While defenders earn Fantasy Premier League points for clean sheets, they can offer the bonus of attacking returns too.
Combining both clean sheet points and points for goals and assists, the result can be the sort of staggering single-week points total that saves a manager’s gameweek.
One way to predict who might score well in future is to use the FPL’s own Threat and Creativity metrics, which measure the strength of a player’s goalscoring chances and chances created for others respectively.
A single-match score of 50 for either metric is considered strong, with 100 in either equating to a goal or assist’s worth of chances.
So, which defenders turn defence into attack?
One player has emerged in recent seasons as the league’s foremost creative talent not just from defence, but from anywhere on the pitch: Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The 21-year-old has a superb delivery from dead-ball situations, and that is reflected in his cumulative Creativity score of 966 so far this season, more than 100 clear of any other defender.
The result is a bucketload of FPL points as the result of 12 in-game assists, second only to Manchester City’s pass master, Kevin De Bruyne (17).
But Alexander-Arnold offers more than just a creative outlet on the flanks, also boasting the fifth highest Threat score of any PL defender this season, at 290.
The England full-back scored one goal in each of the past two league seasons, but already has two so far in 2019/20 with plenty of matches left.
Liverpool have started picking up clean sheets more regularly since the festive period – combined with his attacking ability, it’s no wonder his price and ownership have risen to £7.6m and 42% respectively.
Doherty from downtown
Leading the defenders for Threat however is Matt Doherty of Wolves, whose score of 475 is almost 150 clear of John Lundstram in second place.
Doherty isn’t cheap for a defender at £6.1m, but has a low enough ownership (4.2%) that his potential in front of goal makes him an enticing differential option.
The 28-year-old right-back has three goals in the league so far in 2019/20, and is good value for them according to his Threat scores, recording a personal best for the season of 52 in GW21.
His score of 25.2 Threat per 90 minutes suggests a goal every four games is possible – with 14 fixtures left in the league this season, he could well double his tally by the season’s close.
Doherty notched four last season and achieved a cumulative Threat score of 711, demonstrating his pedigree in this area.
Could he score heavily from the back for your team?
Digne’s helping hand
While Trent might be the number one defender of choice, he comes with a hefty price tag – take a walk up Priory Road however and you might find a suitable, cheaper alternative in Lucas Digne.
The Everton full-back comes in at £5.8m – a sizeable £1.8m less than his Liverpool counterpart – and has the second-highest Creativity score of any defender at 831.
Digne has registered two FPL assists in his last three appearances having gone nine games without one, and he’s been worth them too, with Creativity scores of 41.9, 66.3 and 39.5 in those three fixtures.
The 26-year-old reached a respectable 1142 for Creativity last season, and under Carlo Ancelotti has looked more dangerous with the ball at his feet.
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