which is a lot more than could be hoped for at this basement price point.

ERIC DIER

Antonio on target as Tottenham attack fails to impress 5
  • Points: 132
  • Points per match: 3.8
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £4.7m

Is that the sound of a barrel being scraped? Dier is perhaps a surprise inclusion on this list and not someone we’d expect to pick up a lot of votes.

Nevertheless, he was second only to Coady for FPL points among sub-£5.0m defenders and his tally of 16 clean sheets was better than what even Rudiger, White, Cash and many more managed.

Missing from his game was goals: had he been able to add in a couple of those, as he has done in previous campaigns, then he would have finished among the top 10 defenders for FPL points.

‘Coulda, woulda, shoulda’, of course, but he was still a success story among budget assets regardless, with his points-per-start average lifting to an impressive 4.2 after Antonio Conte assumed control in Gameweek 11.

NOT QUITE MAKING THE CUT

Injury updates for FPL Gameweek 13

Time on the sidelines eliminated three defenders who really impressed in terms of points per match: Ben Chilwell, Matt Doherty and John Stones started just six, nine and 12 Premier League matches respectively this season, with their time in the Fantasy spotlight all too fleeting.

Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi can perhaps feel hard done by, meanwhile, after the budget pair finished 17th and 18th respectively for FPL points among defenders. Each centre-half banked 14 returns of some variety over the course of the season, hitting double figures for clean sheets at Crystal Palace.

Marc Cucurella started the season at £5.0m, which probably counted against him in our thinking; it’s funny how a mere half a million can disproportionately raise our expectation levels in FPL. His total of 21 bonus points was really eye-catching, as it was beaten by just four other defenders.


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50 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Cheeto__Bandito
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 4 days ago

    If FPL do the same as last season and launch the game about 50 days before the start of the season, on the 6th August, the launch could be halfway through next month which seems mental.

    Maybe they do it a bit later this time though as fixture announcement is on the 16th June, guess that technically doesn't matter for their pricing though.

    1. NateDog
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Mind boggling to think that with these Nations League fixtures in June, any players involved will be getting only about a 3 week break after this season, bearing in mind that we had the delayed Euros last summer and have the Winter WC this year, along with an early start in the PL.

      1. NateDog
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 4 days ago

        *7 week break, don't even know how I made that typo

      2. Echoes
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 4 days ago

        Yeah, these money hungry ***** are driving these players into the ground with these useless Nations league and stuff, which will ultimately harm the game in the long run.

        1. Black Knights
          • 10 Years
          1 month, 4 days ago

          Absolutely. My mates' counter to me is always 'at least the Nations League is better than friendlies'. The problem with that is, they've turned into a non-negotiable slot in the calendar because they're official. Friendlies can be picked and chosen depending on if the National Association fancies none/one/two at certain times of the year.

  2. Ruinenlust
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 4 days ago

    Matip

  3. RedRo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 4 days ago

    Livra/Robbo/Trent/Cancelo/Alonso for me based on the impact they had for my team.

  4. Pep's Money Laundry
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 4 days ago

    Trent & Robbo are very easy to picks of course. I didn't own Matip at all, well done to those that saved a ton of money by getting him and enjoying his hauls.

    Rudiger is a boring pick but he was a reliable source of points after the constant in and out transfers of James/Alonso/Chilwell. I think I might have used 6 to 8 transfers on Chelsea full backs

    1. Zim0
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Chilwell was a safe pick but got injured

    2. bso
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Yep, Matip was a great buy for me. All the best to you next season.

  5. HurriKane
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 4 days ago

    How tf Grealish gets ahead of Maddison? Absolute joke of a decision by Southgate

    Most goal contributions from England's attacking midfielders in all competitions this season...

    - Maddison: 30
    - Mount: 29
    - Bowen: 29
    - Foden: 25
    - Sterling: 25
    - Saka: 19

    1. Inazuma X1
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Different positions

      1. HurriKane
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 4 days ago

        Grealish doesn't even have a fixed position at England.

        Maddison will provide better end product and another dimension than the expensive loudmouth flop

    2. Zim0
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      He doesn't want anyone but Kane providing creativity in the team

    3. Drumandbaines123
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 4 days ago

      "Keep Jack Grealish on the ******* bench"

      1. HurriKane
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 4 days ago

        Keep Jack grealish name out of ******** England squad

    4. mynameisq
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      More to football than goals and assists real life isn't fpl

    5. Nightcrawler
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      How many games and starts?

      If Madison was playing for city he'd have nowhere near and if grealish was playing for Leicester hed have far more just like he did at villa final season

    6. NateDog
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 3 days ago

      I think Southgate has a bit of an agenda of sorts against Maddison, think it stemmed from a time a while back where he was considering him for the squad and he went out and was pictured at a party during covid.

