Fantasy Premier League

GW1 Lessons learned: Full-backs take centre stage

The Scout 13 Aug 2018
Liverpool v West Ham United - Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson was one of several attacking defenders who shone as big-name strikers took a back seat

Fantasy Premier League managers have been quick to target attack-minded defenders after a number of big points scores in Gameweek 1.

Luke Shaw (£5.0m) set the tone in Manchester United's season opener with Leicester City on Friday night.

His goal and maximum bonus in the 2-1 victory earned the left-back an 11-point return.

Shaw was one of nine defenders to record a double-digit haul in GW1.

By comparison, Callum Wilson (£6.0m) was the top-scoring forward with eight points.

Tellingly, seven of those nine high-scoring defenders were full-backs.

Another of them, Jeffrey Schlupp (£4.5m), played on the left wing for Crystal Palace.

Transfer rush

This has made a big impact in the FPL transfer market, where three of the four most bought players are full-backs.

The cut-price Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.0m) is the top defender for transfers-in.

Palace's right-back has been acquired by 143,000+ new owners after claiming an assist and clean sheet away to Fulham.

The potential of players such as Benjamin Mendy (£6.0m) and Andrew Robertson (£6.0m) could also influence the long-term plans of FPL managers.

Mendy earned 15 points in Manchester City's win at Arsenal, while Robertson claimed 11 points in Liverpool's victory over West Ham United.

That ability to combine a goal or an assist with a clean sheet for devastating points hauls could drive investment away from attack, with more budget focused on defence.

What the FPL experts say

Ash (@FPLHints): As demonstrated by their heat maps and attacking returns, the likes of Mendy and Robertson are must-haves for the season. Their prices will sky-rocket. The only concern is the possibility of wing-back rotation, which means you should have a good £4.5m defender on the bench.

Holly Shand (@FFCommunity_): Mendy was impressive, taking up advanced positions. Buy him ahead of six favourable fixtures. Long term, Sergio Aguero, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane should outscore premium defenders.

Tom (@WGTA_FPL): A weekend for left-backs with Patrick van Aanholt, Mendy, and Robertson doing the business with double-figure returns. We tipped attacking defenders to do well initially, but not to that extent!

Lee (@FPLFamily): Mendy, Shaw, Robertson, and Van Aanholt all looked fantastic. But when a £4.0m defender gets a double-figure haul in GW1, you simply have to take notice and invest. Wan-Bissaka right now is a no-brainer.

Simon March (@MarchSimon): Seven full-backs achieved the holy trinity of clean sheet, attacking and bonus points this week and all looked great value. That said, trying to predict a trend based on one Gameweek can be dangerous. It could easily be the turn of the forwards to shine next week so don't rip your teams up just yet!

@FPLGeneral: It was a painful GW1 with Aguero/Arnie/King as my front three and no Mendy/Robertson at the back. I'm already considering a switch from Van Dijk to Mendy for GW2.

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