Sean Sullivan

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FPL Price Review: Defenders

Friday, July 13, 2018


With Fantasy Premier League managers beginning to assemble their squads for the 2018/19 season, Andrew Gastelum and I will be breaking down every position to look for the best value buys and budget picks to help aid in the selection process.

 


FPL Price Review Series

Goalkeepers | Midfielders | Forwards

 


In the fourth and final edition of FPL Price Review Series, we'll be assessing the long list of defenders. At the positional ceiling of 6.5m, Cesar Azpilicueta, the top-scoring defender last season, is joined by Marcos Alonso, Nicolas Otamendi, Kyle Walker and Antonio Valencia. Found below the Tier 1 options is a group of 14 players at 6.0m, with 23 more given the price tag of 5.5m. While one premium priced defender cracks my list, the rest of my selections are located below the 5.5m mark.

 

 

With that said, here are a few defenders to consider for the 2018/19 season!

 


 

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DEFENDERS

 


Andrew Robertson, Liverpool (6.0m):

 


Robertson was one of the breakout stars of the 2017/18 season. The 24-year-old arrived at Anfield in late July last year and began the term behind Alberto Moreno. Following the Spaniard's injury in December, the summer signing from Hull City commandeered the first-choice role, effectively nullify the competition with his offensive contributions. Robertson started 20 of the final 22 matches and recorded five assists in the process, returning an assist every 4.8 chances created. Although he ranked 20th amongst all defenders in total FPL points with 111, his points per match average of 5.0 were joint-best with Marcos Alonso and Phil Jones.

 


The Scotland international might have gotten a hefty price bum, but his production across just 22 total starts was significant enough for me to like him at 6.0m. In addition to Robertson's attacking upside, the former Hull City fullback provided noteworthy defensive returns last season. Liverpool kept ten clean sheets and conceded only 18 goals when he started. Furthermore, Robertson has had a full summer of rest, whereas other premium-priced defenders like Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young could see reduced minutes following the World Cup. For me, Robertson is the top defender to target in the 6.0-6.5m price range.

 

 

Ricardo Pereira, Leicester City (5.0m)

 


The summer signing from FC Porto has all the traits needed to be a top FPL defender. Pereira seems sure to take over the right-back role form formerly held by Danny Simpson, especially considering the 24-year-old flourished playing under Leicester boss Claude Puel at Nice. During a two-year loan at Nice, the Portugal international had four assists in each season. Recalled by Porto this past term, Pereira provided two goals, six assists and chances 47 created across all competitions during 2017/18.

 

 

Pereira is first and foremost an attacking fullback. However, his defensive capabilities will be equally relevant for the Foxes. Last season, he ranked second in the Primeira Liga in successful challenges per game (3.7) and made 99 tackles, a total much better than Leicester's top tackler Harry Maguire (63). As a two-way fullback, Pereira is a significant upgrade for a defence that allowed the fifth-most goals in the Premier League last season (60). I'm expecting him to be a top-15 FPL defender this season.

 

 

Ryan Fredericks, West Ham (5.0m)

 

 

No club has been more active in the summer transfer window than West Ham. The Hammers have signed six players so far, with reports suggesting Lazio's Felipe Anderson will be announced in the coming days. For me, though, the real FPL value at the London Stadium exists in defence - Ryan Fredericks. The 25-year-old is an attacking fullback with tons of pace, two traits that should allow him to displace Pablo Zabaleta, 33, and prosper as the Hammers' new regular right-back. Fredericks, who was voted into the Championship PFA Team of the Year, showcased his offensive craft over the course of the 2017/18 season. He provided seven assists, created 50 chances and won 65 taken-ons (joint most of all Championship defenders) to help Fulham reach the Premier League via the Championship play-off.

 


Last season, West Ham had the co-worst defence in the Premier League. The Hammers conceded as many goals as 19th-placed Stoke City (68), due mainly in part to their lack of a reliable goalkeeper. This problem, however, should not exist this season thanks to new first-choice keeper Lukasz Fabianski. The presence of Fabianski between the sticks represents a significant upgrade from loanee Joe Hart, who has returned to Manchester City, and number two Adrian. Despite the news that Winston Reid will miss at least three months with a knee problem, club-record signing Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna have the makings of a strong pairing in central defence. The promise of a better defensive record gives me even more confidence in Fredericks, as well as Aaron Cresswell (5.5m), heading into the season. Currently selected by less than 1% of teams, Fredericks is one to watch.

 

 

Cedric Soares, Southampton (4.5m)

 

 

Concerning value picks, Cedric looks like an absolute steal at 4.5m. In a dismal 2017/18 season, the fullback was one of the top performers for Southampton who barely avoided relegation. Cedric came into his own during the final stretch of the term following the arrival of manager Mark Hughes. Playing as a wing-back under Hughes, the 26-year-old recorded three assists in the closing seven matches. In 2794 minutes of action, Cedric created 24 chances and made 136 crosses, a total bettered by only four other defenders. The first defender I selected when I compiled my initial squad, the Portuguese international's price is too good to ignore.

 

 

With that said, Cedric's price and attacking skillset aren't the only reasons why I like his prospects for 2018/19. Southampton has spent £50 million so far this summer to correct a serious of issues from their tangle with relegation. Of those signed thus far, the one that could have the most significant impact is Borussia Monchengladbach's imposing 6ft 6in centre-back Jannik Vestergaard. The Saints defensive record should improve with Vestergaard anchoring the backline, having conceded 56 goals and kept just eight clean sheets last season. If Cedric continues as a wing-back and records a few more clean sheets than last season, he should have no problem returning close to 100 FPL points. In short, he's my budget pick of the season.




Email :Sean Sullivan





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