Fantasy football scout: 6 bargain defenders under 5.0m to consider
Save the following date and time on your phone: Friday, August 11, 5:45pm. Mark it important, highlight in red, include an asterisk or two and include an emoji of your choice: this is your deadline for Gameweek 1 of this season’s fantasy football. (Remember: Arsenal and Leicester kick off the 2017/18 season on a Friday night.)
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A budget of £100m for your 15-man squad remains, but there’s a stronger sense of inflation this time around. With that in mind, we’re here to pick out some squad enablers so you can accommodate the high-value stars you really want like Harry Kane (£12.5m), Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m), Kevin De Bruyne (£10m) and Dele Alli (£9.5).
Marcos Alonso may be coming off the back of a title-winning season at Chelsea, but at £7m you’ll really have to hunt out some bargains to land him and his ilk. At the opposite end of the price scale, Swansea’s Angel Rangel (£4.0m) is the third-most-popular defender, picked by 20.7% of managers. In reality, he’s likely to be nothing more than a dud sub.
When assessing defenders it’s pretty straightforward: Will they play? Do they have clean sheet potential? And will they provide an attacking threat? And with that…
1. Markus Suttner, Brighton (£4.5m)
Arsenal’s early summer signing Sead Kolasinac has been granted plenty of attention, and certainly ticks the box for attacking intent. The Bosnian built such a reputation at Schalke with good reason – he was tied for the most assists by Bundesliga defenders in 2016/17.
Joining him on five assists was Brighton’s new defender Markus Suttner, who also chipped in with four goals for relegated Ingolstadt. In what could be a tough season for the Seagulls in the Premier League, Suttner could prove crucial if he’s able to replicate that type of individual form for the newly promoted club.
2. Simon Francis, Bournemouth (£4.5m)
Bournemouth achieved a top-10 Premier League finish last season to continue their impressive progression under Eddie Howe (in large part thanks to the phenomenal form of fantasy football favourite Josh King in the second half of the season). In defence, meanwhile, Simon Francis contributed to 10 clean sheets, and at £4.5m is the most cost-effective starter in the Cherries’ backline.
The signing of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic strengthens their defence, and as an avid fantasy fan who might well pick himself next season, don’t be surprised to see the Bosnian roaring at his team-mates to keep things tight in pure Gandalf “You shall not pass” style.