Football is back..
Well, it never actually went away but, more specifically, the Premier League is back. While this short turnaround will inevitably bring frenzied (and justified) wails of indignation from the division's managers, it marks the end of the mercifully brief absence of fantasy football.
With the deadline for the 2020/21 campaign - 11am, Saturday 12 September - fast approaching, it's time to spend hours pouring over a squad you'll probably forget to change by December.
Nevertheless, after a positional switch for last season's undisputed FPL hero - John (Lord) Lundstram - here's a guide to the mere mortals left among the game's defenders.
The Best of the Best
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m): Liverpool's creative powerhouse may be the most expensive defender in the game but his lofty valuation is more than justified. Alexander-Arnold's consistent selection, the strength of Liverpool's defence and his ridiculous tally of 13 assists saw the 21-year-old rack up a monstrous 210 points last season - not much has changed to signal any sign of decline.
Matt Doherty (£6.0m): As a galloping wing-back for Wolves, Doherty scored points going forward and at the back. At Tottenham he won't be in a back-three, but the freedom Serge Aurier was given by José Mourinho last season suggests Doherty will still be a threat in attack for a side with - in theory - a very gentle opening run of fixtures.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m): Last season's bonus point machine (fourth-best among defenders) helped Manchester United bolster their backline and tentatively improved going forward. If the 22-year-old can better his four assists from the previous campaign, at £5.5m Wan-Bissaka may prove to be a snip. Although, it should be noted the Red Devils do not have a fixture in Gameweek 1.
Rúben Vinagre (£4.5m): Jonny Castro Otto's severe knee injury has opened up a space for wing-back Rúben Vinagre on the left. Only three teams could better Wolves' tally of 13 clean sheets last season and Nuno Espírito Santo's side also have the benefit of merciful spate of fixtures to begin the campaign.
Charlie Taylor (£4.5m): Only Manchester City kept more clean sheets than Burnley last season but three of the Clarets' defenders are priced at less than £5.0m. Left-back Taylor played more minutes than any of them and should be Sean Dyche's first-choice. Be warned that Burnley don't have a fixture for Gameweek 1 but Taylor - and the parsimonious Clarets - are a pick for the long-term.
Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.5m): The 23-year-old right-back impressed enough during a six-month loan spell with Southampton for the Saints to make the signing permanent this summer. Walker-Peters impressed from the flanks as Ralph Hasenhüttl's side enjoyed a rousing end to the season.
Marcos Alonso (£6.0m): Only three defenders in the game cost more than Chelsea's adventurous left-back and with Ben Chilwell fresh through the doors of Stamford Bridge (although currently injured) Alonso is unlikely to see much playing time.
Benjamin Mendy (£6.0m): Manchester City did top the charts in terms of clean sheets last term but Mendy's fitness woes continued. The Frenchman laid on two assists in the 18 league starts he could muster and may face renewed competition from Nathan Aké at left-back.
Lucas Digne (£6.0m): Everton's French full-back is at the expensive end of the spectrum but his seven assists points towards the creative threat he poses. However, the gamble comes from relying upon the rest of Everton's defence (and the erratic Jordan Pickford) to keep a healthy number of clean sheets.
Luke Ayling (£4.5m): Without a minute of Premier League football under his belt, Leeds United's Luke Ayling is - much like Marcelo Bielsa's idiosyncratic style of play - a bit of an unknown in the English top flight. However, with eight goal contributions from full-back in a side with the best defensive record in the Championship, Ayling may be worth a risk.
Tyrick Mitchell (£4.0m): Crystal Palace's 21-year-old defender deputised for Patrick van Aanholt at the back-end of last season and has started two of the Eagles' preseason games. At £4.0m he would be one of the cheapest starting defenders but Van Aanholt was back training after a dislocated shoulder so it may be a risk to go for the youngster.
Source : 90min