LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 22: Andrew Robertson of Liverpool battles for the ball with Marcos Alonso of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on September 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Written by Anirudh Shenoy
It’s been an eventful 6 weeks in the FPL world, and it has felt as if we are going back in time, with all the major point scorers being forwards as well as some midfielders. So the theory that was put forth by a lot of FPL experts of going big at the back and the immense value it possessed has come under some scrutiny.
Today, we’re looking at the options in case you want to downgrade one of your premium defenders, whether it be one of the Liverpool fullbacks due to the fixtures, Lucas Digne due to Everton’s recent defensive struggles, Aaron wan Bissaka because of United’s overall form or the likes of Zinchenko getting rotated.
We’ve isolated 3 different price brackets, between 4M and 6.5M.
Marcos Alonso (6.2M):
Hear us out. With Emerson out till the middle of October and Chelsea facing Brighton, Southampton, Newcastle, and Burnley in that time, Alonso might not be the worst choice in the world. Him popping up in the box is something that we have become accustomed to and while Chelsea might not be keeping the most clean-sheets, the attacking value is very evidently on display with them scoring 12 in their last 4. He has an ICT Index of 13.6 in 2 games, which if he had played all 6 games would be north of 40.5, a number bettered only by Alexander-Arnold and Digne. One of those two games included 75 minutes against Liverpool. In addition, he is on set pieces and is always a threat from direct freekicks. With Chelsea not playing with out and out wingers, his width could be a source of points over the next few weeks.
Ricardo Pereira (6M):
Pereira ranks third for influence in the league and has played every minute of Leicester’s campaign this season. The fixtures for Leicester seem brilliant, with the form to go with it. After draws against Chelsea and Wolves and beating Spurs, Leicester’s next 5 involve only Liverpool from the Top 8 of the division. Granted Leicester have kept only one clean sheet, but by the same token, they are yet to concede more than 1 goal in a game, displaying quite a solidarity at the back despite the incredibly tough start to the campaign facing 4 of last season’s Top 7. He ranks 8th on the ICT index overall and is 5th highest for overall points scored. He’s owned by under 6% so he could be a very tidy differential.
Nicolas Otamendi (5.5M):
He is the standout choice in this bracket. The Manchester City centre-half ranks first for threat and fifth on the ICT index despite missing a good 120 minutes of action in comparison to his compatriots on the list. He had several touches in the opposition box against Watford and could have hauled more than the 15 points that he did. He got taken off with 28 minutes to go and got rest in the cup game which should mean Pep sees him as his number one centre-half at this point in time along with Fernandinho. Manchester City’s fixtures look good with 4 of the next 5 being 2s on the FDR. With Kevin de Bruyne’s quality off a dead ball, it seems certain that Otamendi could add to his tally over the next few games.
Serge Aurier (5M):
All 2.7% of Aurier’s owners were excited at the prospect of two clean sheets and attacking returns in back to back games when he netted against Leicester only for it to be ruled out by a marginal offside and then for Pereira to kill the clean sheet minutes later. Aurier got his rest midweek with Kyle Walker-Peters starting at right-back, so he looks nailed on for the next two gameweeks given how Pochettino rotates his fullbacks. The front 3 of Son, Kane, and Lamela looked very good for the most part against Leicester and looked even better the week before against Palace, with Aurier providing a healthy supply of crosses and creativity on the right, we could be looking at more returns over the course of the next few gameweeks, with Spurs fixtures looking tidy as well over the next 8 with the two trips to Merseyside being the only potential potholes.
James Tarkowski (5M):
Burnley have conceded more than once only away to Arsenal and at home to Liverpool in addition to keeping 2 clean sheets, the joint second-best in the league. Whilst Pope and Pieters look like more lucrative routes into Burnley’s defense, Tarkowski could be very close to hauling. As of Gameweek 5, He has recorded five shots inside the penalty area, second only to the six of Craig Dawson(WAT) among all defenders in the game. In addition, Tarkowski has the most headed shots by a defender and is high up on his numbers for touches in the opposition box. He ranks 7th for threat overall in the game, with a very kind run up until GW14, if you do want a differential at under 2% ownership, he could be your man.
West Ham have managed to keep three clean sheets in a row, over the last 3 weeks, the most in the division. Whilst their expected goals against value is quite high, Fabianski and the backline have done a good job of thwarting the opposition. West Ham do have a kind run of fixtures over the next 6, facing none of last seasons Top 7. While Fredricks and Masuaku might be better options at the same price, injury to one and suspension to the other might lead us to go to the safer more nailed on option in Diop. Diop could be used as a 3rd or a 4th defender, based on your system and could rotate with the likes of Rico or Lundstram.
Frédéric Guilbert (4.4M):
The Aston Villa right-back ranks the most for threat among all the Villa defenders despite playing two games less. He also has the most ICT per game, edging out Mings in that regard. He is owned by less than a percentage of managers, and with Burnley, Brighton and Norwich in their next 3, he seems like a very good option to get some attacking returns in atleast 2 out of the 3 games. Most managers are suspect about Villa carrying on this defensive form but Villa’s prowess in attack could just be reason enough to consider the right back as an option to rotate in your backline.
Bench fodder (4M):
With the likes of Rico and Lundstram all rising from their initial prices of 4M.
Foulquier seems to be the only 4M option right now, with Flores introducing him into the side to potentially play on the right-wing with Feminia. The experiment didn’t last too long as he got hooked off under half-hour mark once City had scored 5, but if he proceeds to start again with Watford’s fixtures being quite tidy until GW16, he could certainly be an option that we could consider as an enabler.
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