Skip to Content

Best Defenders to Pick in EURO 2024 Fantasy

You need to select 5 defenders in EURO 2024 fantasy and there are many to choose from!

In addition to clean sheets, defenders typically get more points from ball recoveries than any other positions, increasing their ability to rack up points compared to in Fantasy Premier League.

In selecting defenders, managers need to consider not only the defensive solidity of the team, but also the attacking quality of group stage opponents, the player’s attacking threat, and when they play across each set of matches.

Below are the optimal options for fantasy teams.

Virgil van Dijk (The Netherlands)

  • Price: €6m
  • Picked By: 33%
  • Fixtures: Poland, France, Austria

Despite the lofty price tag, van Dijk is the second most selected defender in the game, with good reason.

Holland were one of the stronger defenses in EURO qualifiers. They kept clean sheets in 5 of their 8 matches, and while they conceded 7 goals, 4 of these were in a 4-0 defeat to France in their first game. Since then, they’ve been impeccable.

A major positive for van Dijk is that he’s now expected to be on penalties. He scored one against Greece in November last year after which manager Ronald Koeman confirmed Van Dijk would be first-choice taker moving forward.

While this isn’t a complete guarantee due to previous first-choice penalty taker, Memphis Depay, not being on the pitch when Van Dijk took the spot-kick, it’s likely Van Dijk will be taking them at EURO 2024.

A clean sheet will be difficult to come by in MD2 against France but Holland will have a higher chance in their other 2 group games.

Joao Cancelo (Portugal)

  • Price: €6m
  • Picked By: 24%
  • Fixtures: Czech Republic, Turkey, Georgia

For a defender, Cancelo has an excellent international goal-scoring record. He has 10 senior goals in 51 appearances with 3 of those coming in EURO 2024 qualifiers.

He looks likely to start for Portugal. He started 7 of the 9 qualifying games he was in the squad for, playing at both right and left back.

Coming into the tournament, Portugal are the most in-form team. They scored the most goals in qualifying (36) and kept the most clean sheets too (9).

This is very encouraging for an attack-minded player who also gets clean sheet points, such as Cancelo.

The fixtures are great, too. No teams scored fewer goals in qualifying than the Czech Republic, with Turkey scoring just 2 more and Georgia having no prior experience at major tournaments

Another potential benefit Cancelo has is that Portugal play on the final day of each round of matches. If any of your players fail to start or return, you’ll have one of the best defensive assets ready to sub for your worst performer.

Theo Hernandez (France)

  • Price: €5.5m
  • Picked By: 27%
  • Fixtures: Austria, Netherlands, Poland

Theo Hernandez has had a characteristically productive season in front of goal with 5 goals and 11 assists for AC Milan across competitions.

Our EURO 2024 predicted lineups has him at an 80% likelihood of starting for France at left-back.

Historically, he has been preferred to Ferland Mendy and his brother, Lucas, is set to miss the tournament through injury.

France are one of the strongest defensive sides, keeping 6 clean sheets in their 8 qualifying games.

Clean sheets could still be difficult to come by though according to our matchday clean sheet odds. France have a 44% chance of a clean sheet in MD1 and 37% in MD2.

Despite having no “easy” games in their group, France have shown great defensive form of late and Hernandez offers the most attacking threat of the French defenders.

Joakim Maehle (Denmark)

  • Price: €5.5m
  • Picked By: 2%
  • Fixtures: Slovenia, England, Serbia

A cult hero at EURO 2020 following some exceptional attacking displays, Maehle could be another great defensive option at the competition’s next installment.

His record for Denmark stands at an impressive 11 goals and 7 assists in 43 games, with 3 of those goal contributions coming in Euro 2024 qualifiers.

After keeping just 3 clean sheets in 10 qualifying games, however, it’s hard to see where Denmark could get clean sheets in their group.

England are the tournament favourites, Serbia have some great attackers in their ranks and Slovenia were a good attack in qualifiers, scoring the 8th most goals.

A €5.5m price tag and limited chance of a clean sheet make Maehle a risky pick.

He offers great attacking potential though and has done well at previous European Championships.

Overall Maehle is an interesting differential option.

