Whether you‘re using a Wildcard or browsing for transfers, we assess the best defenders to own from Gameweek 9.
In Gameweek 8, over 660,000 Wildcard chips were activated amidst the chaos of three Premier League postponements. Likewise, an even higher number is anticipated over the international break, before Gameweek 9. Whether an FPL manager is Wildcarding or not, this fortnight is a great time to look ahead and assess who are then best defenders to own from Gameweek 9.
Here are six recommendations.
Joao Cancelo (£7.2m)
Selected in 51% of FPL squads, it’s no surprise to see Man City’s Joao Cancelo deemed as the leading option. 42 points over seven outings averages to exactly six per game, with three bonus points in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Wolves despite not being involved in any of the goals. He has the most penalty area touches of all defenders (18).
The 28-year-old has already matched his one league strike of last season and has collected three assists from two Champions League matches. If FPL managers can find a way to navigate Man City’s Blank Gameweek 12, Cancelo remains the number one defender to have.
Kieran Trippier (£5.4m)
Now the third-highest scoring defender, Kieran Trippier has risen £0.4m in price and is in almost five million teams. The right-back is up there with James Ward-Prowse as one of the league’s set-piece gurus and almost scored his second free kick of the season against Bournemouth on Saturday, hitting the post.
Never mind, he soon got himself into the box to win a penalty and secure assist points. Without Allan Saint-Maximin, Newcastle were low on ideas and by default pushed the ball to Trippier in a crossing position. This solidifies him as one of the best options, as do three of their next four fixtures being against Fulham (a), Brentford (H) and Everton (H).
Reece James (£6.0m)
Chelsea’s flying wing-back will hope to remain in this position now that Wesley Fofana has been signed at centre-back. Reece James brought in five goals and nine assists from just 1,863 minutes – under 21 whole matches – of league football last season and already has one of each this time.
In fact, his expected goal involvement (xGI) of 1.72 is only behind Trent Alexander-Arnold amongst defenders. Fixtures are about to improve for the Blues and new head coach Graham Potter, whose Brighton team were solid defensively.
Ivan Perisic (£5.6m)
This pick is risky, no doubt about it. It was even proved on Saturday afternoon when he was removed before the hour mark against Leicester. It robbed him of a second appearance point and emphasised how much Antonio Conte likes to swap wing-backs during matches.
However, when Ivan Perisic starts, he is a scary option to be without. The experienced Croat is a natural winger on set-pieces and has found time to assist three times from 333 minutes. Here is a ‘defender’ with 171 goals throughout his career, currently on the highest xGI per 90 of all defenders that have played over 180 minutes.
Joachim Andersen (£4.5m)
Although Crystal Palace’s underlying defensive stats have been poor so far, half of their opponents have been Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool. Therefore, with fixtures about to dramatically improve, it’s worth remembering how brilliant their 2021/22 back line was.
The Eagles ranked fifth for conceding attempts, shots on target and shots in the box, being the only team that Pep Guardiola’s side failed to score past in either meeting.
Furthermore, they had the second-best record for allowing big chances. Of all defenders starting this campaign with a £4.5m price, centre-backs Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi are the two top points scorers of last season.
So it’s a good idea to choose one for this upcoming run. Which is better? Well, Andersen has a Bonus Points System total of 117 compared to Guehi’s 89. The Dane has also managed to score.
Nathan Patterson (£4.1m)
Those who are Wildcarding may want to consider swapping Neco Williams for fellow enabler Nathan Patterson. Although the former has amassed the most goal attempts of all defenders, Nottingham Forest are the league’s leakiest defence.
Yet Everton’s Patterson is on two successive clean sheets, with only Brighton conceding fewer than the Toffees so far. Fixtures up until the World Cup break are promising, so the 20-year-old Scot provides great value for money.
Meanwhile, there will continue to be lots of brilliant content amongst the FPL community over these two weeks. Check out this content guide.