Fixtures

The best budget defensive rotation pairs for the new FPL season

Defensive rotations are the key to maximising the efficiency of cheaper Fantasy Premier League assets, especially this season.

Using the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker, we have picked out some of our favourite pairings of teams for those looking to make full use of their 15 players in 2020/21.

These include the pros and cons of each pairing, as well as other considerations that must be made before investing.

SHEFF UTD + SOUTHAMPTON

One of the most promising rotation pairings in terms of fixtures at the start of the season involves Sheffield United and Southampton.

As you can see from the Season Ticker above, the two clubs have paired home games and even their away trips look promising between Gameweeks 1 and 6.

Owning a defensive asset from each of these clubs would give Fantasy managers the following fixture list (if rotated appropriately): cry | avl | LEE | WBA | FUL | EVE

While only four of those fixtures are at home, the tougher match-ups cancel each other out in the first two away ones. During Project Restart, Crystal Palace (five) and Aston Villa (seven) were inside the bottom three for goals scored, only Norwich (one) finding the net fewer times.

Beyond that, it’s three matches in a row against newly-promoted sides, before Everton who, like Villa, only registered seven goals in Project Restart, come to Southampton in Gameweek 6.

Meanwhile, only five teams kept more clean sheets than the Blades and Saints (both three) during the last nine Gameweeks of 2019/20.

However, the question still remains: how does one invest in this rotation with effective budget options?

Sheffield United’s roster presents slightly more problems out of the two clubs, after their price hikes for 2020/21. 

Pre-season may have raised the interest in Jack Robinson (£4.5m), who has featured heavily in all of Sheffield United’s friendlies thus far, while Jack O’Connell (£5.0m) has been absent.

The former £4.0m man has played 292 of a possible 315 minutes this summer, behind only Chris Basham (£5.0m) when it comes to most-used centre-backs.

Outside of Robinson, who is by no means a nailed-on long-term starter at Bramall Lane, Fantasy managers may have to put up a little more cash to have a reliable route here.

Aaron Ramsdale (£5.0m), John Egan (£5.0m) as well as Basham and O’Connell are probably the ones to turn to.

Thankfully, the Southampton side of this equation is much simpler. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side can offer us a £4.5m goalkeeper in Alex McCarthy (£4.5m), as well as a similarly-priced full-back in Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m).

BURNLEY + LEICESTER

Price points are much less of an issue for anyone considering a defensive rotation of Burnley and Leicester assets.

Despite the recent arrival of Timothy Castagne (£5.5m), James Justin (£4.5m) looks likely to be involved in the early part of the campaign on either side of the Foxes’ defence, with Ricardo Pereira (£6.0m) and Christian Fuchs (£4.5m) out injured.

Meanwhile, Charlie Taylor (£4.5m) is on offer at Burnley and, with several shortages at centre-back during pre-season, Jimmy Dunne or Bobby Thomas (neither have an FPL price yet) could be involved.

The fixtures work out relatively nicely, but not quite as snugly as the Sheffield United+Southampton ones do.

Not game for Burnley in Blank Gameweek 1 is covered quite nicely by a trip to West Bromwich Albion for Leicester.

They then host the Clarets in Gameweek 2, but Sean Dyche’s men will face Southampton at Turf Moor the following week when Leicester must travel to Manchester City.

Gameweeks 4 and 5 offer some choice, with Newcastle (away) and West Ham (home) the first of those, before it’s West Brom (away) or Villa (home).

Then, the pairing runs into slightly more of an issue in Gameweek 6 when Burnley host Spurs at the same time as Leicester travel to Arsenal, although in this strange start to the season, many managers may have Wildcarded by that point anyway.

ASTON VILLA + CRYSTAL PALACE

Aston Villa and Crystal Palace balance some very nice home matches during the first six Gameweeks.

Dean Smith’s men don’t play during the opening round of action but the Eagles host Southampton that week.

Beyond that, investing in these two clubs could give a Fantasy manager the opportunity to defend against SHU | EVE | LIV | BHA | LEE.

The Liverpool game for Villa naturally looks a bit tricky, especially with a trip to Chelsea the alternative for Palace, although Smith has managed to improve his defence since Project Restart. Even though Villa lost 2-0 at Anfield, they held the Reds at bay for 71 minutes.

As for routes into the defences of either side, there are a plethora of choices, including some £4.0m options.

Following injuries to Patrick van Aanholt (£5.5m) and three different centre-backs, Tyrick Mitchell (£4.0m) has become a virtual ever-present at left-back for Palace during pre-season.

What impact has new formation had on Targett and Villa's defence?

At Villa, the ongoing fitness issues suffered by Tom Heaton (£4.5m), and current lack of new signings between the sticks, means that one of Ørjan Nyland (£4.0m) or Jed Steer (£4.0m) is likely to start the first few matches of 2020/21. Paying attention to Smith’s next press conference may hopefully tell us more in this department.

If uncertainty there, as well as an eventual return of Heaton, is enough to put off investors, there are plenty of £4.5m defenders at Villa Park.

