MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be buying for Week 2?

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

The first week of the MLS season was full of goals, thrills and spills. From Orlando City’s more than miraculous stoppage time comeback against RSL, to Michael Harrington and Joao Meira’s beautifully accidental assist for NYCFC striker Tony Taylor’s goal, the opening round of games had it all.

However, the first week of the MLS season also meant the start of the 2016 MLS Fantasy campaign and managers will be left with plenty to reflect on after the first weekend’s action.

Week 1 Review:

The Good

The standout performance of the weekend has to be Ignacio Piatti’s ($10.2) two-goal and one-assist haul against Vancouver, which won Montreal the game and saw him rack up 20 points. The surprises of the first weekend were Daniel Steres ($5.2), scoring on his debut for the Galaxy in their 4-1 win over DC United and Khiry Shelton ($6.1), who not only started, but scored and picked up an assist along the way in NYCFC’s incredible 4-3 win over Chicago Fire. The only defender to score and to keep a clean sheet this week was Nuno Coelho ($7.7) of SKC, who earned 16 points in his first ever MLS appearance.

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The Bad

Demar Phillips ($6.8) of Real Salt Lake was probably the worst MLS Fantasy player of the weekend after making the biggest mistake on opening day. He was sent off just 19 minutes into his side’s game against Orlando City for picking up two yellow cards, the second of which was issued for his flying scissor kick, which connected with with OCSC front man Cyle Larin ($9.1). The defender received a score of -3 points for the opening weekend, and he will now miss a crucial game against Seattle. However, this was not the only red card at the Citrus Bowl, as Darwin Ceren ($6.6) picked up a straight red card on the stroke of halftime with his side already a goal down. Seattle Sounders’ Oneil Fisher ($5.3) was the other player to receive a red card during the opening weekend of the MLS season and won’t want to remember his negative points tally of -2.

It wasn’t a good day either for Chicago’s debutant Joao Meira ($7.4). The defender endured a woeful performance in his side’s 4-3 home defeat to New York City FC, in which he not only conceded four and pick up a yellow card, but was directly at fault for NYCFC’s second goal. He kicked teammate Michael Harrington in the head, and by doing so, prevented Harrington clearing a cross which Tony Taylor proceeded to convert. Not an MLS debut to remember for Meira!

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Week 2 Preview:

The Must Buys

New York City’s Khiry Shelton ($6.1) could be a cheap option in your fantasy team this week and beyond, as he should retain his starting place after his stellar performance against the Fire. With four consecutive home games upcoming against Toronto, Orlando, New England and Chicago, NYCFC’s Shelton could be the value for money option over the next few weeks.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Jordi Quintilla ($5.6) is another cheap option to add to your side. The club also have a run of home games upcoming, the first of which is against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who surprisingly fell to the Drogba-less Montreal Impact on Sunday. Quintilla tallied eight points in a tough away fixture against Seattle last weekend as he picked up an assist for the game’s only goal. Could this performance be a sign of things to come? 

Last on the list is Cyle Larin ($9.1). The Orlando City forward scored a goal and set up another in injury time to earn his side an impressive 2-2 draw in a rollercoaster game against Real Salt Lake. Larin must be licking his lips at the thought of getting to play against the already faltering defence of Chicago Fire next. This is a perfect opportunity for Larin to continue to prove that last season was no fluke.

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The Must Sells

Anyone who has Demar Phillips ($6.8), Oneil Fisher ($5.3) or Darwin Ceren ($6.6) I’m sure will consider selling them as they all received red cards, so their value could be spent better elsewhere for at least the next Gameweek. Some people may be worried about Kaka’s ($10.5) injury which looks set to keep him out for a few weeks yet – so taking a punt on Argentinian duo Mauro Diaz ($10.2) or Ignacio Piatti ($10.2) may be worth it – especially as neither of them will be affected by the international break in Week 4. Anyone who didn’t remove injured Red Bulls attacker Gonzalo Veron ($9.0) before Week 1 may wish to take their chance to now, along with the small percentage of people who still have NYCFC’s Jack Harrison ($5.5) in their side as he is still around a month from full fitness.


