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FPL Gameweek 17: Top defenders for Premier League return

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By Holly Shand

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Defenders have revolutionized the modern game, with attacking full-backs becoming tricks in the FPL in recent seasons. However, this season we have seen the resurgence of cheaper defenders, particularly some centre-backs.

The time has come to rethink the balance and formation of our fantasy squad, with some premium and cheaper defenders in our squads. So what are the best restart options?

Kieran Trippier

Kieran Trippier (£5.9m) finished the first stage of the season as the third highest-rated player in the game, behind only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane. It’s a very impressive result, which he contributes with one goal and four assists. He also ranks first in bonus points among defensemen this season with 17.

Newcastle are a formidable defensive pack this season, with a record seven clean sheets. Trippier is one of a very small group of FPL defenders who are involved in set pieces, consistently helping him deliver fantastic returns. He didn’t play for England in the knockout stages of the World Cup, so he should be fresh.


Gabriel (£5.2m) was surprisingly not picked for Brazil at the World Cup meaning he has been well rested during this spell and should be Arsenal defender for the resumption of the season. Arsenal have kept seven clean sheets so far this season, with the Brazilian not missing a single minute of action.

Gabriel already has two goals this season and could be looking to improve on the five-goal tally he set last season. He and Arsenal are particularly dangerous in dead-ball situations, with Gabriel registering 13 shots on target in 14 games. Arsenal have a double 23 game week against Brentford and Manchester City.

João Cancelo

Joao Cancelo (£7.4m) has had another solid start to the season and we should expect him to continue that given the consistency we have seen from him in the past. He is second in offensive returns this season with four; two goals and two assists. Manchester City have kept six clean sheets to date.

With ten games in the next eight weeks of play, Manchester City are an important defense to target. They have conceded the fewest shots on target (102) of any team in the Premier League this season. Cancelo played few minutes as a substitute during the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Diogo Dalot

Diogo Dalot (£4.8m) should be a key consideration for our fantasy squads as Erik ten Hag continues to improve at Old Trafford. Manchester United have kept three clean sheets in their last six games before half-time, with Dalot missing just one match.

Dalot is a magnet for bonus points, picking up the maximum three points on four of the five clean sheets he has kept this season. He also had one assist this season, but his offensive returns are less prolific. He started in three of Portugal’s five matches at the World Cup.

Ree James

Reece James (£5.8m) must be regarded as a wildcard pick for our fantasy squads with lingering question marks over his fitness for Gameweek 17 as he returns from a long-term knee injury. He has always been a player who promises a huge advantage if he manages to possess it at the right moment.

James scored one goal and one assist in six 90-minute appearances this season and also made an impressive 14 offensive replies last season. He played few minutes under Graham Potter’s stewardship, but Chelsea have an attractive fixture schedule, including a doubles fixture next week. James might be worth the calculated risk.

This article was originally posted on 90min.com as FPL Gameweek 17: Top defenders for Premier League return.