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FPL Positions: Time to start budget defenders

The Scout 21 May 2019
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace

The Scout says Aaron Wan-Bissaka has shown that Fantasy managers should put faith in low-cost players

With 2018/19 Fantasy Premier League now over, The Scout reviews each position to highlight players to consider for 2019/20.

Defenders

The emergence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m) served a reminder of the value of cut-price defenders in the game.

The Crystal Palace right-back, who has joined Manchester United for 2019/20, started last season at a cost of just £4.0m after making only seven appearances in 2017/18.

He went on to become one of the cheapest regular starters in FPL as he played 35 matches from the beginning. 

Wan-Bissaka delivered three assists, 12 clean sheets and 18 bonus points in his breakthrough campaign.

His kind opening price made him a major target for managers seeking out value in defence. 

He was the fourth most-bought defender in FPL, with over 2.4million transfers in. 

But although Wan-Bissaka went on to score 120 points, the 16th-most among defenders, many managers missed out on his returns.

Indeed, he was among the top three most-benched players in 35 of the 38 Gameweeks in 2018/19.

The success of Wan-Bissaka shows that, when picking their 2019/20 starting XIs, FPL managers must look beyond a player’s price tag for signs of his potential.

Knowing when to bench

Managers must also consider the team that their FPL player is part of.

By being aware of the club's form and record against certain teams, managers can make better decisions about when to bench budget players.

For example, Crystal Palace’s record against teams higher in the league was a big clue for Wan-Bissaka owners.

Roy Hodgson’s side produced 12 clean sheets last season, the sixth best record in the Premier League. But only one of those came in their 12 matches against top-six opponents. 

By benching him only for tough fixtures, Wan-Bissaka’s 26.3 per cent owners would have profited more.  

Wan-Bissaka's FPL season
  v top-six teams v non top-six teams
Apps 11 24
Assists 0 3
Clean sheets 1 11
Bonus points 0 18
Points 14 106
Points/match 1.3  4.4

For many managers in FPL, picking budget defenders to free up funds for big spends in attack is a popular tactic.

Wan-Bissaka has shown that, when those cut-price defenders are performing, they can be far more than just substitutes for FPL benches.  

See: The Scout's 2018/19 FPL Lessons on positions

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