MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be looking at for Week 5?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

The weekend which was used to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first game of Major League Soccer brought us everything we have come to expect from this ever-developing league. There were goals, star names shining through and a whole host of colourful kits on display. This season is already turning into an MLS classic and it’s only just begun.

Week 4 Review

The Good:

It’s fair to say that the Seattle Sounders have performed well below expectations so far this season, having lost their first three fixtures of the season. However, US international Clint Dempsey ($10.9), fresh from scoring for his country against Guatemala, netted a crucial goal to give his side their first win of the season over Montreal last weekend. Meanwhile, ‘super sub’ Adam Jahn ($5.5) netted six minutes after coming on the field to rescue San Jose Earthquakes a late point at home to winless DC United. Orlando City defender Seb Hines ($7.6) opened the scoring in his side’s convincing 4-1 victory against MLS Cup holders Portland Timbers. The defender earned a total of 9 points to help his side climb to the top of the Eastern Conference and remain unbeaten. Trinidadian teammate Kevin Molino ($8.1) won and converted a penalty late in the game, earning 12 points to rank him amongst the highest point-scorers of the week. However, the standout scorer from Orlando’s game and undoubtedly the player of the week was Kaka ($10.7), who contributed two assists and a goal on his way to picking up 16 points in his first appearance of the season.

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The Bad:

Toronto midfielder Benoit Cheyrou ($7.2) was treated to an early bath as he picked up two yellow cards within the first 13 minutes of his side’s away defeat to the Rapids. This was the fastest red card of the season so far and a feat I’m sure Cheyrou won’t be planning to repeat. He certainly won’t be repeating it in Week 5 as he will be suspended for the game away to the struggling Revs. There were a total of four red cards this week, with Philadelphia’s Warren Creavalle ($5.7), the Red Bulls’ Felipe Martins ($8.3) and Vancouver’s Matias Laba ($7.3) all leaving their team down to ten men. No team that was reduced to ten men managed to score this week – leaving a stark reminder of the dangers of going a man down. It was a bad day for the Portland defence in general, who conceded four goals away to Orlando, so any fans of debutant Jack Barmby ($6.9), may feel slightly disappointed at his performance.

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Week 5 Preview

The Must Buys:

As has already been mentioned, Kaka ($10.7) has come back from injury with a bang – so anyone with a bit of leeway in their budget should invest in the former Ballon d’Or winner before his price skyrockets. Joao Plata ($9.4) is still incredible value for money at under $10 and is the highest scoring striker so far this season with 41 points – an average of over 10 points per game. Daniel Steres ($5.2) is also proving fantastic value for money as the 25 year old is establishing himself as a regular in the LA Galaxy defence. He has gone some way to filling the enormous void (literally and metaphorically) that the departure of 6ft 7ins Omar Gonzalez left.

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The Must Sells:

The New York Red Bulls have lost even more players to injury and now Felipe to suspension so things aren’t getting any easier for Jesse Marsch. It might be best to avoid having Red Bulls players in your side for the next few weeks as I would be surprised if they put in any high scoring performances. It’s over to Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.8) and Sacha Kljestan ($11.2) to prove me wrong. Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen ($11.0) also needs to start proving that he is worth that vast sum of money – as Kaka looks much the better option for a team’s midfield and he even comes at a cheaper price at this point.

Who will you be bringing into your MLS Fantasy team for Week 5?

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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

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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?

 

MLS Fantasy Tips: Top midfield picks

The latest installment of our MLS Fantasy tips series sees us preview the best midfield options in the official mlssoccer.com fantasy soccer game.

With the 2015 MLS season fast approaching, we take a look at the best midfield options for your fantasy lineup. Here are the five who we think could top the points chart this term.

1. Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) – $11.0m

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Lee Nguyen was the key playmaker in a great New England Revolution side in 2014 and we expect much of the same this year. With 18 regular season goals in MLS last term, he will be hoping to better that tally in 2015.

The return of Juan Agudelo up top will give Nguyen another man to aim at and whether he is scoring or providing, the USMNT man will be an asset to any fantasy lineup. But with a tag of $11.0m, he will need to do well to justify his price.

2. Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC) – $11.0m

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The second of three expensive picks is Sebastian Giovinco but the Italian is a huge gamble at $11.0m considering he hasn’t previously played in MLS.

Toronto needs to make the playoffs this season and Giovinco will be key to any success. Like Nguyen, he can pop up with goals as well as assists and the ‘Atomic Ant’ is someone to seriously consider so long as he can hit the ground running.

3. Kaka (Orlando City SC) – $11.0m

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Former Ballon d’Or winner, Kaka is the marquee signing for 2015 and we expect him to live up to his pedigree.

At $11.0m a lot of fantasy managers will be put off by the price tag but he is one that needs deep consideration. He’s won everything there is to win and now he’s hungry for an MLS Cup in Orlando City’s inaugural season. More than 20% of managers have already picked Kaka for their fantasy teams and he could be the top overall points scorer in 2015.

4. Lloyd Sam (New York Red Bulls) – $8.5m

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Lloyd Sam was the subject of a huge debate over whether he warrants consideration this year now that Thierry Henry has retired. But Sam will still give Bradley Wright-Phillips service and the English winger should at least make your shortlist.

It will be interesting to see what system is played by the New York Red Bulls in 2015 and if Sam is played more centrally, he has to be picked at $8.5m. Even on the right, he can cause problems and he scored as many points as Graham Zusi last year but is $2.0m cheaper than the Sporting Kansas City man.

5. Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo) – $9.0m

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Although he is classed as a midfielder, Giles Barnes often plays up front for the Dynamo, and the further forward he is the more of a threat he is.

Houston are set for a good year under new boss Owen Coyle and the mid-season arrival of Erick Torres will only make Barnes more of an attacking threat. He is a slight risk at $9.0m but was the eighth-highest points scorer from all midfielders in the 2014 season.

Who do you think will be the best MLS Fantasy midfielder in 2015?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Top Defensive Picks

The third installment of our fantasy tips series sees us preview the best defensive options in the official mlssoccer.com fantasy football game.

With the 2015 MLS season fast approaching, we take a look at the best defenders to consider starting in your MLS Fantasy lineup. Here are the five we think could top the points chart this term in defence:

1. Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) – $9.0m

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A hefty price for the LA Galaxy Designated Player should be money well spent as LA are the favourites to retain their MLS Cup title again this year. With eight clean-sheets in the 2014 regular season, Omar Gonzalez is certainly worth a look so long as your budget can stretch.

The USMNT star is also a threat at set-pieces. He scored four times last season and his experience will be key in defence and attack. One concern would be that he has been known to have injury problems.

2. Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers) – $8.5m

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Portland Timbers are expected to have a good season and Liam Ridgewell will play a huge part in any playoff push the Timbers mount. The Englishman is a free-kick specialist and can also play in midfield.

At $8.5m he is an expensive pick but he is worth a look as he has a keen eye for goal and will pick up clean-sheet points that will be so valuable for your team.

3. Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) – $9.0m

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The other half of the USMNT World Cup centre-half pairing, Matt Besler is a strong centre-back that can also pop up with a goal. Top players cost top money and Besler is valued at a price that is risky ($9.0m) but he could bring huge rewards if Sporting KC remain tight at the back.

Sporting Kansas City will be playing in the Western Conference this season but Besler should pick up some clean-sheets on the way. Last year saw Besler record his lowest fantasy points tally in three years but that was largely down to fatigue after the World Cup and he should bounce back in 2015.

4. Brek Shea (Orlando City SC) – $8.0m

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Some might say Brek Shea is a gamble but his versatility could see him move forward from left-back, where he is expected to play, throughout the season and with that he becomes more of a goal threat.

At $8.0m he is still a risk and may not settle back into MLS instantly. But he is going to get game time with Orlando City and may be worth the money so long as the Lions can remain relatively solid at the back.

5. Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) – $9.0m

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FC Dallas star Matt Hedges is a mainstay in a very good Dallas team. With the introduction of Dan Kennedy in goal, Dallas have only strengthened at the back and they are certainly contenders for the MLS Supporters’ Shield. Any club in the hunt for success needs to keep clean-sheets and Dallas are no exception.

Hedges popped up with three goals last season and that total could well increase this term. He was the fourth-highest scoring defender in 2014 and deserves serious attention.

Who do you think will be the best MLS Fantasy defender in 2015?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Value for money picks

The new Major League Soccer season is drawing ever closer and that means it’s time to start weighing up your MLS fantasy football options ahead of the new campaign.

Here we’ll look at the best players in terms of value for money from the current list of players on the official MLS Fantasy Soccer game. We’re excited for the new season and fantasy football is one of the best ways to get involved with the fastest growing league in world sport if you’re new to MLS.

Below is a list of the five players we believe will be more than worth their price tag this year and some of them should probably be worth more.

Everyone will want that star name whether it be Kaka, David Villa or Robbie Keane but we take a look at the players that will keep you in the hunt for the fantasy title in your league at a more affordable price.

1. Bryan Rochez – Striker (Orlando City)

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It’s surprising that you can have a new Designated Player for just $7.0m. Rochez is a risk, but we believe he’s one worth taking, as you have to assume he will lead the Orlando City line. And after all, someone has to finish Kaka’s great work. Right?

2. Dan Kennedy – Goalkeeper (FC Dallas)

Kennedy was left without a club after the disbandment of Chivas USA. and Dallas picked him up in the Dispersal Draft and now he can be yours for $5.0m.

In terms of a starting goalkeeper, that price is cheap. Especially when you consider Dallas is expected to challenge for a playoff spot again this season. The only catch could be Chris Seitz as the ‘keeper made 14 starts last year and will compete with Kennedy for the starting role.

3. Will Bruin – Striker (Houston Dynamo)

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Bruin will start up top going into the season, and depending on the form of Erick Torres upon arrival, he could be a crucial member to this Houston side for the entire campaign.

He scored ten times in 27 appearances last term so he has proved he can deliver. A slight risk at $8.0m but we believe he’ll be more than worth that price tag, especially in the early months of the season.

4. Otis Earle – Defender (FC Dallas)

A first round draft pick this year and at $4.0m Earle is the cheapest it can get and we are hoping the young defender will see regular first-team action in Dallas after Jair Benitez left the club.

Earle is known to attack down the left side from left-back and could form a lethal partnership with Fabian Castillo this year.

And at such a low price he’s worth having in the side even if you’re just making room for a star man like Kaka or Sebastian Giovinco.

5. Sam Cronin – Midfielder (Colorado Rapids)

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Cronin was traded to the Rapids from the San Jose Earthquakes in the offseason and is set to partner Marcelo Sarvas in a new-look Colorado midfield so he will see game time.

If you just want someone who will reliably see the field week in, week out, then Cronin is your guy. And at $6.0m, he is a low risk pick.

Who do you think will be the best fantasy player for value in 2015?