We all love a good nosey at other people’s ranks. As draft tools go, this is arguably the most helpful one in order to see where others rank FPL assets in each position. I love ranks!
For my ranks this year, I have rated players on last year’s performances, my own preferences while also adding in data that I have collected from five mock drafts that I have either taken part in or observed. I’ve also put them into tiers which I will explain later in the article.
Here is what I’ve come up with for my top 40 defenders. Comment below to tell me about any changes that you would make. Enjoy!
|Rank||Player||Team||DEF rank 18/19||Average ppm 18/19|
|1||Trent Alexander Arnold||LIV||4||14.5|
|4||Virgil Van Dijk||LIV||1||12.69|
|9||Aaron Wan Bissaka||MUN||13||9.05|
|23||Jonny Castro Otto||WOL||32||6.01|
|34||Patrick Van Aanholt||CRY||24||6.32|
I can almost guarantee that these four defenders will all have hit the board within the first 30 picks of your draft this season. It appears to be the year of the defender.
And it’s easy to see why after the performances put in by this Merseyside quartet. Lucas Digne is the Everton representative in a scouse sandwich here with his aggressive defending style backing up his extraordinary attacking output, Lucas Digne could easily be the top scoring defender as well as claiming a spot in the top 10 overall players. Corners, direct free kick and crosses and shots from everywhere, Digne is built for Fantrax.
Not the number one in this list, though. That honour goes to Liverpool’s Trent Alexander Arnold. Why? The youngster from the red half of the city possesses every single one of the aforementioned attributes that Digne has but also plays as part of a defence that barely concedes any goals. It’s easy to see why Trent is being taken at the tail end of the first round in some drafts.
PFA player of the year Virgil Van Dijk and assist king Andrew Robertson make up tier one. As good as these two are, I’d want to be grabbing TAA or Digne if I’m going to use an early pick on a defender.
To prove how early you’ll have to go in for these defenders, here’s a small sample of four mock drafts, detailing where each player was taken in each mock draft.
Alexander Arnold: 11, 10, 26, 27
Digne: 10, 11, 24, 17
Robertson: 20, 13, 27, 22
Van Dijk: 22, 19, 29, 29
These are the ones I’ve got my eye on to be my DEF1. In an ideal world, these defenders will fall to round five, allowing you to get your high scoring midfielders and forwards with your first four picks.
If early mock drafts are anything to go by, you may have to reach for round three if you are desperate to grab Ricardo Pereira or Matt Doherty. However, high scorers such as Ben Chilwell, Aaron Wan Bissaka and Aymerick Laporte will all almost certainly be available between picks 45 and 60.
The idea of a tiering system for ranks is that any of those in this group of seven potentially elite defenders could be the highest scorer in the tier by the end of the season. Although I personally rate Doherty and Pereira at the top of this tier and they will be the ones I go for first, I’m more than happy to end up with Laporte or Chilwell as they still have the potential to equal or even outscored the aforementioned players.
Marcos Alonso and Benjamin Mendy have the potential to be excellent sleepers this season as their uncertainty in their respective lineups should see them fall in drafts. Alonso fell out of favour under Maurizio Sarri but a new man in charge should see him reclaim his spot in the side. If he does, he immediately becomes a tier one defender again.
Mendy’s fragile fitness is the reason that he will fall in drafts and he comes with more risks due to the form of Oleksander Zinchenko. You don’t need me to tell you about his upside if he does make his way back into the City lineup.
If, like me, you’re planning to let the elite defenders bypass you in the draft, this is the sweet spot to claim your DEF1.
Alonso: 33, 41, 54, 55
Mendy: 76, 54, 60, 58
Still some great, DEF1 potential down in tier three. These are the defenders who should fall past the 60th/70th pick mark and will enable you to draft those premium midfielders and forwards for your first six (maybe seven) picks.
Aerial monsters Shane Duffy, Michael Keane and James Tarkowski come into play here, all players that you shouldn’t expect attacking returns from but won’t depend on clean sheets for decent points due to their considerable defensive contributions. These six foot plus heroes finished 8th, 11th and 16th in the defender rankings respectively but will fall in 90% of drafts due to their unfashionable nature.
Kyle Walker is a notable faller here, mainly due to his lack of attacking returns in a free scoring team last season (1 goal and 1 assist). His average of 8.32 points per match saw him finish 17th in defensive rankings, far from good enough from a player considered a tier one defender in recent seasons.
Another notable inclusion is Matt Ritchie, based on the assumption that he will (deservedly) receive his position change. I don’t fancy owning Newcastle assets following the recent turmoil/departures but dominance of set pieces and an attacking outlook add plenty of value to any defensive assets.
The lowest tier but still plenty of value. Luke Shaw’s 31st placed finish in last year’s defensive rankings explains his somewhat harsh inclusion in this grouping. An improvement in Manchester United’s defensive solidity (as well as their form in general) would see him rocket up those rankings and could be a great late round steal this season.
Jonny Castro Otto played second fiddle to Matt Doherty last season but still weighed in four attacking returns in his advanced position. Definitely one to watch out for on the waivers this season, especially if Wolves can improve on a very impressive first season.
If you were a regular viewer of my Differential Potential series last season, the names Jan Bednarek and Fabian Schar will be very familiar to you. It’ll be very interesting to see where these two appear in drafts, if they do at all, but Schar in particular was very impressive last season. The Swiss centre back may lose a little value thanks to Rafael Benitez’s departure but it’s crazy to think that the 18th highest scoring defender didn’t get anywhere near 90% ownership in Fantrax leagues last season.
I’ve got Joe Gomez in this tier due to uncertainty about whether he dislodges Joel Matip in the Liverpool XI. If he does then he represents an easy way into that Reds backline.
That’s all I have to say regarding my defensive thoughts so far. I’ll talk more about my defensive drafting strategy when I release my Top 100!