In the MLSGB Fantasy League, the top scorer with 101 points was Mack’s team, Mack Legend. Mack wisely placed Giovinco as captain, which gained him 22 points, while also picking up points from Ignacio Piatti, Cyle Larin, Fabian Castillo and Drew Moor in his Starting XI for Week 1.

You can still join the MLSGB Fantasy League by using code: 4670-1287.

Who will you be transferring in for Gameweek 2?

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MLS Fantasy 2016: What you need to succeed

By Jamie Dawe

Every year the MLS Fantasy minefield blows up anyone who hasn’t fully considered their team selection or their formation. Many people watch their team slide down the leaderboard for the first month while they helplessly panic behind their computer screens. However, there are a few key things you ought to know before you set up your team for this year’s competition.

The New Rules

There are now only 16 players on your roster (rather than 18), but each team still has the same $120.0 budget, meaning you can fill your side with more stars than ever in 2016.

Points are now scored for players who suffer four fouls in a game, for every 35 passes that are completed with 85% accuracy and also for every four shots taken in a game. In addition, defenders and defensive midfielders can score points for clearances, interceptions, tackles and blocks. This will make players like Osvaldo Alonso ($8.5) and Matias Laba ($7.5) even more attractive propositions.

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The Roster

Having two goalkeepers gives you room to have a week-in-week-out starting goalkeeper and also a young up-and-coming ‘keeper who may get game time later in the season. I wouldn’t recommend spending anymore than $11.0 of your budget on the two goalkeeper positions.

Having five defenders gives you the opportunity to splash out on a back five if you’re the kind of manager who likes banking on reliable centre-backs who rack up clean sheets, interceptions and the odd headed goal. Many prefer to use just three defenders, with attacking full-backs becoming increasingly popular too.

The limit of five midfielders now means that building a successful five-man midfield is significantly harder to achieve. However, the increased budget per player could mean that a spend of $45.0 on your midfield may not be terminal.

Four strikers gives you the chance to have at least one low priced striker to make room elsewhere for a big golden boot challenger. Cheap options like Dominic Oduro ($7.5) and Tesho Akindele ($7.5) could become great investments for the season.

The Formation

There’s only one formation I can recommend for the first weeks of the fantasy season and that’s a 3-5-2. In the unpredictable and occasionally maddening league which is Major League Soccer, the only position you can truly rely on is that of the central midfielder. Regardless of the match, quality of the team or the scoreline – passing bonuses are sure to be gained and so I see players like Dax McCarty ($9.0) and Tony Tchani ($8.0) as safe bets for early points. You could also try a 3-4-3 or 4-4-2 if one of your strikers/defenders is likely to play in a midfield role. In my view, any other formation would be complete anarchism before the tone for the season has been set.

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The Must Haves

The increased budget per player has opened up teams to have three or four massive stars in their starting XI. This is why players like last year’s top points scorer Sebastian Giovinco ($11.5) are definitely worth having in your team for the start of the season. Another player along these lines is Ethan Finlay ($10.5), who will also benefit from the new passing bonus points.

However, this doesn’t mean that the most expensive players are always going to be the highest scoring. Strikers like Innocent Emeghara ($9.0) and Maximiliano Urruti ($8.5) are sure to get more playing time this season and they are both proven goalscorers. In defence, Dallas’ No. 1 Jesse Gonzalez ($6.0) might be worth an investment as FC Dallas have four home games in their first six. This home start makes Zach Loyd ($7.5) a steal at this value. On the cheaper side, Josh Saunders ($5.0) may suddenly have a less porous defensive line in front of him as NYCFC have dramatically bolstered their defensive options this offseason. Four home games in the first five won’t hurt either.

