The new MLS season is nigh, and with it comes a new season of MLS Fantasy. Before we get to changes for this season and my recommendations for week one, please join the classic league and the head-to-head league. I’ll wait.
Welcome back! There is one exciting change for 2022, with double game weeks (DGW) returning. In the recent past, if a player on your team had a DGW, only his highest score of the two games would count towards your weekly score. I really didn’t like this, because it needlessly created inequity in scoring games between players. If Player A’s team had two DGWs and Player B’s had four, it meant that Player A had 32 scoring games, and B had 30. Yes, this does place an emphasis on DGW players, but it isn’t without risk. A DGW player isn’t always guaranteed to play both games, especially when fixture congestion kicks in and players have four matches in 14 days. And I know this is a rare case, but I benefited at least once last season from a DGW player getting an early red card in his second game, but I skated because his negative score from that game didn’t count against me. Things are back to normal now, and overall I think this is a good thing.
Other publicized changes that will help are a promised expanded stats center, and a new addition to the lineup selection interface, projected points. I would wait a couple of weeks for projected points to figure out who the good teams and players are, but it should be useful as the season goes on.
One more change that you might not notice at first is that the most expensive players at two positions, goalkeeper and defender, are significantly more expensive than last season. Last season’s priciest goalkeepers were $6.0, and this season they’re $8.0. In 2021, there was just one defender north of $6.0 (Walker Zimmerman, NSH, $7.0), and this year DCU’s own Julian Gressel ($8.5) is the most expensive, joining 21 others at or above last year’s $7.0 high mark. It’s going to be more important in the early weeks of this season to find slightly less expensive guys to contribute while you build your team value.
Now let’s get to the recommendations.
As you may have guessed from the projected points example, I like relatively conservatively-priced Bill Hamid (DCU, $7.0) at home against debuting Charlotte. If you want to save even more, Eloy Room (CLB, $6.5) looks good at home vs. Vancouver, and Brad Stuver (ATX, $6.0) is even cheaper, at home vs. Cincinnati.
While it’s difficult to come to grips with paying $8.5 for Gressel, after last year’s performance it’s a matter of deciding to pay that now, or pay more in a few weeks (when you hopefully have more money.) Among the more expensive defenders, I also like Kai Wagner (PHI, $7.5) vs. Minnesota. Lower in price, you’ll find Brandon Bye (NE, $6.0) @ Portland, and Andrew Gutman (ATL, $6.0) vs. Kansas City.
Carles Gil (NE, $10.5) is the highest-priced midfielder, and it would be hard to argue against picking him @ Portland, but I’m leaning towards Lucas Zelarayan (CLB, $9.0) vs. Vancouver instead. I also would advocate for Maxi Moralez (NY, $9.0, New York is blue) @ the LA Galaxy. Save a little loot with Paxton Pomykal (DAL, $7.0) vs. Toronto, and Federico Navarro (CHI, $7.0) @ Miami.
Valentin Castellanos (NYC, $10.5) is the most expensive forward, but in week one I think saving a little with Jesus Fereira (DAL, $9.0) vs. Toronto or Cristian Arango (LA, $9.5) vs. Colorado could pay off. I don’t see a lot of points in the significantly cheaper guys, except for maybe Maxi Urruti (ATX, $7.0) vs. Cincinnati.
That’s it. Once you’ve set your team, join our leagues and let’s have some fun.