Who are the best Fantasy Premier League defenders to own for Blank Gameweek 18? 4-time top 1k finisher Abdul Rehman uses the Hub's OPTA, Prediction, Comparison and Fixture tools to find the best FPL budget and premium defenders for our FPL teams.
Harry Maguire (£5.4m) – Manchester United
Fixture: Burnley (a)
Manchester United have now won eight of their last 10 games. They have only kept two clean sheets within that time, however. In Gameweek 18 they play Burnley who are one of the most goal-shy teams in the league.
The Clarets have only scored nine goals (19th) and have one of the worst attacking stats in the league. They have had 136 Shots (20th), 46 Shots on Target (20th), 80 Shots in the Box (19th) and 18 Big Chances (19th). They also have the second lowest xG in the league at 14.41.
Harry Maguire is one of the most attacking defenders in the league stats wise. He has 21 Shots (1st), 6 Shots on Target (3rd), and 18 Shots on Target (1st). He is averaging 1.1 shots in the box per game which for a defender is pretty impressive.
United’s defensive stats haven’t been the best conceding 189 Shots (10th), 130 Shots in the Box (11th), and 63 Shots on Target (7th). However, They are playing probably the worst attacking team in the league and I feel they will be too strong for Burnley defensively. Their main goal scoring threat Chris Wood (£6.2m) has been off form and this obviously hasn’t helped as he is their talisman.
Also with the limited number of games for Blank Gameweek 18, Maguire will be one of the top picks this week in isolation. He is a big aerial threat and gets off a lot of shots in the box. United are the third favourites to keep a clean sheet with 43% according to the bookmakers and Maguire is ranked at 42% for anytime returns according to our Points Prediction Tool.
Kieran Tierney (£5.4m) – Arsenal
Fixture: Crystal Palace (H)
Arsenal have had a really good run of results with three wins out of three in the league. They have scored eight goals and kept one clean sheet. Kieran Tierney has been on good attacking form also in this period grabbing one goal and two assists. His attacking numbers have been impressive also with 7 Shots, 2 Shots on Target and 3 Shots in the Box. He has also Created 21 Chances and 3 Big Chances.
The Gunners have now kept five clean sheets and conceded only 19 goals (4th). They have also conceded 114 Shots in the Box (6th), 57 Shots on Target (4th), and 28 Big Chances (6th). So their defensive stats have been quite good. It’s the attacking department in which they were lacking but they seemed to have put that to bed in recent games.
Their opponents in Blank Gameweek 18 are Crystal Palace whose attacking stats haven’t been the best. They have had 167 Shots (17th), 64 Shots on Target (15th), 113 Shots in the Box (15th) and 25 Big Chances (15th). I really don’t see them being much of a threat to the Arsenal backline and the bookies have the North London club as second favourites for a clean sheet this week at 44%.
Tierney is a nailed starter and is one of the best defensive options for Blank Gameweek 18 particularly for those on a Free Hit. His attacking stats are by far the best out of the Arsenal defenders and our Points Prediction Tool has him at 47% for anytime returns.
Joao Cancelo (£5.7m) – Manchester City
Fixture: Brighton (H)
Manchester City have been by far the best defensive team in the league so far. After only 15 games they have kept seven clean sheets (2nd). They have only conceded 119 Shots (1st), 72 Shots in the Box (1st), 38 Shots on Target (1st) and 18 Big Chances (2nd). They also have the best xGC at 13.92 and have conceded the least goals with only 13. They are just so far ahead of the rest of the pack defensively.
Joao Cancelo has been one of the most attacking defenders in the league. He has 9 Shots, 2 Shots on Target and 3 Shots in the Box while also creating 24 Chances (4th) and 4 Big Chances (3rd). These stats and rankings are amongst defenders only. What makes his stats even more impressive is he has only played 11 games.
The Blues come up against Brighton at home in Blank Gameweek 18 and this should really be another banker for a clean sheet. City are at 52% to keep a clean sheet and the most likely this week to do so. With the fixture this week and looking at their fixture coming up a City defender is pretty much essential. They embark on three home games in a row starting with Brighton, then Crystal Palace and Aston Villa in Double Gameweek in 19. They then have West Brom (a), Sheffield United (H) and Burnley (a). Whether you are on a Free Hit, Wildcard, or free transfers it seems wise to bring at least one of their backline in.
Cancelo has been point dodging for a few games now and plays so advanced. His creativity numbers have been excellent and it's only a matter of time before he starts picking up assists and goals too.
Roman Saiss (£5.1m) – Wolves
Fixture: Everton (H)
Roman Saiss is now a serious option again as he has started the last six games now. He has also been their most attacking defender. He has two goals in the last three games and has the highest xG from all defenders in that time also. He has 6 Shots (1st), 4 Shots on Target (1st), and 5 Shots in the Box (1st).
Wolves haven’t been so good defensively away from home this season but at their own ground, they have been pretty solid. At home, they have conceded 46 Shots in the Box (3rd), 25 Shots on Target (3rd), and 10 Big Chances (4th). Also their xGC is only 8.64 (2nd) and they have conceded 8 goals (2nd).
They come up against Everton in Blank Gameweek 18 who have only scored 7 goals in their last eight games (18th). Because of injuries to some of their key attacking players they seemed to have shifted to a more pragmatic and defensive approach which has seen them keep three clean sheets during this period.
This looks like a game that will be fairly tight and will be separated by a single goal. With Wolves home form defensively I fancy them for this one and just feel Everton seem to be drying up in the goals department lately.
With Saiss you have a fairly good chance of clean sheet but also attacking returns. His stats have shown over the last few games he has been the most attacking defender when it comes to goal threat.
Ciaran Clark (£4.5m) – Newcastle United
Fixture: Sheffield United (H)
Newcastle United and Sheffield United face off in Blank Gameweek 18 which sees two really poor teams go head to head. The Toon have been slightly better though and are the better team so I fancy them for this game.
The Blades have 143 Shots (18th), 48 Shots on Target (19th), 101 Shots in the Box (17th) and only scored 8 goals (20th). Looking at Newcastle's defensive numbers it doesn’t fill one with confidence but they are up against a really poor attacking team and with Ciaran Clark we also have some goal threat.
He is by far the most attacking Newcastle defender with 5 Shots, 2 Shots on Target, and 5 Shots in the Box in only eight starts. He has started every game since Gameweek 9 and with Jamal Lascelles (£4.2m) likely to be out for this Gameweek he should keep his starting place and could be a shrewd pick for those using their Free Hit chip especially if you are struggling for cash.
In conclusion, I will rank these Gameweek 18 defenders in accordance to our Power Rankings for Hub members!
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