Matty Cash (£5.0m) has probably cast enough doubt over Frédéric Guilbert (£4.5m) and Ahmed El Mohamady (£4.5m), but Matt Targett (£4.5m) remains the first-choice on the left-hand side of the defence.

As for Crystal Palace, Scott Dann (£4.5m) has been the most-used centre-back during pre-season outside of Cheikhou Kouyaté (£5.0m), who is filling in there from midfield. 

Joel Ward (£4.5m) has also been extensively used at right-back during the pre-season (298 minutes from a possible 360), although how long-term a role he has remains to be seen when Nathan Ferguson (£4.0m) gets back from injury.

BRIGHTON + LEEDS

This combination of defenders is not quite as attractive as those mentioned above, but is still worth being aware of.

The home matches on offer between Brighton and Leeds are CHE | FUL | MUN | MCI | WOL | WBA. Hardly the best combination. 

However, if rotated around the opponents rather than around the venue, Fantasy managers could set themselves up to defend against the following: CHE | FUL | shu | eve | cry | WBA – much more appealing.

That provides two opponents who scored seven goals or fewer during Project Restart, two newly-promoted clubs as well as Sheffield United, who averaged 0.9 goals per game in the final 10 matches of last season.

There are other risks associated with this rotation, of course, namely in the ability of the two defences to keep clean sheets.

During the Project Restart period, only Arsenal (15.69) and Norwich (17.47) recorded a higher expected goals conceded (xGC) score than Brighton, while Leeds arrive in the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

Perhaps, then, Mat Ryan (£4.5m) and Illan Meslier (£4.5m) might be the best bets here, as they can potentially rack up saves based on conceding a high volume of shots.

Considering Graham Potter’s propensity to rotate even in defence, the Seagulls’ goalkeeper becomes even more attractive. Lewis Dunk (£5.0m) is perhaps the only nailed-on defender and is probably too pricey to consider right now.

There is more certainty in Leeds’ back-four with Luke Ayling (£4.5m) and Liam Cooper (£4.5m) especially nailed-on to start at right-back and centre-back respectively.

To find defensive pairings of your own, make sure you use the Season Ticker in the Fantasy Football Scout Premium Members Area.

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1,643 Comments Post a Comment
  1. LOLarov
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    A or B

    A) Doherty & Ings
    B) Davies & Werner

    1. Manani
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      b

    2. doher.ty
      1 month, 15 days ago

      This is tough - A and hope Werner takes some time to adjust to the prem.

      1. LOLarov
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        This is where my heart is but its so tough!

        1. doher.ty
          1 month, 15 days ago

          I've got Werner and Doherty but it means more $ invested in those two. Either way both options will deliver points.

    3. AnotherTinkerman
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 14 days ago

      A (swapping Ings for Jimenez on GW3... GW3 to 7 wolves fixtures are delish)

  2. pingissimus
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Universal preference appears to be Southampton but do Everton not have the edge in first 4 fixtures?

    Richarlison over Ings? It’s a convenient 0.5 saving and GW5 might be ripe for WC or mini WC

    cpl
    SPURS
    burnley
    WBA

    spurs
    WBA
    cpl
    BRIGHTON

    Not much in it but I’d have Brighton over Spurs at home any day and Spurs and Burnley away look similar

    1. Jellyfish
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      I tend to give Everton players a miss at the start of the season. Perennial slow starters....

      1. pingissimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 15 days ago

        From memory Rich is a fast starter

    2. kevchenko
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      DCL is a worse player than Richarlson, but he's going to be the one sticking the ball in the net?
      For 7.0......

  3. Pompel
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Any love for Lundstram over the likes of ASM and Armstrong?
    Still know where the goal is , I presume, and good fixtures. And don't like doubling/tripling up on Saints or Magpies

    1. Silent Friend
      • 9 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      cannt score from the bench...

      1. El Fenomeno R9
        • 5 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Disagree,Piksi maestro

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQPR43v64e4

  4. luke25
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    If Wilson is as good as he is for Bournemouth in FM2020 we could be looking at an FPL record score aha

  5. Manani
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    best mid for 7.5m or below?

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Greenwood.

  6. QUEN
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Everyone still going with 1 playing sub?

    Seems risky to me or am I missing something

    1. Andy_Social
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 8 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Must be 2 for me. Just Davis dead.

      1. QUEN
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 15 days ago

        I have three atm prob a bit much

    2. Trophé Mourinho
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 15 days ago

      I'll have one playing 4.5 defender on my bench, then probably Gordon and Bissouma. I have faith, I wont need my bench and I have the right bench 😛

      1. QUEN
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 15 days ago

        Ah so you have three playing bench players then. I’m currently on two 4.5 def and Bissouma.

        Might downgrade one of the def to a 4. 3 seems excessive

  7. headfried
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Wilson 6.5 or Adams 6......would have to find 0.5 for Wilson.... Take out Doherty, ASM or Pereira(west brom) and whom to put in.

    1. Dthinger
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      Pereira to Diangiana gets you there right?

      1. Jambot
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 9 Years
        1 month, 15 days ago

        As a west Brom fan I have to say that Pereira is worth the extra .5

        1. The Minus Fours
          • 1 Year
          1 month, 15 days ago

          Is Pereira more nailed on than Diangana?