The Risks

A few players picked in this year’s SuperDraft may go straight into the starting lineup of some MLS sides. For example, Joshua Yaro ($6.0) and Brandon Vincent ($5.0) are bound to get plenty of playing time. Jordan Morris ($8.5) joining Seattle Sounders was possibly the biggest deal of the offseason and it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll hit the ground running, or whether he’ll take more time to progress. The Colorado Rapids’ biggest offseason signing was Shkelzen Gashi ($9.0), who had been the top scorer in the Swiss Super League for the last two seasons. Whether he can single-handedly turn around the Rapids’ dreadful scoring record, I don’t know. The Rapids also have talented defender/midfielder Marlon Hairston ($5.0) returning from injury, but he might not be thrown straight back into the Starting XI from the outset.

The No-No’s

DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid ($6.0) will be out for at least the first three months of the season and should be ignored. MLS Cup winners Portland have a new left back in Chris Klute ($7.0) but he could easily miss the first games of the season with a knee injury. Nigel De Jong ($9.0) is a new presence in the LA Galaxy midfield, but he is not known for his scoring exploits and is rather more known for racking up yellow cards, so I personally would wait and see if the new scoring system favours him. Also, for his price and his position as a forward in a fantasy squad Giovanni Dos Santos ($11.0) is probably worth a miss until he settles into his new role on the right side of in the Galaxy side.

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The Best Bench Warmers

Cameron Porter ($5.0) should gain significant value if he gets the playing time he was in line to receive before his horrific injury at the beginning of the 2015 season. Along these same lines, Andre Blake ($5.0) could be a starting ‘keeper for Philadelphia this year – and if he’s given the chance – he could become the best bargain ‘keeper in the league. Hadji Barry ($5.0) could also be given the chance to prove himself in a faster, more fluent Orlando City attack – and if he plays to his potential, his price will skyrocket very quickly.

This is just a brief overview of what can be an extremely in-depth game. However, if I were to tell you anymore of my secrets, there would be no point in picking your own team…

All I can do is wish you luck and may the fantasy force be with you!

Who do you think is an absolute must-have in MLS Fantasy 2016?

Join the MLSGB Fantasy League now!

The 2016 MLS season is closing in and that means it’s time to start getting your MLS Fantasy Teams in before the first whistle on Sunday, March 6.

This year, we are hosting our own MLS Fantasy league so you can try and put your MLS knowlegde to the test against the MLSGB team, as well as each other!

To join the MLSGB Fantasy League, head to the MLS Fantasy homepage and head to the ‘Leagues’ tab at the top of the page. From there, you need to click on ‘Create and join new leagues’ before hitting the ‘Join a league’ tab on the next page.

Then click ‘Join Private League’ and when prompted enter the code: 4670-1287

For all the latest MLS Fantasy rule changes and new point-scoring updates, head the official MLS Fantasy page.

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 13 Picks

Gameweek 13 of the MLS season is just around the corner and so it’s time to quickly assess your MLS Fantasy options ahead of what is a hectic round of fixtures.

Six clubs have a Double Gameweek this time around with Colorado Rapids, DC United, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders all playing twice over the course of the next five days.

Here are the three picks we recommend for the upcoming round of fixtures:

Chad Barrett  – Forward (Seattle Sounders) – $6.7m

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The Sounders frontman has been a worthy replacement for the injured Obafemi Martins in the past couple of weeks and has bagged two goals in his last two starts.

With the Sounders playing twice at home this week, Barrett is a cheaper option than most of his teammates at just $6.7m and should be strongly considered.

Cyle Larin – Forward (Orlando City) – $5.9m

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Cyle Larin is the out-and-out striker for Orlando at the moment and his pace makes him a constant threat.

Orlando play Columbus Crew at the Citrus Bowl this weekend, who are not as strong away from home, so at $5.9m, Larin is a pick many be looking at if they don’t already have him.

Kevin Doyle – Forward (Colorado Rapids) – $8.0m 

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Irish international Doyle is a poacher worth putting in the side but the price may be off-putting at $8.0m, considering he is unproven in MLS.

