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Awards

Vote for the best FPL defenders of 2020/21

The Fantasy Football Scout 2020/21 awards got underway this week, with the polls for best goalkeeper and defenders open for voting on the sidebar.

We’re assessing the key candidates in each position in four separate articles, with our summary of the leading goalkeepers followed by this piece on the stand-out defenders.

Overall score, points per match and value in Fantasy Premier League were all factors we considered when compiling this shortlist, with those players making our Team of the Season decided by you the readers.

2019/20 TEAM OF THE SEASON REVIEW – DEFENDERS

  • Goalkeeper: Nick Pope
  • Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, John Lundstram, Matt Doherty
  • Midfielders: Anthony Martial, Mohamed Salah, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne
  • Forwards: Raúl Jiménez, Danny Ings, Jamie Vardy

All three of the ‘defenders’ that made our Team of the Season in 2019/20 had less memorable campaigns this time round.

A positional reclassification was always going to harm John Lundstram‘s FPL appeal but even if he had remained categorised as a defender, a record of zero goals, two assists, only 23 starts and just three clean sheets would have been a poor return.

His total of 48 points in the season just gone was exactly a third of what he managed in his unforgettable 2019/20 campaign.

Expectations were higher of Matt Doherty upon his switch to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur but the former Wolves wing-back’s offensive stats took a tumble and clean sheets were in short supply at the other end.

Having hit double figures for attacking returns in each of his two previous campaigns, he managed just two in 2020/21 and had slipped to third in the right-back pecking order in north London towards the season’s end.

Trent Alexander-Arnold had a relatively stellar year in comparison but even he fell 50 points and nine attacking returns short of what he achieved in 2019/20.

On the subject of the Liverpool right-back…

2020/21 CANDIDATES

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD/ANDREW ROBERTSON

How Liverpool's defensive assets compare after their FPL price changes
ALEXANDER-ARNOLD
  • Points: 160
  • Points per match: 4.4
  • Start cost: £7.5m
  • End cost: £7.8m
ROBERTSON
  • Points: 161
  • Points per match: 4.2
  • Start cost: £7.0m
  • End cost: £7.3m

Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold both had their worst FPL seasons in three years but still finished second and third respectively in the defenders’ points table, which underscored the magnitude of their achievements in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Injuries to key teammates played a part in their modest clean sheet tallies, while attacking returns didn’t flow at the same freakish rate.

Perhaps we’ve just been spoiled: eight assists from a defender would have been considered a superb return pre-2018 and that’s exactly what the two Liverpool full-backs delivered in the season just gone, with the pair finishing first and third for chances created among players in their position.

Alexander-Arnold may not have even featured in this poll were it not for a late-season burst in which he blanked in only one of his final 10 matches and averaged 7.5 points per game.

Expectations will be higher for next season with the likes of Virgil van Dijk fit again, with a small price drop for Alexander-Arnold a possibility based on this season’s output.

JOAO CANCELO/RUBEN DIAS/JOHN STONES

CANCELO
  • Points: 138
  • Points per match: 4.9
  • Start cost: £5.5m
  • End cost: £5.8m
DIAS
  • Points: 142
  • Points per match: 4.4
  • Start cost: £5.5m
  • End cost: £5.9m
STONES
  • Points: 128
  • Points per match: 5.8
  • Start cost: £5.0m
  • End cost: £5.1m

Manchester City had the best defensive record in the division last season, registering clean sheets in exactly half of their 38 league matches and conceding fewer goals (32) than any other side.

All three of the City defenders in our poll were en vogue in the Fantasy community at one point of the season or another and each had their strong points.

Ruben Dias was Mr Dependable, failing to start only one match between Gameweeks 4 and 30 as Pep Guardiola rotated around his impressive young centre-half.

Dias’ total of 17 clean sheets was the best in the Premier League among defenders.

Joao Cancelo delivered more attacking returns (six) than any other member of City’s backline, while John Stones had the best points-per-match average (5.8) of any FPL defender and racked up a 27-point haul in Double Gameweek 19.

Not that they could boast spotless seasons: Stones was a rotation risk at the beginning and end of the campaign, while Cancelo frustratingly underachieved on the expected goal involvement front and Dias produced disappointingly little in front of goal.

All three will be poised for price rises in 2021/22.

AARON CRESSWELL/VLADIMIR COUFAL

CRESSWELL
  • Points: 153
  • Points per match: 4.2
  • Start cost: £5.0m
  • End cost: £5.7m
COUFAL
  • Points: 128
  • Points per match: 3.8
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £4.8m

Move over Messrs Alexander-Arnold and Robertson, there’s a new goal-creating defensive double-act in town.

