Fantasy Premier League Tips: Five defenders to bring in the points

Andy Robertson
As a fantasy asset, Robertson provides amazing consistency.

Holly Shand shares her defender picks for the beginning of the 2020/21 season. Will we get a gem of a defender priced at £4.0 million like last season's John Lundstram ever again?

"Alexander-Arnold was the only defender to score over 200 fantasy points last campaign, amassing four goals and 15 assists along the way."

The Headline Pick: Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5) - Liverpool

It comes as no surprise to see Trent Alexander-Arnold right at the top for defenders ahead of this season. He is currently the only player with an ownership of over 50%, more than double the next nearest defender. His status as almost essential in our fantasy squads is well deserved, given his pedigree.

Alexander-Arnold was the only defender to score more than 200 fantasy points last campaign, amassing four goals and 15 assists along the way. The only downside was that Liverpool kept fewer clean sheets in their title winning season than they did in 2018/19, with a slight drop off in performances as they got over the line.

Many fantasy managers were fearing that Alexander-Arnold would come in at a price in excess of £8.0 million, but he's actually priced lower than he was at the end of last season. It's still a big price tag to accommodate, but it would take a brave manager to go without the most offensive minded defender in the Premier League.

Liverpool are now available to back at 10/11 to keep a clean sheet against Leeds United on opening day.

The Budget Pick: Tyrick Mitchell (£4.0) - Crystal Palace

Us fantasy managers have been blessed with absolute defensive gems priced at £4.0 million in the last two seasons: last year it was John Lundstram who played consistently all season in midfield, he was out of position, and regularly chipped in with goals and assists. The season before that we had Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

It looks like the full-back spots at Crystal Palace could potentially bring us an enabler once more. Much of the early momentum was for new right-back Nathan Ferguson and although he will arguably be a great option for the season as a whole, he looks likely to miss the opening few weeks as he regains full fitness from a knee injury.

1280JohnLundstram.jpg

There could be an opening on the opposite flank for youngster Tyrick Mitchell. It's expected that Patrick Van Aanholt will miss the opening period of the season as he continues to recover from a dislocated shoulder, with the 21-year-old likely to deputise. He earned 193 minutes during Project Restart and has played 134 minutes over Palace's two pre-season games to date.

The VAR Pick: Andrew Robertson (£7.0) - Liverpool

When it comes to premium picks, doubling up on the Liverpool defence is going to be a popular strategy for the early weeks of the season, especially since some clubs are without a fixture in Blank Gameweek 1. Andrew Robertson is often overlooked on the left side because of the sheer brilliance of Alexander-Arnold, but he's an excellent fantasy option in his own right.

Across the last two seasons, Robertson has been an ever-present in this Liverpool back-line and his attacking output is second to just Alexander-Arnold in fantasy history. He was the first fantasy defender to ever post a tally of more than 10 assists in a single season, with a total of 12 assists in each of the last two campaigns.

As a fantasy asset, Robertson provides amazing consistency: he's rarely injured and is playing in perhaps the most solid defence in the Premier League. Liverpool kept 21 clean sheets in 2019/20 and backed that up with an additional 15 shut-outs last season on their way to lifting the Premier League trophy.

Liverpool are now available to back at 15/8 to win the Premier League in 2020/21.

The Sleeper Pick: Ruben Vinagre (£4.5) - Wolves

When it comes to shopping for a reliable defender priced at £4.5 million, Wolves' Ruben Vinagre should be top of the list. He's crept in as an option due to the injury to Jonny, who is first choice at left wing-back for Wolves. Jonny is set to miss at least the first half of the season, as he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament injury picked up in the Europa League in August.

That paves the way for Vinagre to be an offensive-minded defender playing in a very solid Wolves defence: they've kept 21 clean sheets over the course of the two seasons that they've been back in the Premier League. Vinagre has plenty of experience in this Wolves side, due to the rotation demands from their Europa League involvement last campaign.

No long European trips for this season means that the Wolves line-up should be more stable on a weekly basis, and with Matt Doherty now departed for pastures new on the opposite flank, it may now be the left side which becomes more prevalent for attacking output this season. Vinagre is an exciting fantasy prospect.

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The Wildcard Pick: Matt Doherty (£6.0) - Spurs

Finally, it's former Wolves man Matt Doherty who sneaks in as our wildcard pick, following his big money move to Tottenham Hotspur. On a personal level, he was a player that I was desperately trying to squeeze into my Gameweek 1 squad, but his move in the transfer window has thrown some doubt on his appeal.

At Wolves he had a very good understanding with the likes of Adama Traore, Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez. He consistently assisted goals for Jimenez, cut inside the right winger to take shots on goal and posed a huge aerial threat from set pieces. The big question is whether he gets the same licence to attack under Jose Mourinho?

We do know that Mourinho's sides are normally very well organised from a defensive perspective, with a boost in clean sheets expected. He also allows the right back to be much more offensive in attacking play, although Serge Aurier adopted positions closer to the touch-line last season, providing crosses into the box. Doherty could be a great option, but it does come with some risk.

Join our Fantasy Premier League mini-league competition, Betfair Battle, using the code xk2msv or hit the auto-join link. Good luck!

Follow me on Twitter @FFCommunity_ and find even more Fantasy Premier League Tips over on the Fantasy Football Community website.

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