Defenders to watch in Fantasy Premier League 2011/12

The Fantasy Premier League game is only about 3 weeks away from being relaunched for this season so I thought I would look ahead and try to pick out players who could be in for a big season.

It’s a 3 part series of articles looking at defenders, midfielders and forwards.

I’ve tried for a mix of obvious big name talent and some lesser known players who could be potential bargains.

Let’s start with defenders…

Vincent Kompany – Man City

Kompany played every minute in all but one of Man City’s games last season – a rare breed with City’s constant rotation around him. He had a terrific season and was arguably their most reliable player.

But there was one big problem with Kompany as a fantasy prospect: he was classed as a midfielder in FPL but was actually playing in defence for Man City.

Kompany received 1 clean sheet point when Man City kept a clean sheet, instead of the 4 points for a defender, and he was never going to get attacking returns like normal midfielders.

Kompany was part of the leagues best defence, racking up 18 clean sheets, so instead of having 18 clean sheet points, he should have had 72 if he had been correctly classified as a defender.

So Kompany’s total of 95 points last season should have been around the 150 mark! Right up there with the top scoring defenders.

Surely FPL will reclassify his position to defender next season so definitely one to watch.

Predicted price: £7m

Martin Kelly – Liverpool

The young Liverpool right back had a brief spell in the Liverpool side during January and February and looked every bit the part before a hamstring injury ended his season.

Kelly’s defending was solid and he also offered plenty of attacking threat with foraging runs and crosses.

Kelly has a very bright future and has every chance of starting the next campaign as first choice right back – especially with Dalglish’s policy of giving youngsters a go.

There’s the small matter of dislodging England right back Glen Johnson but we’ve already seen Dalglish move Johnson to left back to accommodate Kelly.

The lack of certainty surrounding Kelly’s starting role may keep his new price tag low so we could be looking at a potential bargain.

Predicted price: £5m

Kieran Gibbs – Arsenal

The young English left back has been biding his time at Arsenal as he’s had to play understudy to Gael Clichy.

There’s no denying the potential of Gibbs. He’s already made 2 senior England appearances at the age of 21 and is probably the long term replacement for Ashley Cole.

The signs seem to be that Clichy will move on this summer, with Roma and Liverpool as possible destinations.

So we need to monitor events here, but if Clichy is sold, Gibbs will surely come into the first team and deliver us a bargain defender from one of the top 4 teams.

Predicted price: £4.5m

David Wheater – Bolton

The former Middlesbrough defender moved to Bolton in the January transfer window but played second fiddle to Zat Knight and Gary Cahill for most of the season.

Cahill now looks set to move on to bigger things so Wheater will likely come into the first team.

I personally don’t usually go near Bolton defenders (they’ve had about 10 clean sheets in 2 seasons), but Wheater is a big goal threat on set plays and garnered 18 bonus points in 2007/08 when he played for Boro in the Premier League.

I can see him having a good season and proving a popular goal scoring budget defender. The new Gary Cahill?

Predicted price: £4.5m

There’s your defenders then. Let’s see how they do. Of course there are many others defenders who will be in for a good season, but I wanted to focus on some players who wouldn’t immediately spring to mind.

Read about my midfielders to watch in Fantasy Premier League 2011/12 here, and forwards on the way soon…