However, Doyle is known for being a nuisance in the box and could cause both Seattle and Portland problems this week if he can get his first starts in those games.

Who are you putting in your MLS Fantasy team this week?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 12 DGW options

With the next round of MLS Fantasy games edging closer, it’s time to seriously assess your options, and once again we have a double gameweek to take into consideration.

This week sees Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution play twice, starting with a game against each other on Wednesday night (preview and prediction here).

Now these two sides are filled with players that fantasy owners are always looking at, but both face tricky fixtures in their DGW.

Sporting KC go away to Seattle Sounders at the weekend after their clash with the Revs, while New England host DC United in a huge Eastern Conference game.

No easy fixtures, but here’s who you should be looking at in round 12 for the players on a double gameweek:

Sporting Kansas City

Amadou Dia – Defender ($4.4m) – The 21-year-old defender has only acquired eight points so far but SKC’s injury troubles mean Dia has a good chance of playing in both games this week. He’s a cheap option, and is a gamble, but could free up space for investment elsewhere.

Benny Feilhaber – Midfielder ($9.7m) – Feilhaber has been excellent so far this season, and although his points have dropped off a bit in recent weeks, he’s a must have for this DGW. He has registered five total assists so far, and is averaging over seven points a week. Take on Benny if you haven’t already.

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New England Revolution

London Woodberry – Defender ($4.9m) – The youngster has been solid at right-back since coming into the side and has two assists in his last five games. He’s a cheap option and could see at least one clean sheet this week.

Scott Caldwell – Midfielder ($7.3m) – Caldwell has been racking up the fantasy points in recent weeks and is already on 8.0% of fantasy teams. He is averaging 6 points a week over the last four and could really thrive  in a DGW.

Juan Agudelo – Forward ($8.8m) – The Revs forward has two goals in his last four and bagged one in Saturday’s game against Toronto. He could benefit from playing against SKC’s weakened defence on Wednesday night. Look to ‘Swagudelo’ for points this week.

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Who do you think is the best option of those on DGW this week?

STATS: Who is the most prolific striker in MLS?

With the 2015 MLS season well underway, it’s a great time to look at the top goalscorers in the league and just how prolific they really are.

Using statistics from Squawka, we take a look at the strikers who have scored five or more goals so far this term, and how their conversion rates compare:

Striker Goals Scored Total Shots Conversion Rate (%)
Clint Dempsey 7 18 39
Kei Kamara 7 43 16
Obafemi Martins 6 16 38
Octavio Rivero 6 43 14
Chris Wondolowski 6 34 18
Giles Barnes 6 38 16
Bradley Wright-Phillips 5 31 16
Jozy Altidore 5 16 31
Blas Perez 5 13 38

According to the statistics above, Clint Dempsey is the most prolific striker out of the pack as he has a conversion rate 39%.

There is a clear advantage with the Seattle Sounders going forward as both their forwards register conversion rates over 35% – further proof that Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are an incredible strike force.

However, notice must be taken of how prolific Blas Perez has been for FC Dallas (38% conversion rate) as has Jozy Altidore on his return to MLS (31% conversion rate).

Who do you think has been the best striker in MLS this season?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 12 ins and outs

It was a hectic weekend in Major League Soccer, in which Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union and Orlando City all produced surprise results by beating some of the league’s biggest sides, throwing MLS Fantasy owners into potential chaos ahead of Week 12.

The next gameweek starts on Wednesday night as Sporting Kansas City take on New England Revolution so we take a look at the fantasy picks that should be brought in and the players that should be taken out for the upcoming gameweek.

Ins

Brek Shea (Defender) Orlando City SC: $7.9m – If you don’t already have the USMNT star in your team, he’s worth putting in ASAP. At $7.9m he is expensive for a defender, but he is currently playing on the left flank because Kevin Molino is out for the season. Even if he earns you $0.5m over the next few weeks, you can dump him and make profit.

