When selecting a squad for UCL Fantasy, managers must select five defenders. Identifying quality defenders early is an important strategy for team success.
They might not have the allure of their attacking counterparts but they will get your team a lot of points throughout the competition. Notably, 5 of the top 10 point scorers last season were defenders.
This article will list the best premium, mid-priced and budget midfielders to select from. For those of you who want to try something a little different in your UCL Fantasy teams, we’ll also share a few differentials.
- See More: Best Midfielders to Pick in UCL Fantasy 2021/22
- See More: Best Forwards to Pick in UCL Fantasy 2021/22
Best Premium Defenders
The best premium defenders in UCL Fantasy 2021/22 are Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joshua Kimmich, Luke Shaw, Achraf Hakimi and Ruben Dias.
The premium price range is €6.0m and above and many of the players priced in this bracket are well known to the average football fan. Ideally, the premium defender spot(s) are where managers don’t have to use transfers and where players are fixture proof.
|Joshua Kimmich||Bayern Munich||€6.5m||25%|
|Luke Shaw||Man Utd||€6.0m||15%|
|Ruben Dias||Man City||€6.0m||16%|
Managers who play FPL will know that TAA is a great fantasy asset. He is a right-back who finds himself playing in midfield numerous times throughout a game and is on a number of Liverpool’s set pieces.
Last season in the UEFA Champions League, TAA played 729 minutes, accumulating 6 clean sheets, 2 assists and 56 ball recoveries, totalling 59 points.
Liverpool find themselves in an interesting group with AC Milan, Porto, and Atletico Madrid. Neither of the three teams are offensive juggernauts so a few clean sheets seem likely for TAA while he is always a threat on the offensive side.
TAA is a great fantasy option to start with and a top premium defender in the group stage, he is also the highest owned defender currently in the game with an ownership of 32%.
Bayern Munich are not always known for their defensive prowess and do tend to give up a few goals. Bayern are however, one of the most offensive teams in Europe and Kimmich is a defender playing out of position in midfield.
They should top Group E which includes Barcelona, Benfica, and Dynamo Kyiv. Bayern should also score their fair share of goals and keep a few clean sheets in the process.
Kimmich finished last year’s Champions League season with 636 minutes played, 3 clean sheets, 4 assists, 1 goal and 35 ball recoveries. This offensive output should continue with the opponents Bayern are scheduled to play in the group stage.
Kimmich is also on many set-pieces and has a current ownership of 25%.
Luke Shaw was a standout performer in EURO 2020 but those positive performances have not fully translated into the Premier League thus far.
Manchester United find themselves in a favourable group including Atalanta, Villareal and Young Boys. They should comfortably top Group F.
The fact remains that Shaw is an offensive defender on a top team in Europe and is on a number of set pieces.
Based on the fixtures, Manchester United should also keep a number of clean sheets in the group stage. Shaw’s offensive output and favourable fixtures make him a top premium defender.
One of PSG’s many high-profile transfer signings this summer was right back Achraf Hakimi. In PSG’s last two Ligue 1 games, Hakimi has registered an assist in both and has looked very offensive.
PSG’s group includes another tournament favourite Manchester City along with Club Brugge and RB Leipzig.
Having to play Manchester City twice in the group stage is not great but his other four matches are very favourable. Hakimi should register a few offensive points along with a few clean sheets.
He is an exciting premium pick with high upside and is currently the highest owned defender at 39%.
Manchester City are one of the most defensively strong teams in all of Europe which is evident in the 19 clean sheets they kept in the EPL last season.
Dias is not the most offensive player; however, he is the most nailed to start in the Manchester City defense (1007 minutes played last year).
Playing in Group A, Manchester City will keep clean sheets and having security of starts will be key for Dias. He finished last year as the 4th highest scoring defender in UCL Fantasy with 60 points.
Since managers are able to see starting lineups (depending on kick off time), Joao Cancelo (€6.0m) is also another strong Manchester City premium defender. The only issue with Cancelo is his security of starts.
Best Mid-Priced Defenders
The best mid-priced defenders in Champions League Fantasy 2021/22 are Marquinhos, Antonio Rudiger, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, David Alaba and Mats Hummels.
The mid-priced range is €5.0m/€5.5m and typically has some great defender options every Champions League season.
Choosing the correct mid-priced defenders can be a massive boost for managers constructing their teams, saving budget in the defence to spend elsewhere while not having to use transfers on defenders.
|Aaron Wan-Bissaka||Man Utd||€5.0m||10%|
|David Alaba||Real Madrid||€5.0m||10%|
The PSG captain gets a spot at the top of the mid-priced defenders list.
As discussed with Hakimi, PSG have a favourable group for keeping clean sheets (other than Manchester City) which is key when deciding on a mid-priced defender.
Combine that with Marquinhos goal threat from set pieces, make him a top target for managers.
