FPL Mariner’s Musings : Defence

Last Season including wildcards I made a ridiculous 14 defensive transfers. Upon review this immediately jumped out as an area for improvement allowing me to use my transfers wisely and minimising hits (9, -36).

Putting this into context, just one less hit and I would have won my work mini league and the kudos that comes with it. So whilst it is important to look at the bigger picture, this is one of many important lessons I learnt.

Therefore it’s important to assemble a defensive unit which is flexible enough to move up or down in price and comprise of players with a high PPMR (points per million with rotation factored into post lockdown) from solid defensive units, teams with good fixtures (which may be a bit of a punt) or those whom you can rotate.


Using my data which all of you would have seen by now and with my aim to create a defence with a spread of price points ideally, I created a short list based on extrapolating last seasons points from minutes played and then factoring in rotation in project restart. I then factored in the fixtures and teams defensive form, which interestingly removes teams like Sheffield Utd., Newcastle, Brighton & Arsenal! It gives me the following list of options across the price brackets assuming we all will select atleast one 4.0 Defender.

4.5 Million (Choose 1 or 2)

5.0 Million (choose 0 or 1)

5.5 Million (choose 0 or 1)

6.0-7.5 Million (choose 1 or 2)

I also have rules that unless I am doubled up on a given fixture or team, then if there is a cheaper low rotation risk defender with comparable attacking return potential then they will get preference, especially early in the season.

So given the rules who am I going with and why?

The 4.5 Million bracket

VINAGRE (Wol) Is the FPL community the only one in the world to cheer at misfortune?. I’m sure many did when Jonny Otto (Wol) was ruled out for six months opening up the door to Vinagre who (at time of writing) looks to be great value at 28.3 PPMR, which improves further to 30.7 PPMR given Wolves friendly early fixtures Man City GR2 aside. Welcome to ‘The Brothers Grimsby’ I fancy some ‘Vinagre’ on my haddock and chips.

JUSTIN (LEI) The other stand out at 4.5 Million from my metric is James Justin at Leicester at 26.3 PPMR. According to correspondents he is nailed for at least the first 6 weeks with the absence 6.0 M Pereira and can also play on the right. He passed the eye test against Sheffield Wednesday and looks to get forward. Leicester have now signed Timothy Castagne from Atalanta and are also looking at a centre back, but I continue to have serious doubts given Leicester early season defensive frailties, so at the moment whilst he is my second pick, he is by no means locked in.

Who misses out (so far) and why?

Well if I go with McCarthy in goal I simply dare not double up with Southampton so despite Kyle Walker Peters being interesting for now I will wait & watch.

Burnley have a plethora of 4.5 Million options and form my immediate fall back options even though they blank in GW1. Out of position Pieters was a nice differential at the end of last season but he will probably rotate again. Therefore Charlie Taylor is one to shortlist. Interestingly some people expect some regression this season as does the FDR created by Ben Crellin at FFHub which I have utilised. Something we will have to monitor.

Leeds, Ayling /Dallas are not discounted completely but are perhaps a little too punty for me especially given I would bench them GW1 , as is Lamptey (BHA) for now.

The 5.0 Million bracket

LINDELOF (MNU) Virtually nailed post lock-down and seemingly in Ole’s favour. Very much the holding option who rarely offers any goal or assist threat but 0.5 cheaper than Maguire and AWB and has not had any summer misdemeanours. However; he blanks in GW1 and as I don’t want to bench him or waste a MNU slot, its a no for me, despite him topping the value ranks at 25.8 PPMR.

SAISS (WOL) 25.1 PPMR Wolves again unsurprisingly figure heavily in this section but selecting Saiss would mean a double up which I wouldn’t rule out but I do prefer a bit of Vinagre on my chips at the moment. Personally I am slightly put off by the Man City GW2 fixture but if you can stomach that (and be brave enough to double up) it may pay dividends given their great run GW3 onwards. Another consideration is that Saiss does love a yellow card.

KEANE (EVE) I had to pinch myself here if I’m being honest but sure enough he looks good on the PPMR metric at 24.6 PPMR principally due to him being locked post lock-down. He has favourable fixtures post GW1 and with Ancellotti’s guile now beginning to come to the fore at Goodison Park he may be worth the consideration.

DIER (TOT) 24.3 PPMR He can speak fluent Portuguese you know! He’s surely nailed then isn’t he? Seriously though, Jose seems to like big Eric, he has worn the armband in Harry Kane’s absence in pre-season and looks like he will start at Centre half especially as Jan Vertonghen has left White Hart Lane. He also has a set piece threat and from an BPS perspective he has potential given his passing when Spurs achieve clean sheet’s. A negative which should be considered for all spurs assets may be the possible rotation given Spurs packed fixture schedule in September although I expect Mourinho will want to concentrate on the Premier League.

With thanks to Sugeee_FPL

COADY (Wol) Yawn… next. #makefantasyfunagain

DAVIES (TOT) 21.5 PPMR Staying at White Hart lane, Davies also appears to have cemented his place in the side being virtually locked post lock-down. Davies does not offer goal threat like Dier but does offer some attacking returns via assists, although these in my opinion are tempered with Doherty joining as I expect Spurs will raid down the right not the left, with him slotting in more centrally as the Doc bombs forward. Another thing to monitor will be whether Sessegnon eat into his game time?

