Fantrax draft rankings 2020/21: Defenders

It’s that time again!

It’s time to over-analyse each individual player again and again and again until you’re confident you know exactly how you’re going to draft your players that will carry to your 2020/21 league title.

To save you the agony, we have decided to share our own personal ranks over a series of articles, ranking defenders, midfielders and attackers before compiling them into an overall top 150!

Check out our defender rankings right here!

1Trent Alexander Arnold31Shkodran Mustafi
2Matt Doherty32Luke Shaw
3Lucas Digne33Patrick Van Aanholt
4Andrew Robertson34Jan Bednarek
5Virgil Van Dijk35Aymeric Laporte
6Ricardo Pereira36Nathan Ake
7James Tarkowski37Ryan Bertrand
8Harry Maguire38Joe Bryan
9Cesar Azpilicueta39Stuart Dallas
10Willy Boly40Benjamin Mendy
11Serge Aurier41Matt Targett
12Marcos Alonso42Frederic Guilbert
13Reece James43Yerry Mina
14Chris Basham44Lewis Dunk
15Ben Chilwell45Hector Bellerin
16Enda Stevens46Ryan Fredericks
17Jonny Evans47Luke Ayling
18Joao Cancelo48Aaron Webster
19Jack O’Connell49Ben Davies
20Caglar Soyuncu50Victor Lindelof
21Kieran Tierney51Kurt Zouma
22Aaron Wan Bissaka52Aaron Cresswell
23Ben Mee53Semi Ajayi
24George Baldock54Davinson Sanchez
25John Egan55Cedric Soares
26Ruben Vinagre56Mason Holgate
27Joe Gomez57Jannik Vestergaard
28Michael Keane58Issa Diop
29Dan Burn59Jeff Schlupp
30Kyle Walker60Kourtney Hause

The Elite

Trent Alexander Arnold

Matt Doherty

Lucas Digne

Virgil Van Dijk

That’s a more accurate representation of how my defender rankings actually look. Trent is by far and away the best defender in the game and is a genuine first round pick this season. Not only did he outscore the next closest defender by over 100 points, he ended the season as the second highest scorer overall, with four goals and 15 fantasy assists contributing to a monster haul of 535.5 points. You’d be justified in taking the Liverpool full back anywhere past the 7th pick of the whole draft.

Matt Doherty had another outstanding season with four goals and eight assists helping him to average 11.84 points per game. The probable lack of European football may even help Doherty to improve on last season.

Lucas Digne is a name which catches my eye this season. The Everton man was the fourth top scoring defender last season with an impressive average of 12.06 points per season, all this while playing in a defence that conceded 56 goals last term (16 more than Doherty’s Wolves and 23 more than Liverpool). Carlo Ancelotti’s first full season with the Toffees should result in the back line being tightened, meaning theoretically Digne’s stock should rise even further.

The likes of Andrew Robertson and Virgil Van Dijk need little in way of introduction but don’t sleep on Ricardo Pereira in this season’s draft. Hopefully your league opponents will underrate him thanks to the serious injury that cut his season short last season but the facts are that he is still an elite defender, as demonstrated by his average score of 12.21. Reports suggest he is back on the training pitch and should see a return to action towards the end of September.

The Middle Order

It appears that the name “James Tarkowski” sticks out like a sore thumb in 7th position but the facts suggest that he is unfortunate not to be included in the elite section after another outstanding season. His score of 409 was only 7.5 points away from that of Van Dijk, much of that thanks to the fact that the Burnley man won more aerials than any other defender in the Premier League (198). League competitors would most likely scoff at you for drafting Tarkowski in the 4th/5th round but the fact is that he finished as the 19th top scoring player overall last season and outscored Heung Min Son.

Another player to watch out for this season is Reece James who will be Fantrax gold this season if he can nail down his place in the Chelsea team, especially if Frank Lampard sticks with a 3-4-3 formation. James fills up his stat sheet well with key passes and aerials and it was a surprises to see him come away from last season with no goals and just two assists. I’d be amazed if we don’t see a dramatic rise in his goalscoring contributions this time around. James’ Chelsea team mate Marcos Alonso will also be much higher than his ranking of 12th if he can keep his place but those Ben Chilwell rumours get louder every summer.

The middle order is cluttered with Sheffield United defenders thanks to their stubborn rearguard and attacking wing backs/overlapping centre backs. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can replicate the form of last season with Enda Stevens being the pick of the bunch as a Fantasy asset.

Another one to watch is Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo who is definitely finding his feet in England. Despite being predominantly right footed, he appears to have edged Benjamin Mendy out of the left back spot with Kyle Walker and Cancelo being the full back pairing that Pep seems to trust the most. Cancelo has bags of potential as a fantasy asset. As well as defensive contributions (most notably interceptions) the Portuguese full back is very comfortable on the ball and regularly scores a few successful take ons. If he can add a few attacking contributions to his game he will be an elite Fantrax defender.

Ones to watch

Anyone who watched the recent play off final will have added Fulham full back Joe Bryan to their rankings after his Wembley brace shot his team back into the big time and saw Fantasy Premier League label him “Alonso 2.0”. His two goals actually saw him treble his goal tally for the campaign so I’m going to advise more caution when drafting Bryan, but he certainly have enough assets to warrant a draft pick. It was noticeable that he took charge of the majority of set pieces and showed incredible fitness in getting up and joining the attack for the full 120 minutes. His tally of seven assists isn’t a surprise and he is well worth a pick if he is still there in the later rounds. Don’t be spending an early pick on him though!

Sticking with the promoted sides, West Brom’s highly rated centre back Semi Ajayi could be the latest ghost point king. Standing at 6 foot 4, Ajayi should win plenty of aerials in the heart of a West Brom defence that should be very busy throughout the season. He also managed five goals from centre back in the Championship last season. Not bad. He could be a decent streaming option for favourable fixtures this season.

If you’re wondering why Ruben Vinagre has sneaked into our rankings, this article was being written when the Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury sustained by Wolves full back Jonny Castro Otto was confirmed. The Spaniard has been ruled out for a suspected six months which should see a dramatic rise in playing time for Vinagre providing another left wing back doesn’t come in.

The lower end of the rankings sees some household names for some of the bigger teams such as Victor Lindelof and Davinson Sanchez. This is simply because these players are completely clean sheet dependant as they provide very little in terms of defensive contribution. You should steer clear of drafting these types of players and only pick them up if you’re looking to cancel out an extremely likely clean sheet that you opponent looks likely to pick up.

One player not mentioned in these rankings is Leicester youngster Luke Thomas. He was given his chance at the tail end of last season and took his chance, playing very well and also (more importantly) scoring very well in Fantrax. If Chilwell does depart, you’d expect Leicester to splash the cash on a new left back but they’re also known to give the youngsters a chance. I the cash is splashed on other parts of the team, Thomas could be a fantastic late round flyer.

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