We at The Hype Train will be providing a regular series of Power Rankings updates throughout the season for each position in the traditional Fantasy Premier League game for our partners at the Fantasy Football Hub. We will be picking our top five picks for Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders, and Forwards, providing a graphical aid for each chosen player, and the reasoning behind our choices. All aboard.
How do our Power Rankings work?
We use player form, fixtures, potential, and our own gut instinct, to form our own opinionated view on who we believe is the best asset for each position in the FPL. Each position (Goalkeeper, Defender, Midfielder, and Forward) has differing criteria which can help generate FPL points on a weekly basis, whether for short term gain or for the long haul.
For the purpose of this article we will list our top 5 and follow up with a player on the rise in that position to also consider.
All player prices and stats are reflective of the official Fantasy Premier League game at the time of publishing.
Defender Power Rankings: Gameweek 4
Defenders can make or break a Gameweek for FPL players. Their ability to grind clean sheets when midfielders and forwards fail to live up to the billing can have a significant impact on mini-leagues and overall rankings. Each defensive position has an appeal that is attractive for players. Full-backs are more offensively based and can contribute heavily to the BPS system for their chances created, whilst centre-halves claim more CBI’s (tackles, blocks, and interceptions) and are more a menace as arial threats for set-pieces. Also, unlike goalkeepers, defenders are more varying in price which has an impact on the selection process for FPL players.
We profile what we believe to be the best five defenders in the FPL game right now after Gameweek 3 and heading into Gameweek 4.
1) Phil Jones (MUN)
Man United’s Phil Jones tops our selection process for the Defender Power Rankings heading into Gameweek 4, beating teammate Eric Bailly to the coveted top spot. Whilst Bailly scored his first Premier League goal for Man United away at Swansea to put him as the top FPL defender, central partner Phil Jones offers unprecedented value in the same position, and has just seen his price rise to £5.1 million, which is still a bargain for a Man United defender who has been at the heart of three clean sheets.
Jones might not pose as much threat in front of goal, but he is the BPS accumulator of the two, which makes him the most attractive option of the two. Allowing a £1.0m price difference between Jones and Bailly offers the potential for enhanced midfield and forward positions, or potentially having a premium defensive option such as Marcos Alonso.
Jones vs. Bailly
Price: Bailly (£6.1), Jones (£5.1)
FPL Ownership: Bailly (14.9%), Jones (4.5%)
Points: Bailly (26), Jones (19)
BPS Score: Bailly (92), Jones (88) – with the pair ranked first and second overall
Discipline: Bailly (1 yellow)
The goal against Swansea aside, Phil Jones would be ahead of Bailly in every key area of how the FPL runs their statistics page, which over the course of the short term will favour Jones. Against Leicester Jones earned a bonus point and if the pair continue to play together this will be a common trend should clean sheets keep coming for Man United.
2) Ahmed Hegazi (WBA)
Ticking the box of a stereotypical West Brom defender – a tall 6ft 5inch giant who can head the ball – Ahmed Hegazi arrived onto the FPL scene with little fanfare, but a string of two opening fixtures which yielded a massive 23 points for FPL players, has put Hegazi in the top two for our defensive Power Rankings.
The central defender, who is the first player to see his FPL price rise by £0.3 million, could have added to the two clean sheets, a goal, and five bonus points, against Stoke at home, but his fumbled kick that evaded the grasp of keeper Ben Foster, and into the thankful head of Stoke’s Peter Crouch, ultimately cost his side a third consecutive clean sheet, and a trio of 1-0 victories.
Hegazi has been transferred in a total 880,661 times (as of writing), which is more than twice that of any defender in the FPL, so it has been hard to ignore Hegazi’s influence in the FPL, even if his mistake cost his side, and himself, a third consecutive clean sheet. It does however see Hegazi drop below Phil Jones in our Power Rankings, with the United defender proving a consistent force in the first three games of the season.
3) Marcos Alonso (CHE)
Chelsea’s season started off in disastrous fashion, losing 3-2 at home to Burnley having been reduced to nine men following the red cards to Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill. On that day the most expensive defender in the FPL, Marcos Alonso, was booked within the opening few moments, and ended the first game where he started the season, with nothing.
