Filling out your defense with cheaper players allows you to invest more of your budget in attacking players. It’s also important to have substitutes that can rotate into your starting 11 as they play matches against teams who don’t score many goals. So lets look at five of the best bargains at the back for the fast approaching 2014/15 Fantasy Premier League Season.
Top 5 Cheap Defenders
First in our top 5 bargain defenders is ‘concrete’ Ron Vlaar. At just £4.5m he’s only half a million dearer than the cheapest defenders in the game. But Ron is a guaranteed starter for Aston Villa, and is coming off a very impressive world cup with the Netherlands. Vlaar has been heavily linked with moves to a number of EPL clubs, which could make him even better value. Last season Vlaar finished up with 92 points – including 9 clean sheets. Aston Villa did struggle at times, so using Vlaar in rotation with another cheap defender may be the best way to get the most out of him. The safety of starting that he offers, plus that super low price, are the key reasons why Vlaar has been selected in more than a quarter of Fantasy Premier League teams to date.
Coming in at number two is Crystal Palace fullback Joel Ward. Palace were a defensive monster during the second half of last season, once Tony Pulis took charge and tightened things up at the back. Palace has the 4th best defense in the league under Pulis, racking up 10 clean sheets in 26 matches. It’s that solid team defense that has got Fantasy Premier League manager licking their lips over cheap Crystal Palace defenders this season. Ward himself ended up with a very healthy 123 points, including 3 assists and 12 clean sheets. Ward playing at fullback, behind the likes of Puncheon, means he’s a change to feed their wingers on counter attacks and get some assists. Just under 10% of Fantasy Premier League teams have Ward at the moment. You can expect that to go up as we approach August 16th.
Time for another super cheap option at the back, at number three it’s Stoke City’s American defender Geoff Cameron. Mark Hughes often deployed Cameron as an attacking right back last season, though his preferred position is to play at center back. Cameron had a great World Cup, representing the United States until their eventual demise at the hands of Belgium. Stoke’s defense at home last year was outstanding, (the 4th best in the league), but they let themselves down with their defense away from home. So Cameron may not be the man to play every match for you this season, but used in rotation on selected home fixtures. At 4.5, he’s a nice cheap option for your bench. Last season Cameron still made it to triple figures, amassing 108 points including 2 goals and 1 assist. He’s currently selected in just under 17% of Fantasy Premier League teams so there are a few managers out there who have identified Cameron as a bargain for 2014/15.
Yes, old time Manchester United and England center back Rio Ferdinand has got himself a place in our defensive bargains list for season 2014/15. Rio did have a few injuries last season, but has been a top performer at the back in the English Premier League for many seasons. That experience is what is going to make QPR all the more solid at the back this season. QPR’s Harry Redknapp, known for his wheeling and dealing, has been recruiting defenders very well over the summer. Highly rated young center back Steven Caulker (himself only £5.0) has arrived at QPR from Cardiff City, and will no doubt benefit from Rio’s experience. Rio is certainly worth a shout at he back given his super cheap price tag and championship winning pedigree. Harry Redknapp will find it hard not to pick his new signing.
5. Andre Wisdom £4.0m
Promising young Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom spent last season making an name for himself at Derby County, who just missed out on promotion to the English Premier League to QPR in the playoff match. This year Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is sending Wisdom out on load again, this time to West Bromwich Albion. Wisdom can play at center back but is know for playing on the right side of defense. Given that West Brom have allowed both Billy Jones and Steven Reid to leave over the off-season, they are short on right backs in their squad. This means that Andre Wisdom is a going to get a nice share of game time, if not a starter at right back. Wisdom recently started and played the entire Sacramento Republic – which they won 3 -1. At £4.0m, it’s the cheapest defenders get, and having a starter for £4.0m means every Fantasy Premier League manger can have emergency cover during the fixture congestion or unexpected rotations.