FPL

2 weeks ago

FPL Underachievers: Defenders

With the international break now just a mere footnote in history, it is time to once again prepare your FPL squads for the weeks ahead and after the first month of the season, it is the perfect time to carry out some player analysis.

Analysis that has already been carried out on two positional departments, as we have run the rule over those forwards and midfielders who have underachieved in the first four weeks of this new Premier League season.

Now it is time to switch our attention to those players who patrol the backline and make up the defensive portion of your starting lineups. However, before we look at the wall of the shame, we need to first assess the top 10 highest scoring defenders thus far.

As before, we are going to create two ranks to get us started.

 

Value Rank & Points Rank

The highest valued player in each position will be given rank 1 and the same for the highest points scorer in each position will also be given rank 1, while this means if the most expensive player per position scores the most points, there will be a positive correlation.

Which means when we look at out defensive top 10, it is a table that looks as follows:

Player

Team

Pos

Value

Points

Value Rank

Pts Rank

Diff

Castagne

LEI

DEF

5.7

28

11

1

10

Saïss

WOL

DEF

5.1

24

35

2

33

Cresswell

WHU

DEF

4.9

24

63

3

60

Mings

AVL

DEF

5

23

48

4

44

Zouma

CHE

DEF

5

22

47

5

42

Konsa

AVL

DEF

4.6

22

66

6

60

Digne

EVE

DEF

6.1

20

4

7

-3

Robertson

LIV

DEF

7

19

2

8

-6

Gabriel

ARS

DEF

5.1

19

34

9

25

Masuaku

WHU

DEF

4.5

19

96

10

86

What is interesting to see is that of the top 10 highest defenders at the time of writing, only one of those is returning a negative rank and the guilty party in all of this is Everton’s Lucas Digne, who is the fourth most expensive defender, but only sits in seventh in terms of points.

Then again, there cannot be too many complaints when you consider that Everton have had a perfect start to the season and a 20-point haul from the French defender, is not something to be overlooked either.

Read more: FPL Underachievers: Forwards

Another point to consider here is the fact that there are some high positive swings in this top 10 and these are far greater than what we have witnessed in terms of both the attacking and midfield high scorers.

This indicates that there are some real early bargains to be found and one only has to look at the West Ham pair of Aaron Creswell and Arthur Masuaku to see how positive their difference is between the two ranks.

Of course, the same can be said for Ezri Konsa of Aston Villa who like Cresswell, has a positive rank of 60 and not to forget his teammate Tyrone Mings or Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma who have proved to be early bargains also.

Then again, we are not overly interested in the big winners, we want to check out the big losers and here are the 10 defenders that have underachieved thus far from a sample of 119 qualifying players.

Top 10 Underachieving Defenders

Player

Team

Pos

Value

Points

Value Rank

Pts Rank

Diff

Bailly

MUN

DEF

5

-1

36

115

-79

Mendy

MCI

DEF

6

2

5

83

-78

Laporte

MCI

DEF

6

2

6

84

-78

Matip

LIV

DEF

5.4

1

24

101

-77

Alonso

CHE

DEF

5.9

2

8

85

-77

Reguilón

TOT

DEF

5.5

2

13

86

-73

Evans

LEI

DEF

5.5

2

14

87

-73

Dias

MCI

DEF

5.5

2

15

88

-73

Egan

SHU

DEF

4.9

-1

49

116

-67

Christensen

CHE

DEF

4.9

-1

50

117

-67

There is one additional point of note here and this the inclusion of players on minus points, something that we did not see in the first two articles of the series and as you can see, three of the 10 are on an overall score of less than zero.

It seems you may want to avoid Manchester-based defenders as representatives from the two clubs lock out the top three spots in the table above. When you look at Benjamin Mendy and Aymeric Laporte they currently represent poor value for money.

A statement that can also be applied to Marcos Alonso of Chelsea, who at 5.9 and with a negative difference of 77 is the joint fourth-highest underachiever in the defensive pool, an accolade he shares with Liverpool’s Joel Matip.

Looking at the average ranking of these 10 underachievers, the negative return is 74 and this suggests there are some serious poor performers in the list above and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would willingly place Eric Bailly in their team.

There are a couple of players who may get away with limited minutes thus far and the new arrivals of Sergio Reguilón to Tottenham and Ruben Dias to Manchester City will look to quickly earn points as regular starters and quickly eat into their current negative rank.

While Johnny Egan of Sheffield United has been hampered by him and his teammates seemingly showing the early signs of ‘second season syndrome’ with the Blades failing to pick up a point in their first four games.

This has meant that the Republic of Ireland international is currently on -1 in terms of points, and although he missed Sheffield United’s defeat to Leeds, his other trio of performances are not at the same level as last season.

This is seemingly a collective problem for Chris Wilder’s men and when they were the darlings of the FPL last season, it does seem that they are not quite the hottest set of picks that they were 12 months ago.

Egan currently possesses a negative difference of 67 and he shares joint 9th place in the table with Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen, who although he may be 0.1 cheaper than teammate than Kurt Zouma, the latter seems far greater value at present.

Read more: FPL Underachievers: Midfielders

Summary

This provides a snapshot of the biggest underachievers in terms of defenders in the world of FPL and although there a couple of players who should be able to turn their fortunes around rather quickly, it does suggest that you should not be spending big when it comes to defence.

With so many goals being scored, it makes better sense to save your budget for those who can either create or score at the other end and this means, you will have to dig a little deeper for your bargains. Then again, with our first table being presented to you, your search has become a little easier.

Dan the Stat Man
Author

Dan the Stat Man

Armed with experience as a data analyst, Dan has become a successful writer during the past few years, combining his loves of football and statistics.