Vote for the best FPL defenders of 2023/24

Voting in our Fantasy Premier League (FPL) 2023/24 end-of-season awards continues with the defenders.

Here, we outline the case for each candidate in our poll.

Overall score, points per match and value in FPL were all factors we considered when compiling this shortlist. The rest we’ll leave up to you.

Much like the goalkeepers, defenders struggled for relevance this season.

Clean sheets were in relatively short supply, with only three teams banking more than 10 of them. Nine clubs had done so in 2022/23.

But many defenders chipped in with attacking returns to partly compensate for the concessions at the back.

You’re allowed up to five votes in this poll (you don’t have to use them all), although only the top three are guaranteed a place in our team of the season. As is the case in FPL, three is the minimum number of defenders in our reader-voted XI.


defenders of 2023
  • Points: 182/164/149
  • Points per match: 4.9/4.3/4.1
  • Start cost: £5.5m/£5.0m/£5.0m
  • End cost: £6.1m/£5.9m/£5.4m

Arsenal’s impressive trio all made the podium for the highest-scoring defenders in FPL. Regular starts and superb off-the-ball work from the entire team ensured the Gunners conceded the fewest goals (29) in 2023/24.

The arrival of Jurrien Timber in the summer meant Ben White’s place in the side was at first uncertain but a season-ending injury to the Dutchman in Gameweek 1 and White’s strong understanding on the right with Bukayo Saka brought rewards for FPL managers who recognised his ability to contribute at both ends of the pitch.

Among defenders, no one produced as many as his 27 returns. Only Saliba matched his 18 clean sheets, while Cristian Romero was the sole defender to beat his tally of four goals.

White’s forays upfield produced the fourth-highest haul of attacking returns among defenders (nine) and he came on particularly strong in the final third of the season, as Arsenal’s title charge gathered pace. From Gameweek 24, he racked up 104 points (24 more than his nearest challenger, Saliba.)

As mentioned above, Saliba was unsurpassed for clean sheets and proved to be a model of reliability for managers keen on a set-and-forget defensive option. He was one of only two outfielders to play every single minute of the season.

Arsenal’s title challenge faltered last season when the Frenchman got injured but this time around he was an ever-present who averaged 4.3 points a match. His total of 21 returns was only bested by White.

Speculation swirled around Gabriel’s future at the start of the campaign to the extent that he didn’t get his first start until Gameweek 4, much to the chagrin of managers who had selected him from the start of the season. He soon became a regular fixture who amassed points, however.

The Brazilian’s tally of 20 returns was just one shy of Saliba and his four goals made him the joint-leading goalscoring defender.


defenders of 2023
  • Points: 136
  • Points per match: 3.9
  • Start cost: £5.0m
  • End cost: £5.9m

2023/24 was not a season for trusting Tottenham Hotspur defenders for clean sheets. Unless Ange Postecoglu changes his “we’re going to give it a go, mate” philosophy, neither will 2024/25.

But ‘Ange-Ball’ does encourage attacking football, and that’s where Pedro Porro comes into it.

The Spaniard was given licence to maraud forward and also take corners and free-kicks, which led to eight assists – a tally bettered only by Kieran Trippier and Alfie Doughty. 

Porro also scored three goals for a total of 11 attacking returns, which, among defenders, was bettered only by Doughty.

All in all, Porro proved a strong FPL asset – coming joint–top in his position for bonus points (20), fourth for total returns (18) and fourth in the game for FPL points (136).

He came third for big chances created (13), too, which suggests his final points tally could have been even better had the recipients of his service been more clinical in front of goal.


FPL Gameweek 11: Szoboszlai, Brentford + the importance of playing subs 3
  • Points: 124
  • Points per match: 3.5
  • Start cost: £4.0m
  • End cost: £4.5m

Few would have anticipated Everton defenders representing a worthy investment for FPL managers, especially after the start they made to the season. The Toffees managed just one win and one clean sheet from their first nine matches, a run in which Branthwaite managed just 12 points.

