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FPL Watchlist: The best budget defenders

19 Jul 2022
Neco Williams Nottingham Forest friendly

The Scout looks at the top picks costing £5.0m and under for managers’ opening squads

The Scout assesses the best players for managers to consider for opening Fantasy Premier League squads, according to price, position and early schedule.

Neco Williams (NFO) £4.0m

The Welshman is among the cheapest starters in 2022/23 Fantasy after moving from Liverpool to Nottingham Forest this summer.
Williams impressed during a loan spell with Fulham in the Championship last term, producing two goals and two assists in 14 outings as a full-back.

He now looks set to secure a role as an attacking wing-back for Forest this season.

Managers have rushed to take advantage of Williams’ kind price. He is the most-owned defender in the sub-£5.0m bracket, found in almost 19 per cent of squads.

Takehiro Tomiyasu (ARS) £4.5m

The Japan defender has emerged as a very popular pick thanks to Arsenal’s kind early schedule.

According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), six of the Gunners’ first eight matches score only two.

That has earned Tomiyasu an ownership of 16.5 per cent, the most of any defender priced at £4.5m this term.

He produced a shot inside the box every 240 minutes last season, an almost identical average to the 238 minutes of his fellow full-back Kieran Tierney, who is more expensive at £5.0m.

Jonny (WOL) £4.5m

Wolverhampton Wanderers have one of the most favourable early runs of opponents, facing just one of last season's top six in their opening six matches.

Playing as a wing-back, Jonny offers a cut-price route into a defence that kept 11 clean sheets in their first season under Bruno Lage.

Jonny also boasts a reasonable attacking threat, scoring twice in 10 starts after returning from a long-term injury towards the end of last season. 

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Lewis Dunk (BHA) £4.5m

The centre-back offers a cheaper route into the Brighton & Hove Albion defence than Marc Cucurella (£5.0m).

Nine goals, 30 clean sheets and 41 bonus points in the last three Fantasy campaigns underline Dunk’s many routes to returns. 

Brighton also have a kind early schedule, facing only one of last season's top six in the first eight Gameweeks.

Kieran Trippier (NEW) £5.0m

The right-back made an instant impact after joining Newcastle United in January.

Trippier scored twice and collected one clean sheet across his first four appearances before injury.

Having returned to action towards the end of 2021/22, he averaged 5.6 points per start last season.

With his all-round potential, he can profit over the short term, with four of Newcastle’s first six matches scoring only two in the FDR. 

Matty Cash (AVL) £5.0m

The arrival of Steven Gerrard as Aston Villa head coach lifted the right-back’s output last season. 

Cash combined three goals and three assists with nine clean sheets from Gameweek 12 onwards.

His total of 108 points in that period was bettered only by the six top-scoring defenders overall in 2021/22 Fantasy. 

Each of Villa’s first three matches score just two in the FDR, boosting Cash’s chances of a successful start to 2022/23.

Also in this series

Part 1: The best goalkeepers
Part 3: The best premium defenders
Part 4: The best budget midfielders
Part 5: The best premium midfielders
Part 6: The best forwards

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