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Best Defenders to Pick in World Cup Fantasy Football

The most expensive players in World Cup fantasy are mostly forwards but that doesn’t mean you should overlook defenders.

In fantasy World Cup, defenders earn 5 points for a clean sheet and a further 7(!) points for a goal.

So, in the event a defender does score a few during the tournament, there are a lot of points to be had.

Here are the best defenders in World Cup fantasy football.

Denzel DumfriesNetherlands$6m
Joao CanceloPortugal$6m
Nicolas TagliaficoArgentina$5.5m
Benjamin PavardFrance$5m
Luke ShawEngland$5m
Joakim MaehleDenmark$4.5m

Denzel Dumfries

  • Price: $6m
  • Fixtures: Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar
  • Picked by: 25%

Dumfries is a wing-back in the Netherlands’ 3-4-1-2 system, giving him more license to get forward and contribute to the attack.

For Inter Milan he has a goal and two assists this season, recording an xAG of 3.2 (7th highest in Serie A).

He attacks the box very well, taking 3.8 touches in the opposition box per 90 this season, and proved that at the Euros, scoring twice in the group stage.

With games against the likes of Qatar and Senegal, who are potentially without Sadio Mane for the first game, the Dutch could also keep a few clean sheets.

Update: Dumfries was substituted following an injury 25 minutes into the Atalanta Inter Milan match.

Joao Cancelo

  • Price: $6m
  • Fixtures: Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
  • Picked by: 46%

Cancelo is the most owned defender, with half of all teams including him.

This is with good reason too, as he has scored two and set up three goals for Portugal in 2022.

The Man City full-back is averaging the most shots per 90 in his position in Europe’s big 5 leagues (1.7), scoring with every shot on target in the league.

He has also made 25 passes into the opposition’s box this term, the 5th most.

Portugal’s defence is solid, only conceding 6 in qualifying as well as just three in the Nation’s League.

A great pick with those fixtures in mind too.

Nicolas Tagliafico

  • Price: $5.5m
  • Fixtures: Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
  • Picked by: 3%

With Argentina having such great clean sheet odds for their group games, many managers will be trying to fit an Argentine defender into their squads.

Lisandro Martinez is the most picked Argentinian defender at 16% but at $6m and a relatively small chance of goals and assists, he is an expensive option.

One player that seems to be flying under the radar a little is Tagliafico.

He has been in good form for Lyon, scoring once and assisting twice in Ligue 1, and appears to be La Albiceleste’s first-choice left-back.

Our World Cup predicted lineups currently has him at a 30% chance of starting. So, be ready to transfer him out ahead of kick-off should he not start.

Benjamin Pavard

  • Price: $5m
  • Fixtures: Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
  • Picked by: 14%

Pavard could be a bargain this tournament, as he may feature as a wing-back for the World Cup holders, with no other recognisable right-back in the squad.

French coach Deschamps is a fan of his, selecting him at the tournament four years ago.

Read More: Best Midfielders to Pick in World Cup Fantasy Football

He is a cheap way into the France defence, which comes up against weak opposition in Australia and Tunisia.

For Bayern this season he’s made 66 passes into the final third (5th most in the Bundesliga), so there’s potential for assists too.

Luke Shaw

  • Price: $5m
  • Fixtures: Iran, USA, Wales
  • Picked by: 10%

Luke Shaw was impressive at the Euros, getting three assists and scoring in the final. If he can replicate that form again he’ll be a bargain in World Cup fantasy.

He and Kieran Trippier are both the same price ($5m) and are each good going forward, but the advantage Shaw has is that there are no other left-backs in the squad to compete with.

England’s defence is also strong at tournaments, conceding only twice at Euro 2020 (the fewest).

He’s playing well this season, with two assists in all competitions, at a rate of 0.3 per 90 (96th percentile in Europe’s big 5 leagues).

Also, as Shaw plays early in the matchday, you could even select him as captain. In World Cup fantasy you can change your captain several times during each matchday.

Joakim Maehle

  • Price: $4.5m
  • Fixtures: Tunisia, France, Australia
  • Picked by: 20%

Maehle is a great cheap option, playing for a good team who will almost certainly make it out of the group.

He plays either left-back or left wing-back for Denmark, making three assists in the 2022 Nations League.

Read More: Best Forwards to Pick in World Cup Fantasy Football

Furthermore, he was their top scorer in the qualifiers, scoring 5 goals.

Denmark face Tunisia and Australia, who they can expect to beat and keep a clean sheet, as well as France, who they beat twice in the Nations League.