Vladimir Coufal and Aaron Cresswell plundered a remarkable 20 assists between this season and were responsible for almost a third of the goals that West Ham United scored.

That they reached this combined tally from such dirt-cheap starting prices made their achievements all the more noteworthy, with Coufal entering the game at £4.5m and Cresswell initially available for only half a million more.

Five of Coufal’s assists came in the final nine matches, while Cresswell had already reached double figures for attacking returns by Gameweek 27.

Cresswell’s final total of 11 assists was among the highest ever in FPL, with only Liverpool’s current two full-backs beating that number in a single campaign.

Both West Ham players were among the top five FPL defenders for value (points per million) in 2020/21.

LUKE SHAW/AARON WAN-BISSAKA

SHAW
  • Points: 124
  • Points per match: 3.9
  • Start cost: £5.0m
  • End cost: £5.5m
WAN-BISSAKA
  • Points: 144
  • Points per match: 4.2
  • Start cost: £5.5m
  • End cost: £5.8m

There was little fanfare around Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the FPL community this season but he somewhat stealthily finished fifth in the defenders’ points table, having had his best season for goals (two), assists (five), clean sheets (13) and overall score (144).

All but one of his seven attacking returns came in 2021.

The more-heralded Luke Shaw actually underwhelmed slightly, on reflection: the left-back could only match Wan-Bissaka’s assist tally despite creating more than double (72 v 31) the number of chances than his team-mate.

But getting on Shaw at the right moment was key: he dropped to a bargain £4.8m by the turn of the year and went on to average 6.1 points per match between Gameweeks 18-28.

Those unconverted key passes did count for something, too, as only Alexander-Arnold (26) registered more bonus points than Shaw (22) among FPL defenders.

STUART DALLAS

The Scout Squad’s best players for FPL Double Gameweek 25 1
  • Points: 171
  • Points per match: 4.5
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £5.5m

Without wanting to influence the vote, it’s safe to say that Stuart Dallas will very likely be making an appearance in our Team of the Season.

Dallas topped the points table among defenders in 2020/21, a feat made all the more impressive considering he started the season out at £4.5m.

No defender with an initial cost of less than £5.0m has ever bettered the Leeds utility man’s total of 171 points.

The Northern Ireland international ticked an abundance of boxes: he was the only player in his position to play every single minute of the campaign, his total of eight goals was the joint-highest by a defender in FPL history and he boasted the best value (points per million) of any outfielder in 2020/21.

Throw in an ‘out of position’ tag and set-piece responsibilities in the run-in, and he really was a formidable asset.

Those pre-season ‘Ayling v Dallas’ debates look rather ludicrous, in hindsight, but the former may get more of a look-in in 2021/22 when Dallas rises in price and possibly changes in position.

MATT TARGETT

  • Points: 138
  • Points per match: 3.6
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £5.0m

Another high-achieving defender who started the season out at £4.5m, Matt Targett (27.6) was second only to Dallas (31.1) for points per million.

He also took the silver medal for clean sheets, with his 16 shut-outs only bettered by Dias.

An ever-present starter like Dallas, Targett would have perhaps threatened the Leeds man’s points total has Aston Villa’s backline not embarked on a run of just one shut-out in their final 12 league fixtures.

Targett averaged just 2.2 points per match in those dozen games, with that figure up at an impressive 4.3 (better than Robertson) in Gameweeks 2-27.

JAMES JUSTIN

  • Points: 101
  • Points per match: 4.4
  • Start cost: £4.5m
  • End cost: £4.8m

Our fourth budget defender of this piece didn’t even a kick a ball in the final 15 Gameweeks of the campaign.

But James Justin had already made his mark on the Fantasy world by the time a knee injury brought his campaign to a close, reaching a century of points just before fate intervened.

Making a mockery of his ‘rotation risk’ tag of pre-season, Justin played every single minute of the Premier League campaign before his season was brought to an end.

Justin averaged 4.4 points per match in his 23 appearances, the same mean as the more expensive Dias and Alexander-Arnold.

A total of 24 points in his final two starts of 2020/21 saw him sign off in style.

BEN CHILWELL

andys-gw17-article 1

  • Points: 139
  • Points per match: 5.1
  • Start cost: £5.5m
  • End cost: £5.9m

A number of Chelsea players had claims for inclusion in this poll, with Kurt Zouma impressive under Frank Lampard and Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger shining under Thomas Tuchel’s stewardship.

Rudiger, who dropped to a bargain £4.5m by the time of the change of manager, is particularly unfortunate to miss out, as his points-per-match average of 4.9 was the joint-third-best among FPL defenders.