Chelsea have recovered well, and thankfully for the 19.4% of FPL players who own Alonso, the left-back has been at the forefront of points since. Scoring a brace against Spurs, and managing a sixteen point haul for Gameweek 2, faith in the Chelsea defensive asset was restored, which then rolled over to Gameweek 3 and a relatively comfortable clean sheet in a 2-0 home victory against Everton.
With wildcard season blossoming for many FPL players, a Chelsea defender looks set to be the norm again, and Alonso is the man to back. Commanding on set-pieces, the ever-attacking full-back has points potential at both ends of the pitch, and Chelsea are yet to bring in competition for his spot. The potential arrival of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, however, might just change Alonso’s fortunes, especially with the Champions League quickly approaching.
4) Zanka (HUD)
Huddersfield’s surprise start in the Premier League is a relief to Fantasy players far and wide, regardless of the game format they choose to play on. Huddersfield offer incredible value across the park, and this has been shown in rapid investment in Jonas Lossl, Aaron Mooy, and central defender Mathias Jorgensen (aka Zanka), who have all seen their FPL ownership increase to over 5.0%, which is the least the Terriers deserve after a huge seven points from the opening three games of the season.
Zanka is a worthy addition to the Defender Power Rankings ahead of his team mates as of right now. Boasting an assist to his credentials, one more attacking return than his fellow defenders, Zanka has sat just outside of the BPS in both matches in return he managed just a clean sheet, with Chris Lowe and Chris Schindler producing more tackles, blocks, and interceptions than the Dane, but has overall managed just one less point than our Number one pick in our Goalkeeper rankings, Jonas Lossl.
Travelling to West Ham for the first game at the London Stadium this season, might continue the recent trend of fortunes with both clubs. Huddersfield will fancy their chances against a side who has not won a game this season, and have struggled to acclimatise to their new home. With a high-pressing formation, Huddersfield could profit much like Newcastle did, allowing the Hammers no time on the ball and ushering a shaky defence into questionable decision making, all which has Joe Hart looking nervously on in goal.
5) Maya Yoshida (SOU)
Before the first kick of a ball this season, every FPL pundit under the sun were screaming that the addition of a Southampton, or two, was a must, ahead of the 2017/18 season. With two home games to begin the campaign before an away trip to Huddersfield, writing was on the wall that Pellegrino would help to further install a defensive edge to Southampton, and on the most part that has been the case. Of course, with a side outside the top six, you’re always going to get some freak displays, like what happened with Javier Hernandez’s brace at St Mary’s, but on the most part it has been a success.
Southampton’s Maya Yoshida has started the season where he left off, as club captain, claiming two clean sheets from the opening three games, and even managed an assist as he was brought down in the penalty by Zabaleta during Gameweek 2, with Charlie Austin converting a last-minute winner. Yoshida has the added advantage of being on certain set-piece situations, and looks a constant threat when attacking from corners and free kicks.
Ultimately, Southampton have provided consistency with their selections, opting for Bertrand, Stephens, Yoshida, and Cedric, as the chosen back four in every game this season. This might not be the case for long however, with Jan Bednarek Wesley Hoedt waiting in the wings. The situation with Virgil van Dijk has yet to be resolved also, and if he remains at Southampton, the Dutch defender will hope of going to the World Cup next summer (that is of course if the Netherlands qualify, which once again is in the balance after failing to qualify for Euro 2016), which means he’ll eventually play.
One to consider: Kyle Naughton (SWA)
With the close of Gameweek 3 ushering in the beginning of a first wildcard season, perhaps Swansea might offer an avenue for a 5th defender choice. With two clean sheets so far this season, against Southampton and Crystal Palace, the Swans were brushed aside 4-0 by Man United, but have fared excellently from a defensive standpoint in their first two away games of the season. At the tip of the spear for FPL thought would be Kyle Naughton, who has claimed bonus points in both away fixtures so far, as well as an assist at Crystal Palace. Naughton is a favourite of Paul Clement’s and will offer a good run of fixtures between now and Gameweek 10, which is ideal if any of your players might clash and you need and Plan B to be put into effect.
Swansea’s Next 5 Fixtures:
GW4: Newcastle (H)
GW5: Spurs (A)
GW6: Watford (H)
GW7: West Ham (A)
GW8: Huddersfield (H)