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Pre-Season

What price hikes to key FPL defenders mean for our squads in 2019/20

A number of price hikes have completely changed the layout of Fantasy Premier League defenders.

After suggestions that a five-man defence of attacking full-backs would be the way to go in 2019/20, the members of the premium and mid-price categories in this position have gone some way to ruling that tactic out already.

This is the first of a series of articles reviewing each position by price now that FPL has launched for the new season.

Following excellent 2018/19 campaigns, both Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will start 2019/20 at £7.0m.

That should complicate the quandary of Liverpool’s defence this season as doubling-up on both of these options could leave Fantasy managers significantly short of funds elsewhere.

It is likely that we will be forced to choose between them and opt for only one, which could prove an incredibly difficult decision.

Robertson finished the season with 213 points, the most ever scored by a defender in FPL history but Alexander-Arnold caught up with him towards the back end of the campaign.

The Englishman recorded 13 assists to Robertson’s 12 in the end and had a hand in corners and free-kicks.

Now that we have confirmation that the two players will be the same price for 2019/20, we will have further analysis in a Members article.

Robertson and Alexander-Arnold will start the 2019/20 campaign both priced at £7.0m

Despite suggestions that Virgil van Dijk could be the same price as his full-back colleagues, he is already offering an undercut on them at £6.5m.

Crucially, three Liverpool defenders who will be hoping to nail down a regular starting spot in the side could potentially provide a bargain route into their backline.

Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez have all come in priced at £5.5m.

Of this trio, the former started the most matches in 2018/19, featuring from the beginning 17 times and registering 1,535 minutes.

However, if he can get back to full fitness for 2019/20, Gomez could reclaim his place at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.

He appeared to be the first choice to sit alongside van Dijk at the beginning of 2018/19, making 12 starts between Gameweek 1 and the injury sustained in Gameweek 15.

That was the same number of starts as Alexander-Arnold, as Gomez occasionally played at right-back, and 10 more than Matip during that period.

Laporte is one of just three defenders priced at £6.5m

The only other defensive options who will cost Fantasy managers more than £6.0m from Gameweek 1 this season are Marcos Alonso (£6.5m) and Aymeric Laporte (£6.5m).

The Frenchman’s price hike could see a return to options such as Benjamin Mendy or Kyle Walker, both of whom have come in at £6.0m.

However, with neither of them particularly immune to Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy, maybe Oleksandr Zinchenko (£5.5m) could be the go-to man when covering the Manchester City defence.

Reclassified as an FPL defender, he started nine matches in the final 10 Gameweeks of 2018/19.

Nicolas Otamendi (£5.5m) and John Stones (£5.5m) both start the same price as him but at present, it’s hard to say which of them will partner Laporte at centre-back on a regular basis.

David Luiz should offer better value than Marcos Alonso once again this season

Meanwhile, with David Luiz (£6.0m) and Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m) both £0.5m cheaper than Alonso, it could be another year of regression for the Chelsea left-back as a Fantasy asset.

Furthermore, Emerson Palmieri (£5.5m) continues to offer a cheaper option and could be a potential bargain if he manages to wrench the first-choice spot away from Alonso full-time.

Meanwhile, Antonio Rüdiger is also in the £6.0m bracket but does not carry as much additional offensive potential as Luiz and Azpilicueta.

Just two defenders created more big chances than Chelsea’s Brazilian centre-back in 2018/19.

Digne has come in £0.5m higher than expectations

One of those was Everton man Lucas Digne who has surprised a few by joining the £6.0m club for 2019/20.

With Everton’s incredible early fixtures, and impressive defensive performances in the back-end of 2018/19 (eight clean sheets in 11), a slightly higher price than we were hoping will disappoint many Fantasy managers.

Perhaps then, 2019/20 will be the season that Seamus Coleman returns to the forefront of the game.

Despite outscoring Digne in the calendar year of 2019 so far, the right-back starts the new campaign £0.5m cheaper than the Frenchman at £5.5m.

This is another comparison we will be covering in a Members article.

Doherty’s FPL price for 2019/20 will probably have you puffing your cheeks

Also cursed by an impressive 2018/19 campaign was Matt Doherty who has risen by £1.5m between last season and this.

The Wolves right-back will cost Fantasy managers £6.0m from Gameweek 1 in 2019/20, almost effectively ruling him out of consideration.

Despite involving himself in 11 of Wolves’ goals last term, Doherty kept just eight clean sheets – and let’s not forget that the easier fixtures were when Fantasy managers were often let down the most.

