Last week I kicked off my preseason tips series with an article on Keeper combinations. Today, I’m going to cover which defenders that I think look promising.
I like Center backs. They are in the perfect place to get a lot of Clearances, Blocks, and Interceptions (CBIs). This is one of the most important starts to look for in a defender if you want to have a high bonus point earning player. All of my picks focus on these players so if you don’t see a player that you like, that could be the reason.
I’ve broken this down into two sections. The first covers players returning from last season who saw substantial playtime. The second looks at new players and a few who saw limited minutes.
Let’s just start at the top. The two most expensive defenders in the game are Collin and Omar Gonzalez costing a whopping $10m each. In my opinion, both of these players are a no for the first few weeks. Gonzalez has a bad schedule between CCL games and bye weeks, and Collin opens with what could be a tough away game and then CCL. It seems much safer to save some cash and get some of the quality cheaper defenders and pick up one of these guys later in the season.
The $9.5-$9.0 range has one of my favorite defender choices, Chris Schuler. Many of his numbers are lower than some others, but that was due to an unfortunate injury he suffered last season. Before that, he was great for bonus points, which his CBI/90 shows well. I just wish that RSL had a better looking start to this season.
As for the rest: Besler suffers from the same downside as Collin, Olave might not play at Vancouver due to the turf field, Borchers is a slightly cheaper version of Schuler, and Okugo stands out less with other higher CBI/90 options being cheaper (including his likely CB partner). *Edit* Added Goncalves to chart
The $8.5-$8.0 range is where options explode so I’ll just mention a few of my favorites. Hedges had a strong start last season and DAL has a promising first 4 games this year. Marshal played very well for CLB last season, and now that he’s part of a better defensive unit, I expect to see similar numbers from him. Bernardez is a solid defender but not highly owned right now, due to SJ’s bye week and CCL games, but be sure to take another look at him around week 6. When it comes to POR players, Kah gets my vote. He had solid numbers last season and has seen a lot of playtime during the preseason. Portland also starts with 2 home games. Berry is my favorite of the $8.0m players and now that he has moved to PHI, it seems likely he’ll be partnered with Okugo. Soumare and Boswell are two that I have reservations about right now, but I think they are worth watching.
The $7.5-$7.0 range is where finding sure starters starts getting harder. Jermaine Taylor is my favorite pick here. He missed a lot of time to injury and international call ups last season, but will surely be a fixture of the HOU defense. Bocanegra is another one to keep an eye on. He helped improve Chivas near the end of last season and should help this year as well but he has been absent for the last few preseason games, so keep an eye one him. Finally, I’m keeping an eye on Parke. He played well at PHI last season and comes in at $1m less than Boswell. I just don’t know what to expect from DC.
Others to keep an eye on are: O’Brien, DeMerit, Leonardo, and Opara. All have little things that make me want to see more (in Opara’s case, he could play if Collin is rested for CCL games), aren’t secure starters, or don’t have the best opening games. Add them to your Watch List though.
Any player who is $6.5 or less is really a crapshoot and only a few even look to have a chance at starting. Jean-Baptiste could be a bargain if you like Chivas’ 2 home games or feel good about them in general. O’Neill is one to keep an eye on, but he appears to be recovering from an injury right now but played the majority of last season for Vancouver.
New and Slightly Used
Several of these players have seen a lot of time during the preseason. I’ve tried to identify the ones who I think will start, but many others are low priced for a reason.
Paparatto and Horst have the best chance to start and are both currently on my team. Hernandez and Armando look to have the next best shot. If you want value, E. Miller should see a start on Montreal’s wing and Remick continues to challenge for a wing spot in Seattle’s defense. Everyone else is still up in the air, especially the Chivas players.
No matter what your strategy is, there are a lot of great values to be found in defenders. Many of them average 1+ CBI/90 per $1 of cost. Depending on your strategy, it should be easy to find someone who is an ideal fit for your team.
These are my favorites
Chad Marshall $8.5m– Seattle has, arguably, the best 4 starting games of the season (3 home). The SKC opener will be the toughest, but home field is always an advantage. Marshall has great CBI generation and he’s also a target for set pieces. If you want to double up on a team, this is one of the ones to look at.
Matt Hedges $8.5m- Dallas also has 3 home games in the first 4, but their away game should be a little tougher than Seattle’s. Still, Headges was a quality defender last season and I believe he will start the season strong again. His CBI/90 is also as good or better than players that are $1-$1.5M more expensive.
Norberto Paparatto $8.0m- Portland is another team that starts the year with two home games and with the defensive record they built last season, it’s hard to not want to load up on them. Paparatto is the best option since he is a CB, $0.5 less than Kah, and should have similar CBI production. This is the other team that you could look to if you want to double up. OH and no Bye weeks.
David Horst $5.5m- A starting CB that is under $6m? Sign me up! That’s exactly what Horst is and when you pair that up with a strong defensive past and 2 home games to start the season, it just gets better and better.
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