          1. Jambot
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            1 month, 15 days ago

            They are both nailed if you mean starting but Pereira will get more attacking returns

            1. The Minus Fours
              • 1 Year
              1 month, 15 days ago

              Cheers!

  8. KING KOUNDER
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Leicester have tasty fixtures. Anyone other than Vardy worth it?

    1. Tarby
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Barnes I think

  9. The Minus Fours
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Any Fulham fans know if Kebano will be nailed at the start?

    1. Davros
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      If he keeps his form up then I’d expect him to start but not nailed. He was only a regular starter in the last 9 or so league games last year, when he went on his scoring streak. So form is key. Fulham have options on the wing and might not last 90. Better options IMO

  10. El Fenomeno R9
    • 5 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Gamble on Havertz starting?

  11. PogBruno
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Is Douglas a starter for Leeds?

    1. The Minus Fours
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 15 days ago

      A week ago I would have said no. Dallas picked up a slight knock with N.Ireland and also Douglas better defender so Bielsa may go for him to (try) and mark Salah - Dallas would be bombing forward leaving us more exposed so I wouldn't be surprised if Douglas starts at all.

  12. n-doggg
    • 8 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    A. ASM and Davis
    B. Mitro and Bissouma

    1. ivantys
      1 month, 15 days ago

      B

  13. OneMan
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 4 Years
    1 month, 15 days ago

    McCarthy
    TAA, Robbo, VVD, Dier, Davies
    Son, Havertz, Zaha, Soucek
    Werner
    Bench: Nyland, Fernandes, Mitro, Davis

    Zaha becoming Greenwood after GW1.

    This look okay ?

    1. Davros
      • 11 Years
      1 month, 15 days ago

      All depends if Liverpool defence performs at both ends. it doesn’t leave you options if you need attacking pool player and might need early WC to fix Too risky for me

  14. Balmdk
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 15 days ago

    Anyone with any advice on this team, it would be appreciated

    Martinez/Nyland

    TAA/Doherty/Robertson/Bertrand/Mitchell

    Son/Auba/Ward-Pro/Lundstrum/Soucek

    Maupay/Werner/Ings

    1. Grimo2
      • 7 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      I like the Lundstram pick, lot of chat about him not getting a lot of minutes but I think otherwise.

      Personally, not a fan of the double up with LIV at the back, but I know lots are.

      Had Soucek in my starting XI but not sure he'll start?

      1. Tinkermania
        • 1 Year
        1 month, 14 days ago

        I like Lundstram too but his minutes fell too much in the 2nd part of the season. He will probably start 50% of the time.

    2. Tarby
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 14 days ago

      I'd def have Armstrong instead of Ward-Prowse

      I like Maupay as great value, but Brighton have a tough start so more looking at him later in the season. All the 6.5 forwards (Maupay/ Wood/ Antonio) have tough starts which is a shame! I think Adams or Mitrovic at 6 are better options at the start.

      Doherty I'm not sure on as he'll likely be a back 4 so might be more defensive than his Wolves days. I'm going to hold off him and see how it goes.

      Martinez (might move to Villa) and Nyland both might be benched. I'm going Ryan and McCarthy and rotating, Martinez I'll pick ahead of one if he moves or does start. Steer could well be the Villa keeper for a few games until Heaton is back

    3. Balmdk
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 1 Year
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Thanks lads

  15. OLDHERMAN
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    1 month, 14 days ago

    I was so happy that stupid thing of Bilva and Dilva was finally over, and here we are with Bilva, Filva and Thilva.

  16. FPL T
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 14 days ago

    Jonjoe Kenny a starter? More mins than Coleman pre season.....

    1. OLDHERMAN
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      1 month, 14 days ago

      Seen (on YouTube) very sharp vs Preston, and also very attack-minded. Ok, vs Preston. But it's a hint, maybe. Moreover: Richarlison is pure gold, feel he'll have his best season so far, by far.

  17. Tarby
    • 1 Year
    1 month, 14 days ago

    I'm surprised not to see Leicester and Villa in this. I think they have good fixtures for but 1 GW in the first 16 which the WC deadline this season so what should be targeted I think, and budget defenders available for both teams.

    wba | BUR/ SHU | ful | WHU | AVL | LEE | SOU/ lee | WOL | BHA | FUL | NEW | BHA | BUR | wba | CRY

    Although I don't see the value in a pairing anyway. Either have 1/ 2 top defenders you'll play whatever the opponent so you're either rotating 4 for 2 places or 3 for 1 place.

    If it's 3 for 1 I'd have Southampton as well
    If 4 for 2 I'd have Brighton as well. This is what I'll likely do I think.

    In 4 for 2 Burnley instead of Brighton is definitely a reasonable option as well, and would give the added benefit of 2 defenders will double GWs at somepoint!

  18. Ajax Hamsterdam
    • 6 Years
    1 month, 14 days ago

    thoughts on this defensive rotation pair ?

    ayling/lamptey

    both nailed right ?

  19. Froes
    • 7 Years
    1 month, 14 days ago

    a) vinagre
    b) Justin
    c) Jamal Lewis