It is still worth saying that Nuno Espirito Santo’s men probably underachieved when it came to defensive returns in 2018/19 and could potentially do better this time around.

Only Liverpool and Manchester City allowed fewer big chances than Wolves last season and they also ranked fourth-best for expected goals conceded (xGC).

However, with the added consideration of the Europa League, so-so opening fixtures and, at present, a relatively small squad still, we can’t exactly guarantee an improvement in defensive returns for Doherty.

Therefore, it is hard to justify the £6.0m price-tag for the right-back considering that Fantasy managers already have to consider spending more money on Liverpool and Manchester City defences in 2019/20 first.

For some additional context, Doherty costs the same amount as Walker, Mendy, David Luiz and Azpilicueta.

Unfortunately, Doherty’s colleague on the opposite flank of defence cannot really offer much of an undercut either. Despite scoring just 103 points last season, Jonny has seen his price rise to a very steep £5.5m.

Not only does he suffer the same defensive shortcomings as Doherty, but he was also miles behind the Irishman for attacking threat in 2018/19.

Jonny recorded just four attacking returns last season, from one goal and three assists.

Furthermore, 35 defenders registered more touches in opposition boxes than the Spaniard and 12 played more key passes.

Ben Chilwell can undercut Ricardo Pereira in 2019/20

Also arriving in 2019/20 more expensive than expected is Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira who has been priced at £6.0m.

That should see Ben Chilwell earn some popularity as a cheaper alternative, as he, like Coleman, will be £5.5m from Gameweek 1.

Furthermore, if he does end up completing a move to a top-six side, Manchester City linked with him, he could be a decent bargain option too.

If he does remain at Leicester, Fantasy managers could still be faced with a choice between the two defenders.

Chilwell played more key passes than Pereira in 2018/19, but the latter registered five times as many big chances created than his English colleague.

“There is a discount on Spurs defenders for 2019/20 – Pass it on.”

One interesting opportunity for Fantasy managers is £0.5m being knocked off the key Spurs defenders for 2019/20.

Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Ben Davies, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sánchez have all arrived as £5.5m options, with Serge Aurier joining Juan Foyth and Kyle Walker-Peters in the £5.0m section.

These reductions could be good news for Fantasy managers as Spurs had the joint third-best defensive record in the Premier League in 2018/19, conceding 39 goals.

Only Manchester City (23) and Liverpool (22) were breached fewer times, while only four clubs kept more clean sheets.

However, their first four fixtures do look tough with a trip to the Etihad and a north London derby in Gameweeks 2 and 4 respectively, although their home fixtures up until Christmas are very promising.

Spurs were also fortunate not to concede more often in 2018/19.

They had the biggest negative xGC delta of all last season, no team recording worse than their -8.60.

Despite their woeful defensive performances in 2018/19, there are still three Arsenal defenders in the £5.5m bracket.

Despite scoring just 81 points in 2018/19, Kolasinac has seen his price increase to £5.5m

They are Hector Bellerín, Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi.

Arsenal conceded 51 goals last season and kept just eight clean sheets and only one away from home – that last statistic proving the worst in the league.

Also probably priced out of consideration in the £5.5m department are Crystal Palace full-backs Patrick van Aanholt and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

After starting last season at £4.0m, we all knew that the young right-back wouldn’t stay cheap for long.

Considering he was involved in just three goals for the Eagles in 2018/19, £5.5m seems a bit much to pay for not much more than investment in their defence, even if they did keep 12 clean sheets last season.

Admittedly, he was in the top eight for bonus points among defenders last term (18),

It is possible that the game-makers at FPL handed Wan-Bissaka such an inflated price in anticipation of his move to Manchester United.

How Wan-Bissaka compared against Man United defenders in 2018/19

However, even at the Red Devils, he might not necessarily offer much more than Luke Shaw (£5.5m), Ashley Young (£5.5m), Victor Lindelöf (£5.5m) or Chris Smalling (£5.5m).

With his attacking potential fairly minimal, you could even argue that his clean sheet potential could drop at Old Trafford compared to Selhurst Park.

Manchester United conceded 54 goals in 2018/19, keeping seven clean sheets while Palace were breached 53 times and recorded 12 shutouts.

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357 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Nick.P
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    5 months, 18 days ago

    B SHARP? Not in any teams. 6 million...surely if Sheffield united score its very likely to see Sharp involved?

