Stats Summary – Finding Value at Defender 2017

Value at Defender

This is part three of the four part series about finding the value for each position. This one focuses on finding defender value. Here’s links to the forward and midfielder articles.

For those of you too lazy to read the last posts…. the important column in this table is the rightmost one labeled “Residuals”. The higher that number, the better value a player is.

Cash is King

Even with the massive price compression for defenders, price is still a major factor for how much of a bargain a player is. There are no 6.5 priced defenders in the top 10. The cheaper defenders always come with the risk that they won’t start – guys like Williams, Harris, Burling, Lade. Keep an eye on expected starters. We’ll hopefully be able to spot a cheap unexpected starter like what happened with Steres last year.

That said, there are some pricier sure starters that are worth the cash. Afful, Zimmerman, Morrow, and Matarrita (who had the most bonus points for any player in one game last year) are all guys I like.

SKC’s Jimmy Medranda was reclassified as a defender this year after being a midfielder last year and will reap the extra clean sheet points. He was a bonus point machine last year and seems to be in the starting role this year. Also, teammate Ike Opara has a place in the lore of MLS fantasy as he is a consistently great option …. until he inevitably gets hurt just as people are starting to jump on the hype train.

web_name2017 Priceteam_shortgstartsAdjusted scoreppsvorp ppsResiduals
Williams5COL15925.872.211.81
Burling5COL16865.381.721.32
Harris5DAL211145.331.671.28
Phillips5RSL231235.221.561.16
Afful6CLB291725.862.21.13
Watson4.5NE18894.831.171.12
Duvall5MTL201075.151.491.1
Morrow6TOR301755.82.141.07
Allen5.5NYC191115.421.761.03
Opara5SKC17995.061.41.01
Rogers5LA18945.061.41
Matarrita6NYC211245.712.050.98
Zimmerman6.5DAL3018062.340.93
Horst4.5RSL251174.640.980.93
Lade5NY15764.871.210.81
Ramos4.5ORL11504.450.790.74
Moor6TOR321735.411.750.68
Naess6CLB13705.381.720.65
Burch5.5COL271375.041.380.65
Sjoberg6.5COL311775.712.050.64
Glad5.5RSL271354.961.30.57
Tribbett4.5PHI18964.280.620.56
Yaro5PHI13644.620.960.56
Watts5.5COL18924.941.280.55
Kemp6DC301595.271.610.54
Hedges6.5DAL261455.581.920.51
Medranda5SKC221304.550.890.49
Collin6NYR231215.221.560.49
Marshall6SEA301555.171.510.44
Beitashour5TOR291304.480.820.43
Zizzo4.5NY21934.140.480.43
Figueroa5.5DAL271264.811.150.42
Anibaba4.5HOU291214.140.480.42
Fabinho5PHI281264.460.80.41
Evans5.5SEA201024.81.140.41
Tierney5.5NE261264.771.110.38
Cabrera5.5MTL20994.751.090.36
Besler6SKC17925.061.40.33
Bernardez5.5SJ321524.721.060.33
Oyongo5MTL261174.350.690.29
Woodberry4.5NE239340.340.29
Valentin4.5POR187340.340.29
Wynne5SJ311354.320.660.27
Waston5.5VAN261214.650.990.26
Campbell5.5CHI311464.650.990.25
Powell5POR23994.30.640.25
Birnbaum6DC261294.961.30.23
Boswell5.5DC291354.620.960.23
Brillant6NYC311534.941.280.21
Abdul-Salaam5SKC261184.230.570.18
Hines5ORL22964.230.570.17
Toia5ORL14634.210.550.16
Zavaleta5TOR14604.210.550.16
J Taylor4.5POR21833.860.20.14
Lefevre5MTL12514.170.510.11
Miller5COL23974.130.470.08
Steres6LA301444.771.110.04
DeLaGarza5.5LA231024.390.730
Franklin5.5DC271204.370.71-0.02
Farrell5.5NE321404.340.68-0.05
Lawrence5NY207240.34-0.05
Jones5SEA291293.970.31-0.09
Harvey5VAN281113.960.3-0.09
Van Damme6LA271274.630.97-0.1
Camara5.5MTL251094.280.62-0.11
Ciman6MTL281294.610.95-0.12
Rosenberry5PHI341333.910.25-0.14
Meira5.5CHI251114.240.58-0.15
Ridgewell5POR22853.860.2-0.19
Parkhurst5.5ATL341414.150.49-0.24
Maund5RSL19733.790.13-0.26
Mateos4.5ORL20683.4-0.26-0.31
Vincent5CHI24913.710.05-0.34
Beltran5RSL271023.70.04-0.35
Francis5CLB13593.690.03-0.36
Marquez5PHI331213.670.01-0.39
Parker5VAN281033.64-0.02-0.41
Mears5.5ATL311213.940.28-0.46
S Williams5VAN20643.1-0.56-0.61
Kappelhof5.5CHI311193.770.11-0.62
Sarkodie4.5SJ12383.08-0.58-0.63
Cole5.5LA25943.720.06-0.67
Harrington4.5CHI14432.93-0.73-0.79
Francis5SJ17563.18-0.48-0.88
Redding4.5ORL15402.6-1.06-1.11
Alston4.5ORL22572.5-1.16-1.21
Wingert4.5RSL19412.11-1.55-1.61

Word of Caution

Defenders are very heavily reliant on clean sheets for their scoring. There is not a lot of correlation from one year to the next about which teams keep the most clean sheets. We do know that defenders have the largest boost when playing at home compared to away. So, it makes sense to always pick home defenders until a team reveals their offense is completely inept.

Since clean sheet bonuses apply to the entire back line who played 60+ minutes, it might be wise to save some cash and get the cheaper options in a unit if you’re playing for the clean sheet. This might mean picking someone like Atiba Harris over Zimmerman or Hedges to save some money and forgo the point upside of the expensive counterparts.

There’s been a lot of speculation this year that having back lines of 4 defenders might make sense. Defender value is good enough this year to justify that strategy if it means you get to upgrade someone like Adi to Giovinco.

About Andrew Crollard

Andrew has worked as both an economist/data analyst and as a university and youth soccer coach. Naturally, marrying soccer and data together is a perfect fit.

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