Here at InsideFPL we see value defenders as an excellent way of freeing up the extra cash you need to upgrade your midfielders and strikers to the elite level whilst still providing a steady points stream. As the season progresses we begin to see which ‘cheap’ defences offer best value for money so we can free up the extra £0.5m here and there without missing out on too many defender points. The options outlined below are valued in the lowest price bracket in the game and offer the best route into defences that have the potential to be successful this season.
Alan Hutton – Aston Villa - £4.1m
Since Roy Keane’s arrival at Aston Villa, a few of the ‘exiled’ players have been given fresh opportunities and Hutton certainly falls into that category. Having played all 180 minutes of Villa’s opening games, as well as featuring heavily during preseason, Hutton appears to be Paul Lambert’s first choice right back for this season and comes in with a very cheap value. Having kept two clean sheets in two games, Hutton’s prospects look good for the season as Villa aim to improve on last season’s 15th place finish. However, after the international break Villa come up against one of the toughest runs of fixtures possible in the Premier League as they play last season’s top five in consecutive games, with three of those being away from home. The advice here then is to keep Hutton on the watchlist and look to see how Villa respond come November.
Neil Taylor – Swansea - £4.5m
Since Ben Davies left Swansea for Spurs (where he’s struggling for games), Neil Taylor has come in at left back and proven to Gary Monk that he doesn’t need to splash the cash to replace the Spurs full back. Having picked up a clean sheet and two bonus points already, Taylor is proving an excellent option in defence since his place in the starting line up seems secure and he’s valued £0.5m less that the other Swansea defenders in the same boat. With Swansea starting the season in unspectacular but effective fashion and a good run of fixtures from a defensive point of view Taylor is an excellent option for the mid-term future of your fantasy football squad.
Martin Kelly – Crystal Palace - £4.5m
Under different circumstances Martin Kelly would be a key player in many fantasy football squads, however, the recent manager debacle down at Selhurst Park has changed much of that. Under Tony Pulis, Crystal Palace were a solid outfit that gave very little away, especially at home. With the former Stoke man’s departure and the arrival of Neil Warnock it’s difficult to predict how Palace will do this season but don’t expect them to be as defensively solid as they were during the last campaign. If you believe Warnock can continue the work Pulis began then Kelly is the cheapest way into the Palace backline but we believe there are better options available, especially once Chester has returned from his suspension.
Andre Wisdom – West Brom - £4m
Another on our list who has benefitted from a change of club, Andre Wisdom has played the full 90 minutes in both of West Brom’s opening fixtures. With one clean sheet and two bonus points, Wisdom has started the season strongly and will hope he’s done enough to keep his place at right back for the Baggies. With a clean sheet against Southampton at St Mary’s, West Brom have also shown that they can shut-up shop away from home which gives hope for those of us looking for a bargain defender. However, earlier in the transfer window Alan Irvine signed Costa Rican international Christian Gamboa from Rosenborg who is expected to come in and make the right-back spot his own once he’s regained match fitness. He was highly sought after this summer since he had an excellent World Cup, playing all five games for Costa Rica as they made their way to the quarter-finals, getting knocked out by The Netherlands on penalties. Therefore, Wisdom’s security in the West Brom starting line-up is under threat and may be best avoided for a few weeks until the situation becomes clearer.
There are plenty of options at the budget end of defenders and considering most will sit on your bench for the majority of the season it’s important to make sure the ones you select will be playing regularly. If you’re looking for a truly budget option, Alan Hutton looks like the best choice. However, if you have an extra £0.5m in the bank that you’re willing to invest in your budget defenders, Neil Taylor from Swansea looks like the ideal option for the coming weeks due to the lack of competition for his place, the good run of fixtures and Swansea’s positive start to the season.