Since Thomas Tuchel took over Chelsea, they have transformed into one of Europe’s top defensive teams.
Chelsea is in a favourable group with Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg and Malmo and should come away with a number of clean sheets.
Rudiger is a starting defender for the defending champions and should start most of the group stage games.
His offense is limited but his security of starts make him Chelsea’s top defensive asset.
If you are willing to play Chelsea defence roulette, Reece James (€5.5m) is an outstanding pick if he starts.
Usually when Manchester United defensive fantasy assets are discussed it revolves around Luke Shaw. At £5.0m, Aaron Wan-Bissaka has to come into the discussion.
He may not be as offensive and not on set pieces like Shaw but Wan-Bissaka is Manchester United’s starting right back and is €1.0m cheaper.
He is a great alternative to Shaw and may be United’s best defensive asset based on price.
One of Real Madrid’s only summer signings, David Alaba appears to be a solid mid-priced option in defense.
Madrid find themselves in a favourable group including Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and newcomers Sheriff. Clean sheets will be attainable for Alaba with these fixtures.
So far, it appears he is playing as part of a back four in Ancelotti’s lineup. Alaba does however have offensive skills and accumulated 2 assists and 56 ball recoveries last year finishing with a total of 44 points.
Having the group Madrid has makes him a strong fantasy asset for the group stage.
Mats Hummels isn’t the most exciting pick but with Dortmund’s fixtures and his security of starts it does make him a top option in the group stage.
Dortmund’s group includes Sporting CP, Ajax and Besiktas and they should finish top of Group C.
Hummels has limited offensive upside but with these fixtures he should be able to keep clean sheets. He is also a ball recovery beast finishing last season with 75 balls recovered.
He is currently injured, so monitor his status heading into the first group stage match.
Best Budget Defenders
The best budget defenders for the 2021/22 UCL Fantasy game are Marcos Acuna, Stefan Savic, Maximilian Wober, Noussair Mazraoui and Douglas Santos.
Budget defenders include those priced at €4.5m or less. These options usually encompass players not as well known to the average football fan.
While not as known, they are just as crucial to starting with a successful team. In order to fill out a team, budget players are a necessity.
|Stefan Savic||Atletico Madrid||€4.5m||1%|
Marcos Acuna tops the list of budget defenders and a main reason for this is the group Sevilla finds themselves in.
Group G includes Sevilla, Lille, Salzburg, and Wolfsburg with each team believing they can proceed and enter the knockout stage.
Acuna is a left back who does tend to get forward throughout games and Sevilla are a solid defensive team. Center back Diego Carlos (€4.5m) is another strong option for Sevilla but Acuna offers more offensive upside.
Group B is not the easiest group for Atletico Madrid. However, as long as Diego Simeone is their coach, they will have a chance for a clean sheet in any game they play.
For this reason, Savic is a great budget option as he is a nailed starter and receives a lot of points for ball recoveries (55 ball recoveries last season). He is a solid budget enabler at his €4.5m price tag.
He is suspended for MD1, however, so bare that in mind when selecting.
Identifying €4.0m defenders who start for their teams is important to help building value in other areas.
Wober may not be a household name and his stats do not jump off the page but he is a starting centre back for a solid team in a very open group.
Salzburg should be able to keep some clean sheets in Group G which would be a huge bonus from a €4.0m defender.
Noussair Mazraoui is an offensive right back playing for a top team in the Eredivisie.
Other than Dortmund, Group C is a favourable group for Ajax and the possibility of clean sheets.
With Mazraoui, it is not only about defense, he is also an offensive threat as he already has one goal to his name in the Eredivisie this season. He is a good pick with high upside at €4.5m.
Much like Wober, Douglas Santos is not a household name however he is a €4.0m player who is nailed to start for a team in the Champions League.
Santos is a left back which helps his offensive threat however the knock against him is the group Zenit finds themselves in having to play Chelsea and Juventus.
Clean sheets may be hard to come by, but he is a cheap player who will most likely start every group stage game.
Best Differential Defenders
Differentials are low-owned players with potential to pick up points. The threshold we’re using for differentials is 3% owned or lower which makes two of the best differential defenders in Champions League football as Harry Maguire and Joel Matip.
Generally, a differential is defined as ownership of 10% or less.
Harry Maguire is currently picked by 3% of UCL Fantasy managers. He is the third Manchester United player included in this list.
With Man Utd’s fixtures though, they are hard to ignore and Maguire rarely misses a game.
He also tends to pop up with the odd goal from a set piece. He is £0.5m cheaper (€5.5m) than Luke Shaw and could be good value.
Joel Matip has a TSB of just 1%. Additionally, he is a cheap route (€5.0m) into the Liverpool defence as long as he keeps his starting position.
He has started every game for Liverpool this season and has played well. The issues with Matip is he is injury prone and Liverpool have competition at centre back.
Since managers can see lineups before picking teams and making transfers he could be worth a selection should he avoid rotation.