    I have him ahead of DCL at the moment

    1. The 5% Team
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 18 days ago

      can't see them scoring that many

    2. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      He's their striker so you'd think so.

    3. Adderz
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      We're looking for two new strikers. Billy will be involved - but I'm not sure how much.

  2. Magic Zico
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Evening folks! A bit surprised today for the early launch. Have fun for a long pre-GW1 preparation 😉

  3. Dele
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    We go again, time to try put a team together with all these overpriced players.

  4. VanDijksToWatchOutFor
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Way too early but here's my third draft. Feel free to rate it if you need to scratch that itch.

    Travers
    Taa, robbo, laporte, digne, trippier
    Sterling, salah, siggy, Zaha
    King

    Fodder everywhere else.

    1. Vardy McVAR Farce
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 17 days ago

      I think Fodder will be the most selected player this season 🙂

  5. diesel001
    • 3 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Norway 0-1 England

  6. Wild Rover
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Nice dummy 😀

    1. Brosstan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      :p Great play by Bronze though

    2. VanDijksToWatchOutFor
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 18 days ago

      Fooled me 😉

      1. Giggs Boson.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 18 days ago

        Genius deception.

    3. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      Followed by precision placement.

    4. Paul Psychic Octopus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      haha. The best and worst of women's football in a single move.

  7. VanDijksToWatchOutFor
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Well that's my evening freed up then. Goal.

  8. Giggs Boson.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    If Daniel James starts and scores GW1, his 6.0m price is going to rocket...

    1. Rustin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      Got him in as a punt see how pre season goes

      1. Giggs Boson.
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 8 Years
        5 months, 18 days ago

        Pre-season will hopefully help 🙂

        But I'll probably punt on El Ghazi and keep 0.5m in the bank.

        1. Rustin
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 4 Years
          5 months, 18 days ago

          Good shout (goes to transfer page)

  9. JoeJitzu +42
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Time to join the party. Any initial thoughts?

    Ederson
    TAA VVD Coleman Laporte
    Salah Sterling Maddison Zaha
    King Deulofeu

    Button Dendonker Prodl Wickham

  10. aapoman
    • 6 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Best mid between 5.0-6.0m? Currently thinking Ward-Prowse or El Ghazi as a fourth mid.

    1. Gringo Kid
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 18 days ago

      Hard question

      I'm considering Pereyra as well, but if find somewhere one more unit 7.0 mids are amazing

    2. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      I'm on a cheeky little Foden!

  11. Pieterke30
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    A cheap front 2 or 3 has become so hype that I would just LOVE to see Kane score a hat trick vs Villa (with my armband on).

    1. Nice to Finally Michu
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      Kane will have to be second fiddle to Lucas for the first three games though 😉

    2. Brosstan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      Him and Auba could be massive differentials

      1. Nice to Finally Michu
        • 6 Years
        5 months, 18 days ago

        Shhh

      2. badgerboy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 4 Years
        5 months, 18 days ago

        They will both be popular in overall teams though. Haven't seen much of Aguero on here either.

    3. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      5 months, 18 days ago

      You’ll enjoy my front 3 of Vardy Kane Auba then

  12. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Norway have been learning their touch from Lukaku.

  13. Top Lad Dakes.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 2 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Mendy, anyone?

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      I'm on Zinchenko. Obvs gotta monitor pre-season on that one.

    2. Amey
      • 1 Year
      5 months, 18 days ago

      \o/

    3. Giggs Boson.
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      He'll probably be in everyone's team after the Shield.

  14. Giggs Boson.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    USA will rip our defence apart.

    1. Totally Hammered
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      they are going to get chances that's for sure....

  15. Brosstan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    England are giving the ball away in dangerous positions all the time but Norway cant capitalize. The quality of this game has been pretty low.. How does it rate compared to the other WC games? First women's game Ive seen in a long time.

    1. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      5 months, 18 days ago

      It's about normal standard of quality. Maybe slightly better than average woman's quality.

  16. Giggs Boson.
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 8 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Bardsley did a Pickford.

  17. Brosstan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    5 months, 18 days ago

    Lazy defending. Its like they havent heard about sliding tackles or blocks

  18. @FPL_Chess
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 19 days ago

    Everyone is welcome to use mini-league code is cmoq01 and join FPL Chess, the Grandmaster Edition. Over 750 players for the previous two seasons. On Twitter ~ @FPL_Chess from start of 2019-20 season.