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So, we continue on with this week’s rankings by looking at the guys who man the box.  No, it’s not the top XI UPS workers, or porn stars for that matter, but rather the top XI defenders.  Can you feel the excitement? I know you can.  Don’t make me get the Razzball T-shirt cannon (that may or may not malfunction at a moments notice).  Just in case, look at the bright side… you get a t-shirt and a nice welt.  So the defender rankings are basically like this: You own Leighton Baines, you own Branislav Ivanovic, and then you fill in where you think the value is.  If this isn’t your strategy, then I’m confused.  The defender’s prices and scoring capabilities are so clean-sheet dependent, minus those two guys, that it’s a hunt and peck system, like when you don’t use the home row keys.  Leighton Baines, week-in-and-week-out is the stud, and it’s easy, because he is involved on so many set pieces as the man over the ball.  That right there is all you need to know.  That, and it’s illegal in Utah to curse at a dead person. So my rankings are multi-faceted. I use form, price, weekly opponents, and a little thing I call a hunch to determine my top-11 playable options every week.  So keep on keeping on to find out more about the men who guard the box.

 
1. Leighton Baines, Everton: £7.1 – If you skipped the intro, then shame on you.  Number one for me, because he’s involved in so many set pieces. Not a shabby defender, a great passer, and a pretty nice match-up this week.  Burnley has four goals scored on the year… yeah, you wanna get some Everton love this week.

2. Branislav Ivanović, Chelsea: £7.3 – Another season, another match where he doesn’t have to avoid flares or a drone.  Branna is about as stout a defender as you want, and is usually good for a goal every five matches or so.  I am not concerned with the Red Devil match-up.  If the rest of Chelsea do their jobs, then this will be another positive result.

3. Ryan Bertrand, Southampton: £5.4 – Value after you roster the first 2 guys is where it’s at.  Will the Saint’s score 8 goals again, no.  Do they have a fairly winable match, yes.  The third highest scoring defender in the Premier league fantasy universe and the lowest priced out of the top 8 scorers among defense.

4. Nathaniel Clyne, Southampton: £5.5 – The value continues with Nate.  The match-up with Stoke looks like a nice fit for the home Saint’s.  Get used to seeing Southy’s in the rankings, as they are a stout defensive unit that can occasionally score and keep it from being scored.

5. Phil Jagielka, Everton: £5.5 – The Englishmen with the Polish name. With three great matches in a row. (A) Burnley, (H) Swansea, and (A) Sunderland his value is there for the snatching up.  If he gets a goal in any of the next three, you are made in the sade. Wait, that’s the R&B singer.

6. Andre Wisdom, West Brom: £4.1 – I had the pleasure of watching the West Brom/Man-U game twice.  I liked what I saw from Wisdom… he showed great presence pushing up, and may or may not have gotten lucky on the cross to Sessignon. Points are points though. I think he continues to push forward for a winnable match with Crystal Palace.

7. Alan Hutton, Aston Villa: £4.1 – Villa plays on the road to a news ridden QPR.  That in itself is enough to take a chance on a Villa defender. If you wanted to argue that Aly Cissoko could be better, I’m not going to argue that logic one bit.  Pretty reliant on the clean sheet, so be wary as he isn’t a push forward player.

8. Seamus Coleman, Everton: £5.5 – I did’t wanna leave out anyone of significance from the Toffees back line.  Yadda-Yadda, I like the match-up, someone from the back line is going to score.  Returning to being fit and got his first 90-minute match in a month… but I’m worried that he gets replaced at some point, but love him.

9. Craig Dawson, West Brom: £4.6 – Now we get down to some gut-calls on guys that have played fairly well in some games, and not so much in others.  Like the home-match versus Crystal, and you’re hoping for a mark or a clean sheet.

10. Ashley Williams, Swansea: £5.1 – Has played every minute in the back for the Swans and I am calling it: he’s do for an assist against a lower tabled Leicester.  At this point, you’er looking for lightning in the bottle goal or CS.

11. Eric Dier, Tottenham: £5.4 – Back-to-back games with a goal to start the year has made him look a lot better fantasy-scoring wise then he’s been.  You are looking for 90 minutes here, and hoping for something positive, like the goals from earlier.  The match vs. Newcastle is a positive for anyone fantasy wise.

  1. Jesmond Tutu says:
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    Really surprised there’s no Calum Chambers here – coming back in to the Arsenal backline after his suspension against a really out-of-sorts Sunderland, and he’s cheaper than all bar Hutton and Wisdom on this list to boot at £4.6m.

