Fantasy Football

FPL defenders tips and statistics: Gameweek 1 Budget, differential and premium picks

By Andrew Francis

Published: 9:00, 11 August 2023

‘Defences win you titles.’ It’s often said by pundits but and it definitely rings true in FPL, where your defensive choices can make all the difference. 

At Squawka, we’ve been using the off-season wisely, putting our collective heads together to determine a way to find the under-the-radar stars that might otherwise be missed. Introducing our FPL rating system… the Squawka Score.

The Squawka Score judges a player’s output per 90 for a group of selected stats, with various weightings based on their potential to lead to actual points in FPL. Our tool then gives each player a percentage rating from 0 to 100. You can learn more about how we devised our fantasy football ranking system here

Right now, we’re looking at defensive options for Gameweek 1, bearing in mind that we won’t take into account players who weren’t in the Premier League last season — we’ll be introducing their Squawka Scores throughout August as they begin to accumulate stats.

The best FPL defenders
Our top defender pick for Gameweek 1
The best budget defenders for Gameweek 1
The best defenders based on fixture difficulty

The Best FPL Defenders

We’ve compiled this list of the top 10 defenders available based on their 2022/23 FPL Squawka Score. We’ve also added their FPL Price to the table so you’ve got all of the info in one place and can see where the real value may lie.

Player 22/23 FPL Squawka Score 23/24 Team 23/24 FPL Price
Trent Alexander-Arnold 78% Liverpool 8.0
Pedro Porro 75% Spurs 5.0
Ben Chilwell 74% Chelsea 5.5
Reece James 74% Chelsea 5.5
Ivan Perisic 70% Spurs 5.0
Andy Robertson 70% Liverpool 6.5
Kieran Trippier 69% Newcastle 6.5
Pervis Estupiñán 69% Brighton 5.0
Fabian Schär 64% Newcastle 5.0
Konstantinos Tsimikas 62% Liverpool 4.5

For the FPL defender Squawka Score, the per 90 output of each player is compared to all full-backs across the past three top-five European league seasons. The reason we choose full-backs is because you can select Trent Alexander-Arnold and William Saliba for the same position in FPL — and we wanted to highlight the potential attacking returns more starkly.

Our top tip for Gameweek 1

Every week we’ll bring you a Differential Duel to shine a light on a player who both ranks well according to our Squawka Score system and could be being overlooked by the majority of FPL players. We’ll do the numbers and pit them against each other, but it’s up to you which one you pick!

Let’s take a look at who might be worth a gamble in Gameweek 1 and who might not be so much of a ‘Shaw’ thing. This week we’re pitting Diogo Dalot (2.1% ownership) against team-mate Luke Shaw (28.2%) ahead of their opening weekend clash against Wolves. Interestingly both players start the season with a Squawka Score of 59%, but Shaw costs 0.5m more than his teammate. Here’s how their stats compare on our Comparison Matrix

The best budget picks for Gameweek 1

In an ideal world, we’d be able to load up on those premium picks but, with a £100m budget in place, you’ll have be to a bit more clever with your selections. Luckily, we’ve run the numbers from last season through our Squawka Score super computer and found the budget defenders ahead of Week One. 

The best 4.5 picks for 23/24 FPL

  1. Konstantinos Tsimikas, Liverpool (62%)
  2. Emerson Royal, Tottenham (60%)
  3. Ben Davies, Tottenham (55%)

The best 5.0 picks for 23/24 FPL

  1. Ivan Perisic, Tottenham (70%)
  2. Pervis Estupiñán, Brighton (69%)
  3. Fabian Schär, Newcastle (64%)

 The best defenders based on fixture difficulty

You’ve nearly got your defence all sorted, but we’ve got one more element for you to consider. We’ve crunched the numbers on the FPL’s official Fixture Difficulty Rating (FDR) and used our Squawka Score ranking system to determine the best pick from each club with an ‘easy’ fixture in Gameweek 1. Sheffield United are absent because they weren’t in the top flight last season.

Team Top pick 22/23 FPL Squawka Score 23/24 FPL Price
Arsenal Oleksandr Zinchenko 61% 5.0
Bournemouth  Marcos Senesi 27% 4.5
Brighton Pervis Estupiñán 69% 5.0
Crystal Palace Joachim Andersen 48% 4.5
Everton Michael Keane 54% 4.5
Fulham Kenny Tete 47% 4.5
Man City Nathan Ake 54% 5.0
Man Utd Diogo Dalot 59% 5.0
West Ham Kurt Zouma 47% 4.5