Update: Given how Denmark have lined up in recent friendlies, it’s not certain that Maehle will start.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (England)

  • Price: €5.5m
  • Picked By: 16%
  • Fixtures: Serbia, Denmark, Slovenia

One of the biggest debates around the England EURO 2024 lineup is who will partner Declan Rice in midfield.

With a goal and all-round standout performance in England’s most recent friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alexander-Arnold has made an excellent case to take that spot.

He can play at both right-back and central midfield, and offers excellent attacking threat from both positions.

His current England record is 3 goals and 5 assists in 24 games.

Alexander-Arnold is a risky pick for fantasy teams – at England’s most recent international tournament, the 2022 World Cup, he made a solitary substitute appearance.

Even in EURO 2024 qualifiers, he featured in only half of England’s games.

Fantasy managers opting for TAA should ensure they have a defender who plays after him for each set of matches and can be subbed on if he doesn’t play.

John Stones (England)

  • Price: €5m
  • Picked By: 4%
  • Fixtures: Serbia, Denmark, Slovenia

With the second-best clean sheet odds for the first 2 sets of matches, selecting an England defender seems logical. For those looking for a nailed pick, Stones is the one.

He’s started every game for England at their previous 3 major international tournaments.

This has continued into EURO 2024 qualifiers. Stones missed 3 of England’s qualifiers through injury but started 4 of the 5 he was fit for.

Kyle Walker looks equally nailed in the England defence. Costing an additional €0.5m for marginal extra attacking threat.

Alejandro Grimaldo (Spain)

  • Price: €5m
  • Picked By: 19%
  • Fixtures: Croatia, Italy, Albania

Grimaldo excelled in Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten Bundesliga victory this season, accumulating 24 goal contributions in the league alone.

Despite only making his national team debut in November, Grimaldo looks to be Spain’s first-choice left-back with a 90% chance of starting.

Spain’s first 2 fixtures look unlikely to yield clean sheets – they have a 43% chance of a clean sheet in MD1 and 34% chance for MD2.

In Albania (MD3), however, Spain play one of the 2 teams in the tournament that scored the fewest goals in qualifying. This is an excellent fixture to target for a defender.

Federico Dimarco (Italy)

  • Price: €5m
  • Picked By: 21%
  • Fixtures: Albania, Spain, Croatia

Despite some difficult later fixtures, Italy have a great opening game against Albania and consequently the highest MD1 clean sheet chance of any team. Picking at least one Italian defender for that opening game is an astute move.

Dimarco is the best pick in the Italy defense. Our predicted lineups put him and Acerbi as the most likely starters (80% each). With Dimarco the much more attacking option, he’s the one to go for.

He’s got 2 goals and 2 assists in his 17 senior Italy appearances so far.

Dimarco also took some of Italy’s free kicks in qualifiers which boosts his attacking potential. He’s yet to score one for Italy but has in the past at club level.

Maximillian Mittelstadt (Germany)

  • Price: €4m
  • Picked By: 17%
  • Fixtures: Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland

To fit all the exciting, expensive assets into our EURO Fantasy teams, savings need to be made somewhere. Look no further than Mittelstadt.

The left-back is the joint cheapest defender in the game and is expected to start for host nation Germany.

He has just 3 caps for Germany but following an exceptional season with Stuttgart, started both of Germany’s friendlies in March. He even scored in the second friendly against Holland.

While the likes of Rudiger and Tah are more proven options at international level, Mittelstadt‘s price makes him the best value German defender.

Germany also play on the first day of each round of matches. So, in the event Mittelstadt doesn’t play, managers should have alternatives that can be subbed on anyway.

Wout Faes

  • Price: €4m
  • Picked By: 9%
  • Fixtures: Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine

Faes is another budget option who offers great value for his price.

He started at centre back in all of Belgium’s qualifiers and they kept 5 clean sheets out of their 8 games.

Belgium’s group looks encouraging for potential clean sheets. They are among the top 5 teams most likely to get a clean sheet for both MD1 and MD2.

In qualifiers, Faes also contributed 5.25 ball recoveries per game. This would translate to close to 2 points per game from ball recoveries.

With their defensive form in qualifiers and relatively ‘easier’ group, a Belgium defender looks a good choice.

While the likes of Castagne probably offer more attacking threat, at €1m less, Faes is the one to go for.