But as Sean Dyche’s methods began to sink in, so a superb defensive partnership with James Tarkowski became to evolve. Among defenders, Branthwaite came sixth for returns (16), fifth for clean sheets (12) and seventh for goals scored (three). 

With the pressure piling on during the run-in as Everton battled to stay in the division, Braithwaite’s displays improved. From Gameweek 32 until Gameweek 38, only Josko Gvardiol and White produced more than his 43 points.

Best of all, though, was that he started the season costing managers just £4.0m. Only Saliba and White were better value over 2023/24, based on points per million.

He ended the campaign as the fifth-highest-scoring defender in FPL and with a host of clubs seemingly interested in acquiring his services.


defenders of 2023
  • Points: 123/123
  • Points per match: 3.8/4.4
  • Start cost: £5.0m/£5.0m
  • End cost: £5.5m/£5.2m

Recency bias will no doubt benefit Gvardiol in the vote and there’s an argument that he’s maybe lucky to be in this poll.

Before the March international break, the Croat had only made 16 starts and hadn’t delivered a single attacking return.

Gvardiol really came to prominence in the final quarter of the season, delivering four goals, two assists, five clean sheets and 11 bonus points in 10 starts.

Over 64% of his overall score of 123 came in those 10 games. Nevertheless, his form was season-shaping for some Fantasy managers, especially in Double Gameweek 37 when he walked away with 27 points.

Level on points with Gvardiol, and joint-sixth among defenders, was Walker.

The England international was more slow and steady.

His five assists and 10 clean sheets were spread out over the course of the season, as were his 13 bonus points.

As important was his reliability of starts in the first half of 2023/24. He started all of City’s opening 20 matches, while one of his two subsequent substitute appearances came early enough for him to bank clean sheet points.


FPL Gameweek 19 differentials: Doughty, Stones + Eze 3
  • Points: 101
  • Points per match: 2.7
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £4.3m

Like a mini-Porro, Luton’s Doughty was more about the attacking returns: the Hatters only delivered two clean sheets all season.

But no defender registered more goals and assists combined than Doughty, who delivered 10 of the latter.

No player in his Fantasy position created more chances over the course of 2023/24. Involvement at set plays, as well as an advanced role at wing-back, helped him to that lofty standing.

He really came to the fore from Gameweek 15 onwards, with 13 of his 14 Fantasy returns arriving after this point.

Assists were banked in two of Luton’s three Double Gameweeks, too.

While his overall points total wasn’t great, that ‘cult figure’ status – helped by a mid-season availability at £4.4m – will have left some owners with fond memories.


How to solve the Estupinan FPL problem 1
  • Points: 102
  • Points per match: 3.3
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £4.4m

Perhaps a name you might not have expected to feature in this article but someone with some decent credentials all the same.

His total number of returns, incorporating clean sheets, goals and assists, matched Gvardiol and Walker (15).

No centre-half could beat his tally of nine attacking returns, either.

He was joint-eighth among defenders for bonus (13) and joint-third for double-digit hauls (three).

From Gameweek 12 onwards, when he nailed down a starting XI place and Bournemouth’s purple patch began, his points-per-start average of 4.4 was the same as Saliba’s and better than those of Walker, Porro, Branthwaite and more.

This is despite him picking up 13 yellow cards for the season, the joint-highest total in the league.


FPL Gameweek 14 Scout Picks: Kelleher features in Liverpool triple-up 1
  • Points: 111
  • Points per match: 4.0
  • Start cost: £6.5m
  • End cost: £6.6m

The opposite of Gvardiol in that Trippier’s early-season achievements now seem like a distant memory.

However, after his final full appearance before injury hit in Gameweek 27, Trippier was top of all defenders – even the Arsenal trio – for points.

He was, at that stage, also first for bonus points (20), double-digit hauls (four), returns (17) and attacking returns (11).

Despite barely featuring in the final third of the campaign, no defender could better his total of 10 assists come Gameweek 38.

While more reliable on home soil, the pinnacle of his season was a hat-trick of assists at Sheffield United in Gameweek 6.

Haaland Foden