Fantasy Football Matchday 2 lessons: Defenders

Ball recoveries have changed the complexion of the game for defenders, with Virgil van Dijk among the Matchday 2 beneficaries.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk made 19 ball recoveries on matchday 2
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk made 19 ball recoveries on matchday 2 ©AFP/Getty Images

The new ball recovery rule has changed the nature of the game for defenders in #UCLfantasy.


In past seasons, if a defender in your #UCLfantasy team conceded a goal then the only way they could bring in significant points would be through scoring themselves or providing an assist. This is no longer the case, and there was no better example of this on matchday two than Virgil van Dijk (€6.5m).

The Dutchman was part of a Liverpool back line that conceded three goals to Salzburg, but still amassed seven #UCLfantasy points due to an incredible 19 ball recoveries. This is comfortably the highest recorded by a player in the UEFA Champions League this season and it meant he equalled the points return of Trent Alexander-Arnold (€7.0m) despite his Liverpool team-mate recording an assist.

In fact, defenders dominated when it came to ball recoveries on Matchday 2. Eight of the top nine players in this area play in defence, and the majority of them are budget-friendly options. Galatasaray's Christian Luyindama (€4.5m), Jhon Lucumí (€4.0m) of Genk and Salzburg's Konrad Laimer (€4.0m) all received four extra points for recovering the ball at least 12 times. Given that this is the equivalent of a clean sheet, these frequent ball-winners are offering excellent value at the moment.