With Euro 2020 just around the corner, fantasy football squad with questionable team names are appearing around the country at rapid speed.
After all, the only way to enjoy an international tournament more is by ensuring you have something resting on every game in the form of fantasy league points.
However, if you want to ensure you beat your friends and family to the winner’s crown this summer, a watertight defence will be required, because, as any seasoned fantasy football player knows, it’s no good scoring them only to concede a hat full at the other end.
Thank fully, we’ve put together a list of the key defenders for every budget that we think will bring you points and, ultimately, bragging rights.
How do I play?
Easy. Head to the official Euro 2020 fantasy football site, pick and manage your own dream team for the tournament, and you’ll receive points based on your players' real-life performances throughout the tournament.
There are unlimited free transfers right up until the first game kicks off. Which is Turkey v Italy at 8pm on Friday 11 June and the deadline for all team picks.
What is my budget and how do I pick my squad?
To get started, you’ll need to pick a squad of 15 players, with a total budget of €100 million.
You can pick two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards then, on match day, you must pick a starting XI in any formation, from your squad of 15. When the competition reaches the knockout stages, your budget will increase to €105 million.
Which defenders are a ‘must pick’ for your side?
Jordi Alba – Spain (€6m)
The Barcelona left back has long been viewed as one of Europe’s best, with his speed and crossing accuracy ensuring he is not just steady in defence, but one of Spain’s most creative players.
Spain aren’t the force they were a decade ago, but we expect them to progress to the latter stages of the campaign. It would be no surprise to see the Barca star near the top of the assist rankings either and, with the Spanish favourites to progress from their group, you should gain plenty clean sheet points early in the tournament.
Alessandro Florenzi – Italy (€6m)
Roberto Mancini’s side have one of the meanest defences in the competition and, at the time of writing, have not conceded a single goal in six games. The last team to score more than one goal past the Azzuri was tournament favourites France – and that was all the way back in 2018.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have any of Italy’s defenders, but Florenzi is likely to start every game they play in the tournament and will pick you up plenty points in the group stages, with the Italians clear favourites to win the group.
Lucas Hernández – France (€6.5m)
According to the bookies, Didier Deschamps are the favourite to go one better than they did in Euro 2016 and win the tournament. Bayern Munich defender Hernández definitely falls into the pricey category, but he is a guaranteed started for the French national team, and are likely to go far in the competition, so he should gain you points throughout the tournament.
Denzel Dumfries – Holland (€5m)
With all due respect to their opponents, the Dutch have been handed a fairly straightforward group they should waltz through without too many problems.
After a tricky few years, the Oranje have grown measurably recently, their attacking flair may steal the majority of the headlines, but they have a mean defence with the likes of Matthijs de Ligt, Daley Blind and Owen Wijndal.
However, Dumfries is the stand out when it comes to picking up fantasy league points after he racked up 11 assists for his club side, PSV Eindhoven, in their most recent campaign. Definitely the most likely of Holland’s defenders to contribute in the final third. Make him one of your first picks this summer.
Which defenders offer the best value for money?
Çağlar Söyüncü – Turkey (€5m)
A key player for FA Cup winners Leicester City, the Foxes defender is also a stand out for his country Turkey.
While they may not stand out as tournament favourites, they had one of the toughest defences in the qualifying stages of the competition, keeping eight clean sheets in 10 games, conceding only three goals throughout. With Italy, Switzerland and Wales in their group, there’s every chance they could take second place, and a few more clean sheets to go with it.
At €5m,Söyüncü would be a very shrewd purchase.
Borna Barisic – Croatia (€4.5m)
The Rangers left back ended the Scottish Premiership season as the second most statistically creative player in the entire league. Not bad for a defender, eh?
The Croats are not the same force that made it all the way to the World Cup final in 2018, but they are certainly no fools. Second favourite to get out of their group, they will give any team in the tournament a challenge, and we would expect the Osijek born 28-year-old to bring in assist points, with clean sheets to boot.
Jason Denayer – Belgium (€4.5m)
Selecting the former Celtic defender in your fantasy team is an absolute no brainer.
Almost certain to form part of Roberto Martinez’s back three, the Lyon defender has had a great season in France and will be looking to transfer that onto the world stage with his country, who are one of the tournament favourites.
Coming in as one of the cheaper options on the list, Denayer is an absolute bargain that should guarantee you clean sheet points.
Simon Kjær – Denmark – (€4.5m)
The Dane’s know a thing or two about winning the European Championships against the odds – after all, they did it in 1992, defeating Germany in the final thanks to a wonder strike from Arsenal’s Jon Jensen.
While many will point to Christian Erikssen as Denmark’s key man, it’s actually their defensive record which is most impressive, having conceded just three goals in their last 10 matches.
A snip at that price, Kjær should be in your squad.