The best premium FPL defenders for 2022/23

Premium defenders come under the spotlight as we continue to examine the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) price list.

There are nine defenders currently priced up at £6.0m or above and we’ll weigh up the pros and cons of each of them in this article.

With unlimited transfers allowed during the World Cup downtime and a Wildcard to use before then, we’re mostly focusing on Gameweeks 1-8 in this series.

Our look at budget defenders in the £4.0m-£4.5m bracket will follow soon.

Opta stats on the players featured in these articles are available in our Premium Members Area, where you can now get a full year’s subscription for just £2.49 a month.


The best mid-price and premium FPL goalkeepers for 2022/23

Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) was the top-scoring FPL defender in 2021/22, with his total of 208 points placing him third in the overall rankings.

The right-back produced 14 attacking returns, yet still ended the campaign with a negative expected goal involvement (xGI) delta (-1.91), while 32 bonus points was at least five more than any other FPL defender.

Given his all-round points potential, it still feels like Alexander-Arnold is under-priced, even at £7.5m.

As for fellow full-back Andrew Robertson (£7.0m), his consistency from Gameweek 13 onwards in 2021/22 was simply outstanding.

In that time, the 28-year-old racked up 27 returns (be it goals, assists or clean sheets) in 21 starts, blanking in just three of those outings, whilst also averaging a whopping 7.6 points per match.

Based on this year’s prices and last year’s points, Robertson is the best-value FPL player for value (points per million per game) of those assets with more than 2,000 minutes to their names.

It’s expensive, but given the duo’s output at both ends of the pitch, there is a compelling case to double-up on Liverpool’s full-backs from the off.

READ MORE: Alexander-Arnold v Robertson: Who is the best Liverpool FPL defender?


While centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) and Joel Matip (£6.0m) don’t carry the same explosive potential as the Liverpool full-backs, both performed admirably in 2021/22 and are cheaper – although perhaps crucially not as much as they could have been, with Alexander-Arnold not getting the expected rise to £8.0m+.

Van Dijk produced three goals – level with Robertson and one more than Alexander-Arnold – three assists and 13 bonus points in 34 starts, averaging 5.4 points per match, a total that ranked 11th among all defenders.

Matip, meanwhile, was FPL’s best-value player based on points per million. However, it remains to be seen if he will remain the first choice in the Premier League, with Ibrahima Konate (£5.0m) often preferred in Europe last season.

If reliability of starts is no longer guaranteed, then Matip isn’t worth the £6.0m considering that other potential rotation risks like Chelsea’s wing-backs offer much more attacking threat when they do make it onto the pitch.

Player Starts Goals (xG) Assists (xA) Clean sheets Bonus Points per start
Alexander-Arnold 32 2 (2.90) 12 (13.01) 18 32 6.5
Robertson 29 3 (1.63) 11 (5.52) 17 23 6.4
van Dijk 34 3 (2.50) 3 (0.97) 21 13 5.4
Matip 31 3 (3.59) 3 (1.97) 17 20 5.5


The best mid-price and premium FPL goalkeepers for 2022/23 1

Joao Cancelo (£7.0m) finished second among FPL defenders for points in 2021/22, hitting 201.

As a result, he is one of the most expensive defenders in FPL this year, but should still be worth it.

The Portuguese’ total of 11 assists equalled Robertson’s tally and was only one short of what Alexander-Arnold managed last season, while his playmaking abilities helped him rack up 27 bonus points.

Shooting is a big talking point with Cancelo. He attempted 81 shots last season, at least 30 more than any other FPL defender, but only found the net once, with the majority of his efforts arriving from range. However, it was a different story in Europe, with two goals in nine Champions League outings, which does suggest with a bit more luck, we could see one or two more fly in next season.

The wayward shooting meant that Cancelo was the biggest ‘underachiever’ among defenders for xGI in 2022/23 (a delta of -3.70), something that he’d surely struggle to emulate this season given the quality of player and teammate.

As it stands, there doesn’t seem to be too much competition for Cancelo’s starting spot, either, with Oleksandar Zinchenko (£5.0m) recently linked with a move to Arsenal. Should Manchester City sign Marc Cucurella (£5.0m) from Brighton and Hove Albion, as they have been tipped to do, Cancelo may see his game-time slightly reduced, although his versatility could also see him take up a regular role on the right-flank instead.

Aymeric Laporte (£6.0m) and Ruben Dias (£6.0m), meanwhile, are slightly less glamorous options, but shouldn’t be written off.

In fact, when applying the new 2022/23 FPL prices, their points per million (PPM) per game sits at 0.81, just ahead of Cancelo’s 0.80 total.

Laporte actually registered four goals last season, all of which arrived from set-piece situations, and was a secure starter at the back, starting 33 Premier League matches.

Dias racked up seven attacking returns in 27 starts last term but his spot was slightly less secure.

Sussing out who the ‘mainstay’ is this season (and there is generally one a year, with Laporte in 2021/22, Dias in 2020/21 and Nicolas Otamendi in the past) will be key, as the central bedrock will be a popular City double-up with Cancelo – or maybe even an alternative to the full-back, given what we discussed above about value.

Player Starts Goals (xG) Assists (xA) Clean sheets Bonus Points per start
Cancelo 36 1 (5.12) 11 (6.58) 19 27 5.6
Dias 27 2 (2.69) 5 (1.88) 14 12 5.1
Laporte 33 4 (4.74) 2 (1.25) 18 8 4.8

READ MORE: FPL 2022/23: Can Dias or Laporte cover Cancelo?


The best mid-price and premium FPL goalkeepers for 2022/23 4

Reece James (£6.0m) and Ben Chilwell (£6.0m) were fundamental to Chelsea’s attacking approach when fit last season.

Now, if Thomas Tuchel continues using wing-backs, they could turn out to be a pair of underpriced gems.

James’ season may have been interrupted by injury, but he showcased his attacking instincts across his 22 Premier League starts, producing five goals, nine assists and 26 bonus, averaging 6.3 points per start.

In fact, he produced 18+ points on three occasions last season, a feat Alexander-Arnold failed to achieve once.

Chilwell made only six starts and one substitute appearance in an injury-ravaged 2021/22, but generally posed the bigger goal threat under Tuchel, while James bossed the underlying creative stats.

Above: James v Chilwell 2021/22 (averages per appearance)

READ MORE: Chilwell v James: Who is the best Chelsea defender in FPL?

We have occasionally seen James at centre-half, which does dent his attacking potential, although the imminent signing Kalidou Koulibaly suggests he’ll be taking up a wing-back role, at least to start the season.

As for Chelsea, they ranked third for goals conceded, clean sheets and expected goals conceded (xGC) last season, and are once again expected to be one of the best defences in the division, despite the loss of the influential Antonio Rudiger.

Notably, Tuchel’s side face only two of last season’s top six in their first 12 fixtures, hosting Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in Gameweek 2 and 8 respectively.