Welcome to the pre-season series “FPL bargain options”, the four-piece series where we find the bargains for all positions.
We had the FPL Bargain Options series last season and it was a success to say the least with players such as; Schmeichel and Alderweireld suggested and it’s worth bragging that in the strikers article the four players suggested were; Wilson, Defoe, Deeney and JAMIE VARDY! Nailed it.
What do we look for in defenders? Cleans sheets predominately and the odd goal or assist. You don’t need to spend too much money on defenders, the Premier League is oh so unpredictable and clean sheets come and go, of course Man City have more chance of keeping a clean sheet than Burnley, but we all know the big points are scored from midfielders and strikers in fantasy football. Let’s get some cheap, efficient defenders and score some points!
Gareth McAuley (West Brom, 4.5m)
Gareth McAuley should have his head held high after being a key part in Northern Ireland’s historic Euro 2016 success. Own goal against Wales or not, McAuley showed why he’s a very underrated defender and why he is worth picking for your teams. As said before, Tony Pulis values clean sheets more than the cap on his head and at only 4.5m, the West Brom defender that will start the majority of games this season is an absolute steal. Last season McAuley kept ten clean sheets which is fair and to put that into perspective, it’s more than Coleman, Vertonghen, Kompany and Ivanovic, defenders that cost much more than he did.
We’ve had Gareth McAuley in the Premier League for 5 seasons now and across those five seasons he’s scored 9 goals and assisted 5 times, this is a little gem and until now, you definitely didn’t know that! For 4.5m he will leave some spare cash and still will score points at the back, a perfect Fantasy Premier League combination!
George Friend (Middlesbrough, 4.5m)
We suggested you a Middlesbrough keeper in the last article and now we’re giving you a defender. As said before, Boro had the best defensive record in the Championship last season and have a great chance of keeping clean sheets. Since Karanka joined Middlesbrough George Friend has played an average of 41 games per season, he’s quite clearly a trusty weapon in Aitor’s force and there’s no reason (apart from injury or suspension) why Karanka won’ t have George Friend starting this season.
Fixtures are important to look at, as it can help knowing the likeliness of our players scoring points. Middlesbrough’s first five home fixtures are very appealing and should be the final reason to tempt you to put George Friend in your teams; Stoke (H), Crystal Palace (H), Spurs (H), Watford (H) and Bournemouth (H). Get him in, cheap and efficient.
Ashley Williams (Swansea, 5.0m)
Explaining how good Ashley Williams is just isn’t necessary, the Euros is all the evidence you need, he’s a true warrior and is as consistent as they come. It’s crazy that we’ve had Swansea in the Premier League for five seasons now and this is their sixth, throughout those five seasons Swansea have kept an average of 10.6 cleans sheets per season. This shows that despite multiple managers throughout this period, Swansea always manage to appoint a manager that can keep their back line drilled and solid. For a 5.0m defender, 10 clean sheets plus the minutes played points and potential bonus points is a very fair return.
Now, IF Ashley Williams moves to Everton as a replacement for likely to be departing John Stones, he’s still a bargain suggestion. It doesn’t matter what badge he has on his chest, he’s still a solid defender and Everton have a fairly smooth start including West Brom, Stoke City, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Bournemouth in their first run of fixtures, which fits Ashley Williams very well. Swansea or Everton, he’s still a bargain and a fantastic option for your team.
Patrick Van Aanholt (Sunderland, 5.0m)
We pick defenders mainly for clean sheets, well, we’re making an exception. We know Sunderland love a relegation scrap and we know David Moyes is a slightly risky appointment after his last two managerial roles. Patrick Van Aanholt won’t keep as many clean sheets as the previous players suggested, BUT he will assist and score more goals picking up bonus points in the process. Last season PvA scored six goals from left back, SIX! He also had assisted a total of nine goals in his last two seasons. He loves marauding down the left side and what he lacks in defensive ability, he certainly makes up in positivity.
Moyes loved the Baines/Pienaar partnership at Everton down the left side which really put developed Baines’ reputation as one of the best attacking defenders in the division. Will Moyes try to utilize van Aanholt in a similar fashion? It’s likely and van Aanholt definitely has the ability to fulfil that role and score us some lovely points week in week out.
Written by Tom Mellor (@MellorFootball)