Football Features

FPL tips: Top five value defenders for fantasy football Gameweek 17

By Harry Edwards

Published: 23:30, 13 December 2021

Defenders can be real league-changers when it comes to fantasy football.

Naturally you want a defender that will be likely to keep a clean sheet for those sweet points, but you also want more than that. You want the goalscoring or assisting defenders, or even a player who spends more time in a middle role but is still qualified as a defender.

That’s what makes fantasy football so unique. You could field a back three, four or five consisting solely of full-backs and wing-backs and you might have the upper hand. That’s not automatically the case though, as you also have the colossal centre-backs who get themselves amongst the goals in attacking teams. The question is, who is the right defender to pick? And which defenders give you the best points return against how much they cost?

You can use these tips to your advantage if you’re looking to start afresh in the New Year having watched your original fantasy team go south. FanTeam have launched a free-to-enter Second Chance competition which kicks off in January and includes a £100,000 prize pool.


How to join FanTeam’s Second Chance Premier League 2021/22 Fantasy Football tournament for free:

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 and sign up
  • Join the ‘Second Chance Season Game’ tournament with your free entry ticket
  • Create a team and click ‘Enter Tournament’


FPL value picks: Top five Defenders

5. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Value on FanTeam: £7.9

Points so far: 93.3

Points per million: 11.81

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been one of the best full-backs in the world for a few years now and after a “poor” season by his own very high standards in 2020/21, the Englishman is back. The Liverpool right-back has kept a clean sheet in 64.29% of his Premier League matches so far this season, conceding just 10 goals. But the big thing for Alexander-Arnold is, of course, the attacking return. Alexander-Arnold has recorded seven assists in the Premier League so far this season, with only Mohamed Salah managing more, while he has also scored once.

4. Gabriel (Arsenal)

Value on FanTeam: £5.2

Points so far: 62.3

Points per million: 11.98

A case of a good, cheaper option for a defender, Gabriel was an impressive part of the Arsenal backline that were so tough to score against during their unbeaten run. With the Brazilian on the pitch, Arsenal have conceded 13 goals in 13 games, keeping a clean sheet in 53.85% of those matches. It was actually his return to the starting XI that kicked off the run, with Arsenal conceding just four goals in his first eight Premier League matches this season. Gabriel has also chipped in with two goals for Arsenal, scoring in the 2-0 win over Leicester in October and 3-0 victory against Southampton at the weekend.

3. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Value on FanTeam: £6.3

Points so far: 79.8

Points per million: 12.67

Having missed much of last season due to injury, you can understand why Virgil van Dijk’s price is so low compared to his Liverpool defensive teammates — there was no knowing how he’d return from a serious layoff. But the Dutchman has brushed many doubts aside to form part of a Liverpool backline that is proving very stingy when it comes to conceding opportunities. Liverpool have shipped just 12 goals with Van Dijk on the pitch, keeping a clean sheet in 62.50% of his matches, while he has also scored one goal and recorded an assist.


FanTeam’s Second Chance fantasy game explained:


2. Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

Value on FanTeam: £6.6

Points so far: 87.8

Points per million: 13.30

Another man fighting Alexander-Arnold for the honour of being the best right-back in the Premier League is Joao Cancelo, who is also having another excellent season. Manchester City have the best defence in the Premier League this season, conceding just eight goal in 16 matches with Cancelo on the pitch. They have also kept 56.25% clean sheets while Cancelo plays, but like Alexander-Arnold the real return comes from the assists. Cancelo has so far recorded five fantasy assists in the Premier League this season (though he also has five yellow cards and will miss Man City’s next game).

1. Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

Value on FanTeam: £5.7

Points so far: 79.2

Points per million: 13.89

Before their spectacular crumbling in December, Chelsea had the best defence in the Premier League with Antonio Rudiger the heart of their defence. The German centre-back is still one of the main men for the Blues and one of the defenders showing the competence that has seen him concede just 11 goals in 15 Premier League appearances this season. But Rudiger also has a good attacking return for a centre-back, scoring two goals and recording three fantasy assists including winning two penalties in Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Leeds at the weekend.

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