With a renewed vigor as we approach the new year @liambednarski reviews those who returned points in GW18 in the hope of uncovering an early bandwagon.
The Watchlist – Goalkeepers
Tom Heaton (4.8) returned from his calf injury in style with a continuous haul of points to more then keep pace with Courtois (5.8). High Ceiling. Buy.
Jordan Pickford (4.2) it is a rare week when the youngster doesn’t pull off a miraculous save or three. Is the value goalkeeper of the season. Buy.
Ben Foster (4.7) inspired performance against Arsenal with the fixtures about to turn in his teams favour. Strongly Consider.
Lee Grant (4.3) faces a tough run of fixtures in the immediate term although his spot remains safe Butland has had a significant set back. Strongly Consider.
The Ponder – Goalkeepers
Darren Randolph (4.4) looks a strong shot stopper although his defenders have been woeful at times. Fixtures are in his favour. Monitor.
The Watchlist – Defenders
Chelsea is simply miles above the rest with an impressive 11 clean sheets accumulated in only 18 matches. The Blues are currently on track to challenge the Premier League record of 21 clean sheets in a season.
Bournemouth have accumulated five clean sheets in the first 18 games which is surprising given they only collected four clean sheets in the whole of last season.
The mark of a good FPL defender is one whom can provide a good balance of attacking, defensive and bonus points for their price.
Chelsea: The Delicate Balance
At the current rate the Chelsea defence are providing superior value for money. It remains a delicate balance to move team value from other parts of your side for a reliable ceiling of points.
For example moving Christian Benteke (7.7) with 65 points to Azpilicueta (6.5) with 95 points is a great move to save money and increase your points output by 30 points in the second half of the season.
The major issue is who that second or third striker becomes, how cash strapped your side is.
I would need to move Benteke (7.7) with 65 points to a player like Anichebe (4.7) with 35 points that is a net loss of 30 points at the current rate of points.
This is a crude example but a telling one about the overall impact of premium defenders on our entire squads capacity for points. Balance your team wisely.
Marcus Alonso (6.4) remains the standout option at the back with his high positioning providing numerous opportunities for FPL points. He does lack composure in the final third though. Buy.
Cesar Azpilicueta (6.5) he is a strong option with his tendency to accumulate bonus points due to a large amount of tackles. Buy.
Gary Cahill (6.3) & David Luiz (6.1) if you want to be different or are cash tied however slightly then Cahill or Luiz is your man. Strongly Consider.
Having earnt seven clean sheets this season in FPL the south-coast side have been more resilient then Arsenal (5) or Manchester City (4). With favorable fixtures around the corner they are worthy of investment.
Virgil van Dijk (5.7) and Jose Fonte (5.5) are both strong in the air from corners although my preferred pick is Ryan Bertrand (5.4). The left back has 54 points in only 11 matches (4.9 points per game). Strongly Consider.
Cedric (4.9) is the standout option at the back in terms of value but he is injury prone and has often been rotated. The same could easily be said of Bertrand although he carries a larger attacking threat.
West Bromwich Albion
The Tony Pulis lead side has been really impressive so far this season with a renewed edge in attack which has been needed given the lack of clean sheets accumulated (three in total)
Chris Brunt (5.0) is playing in an attacking midfield role again with direct free kicks and corners in his locker. Was a striker early in his career and a dead-ball expert all out-of-position (OOP). Buy.
Gareth McAuley (4.9) is another strong option although Brunt has a superior capacity for FPL points at a similar price. Monitor.
Allan Nyom (4.3) remains one of the best value defenders on the market at the current time having secured his role in the XI. Buy.
The Mid Price – Defenders
Phil Jones (4.9) Has managed to stay off the injury table although the imminent return of Smalling (5.8) could be an issue for his job security. Strongly Consider.
Charlie Daniels (5.1) with three goals, two assists and five clean sheets the left back is a solid option for your defence. Strongly Consider.
Adam Smith (4.8) He is an attacking outlet playing OOP in midfield and comes in slightly cheaper then team mate Daniels with favourable fixtures on the horizon. Strongly Consider.
Winston Reid (5.0) has scored two goals and three assists this season proving his worth at set pieces. His side have turned their form around with the transfer window just around the corner. Consider.
Patrick van Aanholt (5.0) is a real attacking option in defence although a number of his team mates will be heading to Africa for the continental championships. Light Monitor.
Jose Holebas (4.8) has returned the points expected of someone in his price bracket but Watford have been off the pace. Light Monitor.
The Budget – Defenders –
Nathan Ake (4.4) has been immense in aerial contests since entering the side with three goals and two clean sheets in six matches. Buy.
The Punt – Defenders –
Gabriel (4.8) is starting in central-defence for Arsenal whilst Mustafi and Mertesacker are out injured. Both are closing in on returns and the Arsenal defence has been less then impressive. Punt.
Others – Defenders
Laurent Koscielny (6.3) fixtures are firmly in his teams favour as they look to build on a lackluster five clean sheets. Strongly Consider.
Antonio Valencia (5.4) has failed to contribute attacking points this season but not for lack of effort. A secure entry into the United side. Consider.
Danny Rose (5.9) carries a larger attacking threat then team mate Walker (6.2) although is injury prone. Consider.
George Friend (4.4) the Middlesborough captain should return and embark on a favorable run of fixtures.Consider.
Donald Love (4.0) with the large amount of players travelling to Africa in the Sunderland side expect the budget defender to earn regular game time throughout January. Monitor.
Jordi Amat (4.1) the Swans are struggling and so is Amat although he is doing enough to remain the 5th defender of choice. Hold.
Please leave your questions, any players you mention in your comments will receive a profile in the section below.