Football Features

The best FPL defenders for your fantasy football team based on last season’s data | Premier League

By Harry Edwards

The best FPL defenders ahead of 2021/22 | Fantasy league statistics

Published: 16:00, 12 August 2021

Goals win you games but defences win you titles, as the saying goes.

Some would argue this has never been more true given how football has evolved and defenders have adapted. Nowadays there is high demand for defenders who can both prevent goals and score or set them up, whether they be full-backs or centre-backs.

Regardless of whether you’d agree, it’s certainly true in fantasy football. When picking your team at the start of the season, you’ll ideally want defenders who can both score you clean sheet points and deliver the occasional bonus haul with goals and assists.

How to join FanTeam’s Premier League 2021/22 Fantasy Football tournament:

To sign up, you need to be over 18, Gamble Aware and meet FanTeam’s terms and conditions. Otherwise, just follow these simple steps:

  • Head to FanTeam via this link (or click the image below) and sign up
  • Join the ‘£1M Fantasy Premier League’ tournament and pay your £20 entry fee
  • Create a team and click ‘Enter Tournament’

So, to help your cause ahead of the 2021/22 Fantasy Premier League tournament, below are last season’s top five defenders for overall points total from FanTeam’s 2020/21 Fantasy Premier League.

5. Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United)

  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2020/21: 142
  • FanTeam price for 2021/22: 5.5M

Many fantasy league players will have turned their nose up at the thought of recruiting from West Ham United’s defence last season, but David Moyes had his backline working perfectly and Aaron Cresswell was the underrated star (overshadowed by his partner, but more on him later).

Cresswell was the top defender for fantasy assists in the Premier League last season (11) and also did his bit defensively with West Ham keeping 11 clean sheets while he was on the pitch.

4. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2020/21: 142
  • FanTeam price for 2021/22: 7.5

Depending on who you asked, Trent Alexander-Arnold was either a victim of his own high standards or had a poor 2020/21. But the right-back still found himself among the top Premier League defenders in fantasy football, scoring 142 points. He recorded eight ‘fantasy’ Premier League assists, scored two goals and kept 10 clean sheets as part of Liverpool’s defence. The season prior, he recorded 13 assists and scored four goals while keeping 12 clean sheets, so even if he were to meet somewhere in the middle this year it would be another good campaign for Alexander-Arnold.

3. Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2020/21 145
  • FanTeam price for 2021/22: 6M

The Portuguese centre-back was a revelation for Manchester City last season, commanding their defence en route to the Premier League title after signing from Benfica in the summer. With Ruben Dias in their back line, Man City kept 15 clean sheets in 32 games and conceded just 21 goals.

Dias scored once himself, heading in the opening goal in a 2-1 win over West Ham United at the Etihad. The result was one of 23 victories the Portuguese enjoyed while on the pitch, another factor that contributed to his FanTeam points tally of 145.

2. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)

  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2020/21: 149
  • FanTeam price for 2021/22: 5.5M

When Aaron Wan-Bissaka was not included in England’s squad for Euro 2020, a large number of fans were left surprised and disappointed as the debate among fans about who of himself, Alexander-Arnold and Reece James is best right-back continued. The general consensus is that Alexander-Arnold is the attacker while Wan-Bissaka has the defensive strengths, but he amassed 149 FanTeam points for a mixture of both.

The Man United right-back scored two goals and was awarded five fantasy assists in the Premier League last season, while also keeping 13 clean sheets as the Red Devils boasted the fourth-best defence in the division.

1. Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)

  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2020/21: 150
  • FanTeam price for 2021/22: 7M

Alexander-Arnold’s full-back partner, Andrew Robertson was also unfairly criticised for not being as good as he was in 2019/20 but the Scottish left-back was still one of the top defenders in the Premier League.

Robertson played every game for Liverpool in the competition last season and made the full 90 minutes on 35 occasions, earning all the playing points as the Reds finished third. While on the pitch, Robertson kept 12 clean sheets and was only penalised for conceding 2+ goals in a game 10 times. The predominant factor in the Scot’s placing her was his attacking contribution, however. He scored once and recorded eight fantasy assists.

Last season’s best bargain: Stuart Dallas

  • Starting price in 2020/21: 4.5
  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2020/21: 159

As part of a newly-promoted side, Stuart Dallas’ FPL price was aided by his status as an unknown quantity. While there are often some standout stars in a promotion campaign, it’s hard to gauge just how well that form will translate into the Premier League. Take Aleksandr Mitrovic, for example. The Serbian striker is excellent in the Championship and was a big proponent in getting Fulham their past two promotions. He was ultimately unable to continue his scoring pattern to keep the Cottagers in the top flight, which worked in favour of all those who bought Dallas at a starting price of just 4.5 (the second-lowest possibly price at the beginning of a FanTeam season).

Dallas was the defensive king of the Premier League last season and ended the campaign in pretty much everyone’s fantasy squad – or at least those that were still focused come gameweek 38. Not only did the Leeds United man help keep 12 clean sheets across the campaign, aided by the brilliant Illan Meslier, but he was also directly involved in 11 goals.

Dallas was Leeds’ joint-second-top scorer in the Premier League last season, netted eight goals in 38 games, but he also contributed with three fantasy assists. Now, this was aided by Dallas’ versatility across the campaign for Marcelo Bielsa, appearing at both sides of the defence and further forward including 20 games in midfield. As a result, he has been reclassified as a midfielder for 2021/22.

Biggest flop: Matt Doherty

  • Starting price in 2020/21: 6.5
  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2019/20: 46

Matt Doherty was one of the best defenders for FPL while at Wolves, owing to the fact he played wing-back and often found himself high up the pitch attacking the opposition backline. Although he wasn’t as high-scoring as Alexander-Arnold and Robertson for goals and assists, Doherty was a relatively cheap and reliable pick in fantasy football. So when he moved to Tottenham last summer, many FPL players were left with a dilemma. Doherty wasn’t going to be a marauding wing-back for Tottenham under Jose Mourinho, but he may have seen an increase in his defensive points.

In the end, neither happened. Doherty struggled for game time, starting just 13 matches in the Premier League last season. As only Alexander-Arnold (7.5) and Robertson (7) were priced higher than Doherty at the start of FanTeam’s Fantasy Premier League Tournament last season, there wasn’t a bigger flop than the Irishman.

But he’ll be hoping for a change under Nuno Espirito Santo (with whom he enjoyed a lot of success at Wolves), saying: “Look, I want to play as many games as I can, and I want to contribute in a positive way as much as I can.

“Obviously, I didn’t feel like I gave my best foot forward last season for different reasons, but I feel positive I can get a full pre-season under my belt and see what I can do and where we can take this season.”

Writer’s tip: Vladimir Coufal

  • FanTeam Fantasy Premier League points from 2020/21: 125
  • FanTeam price for 2021/22:

His full-back partner, Cresswell, did well enough to breach the top five, but Vladimir Coufal’s efforts in getting West Ham to the Europa League should not be overlooked. The Czech Republic defender recorded nine fantasy assists in the Premier League last season, second only to Cresswell among defenders, which was key to his 125 points and high praise.

West Ham look set to be an interesting prospect once again this season and it’ll certainly be worth having one of their full-backs in your FPL team, whether that be Cresswell or, our pick, Coufal.

Squawka is partnering with FanTeam to produce more content ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League season, so stay tuned for more tips over the coming weeks. To sign up for the upcoming season’s Fantasy Premier League tournament, visit their site here or click the image below.