      He also clearly loves players at big clubs. Flashback to the Euros where Sancho barely got any minutes, then immediately after his ManUtd move was confirmed he started the next game. That all being said, different positions and characteristics.

  6. Inazuma X1
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 4 days ago

    Maguire

    1. Zim0
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Inspiration to everyone wanting to be a footballer

    2. el polako
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Business masterclass by Leicester.

      1. Nanook
          1 month, 3 days ago

          No kidding!

    3. Inazuma X1
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Ziyech is for sale. Newcastle should sign him

    4. Ruinenlust
      • 4 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Matip is the best

      1. Ruinenlust
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 4 days ago

        That’s what women tell me

    5. AC/DC AFC
      • 6 Years
      1 month, 4 days ago

      Forwards

      Saka, Sterling, Grealish, Bowen and Foden.

      All attacking players along with Kane and Abraham.

      None of this FPL classification going on. Its like Champions League classification and Mahrez is a forward for example.

      Mount classified as a proper midfielder. Along with Gallagher, Rice, Phillips, Ward Prowse and Bellingham.

      https://www.englandfootball.com/articles/2022/May/24/england-mens-senior-squad-named-for-uefa-nations-league-games-in-june-20222405

      1. Ruinenlust
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 4 days ago

        Mount plays in a front three for Chelsea like all those other forwards?

          1. Ruinenlust
            • 4 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            There’s no CAM in a 3421?

    6. Debauchy
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Robbo for me as we all had Trent and Cancelo , getting Robbo for his strong late run was my highlight probably

    7. boc610
      • 10 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      ralf didnt even know ten hag was watching the game. thats incredible. its almost like they are making sure they hit rock bottom before he takes over.probably wanted hammers to get Europa league. lets tear it all down first.

    8. THFC4LIFE
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Any mods about? Just wondering if I won the Scout picks community competition for the season or not? Cheers

      1. TopMarx
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • Has Moderation Rights
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        You did indeed!

        11 winners in total and you had the biggest winning margin:

        26pts - THFC4LIFE (gw19)
        25pts - Holmes (gw7)
        23pts - Utopsis (gw24)
        19pts - Darth Krid (gw35)
        14pts - Husky (gw15)
        14pts - The Mentaculus (gw34)
        12pts - warby84 (gw22)
        7pts - BobMcMayday (gw4)
        6pts - Stats Don’t Lie (gw32)
        3pts - Little Red Lacazette (gw20)
        1pts - RUN DCL (gw8)

        Congratulations! I've sent you an email to confirm.

        1. Skonto Rigga
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 4 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Well done, THFC4LIFE! One of the 11 to get lucky. The other 27 Gameweeks were down to skill, obviously.

      2. Pep bites Kun
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Congrats! 🙂

    9. Oscar Slater
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Really hope the FPL come up with a good secondary game next season for a bit of a distraction. Ultimate was kind of OK but I was never interested in Draft. Was there another one before these two?

      1. RedRo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Yes, never played draft but hope they bring back Ultimate - don't even really remember how it worked but I remember enjoying it. Maybe it was the novelty factor though.

        1. Revival
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          There was a decent monthly prize I remember. Trick was to not care about overall rank and take a load of points hits in the week before the start of a new month, so if for example you targeting the October prize you would take all the points hits in the last gameweek in September so they wouldn't deduct from your October score. This was essentially like a wildcard for your team and if October had only 3 or 4 Gameweeks you where setting up a team to target just those gameweeks. Wild Rover on here won the monthly prize with this strategy.

          1. Blueberg
            • 6 Years
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Was this the one that was £5 to enter and you had a crazy big squad of about 20 players, could sub players in and out / change captain over the week?

            1. Oscar Slater
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              1 month, 3 days ago

              It's all coming back to me now!

    10. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 3 days ago

      Surprised Lucas Digne wasn't top of the article after the absolute scandal of Ramsdale being nominated for goalkeeper of the season.

      1. el polako
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        *yawns*

      2. Zim0
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Who is goalkeeper of the season for u? Ramsdale was top notch till Tierney and Partey got injured. Most people realised after that to get rid of him.

        1. NorCal Villan
            1 month, 3 days ago

            Hope Solo

        2. RedRo
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Has anyone told you yet that this isn't 'Team of the season based on the impact they had on FPL Virgin's FPL side'?

        3. Not again Shirley
          • 5 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          No standout keepers this season. Not sure why but none really excelled.

      3. Steve The Spud
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        1 month, 3 days ago

        Cancelo for the time I capped him for his big haul at Newcastle

        Think all the sheep were on salah that week like normal

        1. Revival
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          1 month, 3 days ago

          Sold Digne for Canelo in GW2, Cancelo got 42 points in the next 6 gameweeks.