Who are the best defensive options for those 2016/17 English Championship fantasy football teams ?
Defenders are often underrated in fantasy football games, with the points they provide able to take a team from being mid-table also-rans to genuine contenders at the top of the leaderboard.
Goalscoring defenders are a must but it is vital to consider clean sheets too, while anyone with a bad disciplinary record should be treated with extreme caution.
With the English Championship getting under way this weekend, here is our guide to five defenders worth considering for your fantasy football teams this season.
Shane Duffy – Blackburn Rovers
Rated by WhoScored as the sixth-best player in the Championship last season, Blackburn Rovers centre-back Shane Duffy became a first-choice defender for Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016 this summer so should start the new campaign in high spirits.
The 24-year-old is very good in the air and scored four goals last season, as well as providing a pair of assists for his team-mates, although his former defensive partner at Rovers Grant Hanley has been sold to pre-season title favourites Newcastle United for a fee of £5 million.
Duffy will therefore be the leader of the Rovers back line under their new manager Owen Coyle and it is possible he could even improve on last year’s outstanding WhoScored rating of 7.40.
Aden Flint – Bristol City
No defender in the Championship scored more goals last season than Aden Flint, with the giant centre-back notching six times for Bristol City although they finished in the bottom half of the table.
From set-pieces there are few defenders as lethal as Flint anywhere in England, let alone in the Championship, as he hit an amazing 14 goals in the 2014-15 League One season as his side won promotion to the second tier.
Flint’s goals to games ratio for Bristol City is around the one in five mark, which would be creditable for a forward, never mind a defender, and he is unlikely to break the bank in Championship fantasy football games this season.
Matt Mills – Nottingham Forest
Another goalscoring centre-back worth considering for Championship fantasy football games is Matt Mills of Nottingham Forest, who found the net five times for his side last season.
Forest have struggled to make an impact on the league in recent years, but Mills was one of their brightest players last season, although his WhoScored rating was just 6.94, significantly lower than his scores for the two previous years he spent at Bolton Wanderers.
Mills was booked 11 times last season, however, so his disciplinary record may put some players off from selecting him in their Championship fantasy football teams.
Luke Chambers – Ipswich Town
Next up in our list of the top five defenders to consider for Championship fantasy football teams this season is Luke Chambers of Ipswich Town.
The Tractor Boys look a solid bet for a play-off place under Mick McCarthy this season and Chambers will again be a key man, having made five assists and scored three goals last year.
A WhoScored rating of 6.95 was indicative of Chambers’ very solid performance levels last season, with the club captain hoping to lead his team to the Premier League this time out.
Charlie Taylor – Leeds United
Leeds United left-back Charlie Taylor could yet be on the move before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, with a number of Premier League clubs reportedly interested in buying the 22-year-old from the Yorkshire club.
Taylor recorded four assists for the Whites last season, although he only scored a single goal, with his crossing a particularly strong asset for his side.
New Leeds boss Garry Monk has reportedly turned down a transfer request from Taylor, while the club’s chief executive officer Ben Mansfield previously revealed Taylor has signalled he will not sign a new contract at the club.
A fee of around £6 million has been mooted for Taylor, but if he can be tempted to stay at Elland Road for another season he could prove to be a very wise selection in Championship fantasy football games over the coming weeks and months.