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Dom Dwyer (Forward) Sporting Kansas City: $10.6m – With Obafemi Martins a doubt, owners of the Nigerian may want to put in Dwyer for the week as SKC play twice; at home to New England Revolution and away to Seattle Sounders, and he is overdue a scoring run with only three goals so far in 2015.

Outs

Hernan Grana (Defender) Columbus Crew: $6.6m – If you haven’t already read about his departure, Grana needs to go. His contract with Columbus has been cancelled and the defender has moved back to Argentina so take him out.

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Octavio Rivero (Forward) Vancouver Whitecaps: $9.0m – The Uruguayan striker has had a poor recent run of form with only one goal in his last six. After starting the season in stellar form with five in his first six he has fallen out of form and it may be time to cash in on the Whitecaps man.

What changes will you be making for Gameweek 12 in MLS Fantasy?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 4 Picks

With the weekend approaching, it means more MLS matches, and with the international break in full swing, this is probably the time to bring in some replacements for your MLS Fantasy team that aren’t away with their national sides.

All 20 MLS teams will be in action for Week 4 but international absentees make picking a team a little more challenging.

We take a look at some worthy replacements for the usual stars that could make the difference this weekend:

1. Tyler Deric: $4.9m (Houston Dynamo) – Colorado Rapids (H)

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Tyler Deric has been a breakthrough player so far this season and barring that unfortunate moment against Orlando, he has been one of the Dynamo’s best players.

Having only conceded two goals in three games, Deric looks a good bet for a clean sheet this week at home to a Colorado side that are yet to be involved in a game with a goal. The Rapids have not scored a goal in 420 minutes of MLS action now so Deric will be confident of keeping his second clean sheet of the season.

2. Kei Kamara: $8.0m (Columbus Crew) – New York Red Bulls (H)

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With an injury to Red Bulls left-back Roy Miller and centre-back Ronald Zubar a doubt for this fixture, this might be the time to throw Kei Kamara into the team. Playing for a Columbus side that was brilliant at home against Toronto, he will be a huge threat in attack.

Coming off a bye week should make him hungrier than usual, and if you’re looking to replace Robbie Keane or Blas Perez for the international break, Kamara is a great option at $8.0 million.

3. Tesho Akindele: $8.1m (FC Dallas) – Seattle Sounders (H)

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As usual the last pick is for the gamblers among you. Tesho Akindele is expected to play up top this weekend, deputising for the missing Blas Perez.

Akindele is up against a very good Seattle Sounders team, however, they haven’t been great recently and lost 3-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes last time out. Star man Clint Dempsey won’t feature and so Akindele could be in for some big points this weekend.

Who do you think will be the standout MLS Fantasy performer this weekend?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 2 Picks

The 2015 MLS season is fully underway and with Gameweek 2 just hours away we take a look at three MLS Fantasy players you should consider this week.

Going by who they are playing and what they can bring, these three should bring the points to your fantasy team this week and should be considered at captain options if you have them.

1. Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders): $11.2m – vs. San Jose Earthquakes (H)

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It might sound obvious, but if you haven’t thought about putting Clint Dempsey in your side, you should have done.

Topping the charts with eighteen points last week, Dempsey looks set for more as his Seattle side take on San Jose – a team that hasn’t won in 16 MLS games and are without a goal in five.

Dempsey is the most expensive player in the official MLSSoccer.com fantasy game but his price is likely to continue rising so getting him now would be a good move if you can.

2. David Villa (New York City FC): $10.0m – vs. New England Revolution (H)

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New York City FC will play their first ever home game this weekend at Yankee Stadium. They are up against the New England Revolution, who lost 3-0 in Seattle last week, and we’re expecting David Villa to be in the points.

With Mix Diskerud providing the service for him, David Villa should have chances to score this week against a Revs defence that could not handle Obafemi Martins or Clint Dempsey. If given chances, Villa doesn’t miss many and he will expect to open his account for the campaign on Sunday evening.

3. Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo): $9.1m – vs. Orlando City SC (H)

Giles Barnes celebrates scoring against Columbus Crew (Photo: Troy Taormina, Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Giles Barnes celebrates scoring against Columbus Crew (Photo: Troy Taormina, Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The pick of the bunch right here, Giles Barnes is listed as a midfielder but we expect him to play upfront this weekend. Owen Coyle moved him to striker in the second-half last week and he repaid that decision by scoring the winner.

At $9.1m and listed as a midfielder you can essentially set a lineup that has four strikers and more strikers = more points.

Who do you think will be the highest MLS Fantasy points scorer in Gameweek 2?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 1’s standout performers

After a great opening weekend of MLS action, we review the best picks from Gameweek 1 in mlssoccer.com’s official fantasy soccer game.

It wouldn’t be much help just picking out the highest scoring players, so to give you more to think about with more of a valued insight, we have taken the best five picks in terms of points per million.

We have only had one weekend of action and there is a long way to go but these five players picked up a solid amount of MLS Fantasy points this weekend and showed promise:

1. Tyler Deric (Goalkeeper) – Houston Dynamo – $5.1m

Tyler Deric Houston Dynamo

Tyler Deric in action for the Houston Dynamo (Photo: MLSSoccer.com)

Deric kept a clean-sheet in a hard fought 1-0 win against the Columbus Crew this weekend and made six saves. The Dynamo ‘keeper was good value for nine points this week and has seen his price rise to $5.1m already. He will face Orlando next weekend at home and will expect to rack up more points in that one.

Points per million: 1.8/million


 

2. Axel Sjoberg (Defender) – Colorado Rapids – $4.6m

Axel Sjoberg Colorado Rapids

Axel Sjoberg in action for the Colorado Rapids (Photo: MLSSoccer.com)

We have two Colorado players in the top five this week, with centre-back Sjoberg the first. A clean-sheet in the 0-0 draw against the Philadelphia Union earned him four points this week and three additional defending points alongside his two points for playing 90 minutes helped him to nine, though he unfortunately picked up a yellow card and ended on eight points. That’s still a good tally and his price has risen to $4.6m as a result of a good start.

Points per million: 1.7/million 


 

3. Clint Dempsey (Midfielder) – Seattle Sounders – $11.2m

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With two goals, an assist, minutes bonus, a midfielder clean-sheet and a penalty earner, Dempsey topped the overall points tally with eighteen points this week in an impressive performance for the Sounders against his former club, New England Revolution. A good start for ‘Deuce’ as he rewarded those who splashed out $11.0m for him and he has seen his price rise to $11.2m already.

Points per million: 1.63/million 


 

4. Clint Irwin (Goalkeeper) – Colorado Rapids – $5.1m

Clint Irwin in action for the Colorado Rapids (Photo: Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

Clint Irwin in action for the Colorado Rapids (Photo: Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

The second of the Colorado contingent is goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who kept a clean-sheet in the 0-0 draw with Philadelphia on Saturday and he would have earned you eight points if you started him. His price increased to $5.1m but be wary as Zac MacMath will be challenging for a starting role against New York City FC after the upcoming bye week for the Rapids.

Points per million: 1.6/million 


 

5. Jozy Altidore (Striker) – Toronto FC – $9.7m

Jozy Altidore Toronto FC

Jozy Altidore celebrates scoring for Toronto FC against the Vancouver Whitecaps (Photo: MLSSoccer.com)

The standout man in Toronto’s 3-1 win against Vancouver on Saturday night was Jozy Altidore as he scored two and earned the late penalty that he calmly chipped in. Altidore impressed, earning a total of 15 points on his return to MLS and has seen his fantasy price go to $9.7m already. A trip to the Columbus Crew is up next as the USMNT forward will look to pick up where he left off against the Whitecaps.

Points per million: 1.58/million


Who was you best fantasy player this week?