    I’d also go for Neil Taylor over Ashley Williams – if Leicester stick with their 4-3-3 then there could be serious spaces in wide areas for him to exploit, and he’s £0.4m cheaper than his centre-half compatriot. I’d always favour a full-back over all but the most goal-threatening of centre backs generally because they’re usually more likely to get assists and benefit from the bonus points with through balls, crosses and dribbles.

    Similarly I’d take Kaboul over Dier for Spurs on price alone (Dier has a lousy 4 points in his last 6 matches combined), and put that £0.4m to better use elsewhere upgrading a midfielder/striker.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jesmond Tutu: I think the Taylor vs. Williams debate could go either way. They’ve been similarly effective this far but Willimas has the longer track record. He also has 12 career goals to his name. While I tend to aim for Full backs over Centre-halfs there are some exceptions.

      Personally I’d take Cissoko over Hutton and Kaboul over Dier but we’re splitting hairs on both. All four of those guys are really CS dependent and Smoke-Dog says as much.

      Chambers is intriguing but top 11? He’s had two goose eggs and 80% of his points came from two games.

      • Jesmond Tutu says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Chambers most recent blank (Hull) was a game he missed through suspension, so can’t really blame him for that, and I wouldn’t have fancied an Arsenal clean sheet away at Chelsea in the game before, so I’m not holding that against him either.

        You just can’t pass up the opportunity of a £4.6m route into a top-4 defence for a game as comparatively easy as Sunderland, who’ve blanked in 4 of their last 6 Premier League games (including failing to score against the might of QPR and Burnley) and are coming off the back of an 8-0 pasting down at St Mary’s last time out. He’d be comfortably in my top ten for this week, and with Burnley home and Swansea away to come next he’s easily one of the best cheap defensive options in the run-up to the international break.

        Oh, and also the price is massively wrong on Coleman – he’s £6.9m not £5.5m.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Jesmond Tutu: I meant his matches against Everton and Chelsea, he played 90 in both and zero points. He’s had two useful games against Villa and Leicester. The other three were one point games. The schedule is kind upcoming and he’s a good option but not a top 11 IMHO.

          BTW I’m well aware that he was suspended against Hull.

          • Jesmond Tutu says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Ah, right – I assumed you just meant the last two weeks. I wouldn’t really put any weight on a performance back in August (which was only his second for a new club and in which he was being played out of position at centre-back) when assessing his chances for the week ahead.

            The main worry with him is his propensity to pick up yellow cards, which has led to him missing a game already, but whether that’s down to the exuberance of youth, a willingness to get stuck in and show that he’s working hard for his new club or a change in the way he’s being used or the system he’s playing in from last season I’m not sure. He wasn’t a card magnet in his first season in the Premier League, though (didn’t pick up a single booking) so I’m willing to bank on it being an aberration rather than a new norm.

            Arsenal, despite their frailties, still had the 2nd highest number of clean sheets last season (17), and assuming that Koscielny is back to partner Mertesacker this weekend I’d fancy them for one at Sunderland.

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah totally rational take and I think he’s good in weekly leagues this weekend.

            Do you play any weekly DFS from EPL? DraftKings has a good setup. Let me know if you’d like to play. My user name is Puigroast.

          • Jesmond Tutu says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Never played a weekly league, I’ve been with the premierleague.com game for a good few years off and on, and before that the good old Daily Telegraph (who I think were the first, or at least the first major, fantasy football league in the UK that I can remember) back in the early 90s. Oh, the joys of cutting out the coupon from the paper, filling it in in your best handwriting and sending it off before the season started.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Jesmond Tutu: @Ralph Lifshitz: Noted on Coleman. Are we really talking about Clean Sheets from last year? Cause that means diddly. Even if Chambers were on the list I wouldn’t use him, as I usually deploy 3 def and 4 Mid and 3 Forwards. He wouldn’t start over Baines or Ivanovic and I would rather have Clyne or Bertrand at similarly close value. But this banter is what makes this site go around so thanks for being our number 1 fan to date Dez.

  2. Swfcdan says:
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    It’s hillarious seeing this rankings written from an American perspective, but they are very accurate and well informed. We don’t get good blog site like this in England, hence all the English appearing on here now. Love it!

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @Swfcdan: Shame no Kyle Walker on this list right now due to injury, that guy was a buddy of mine back at school!

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Swfcdan: I think that’s a compliment in there…lol. I like Walker to such a fluid player and creative to. Abdomen surgeries are rough as it’s your core.

      • dizzystpizzy says:
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        @Swfcdan: Are you serious? Was he sipping that “hippy gas” back in the day too?

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