Fantasy Football group stage lessons: Defenders

There were two key pointers from the group stage: pick full-backs while centre-backs dominate in terms of ball recoveries.

Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi scored four times in the group stage
Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi scored four times in the group stage ©Getty Images

When it comes to selecting defenders for the knockout rounds, there are two principal lessons the group stage has taught us.

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Firstly, #UCLfantasy managers would be wise to stock up on full-backs who play on either flank. The top two scorers among defenders who still remain in the competition, Achraf Hakimi (€5.8m) and Juan Bernat (€5.7m) occupy wide positions.

Virgil van Dijk impressed for ball recoveries
Virgil van Dijk impressed for ball recoveries©Getty Images

The benefit of owning players who operate in these roles as opposed to the centre of defence is that they are often more involved in attacks, meaning additional points can be registered through attacking returns. This is evident from the fact Hakimi has four goals to his name while Bernat has picked up two assists so far.

This is not to say that centre-backs should be ignored completely, as they tend to outperform full-backs when it comes to ball recoveries – our second key takeaway from the group stage. The top two defenders in this department during the group stage were Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (€6.5m) and Mats Hummels (€5.6m) of Dortmund. Indeed, of the top nine scoring defenders when it comes to ball recoveries, eight of them usually operate at centre-back.

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