With the 2017 MLS season just a few days away, hopefully you’ve already joined the Black and Red United fantasy leagues. If not, you should join both our classic league (code: 1920-636) and the head-to-head league (code: 1920-637.)
Now, who should you have in your fantasy lineup for round one? For each of the positions, you’ll see the top scorers from last season with some numbers for each, accompanied by recommendations, sleepers, and AVAs (All Value All-stars). As usual, I’m omitting new players and rookies, as it can be difficult to tell for a few rounds how much they’ll impact fantasy.
For each of the stat graphics, Pp$ is Points per million, MpP is Minutes per Point, and the Rank is for the top 20-ranked players in MpP with a minimum of 500 minutes played.
Here are the top 25-scoring goalkeepers from last season:
Recommendations: With Bill Hamid (DCU, $5.5) back and apparently healthy, he looks like a peak performer. I also like Chris Seitz (DAL, $5.5). Both of them come cheaper than the highest valued player at $6.0.
Sleepers: This is tough because generally with sleepers you get monetary value, but there’s not a wide range in price between the top ($6.0) and the bottom ($4.5). Neither Matt Lampson (CHI, $4.5) or Tyler Deric (HOU, $5.0) are expected to be starters, but they’re both in the top 5 in MpP, with Deric being #1. With Jorge Bava new to the league and the Fire starter, and Joe Willis the starter for the West’s last place team in 2016, it may not be long before either is unseated. These two are worth a look as your backup goalkeeper.
AVA: Joe Bendik (ORL, $5.0) scored the 8th most points last season, and he’s the most inexpensive starter in the top 12 scorers.
These are the top 30 defenders:
Recommendations: Prolific center backs Walker Zimmerman (DAL, $6.5) and Axel Sjoberg (COL, $6.5) are the cream of the defending crop, though you can probably only afford to have one. Harrison Afful (CLB, $6.0) is also a great option, as he’s 2nd in MpP, as well as the 4th highest scorer.
Sleepers: Jimmy Medranda (SKC, $5.0) and Ambroise Oyongo (MTL, $5.0) are inexpensive projected starters. Medranda in particular was the 19th best in MpP last year.
AVAs: Ike Opara (SKC, $5.0) is an injury risk, but he’s very efficient (5th in MpP), and RJ Allen (NYC, $5.5) was the 7th ranked player in MpP and is a productive fullback for New York City’s only team. Lastly, Jalil Anibaba (HOU, $4.5) is inexpensive and productive (34th in points), if not as efficient as the others.
These are the top 30 midfielders:
Recommendations: Obviously Ignacio Piatti (MTL, $10.0) and Sacha Kljestan (NYR, $10.0) are big scorers, but you cannot forget about Nicolas Lodeiro (SEA, $11.0), who doesn’t show up on this list because he was the 58th highest scorer, but he was the best in MpP, just ahead of...
Sleepers: Marlon Hairston (COL, $7.0) is a great deal at that price and as the 2nd ranked player in MpP, but he only played 1270 minutes last season. Joining him near the top of the MpP list is Roland Alberg (PHI, $7.5), who scored 9 goals last year and is 4th ranked. Lastly, we have Dax McCarty’s midfield replacement at Red Bull Arena, Sean Davis ($6.5, NYR), who is the 20th ranked player in MpP and is sure to have a great season and will in no way fail to rise to expectations because that would never happen.
AVAs: Sam Cronin (COL, $6.5) is the 28th highest scorer and inexpensive for his value. Ricardo Clark (HOU, $6.5) and Fatai Alashe (SJ, $6.5) join Cronin in central midfield as productive players for little money.
Recommendations: You don’t need me to tell you that one of Sebastian Giovinco (TOR, $12.0) and David Villa (NYC, $10.0) should be in your team, who are the top two scoring forwards and the 1st and 3rd ranked players in MpP. While you’re at it, you should look at Matteo Mancosu (MTL, $8.0), the 9th best in MpP, and Shkelzen Gashi (COL, $9.5), the 10th best in MpP.
Sleepers: Khiry Shelton (NYC, $7.0) was 28th in points, but 8th in MpP. Houston’s Mauro Manotas ($7.5) was 19th in MpP and 35th in points. Lastly, Gonzalo Veron (NYR, $7.5) was 15th in MpP, and he’s going to get his chance this season.
AVAs: Dominique Badji (COL, $6.5) is inexpensive and was 28th in scoring. Not far behind him is Fabian Herbers (PHI, $7.0), who was 31st in points while 20th in MpP. Both should play a lot, and with that opportunity should come points.
That’s it. Hopefully this has helped you prepare for the fantasy season. Who do you have in your team?