The fact that the German featured in only 19 of Chelsea’s 38 Premier League matches counted against him here and we’ve instead plumped for Ben Chilwell, who performed well under both regimes.

The former Leicester City man registered 21 attacking returns/clean sheets in 27 appearances, averaging 5.1 points per match – a mean that was trumped only by Stones among players in Chilwell’s Fantasy position.

Over 40% of the England left-back’s points came in his first seven appearances for the Blues, with an 18-point haul on his debut a high point.

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114 Comments Post a Comment
  1. seewhyaxe
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    I’m offended that Vinagre and Ferguson are not in the poll

    1. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Mitchell too

  2. Chris_H
    • 12 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Guys I think you forgot to add a write up for Lewis Dunk - or is it just because you know he shouldn’t really be on the shortlist?

    1. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
      • 8 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      I was thinking the same

  3. Chandler Bing
    • 5 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Mount nailed on? Seems to be quite popular in the fantasy game.

    1. Pukki Blinders
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Yes you’d think so unless Grealish plays at AM but can’t see it happening

    2. French Gooner
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      I have him in my first draft -
      Good value pick

  4. French Gooner
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Is FFS gonna post more articles on Euro fantasy?

    1. Pukki Blinders
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      You’d hope so

  5. Pukki Blinders
    • 2 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Battle of the 7.0 mids...

    Mount is already a lock for me, but debating between Chiesa or Shaqiri for the other slot... thoughts?

  6. Baines on Toast...
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Any price changes?

    1. Rassi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Cryptos are moving.

      1. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        It's all about pavement coin. Cash in now

  7. TwiggsJameson
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Defenders have been so underwhelming this season, it's hard to vote for anyone. And i'd like to have seem Rudiger on the list.

    1. Rassi
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 7 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Even Dallas?

      1. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
        • 8 Years
        3 months, 29 days ago

        The man is a legend. Had him since gameweek 1. When's the last time a 4.5m defender finished top scorer for defenders? 171 points is a very respectable figure. The man scored 8 goals for goodness sake

    2. Guba
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Rudiger only played half the season though. I agree though that if he was able to have played the full season he'd likely be very highly ranked, probably highest for points per million for a defender or competing with Dallas.

  8. Jdpz
    • 1 Year
    3 months, 29 days ago

    1. Dallas 2. Creswell 3. Stones 4. Chilwell (or Dias)
    What do you think - is it better to put on a strong, expensive defense in the next season or invest in an attack?
    I was often disappointed by defenders this season. Will there be more goals or less?

  9. diesel001
    • 4 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    1. Dallas - Most points and cheap
    2. Cresswell - 4th most points. Behind TAA and Robertson, but significantly cheaper.
    3 AWB - 5th most points. Behind TAA and Robertson, but significantly cheaper.
    4. Targett - 8th most points. Behind TAA, Robertson Chilwell and Dias, but significantly cheaper and Chilwell and Dias barely outscored him.

  10. Black Knights
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Rudiger was on for 186 points if you double the 93 he got from his 18 games.

    1. Black Knights
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      *19 games, obviously.

  11. HonestBlatter
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    When is the HoF going to be updated to incl. final 20/21 season?

  12. Torschutzer
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    What do you think of this Euro 2020 team?

    Kane - Lukaku - Pukki
    KdB - Gündo - Jota - Klaassen - Négo
    Florenzi - Alba - Wijndal - Bednarek - Denayer
    Cakir - Schlager

    There could still change a lot depending on friendlies. I’m looking at an cheaper Italian and Spanish defender for instance and also would like to have Lewa instead of Pukki.

    Is there any news on Pukki’s injury yet?

    1. CONNERS
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      I think Gunok is normally 1st choice GK for Turkey.

      Also, Jose Gaya could well play LB ahead of Alba.

    2. Firmino
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Pukki will be fit for the first match.

    3. Guba
      • 6 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      It's just too early to say without friendlies I think.

    4. My heart goes Salalalalah
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      KdB to someone, and Pukki to Lewa

  13. Firmino
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 6 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    When would be the best time to use limitless chip?

    1. Black Knights
      • 9 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      Seems a lot of people are setting up for GW1, Limitless for GW2, WC for GW3. Then unlimited transfers before R16. So essentially 4x WCs in a row.

  14. jayzico
    • 10 Years
    3 months, 29 days ago

    Yo.

    What Euros game is everyone playing?

    1. My heart goes Salalalalah
      • 4 Years
      3 months, 29 days ago

      UEFA