So its between Dier and Davies for me, so again I thought I would ask Twitter for their views; results below..

Interestingly a small majority of respondents selected Davies over what looks like the more unfashionable Eric Dier. I am however not convinced he will raid forward or play significantly more game time than Dier so for now I am going to go with my gut feeling and therefore as it stands Dier gets the nod with the lure of BPS swinging it, in front of Davies and Saiss.

Other worthy mentions:

James (CHE) 17.2 PPMR basis 45% rotation post lock-down kills his metric, I have stopped short of adjusting like I have Dier as I don’t know whether he is nailed but if we did adjust by perhaps 20% he is very much of interest to me at 25.1 PPMR as he is a far more exciting proposition.

Dunk (BHA) 24.6 PPMR – poor fixtures but good value in a possibly improving Brighton. But not just yet.

Egan 21.9 PPMR/Basham 21.3 PPMR (SHU) – Neither Sheffield Utd. assets feeling the love of the Fixture Difficulty calculations. I would prefer to see how much they much they miss Henderson so its a a wait and watch for me currently.

5.5 Million

This price point appears a bit of a luxury pick at the moment to me, almost in no mans land between what looks like some value at 5.0 and the likely lads at 6.0 M and above. As a result i doubt i will pick from this level early in the season but i will briefly cover this for the purposes of the article.

BOLY 33.0 PPMR (Wol) I genuinely would be surprised if I go this season without him but for now I’ve given Vinagre the go ahead as he seems nailed and is a Million cheaper. Boly falls foul of my early season rule and is pushed down the pecking order.

GOMES 32.2 PPMR (LIV), The exception to the rule, given the embarrassment of riches at Anfield in defence and combined with the need to not waste a Liverpool slot I will pass.

WAN BISSAKA 25.3 PPMR / MACGUIRE 23.4 PPMR (Man U) Both in Ole’s bad books for summer misdemeanors abroad and given I don’t particularly trust DDG in goal (if it was Henderson I may think differently) and that I may want to go triple up on the MNU attack at some stage its a no from me.

Other worthy mentions

Chilwell (Che) 23.4PPMR Injured for now but perhaps one to watch and offers far more value than Thiago Silva for FPL in my opinion.

Soyuncu (Lei) 17.0 PPMR Would rather pay 0.5m more for a fit Pereira in the future or 0.5m less for Justin as of now. Leicester seem weak in defence till the return of Jonny Evans who is suspended until GW4.

Cancelo (Man City) 12.1 PPMR Blanking in GW1 but can play both sides so may get more time than most on Pep’s spinning roulette wheel of fate for FPL managers. Currently rotating at 53% which destroys him from my point of view.

Tierney (Ars)21.5 PPMR Whilst Arsenal have two really nice fixtures to start they then quickly run into a fairly tough period. This combined with Arsenal’s pretty horrendous defensive stats in project restart turns me off at this stage.

So to conclude this section I don’t expect I will own any 5.5 Million assets at the start of the season and possibly until popping my wildcard.

6.0 – 7.5 M

Liverpool from an FPL point of view have an embarrassment of riches, I have seen drafts of double or triple Liverpool defence, Kudos for those on the treble as I’m not brave enough.

Van Dijk 6.5 M 33.9 PPMR , Robertson 7.0 M 28.9 PPMR , A-Arnold 7.5 M 28.9 PPMR

I genuinely think Chelsea and Arsenal can score against Liverpool in GW2 and GW3. However; if you strip away the clean sheets and play the long game (as you must with these assets), treating clean sheets as +4 bonuses, then TAA and Robertson for assist potential would be my choice if doubling up over either of them and VVD, even at extra cost. In Isolation FOMO (fear of missing out) pushes me to select TAA but it is noteworthy that Robertson is quite lowly owned and had a good Charity Shield too. WELCOME SIR TRENT ALEXANDER OF ARNOLD

Doherty (TOT) 6.0 M. Topping both Robertson and TAA for PPMR for GW1-10 at 31.8, If he was at Wolves it would be a no-brainer – he would be straight in to my team. Moving to Spurs has just tempered my appetite a little but he is still in serious consideration to upgrade Dier (or even double up) given Spurs fixtures and the potential link up with Harry Kane.

Digne (EVE) 6.0 M, was really off colour post lock-down despite being nailed in the side (PPMR 22.6) and has not shown his old FPL form and as a result despite having great fixtures GW 2-4 is not one for me when you compare other available options.

Laporte (MAN C) 6.0 M No fixture in GW1 and Pep roulette in play which hurts his PPMR at 24.4 and therefore until I understand how the Ake situation will play out given they are both left footed I remain concerned. For this reason I will not bench him in GW1 in preparation for GW2 with Man City attack far more appealing (particularly that Leicester fixture in GW3)

So to conclude, and as it stands The Brothers Grimsby will set up as follows with 4 out of 5 places fairly locked in. The possible changes, at time of writing, are Justin to another 4.5 M or Justin to Robertson or Doherty which will be requiring sacrifices elsewhere.

Next up, MIdfielders in a couple of days… stay tuned

Chris Turner aka FPL MARINER

Published by fplmariner

Grimsby Town fan exiled in Singapore since 2017 Oil Trading by day, FPL and family (plus a good bottle of wine) by night.

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