He is simply unstoppable at the moment. Since being introduced to the Chelsea starting line up just 6 games ago he’s created 9 chances for teammates, made 12 successful tackles and waded in with one assist and of course the goal in last week’s trouncing of Everton. While 5 clean sheets on the bounce might not have earned him any FanDuel points (can you imagine if it did!), Alonso’s underlying form and stats mean he’s a guaranteed starter this week and should be in your team. As explained in How to Pick the Best Players: Defenders – a marauding wing back against a team likely to find themselves in the bottom half of the table come May, is pretty much gold dust for FanDuel. When you add fixture and form to that equation we don’t see how he won’t reward those that select him this week. Plus, at only £6M he’s an absolute bargain.
We love defenders that play out of position. We love them more when they dominate the midfield with tackles and interceptions. We especially love them when they also manage to make forward runs and get on the end of crosses to score goals. And that’s why we love Emre Can right now. At a cut down price of just £5.9M and a season average of just 15.50 PPG thanks to an early season injury, not only is he great value and bang in form, he’s also probably going to be overlooked by most again this week and so offers a differential option too. Currently sitting third in the FanDuelTips Form Guide for Defenders, since his return to the starting 11, Can’s 2 Goals, 4 chances created, 4 clearances and 6 tackles in his last 3 appearances show there is nothing Can can’t do right now. With Lallana and possibly Coutinho out the frame this week, the Southampton game may end up more competitive than most expect but that should suit Can perfectly.
The Italian full back makes the cut this week mainly down to his price and performances over the last two games. 11 clearances and 7 interceptions and not to mention over 100 successful passes, in just 2 games is a great return for any FanDuel defender. When they are priced at £5M, are playing at home and are expected to be in for a tough battle with Sanchez, Walcott and the like, it becomes a bit of a no brainer. Don’t get me wrong, United will not have it all their own way, but with no points on offer for clean sheets, we don’t mind if Arsenal turn up all guns blazing, it will just mean Darmian is kept even busier.
Van Der Hoorn
33 clearances and 13 interceptions already this season in just 5 games (equivalent to 52.5 points) makes Van Der Hoorn an interesting prospect. It doesn’t say much for Swansea’s defence but then we don’t mind that, if it means he will continue to score points as he has been. At £7M he’s more expensive than other starters but even with Swansea conceding for fun he just keeps racking up the clearance points. He should be kept busy again this week by Lukaku and co, so there is no reason to think he won’t see more interceptions and clearance points again. Although he tends to be stronger at home (and more of a goal threat) his underlying defending has been impressive and as such he should be considered this week as a good differential pick.
Dann has averaged over 25 points every home game so far this season and as such shouldn’t be ignored, even with City coming to town. In fairness 3 of those games were against West Brom, Bournemouth and Stoke (3 teams clearly fighting it out for the ‘worst away team in the league’ award) which is why Dann doesn’t make the Top Picks status this week. Add the fact he’s priced at £8.6M and you will find he’s probably going to be ignored by most this week. But by our logic that makes him quite an exciting differential and although the rule of thumb is never spend too big on defenders, 15 clearances in his last 3 appearances and a goal threat from set pieces, (which are clearly an Achilles heel for City) means Dann just could be a risk worth taking this week.
It’s wise to play a defender up against Liverpool at the moment. With Clearances, Blocks and Interceptions the best way to rack up points for defenders, Liverpool’s all-out attack philosophy is rewarding defenders that are up for fight. In Martina’s last two home appearances he created 3 chances and made 7 interceptions which is 19.5 points right there. He will no doubt be busy again against an in-form Mane this week and so don’t be surprised to see him rack up the tackles and clearance points (providing he plays). At £5.6M he’s another great potential bargain, and the main reason he’s made the list over the more expensively priced Van Dijk, but at risk of being rotated and also a potential trouncing from the inform Liverpool very possible, he certainly falls into the RISK bucket this week.
Defenders to Avoid
If clean sheets meant something, Cahill would not be in this section. But in FanDuel we are interested in player performances and not the final score. Cahill has performed well at home so far this season but away from home often hasn’t had as much to do. Middlesbrough will likely sit and hit on the counter so it’s unlikely Cahill will rack up the clearances and tackles he has in previous games against top opposition. He is still a goal threat of course and so could prove me wrong. However, Middlesbrough tend to play well against the top teams and if Karanka’s defensive home record is anything to go by it won’t be the walk in the park everyone might be expecting.
48 clearances in his last 4 games and second only to Alonso for form right now, Michael Keane is likely on the radar for a number of casual FanDuel players this week. However, be warned… Games against Everton, Man United, Palace and Southampton, where Keane has racked up the majority of his points are not representative of a West Brom side often ‘lacking’ in attacking prowess. The other 4 teams dominated the ball against Burnley which allowed Keane to clean up. Although Matt Phillips could cause havoc on the day, I’d be very surprised if Keane is required to pull out another spectacular ‘backs against the wall’ performance, that has been earning him the plaudits in recent weeks.