We are two nights from the start of the 2015 MLS season, which means I should be helping you out with putting together or making changes to your MLS Fantasy teams. Oh, what’s that you say? Something about labor strife, a CBA, and a possible strike? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Nothing to see here. Move along.
The first thing to touch on is the two Black and Red United leagues that are up. Like last year, we’ll have a traditional league, and a head-to-head. The code for the traditional league is 323-663, and the head-to-head is 323-2163. Go thee forth and join.
Now let’s get into the players, who certainly will be playing on Friday night because nothing out of the ordinary is happening. With each position, I’ll show you a list of the top 30 scorers from last year, sorted by total points. The first four columns are self-explanatory. The final three columns are Pp$ - Points per dollar, MpP – Minutes per Point, and the RK is the player’s rank in MpP for all players with 800+ minutes (only the top 30). After that will be recommendations; sleeper(s); the AVA (All Value All-Stars), for players who could get you good points for little dough; and the list of the top 5 most selected scoring players, so we’re omitting the super cheap throw away guys. I will say right now that I will not be rating the new superstars in the league like Kaka, David Villa, and Sebastian Giovinco, because it is extremely hard to tell what those guys will be doing, especially for expansion teams, when they cost $10.0 and up.
First up, as usual, are the goalkeepers. This is actually all of the goalkeepers who scored positive points last year. Sorry, Tim Melia, your -2 points keep you off the list:
Look at DCU’s Bill Hamid ($6.0), leading everyone in points and MpP. At that rate, had he played 3060 minutes like many other goalkeepers, he would have finished with 191 points. You may notice that RSL’s two goalkeepers, Nick Rimando ($6.0) and Jeff Attinella ($5.0), are #3 and 4 in terms of MpP. That’s a pretty good one two punch for goalkeepers, and if Rimando misses any time, a team probably wouldn’t miss a beat in picking up Attinella.
Recommendations: Bill Hamid and Nick Rimando are the best options in my opinion. Of course, international absences may take a chunk out of their production, but it’s better to get the points now and sort out their understudies later.
Sleeper: Lurking way down the list is Tyler Deric (HOU, $5.0), who is worth consideration as a 2nd goalkeeper at the very least, because he equaled Bill Hamid’s MpP, but with 1/3 of the minutes. If he duplicates those numbers this season, you’ll want him before his price skyrockets.
AVAs: David Ousted (VAN, $5.5) and Jon Busch (CHI, $5.0) were 3rd and 4th in points scored, 6th and 7th in MpP, and they won’t cost you $6.0. Keep in mind that Busch is playing for a new team, so the situation has changed.
Top 5: Hamid – 16.3%, Steve Clark (CLB, $5.5) – 15.6%, Rimando – 12.6%, Busch – 12.3%, Ousted – 11.3%
Hey, another D.C. guy leading the league in scoring. Bobby Boswell ($9.0) was great a season ago, and he played a lot of minutes. I have doubts over his ability to duplicate that this year, especially turning 32 in a week and a half. Bobby, if you’re reading this, this is totally an insult that you should use as fuel for your eventual domination of 2015. A great number of players ranked in the top 30 in MpP are not among the top scorers, including six of the MpP top ten.
Recommendations: I do not believe Omar Gonzalez (LA, $9.0) to be an elite defender, but for the purposes of fantasy he is indeed elite. He was 2nd in MpP, and 7th in overall points scored. He would have earned a lot more points had he not been away at the World Cup. I would also suggest that Matt Hedges (DAL, $9.0) will be even better than last year.
Sleepers: Three of the MpP top four scored 90 points or less, but they were very efficient in limited time. The number 1 MpP defender was Kendall Waston (VAN, $8.5), who played just 822 minutes, but scored 76 points (10.82 MpP). Third and fourth in MpP were Portland teammates Liam Ridgewell ($8.5) and Alvas Powell ($7.0), with MpP of 15.00 and 16.17, respectively. I wouldn’t suggest using both Ridgewell and Powell, but these guys are worthy of consideration.
AVAs: With his price tag, Powell belongs on this list, along with Dan Gargan (LA, $7.0), whose 122 points last year were 13th among defenders, and Nick Hagglund (TOR, $6.0), with 106 points and the 24th overall rank.
Top 5: Lovell Palmer (CHI, $6.0) – 21.4%, Hagglund – 20.9%, Gargan – 17.6%, Jeff Larentowicz (CHI, $7.5) – 16.4%, Walker Zimmerman (DAL, $5.5) – 14.4%
Diego Valeri (POR, $10.0) led all midfielders last year, but he’s out of commission after tearing his ACL, and may not be back until May.
Recommendations: It’s hard to go wrong with Clint Dempsey (SEA, $11.0) or the Moraleses, Javier (RSL, $11.0) and Pedro (VAN, $11.0). A little further down the list is Ethan Finlay (CLB, $8.0) who is probably a little too expensive for AVA status, but ranked 5th in MpP with 12.93.
Sleepers: It’s a little difficult to say that Luis Silva (DCU, $8.5) is a sleeper, but I have to mention him here because his 11.77 MpP was 1st among midfielders. The big question, and the thing that makes him the most sleeper-y to me is that he’s returning from injury. If he’s healthy and playing regularly, he has tremendous potential. Also look out for Justin Meram (CLB, $7.5), who was 17th in MpP despite not ranking in the top 40 in total points.
AVAs: Tony Tchani (CLB, $7.0) was 16th at his position in total points. Nick DeLeon (DCU, $6.5) scored 124 points and was 29th among midfielders. Sam Cronin (COL, $6.0) moved from San Jose to Colorado, but he scored 97 points last year.
Top 5: Harry Shipp (CHI, $7.5) – 24.8%, Clint Dempsey – 21.9%, Nick DeLeon – 20.8%, Kaka (OSC, $11.0) – 20.8%, Lamar Neagle (SEA, $8.5) – 17.4%
I would be very cautious of guys like Robbie Keane (LA, $11.0) and Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY, $10.5), as Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry, and Tim Cahill have all retired or transferred out of MLS.
Recommendations: I think Obafemi Martins (SEA, $11.0) ascends to the top of the scoring list this season, and Dom Dwyer (SKC, $10.5) will probably benefit from a full season of Graham Zusi playing him in behind defenses.
Sleepers: With a full season to work with David Texeira (DAL, $7.5) should improve on his 44 points from a year ago, as he played just 841 minutes, but scored a point every 19.1 minutes, which was good enough to rank 22nd. Similarly, Charlie Davies (NE, $8.5) did not have tremendous overall output (58 points), but in his limited play he ranked 26th in MpP.
AVAs: Colorado boasts two forwards who are inexpensive but could put up big numbers, with Vicente Sanchez ($7.0) and Gabriel Torres ($7.0). Each played just under 1100 minutes last year, but both were very efficient when they were on the pitch. Jairo Arrieta (DCU, $6.5) could see a lot of the field while Fabian Espindola serves his suspension, and Quincy Amarikwa (CHI, $7.0) is still inexpensive, despite scoring 127 points last season.
Top 5: Gyasi Zardes (LA, $9.5) – 29.7%, David Villa (NYC, $10.0) – 21.2%, Keane – 20.7%, Amarikwa – 19.1%, Martins – 16.2%
That does it. Let’s just hope I’m writing a review of Round 1 next week. Good luck!