Streaming defenders is an essential tactic in Draft Fantasy Football, so we’re here to outline useful hints and tips on a weekly basis.
We pick out the best options for a clean sheet to be found in a Premier League defence with potentially low ownership, as well as players who look set to start for a top 6 side on a given gameweek. Pick up a free agent from one of these sides to give your team a better chance of victory!
We use the ownership statistics as per Draft Fantasy, with the rules being each player we highlight is required to have ownership of 30% or below.
The Team: The Hornets have now kept back to back clean sheets in GW9 against Wolves and at home to Huddersfield in GW10. These clean sheets have helped Watford to bounce them back on track and pick up their early season form. In doing so, we and the rest of the Draft Fantasy community have started jumping back onto the Watford train. All aboard chaps!
The Players: With suspensions and injuries in defence, we think that Watford will stick with the same defence for GW11 that served them so well in GW10. If you are in the market for a goalkeeper, Ben Foster (25% ownership Draft Fantasy Football) is an excellent shout. Injuries and poor form have resulted in big changes at the back with the likes of Daryl Janmaat, Jose Holebas, and Christian Kabasele all dropping out of the side. Of the current starting defensive players; Craig Cathcart (10% DFF), Adrian Mariappa (1% DFF), Adam Masina (Not Currently Available), and Kiko Femenia (1% DFF) all have excellent ownership statistics and offer great possibility of picking up a low value defender.
The Opposition: Newcastle are the GW11 opponents for Watford and are currently in shocking form. Without a win at all this season, and having only registered 6 goals in ten gameweeks; we’re so confident of this clean sheet we’d put our mortgages on it (nb. we literally wouldn’t and don’t condone irresponsible gambling).
The Prospects: It might be worth keeping hold of a Watford defender for GW12, as they face Southampton although away from home; Southampton have an equally as shocking goal scoring record this season as Newcastle. Only 6 goals all season, and no goals scored in five gameweeks!
The Team: West Ham have not exactly set the world on fire this season, with only one clean sheet so far, and two victories really isn’t compelling form to start considering a West Ham defender. However there is reason to be optimistic, the forthcoming fixtures are unbelievable (we’ll get into that in a bit) and the one clean sheet came against Chelsea!
The Players: Whilst we’d all prefer to pick up goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (46% DFF) as he is in the top 10 highest scoring goalkeepers, his ownership statistics would suggest he is probably unavailable in your Draft league. So what of the defenders, Fabian Balbuena (2% DFF) would be our recommended pick, the Paraguayan international picked up his first Premier League goal in GW10 and moved into our ‘Hot’ list. Elsewhere, there are great options and all likely to be available in your Draft league; the likes of Issa Diop (2% DFF) and Pablo Zabaleta (5% DFF), are all excellent options and are guaranteed starters. An alternate option, Declan Rice (1% DFF) is classified as a defender but is playing regularly in midfield. Admittedly in a holding role, but as Rice is more advanced there is a better change for an attacking return on top of the defensive points.
The Opposition: GW11 opponents Burnley have not hit the dizzy heights of the 2017/18 season; languishing in 15th in the Premier League with only two wins from the opening ten rounds. Much of the debate on Burnley’s poor form has centred on their defensive frailties; but it hasn’t been much better in front of goal. 10 goals, with two blanks in the past two gameweeks. Of the danger men, Burnley’s leading joint goal scorers Barnes, Vokes and defender Tarkowski all have two goals each; highlighting just how bad the problems are in front of goal.
The Prospects: AMAZING! West Ham only face one top 6 side in the next 11 gameweeks!! That’s too good an opportunity to pass on by surely? With those sorts of fixtures coming up, surely a punt on one West Ham defender would be a worthwhile risk.
The Team: As far as clean sheets are going, Everton started the seasons appallingly, and didn’t pick up their first cleanie until GW7 at home to Fulham. Since then another clean sheet came about in GW9, again at home, this time to Crystal Palace. With a home fixture in GW11 against Brighton in their sights, this is one you’d expect Everton to be targeting as clean sheet potential.
The Players: Defensive stalwarts Seamus Coleman (28% ownership Draft Fantasy Football) and Michael Keane (27% DFF) are the obvious standout performers from the Everton back line; with Coleman offering attacking potential from his role at right back. Keane on the other hand has been nothing short of terrific in recent weeks and has chipped in with two assists and a goal this season. The other certainty to start is Lucas Digne (19% DFF), the summer signing has effectively ended Leighton Baines’ Everton career. There is a debate about who of Yerry Mina (23% DFF) and Kurt Zouma (6% DFF) will take the other centre back starting positions, Zouma has been the recent owner of the starting shirt, but looks to be under real pressure from Mina for a start. We’d advise that you stay clear of either until the situation settles.
The Opposition: Brighton are on quite a hot streak at present, having won their last three games. Despite the good form, Brighton are not exactly banging the goals in. Brighton have scored only 11 goals in ten games, 7 goals of the total 11 scored came in three games. Pretty much the only chap to look out for is legend Glenn Murray. Murray has 6 goals to his name this season and his form has seen him join our ‘hot’ list.
The Prospects: The upcoming Everton fixtures are a mixed bag with Chelsea and Liverpool coming up in the next 5 gameweeks. But if you can afford to rotate your Everton defender for GWs 12 and 14; then we’d highly recommend picking up Keane, Coleman, or Digne.
Looking Elsewhere: Nicolas Otamendi
Ok Chaps, this is a real punt, a complete gamble; so we understand if you choose to ignore this one. Otamendi has fallen foul of the Pep rotation more than anyone else at Manchester City this season. In fact, Otamendi has gone from the cornerstone of the City defence to completely out of the side.
So why are we punting on him for GW11? Simply because he is due a runout. Having sat out the first four gameweeks, Otamendi was brought into the side for three games; he kept three clean sheets. Since then, he has been reduced to warming the bench over the past three gameweeks. Adding further speculation of a start, both Stones and Kompany started the Thursday night Carabao Cup game against Fulham! Surely he is due a game?
If we’ve read our magic ball correctly and Otamendi does play, Southampton at home will surely be no issue for this City side that has kept 6 clean sheets on the bounce. If you’ve got an easy GW coming up with players in your squad playing weaker teams, or if you are bottom of your Draft Fantasy league and feel the need to roll the dice, Otamendi might not be the worst option going!
Check out our GW11 Punting For Gold article here!
The quoted ownership statistics were taken from Draft Fantasy. Check them out if you’re after an online platform for your Draft Fantasy Football league!