We at RSL Soapbox are starting to get excited for fantasy soccer. Join our league by clicking the link, or enter the league code: 1282-1046.
The MLS Fantasy Soccer format has been overhauled for 2017. The biggest change? Unlimited transfers every round. That’s right. Make all the changes you want. There’s a great overview that will explain the changes: smaller teams, cheaper defenders, stronger clean sheet points.
But, you’re saying to me, I’ve never played fantasy soccer before. Why would I want to? Well, let me tell you! Do you want to learn more about MLS? Do you want to inspire an interest in the rest of the league? Do you need another reason to root against SKC, LA, Seattle, Portland, Colorado? Fantasy soccer is your ticket. It’s your chance to learn more about the whole league and to give yourself that little extra kick when cheering on the RSL players you also have on your fantasy team.
You get 15 players on a budget of $100 million. Transfer windows open at 7:00 AM mountain time following the last match of the round. This will usually be on a Monday. Teams are locked at the deadline times.
You may make unlimited manager substitutions for any players whose matches have yet to start; if you make manager substitutions, automatic substitutions will not occur. Basically, if a lineup is released and your pick isn’t playing, you can swap the player for someone on your bench up until the time their match is scheduled to start.
If you make no manager substitutions, players on your team who play 0 minutes will be swapped for like players on your bench who did play minutes.
You also get a captain. Your captain makes double points, positive or negative. Captains do not automatically substitute.
A player’s value will change based on how many points they scored compared to the average at their position. The better choices you make, the more your players will be worth, the higher your team will be valued, the better the players you can buy. Of course, the opposite is true. If your players lose value, your team loses value.
Finally, new for 2017 is the Opening Week Challenge. There’s a sweet prize pack on the line for the fantasy team with the single highest score opening week. After that, all scores reset and the fantasy league progresses as normal. Pick your opening lineup wisely!
So how does scoring work on a basic level? You can find the full scoring list here, but I’ll break down the basics.
Everyone who plays gets 1 point. Get 1 more for playing 60+ minutes.
Goals are worth 5 points (6 for a defender of keeper goal).
Assists are worth 3 points (including 2nd assists, commonly called the MLS assist).
Keepers and defenders get 5 points for a shutout; midfielders get 1.
Top fantasy players
Prices are current as of preseason. Scores are based on the 2016 season. All numbers are in millions, I guess, even though it’s pretend money.
Sebastian Giovinco (TOR)—$12 At 255 points last season, he’s a sure bet. You’ll feel dirty playing Giovinco opening round because a good score for him means he’s playing well against RSL. He’s been the top man the past two years, though. Dirty.
David Villa (NYC)—$10 He’s $2 cheaper than Giovinco and scored 243 points last year. Villa’s a good purchase.
Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY)—$10 Golden boot winner BWP came in at 223 points last season. He’s a sure bet. Guy scores goals.
Ignacio Piatti (MTL)—$10 Nacho was my cash cow last season and I’m going to be betting on him again this season. That means you can’t select him. He’s mine. Except you can select him all you want. He came in at 234 points last season.
Sacha Kljestan (NY)—$10 Kljestan was in tremendous form last season. Twenty assists in 2016! Twenty! Partner him with BWP and you’ll get assist points and goal points.
Diego Valeri (POR)—$10 Valeri had a good year even if his team didn’t. Maybe he’ll get 222 points again this year AND Portland will miss the playoffs. Fingers crossed?
Walker Zimmerman (DAL)—$6.5 All of the defenders got a dramatic decrease in cost this year. If you watched the USMNT vs. Jamaica, you saw Zimmerman in action and heard Landon Donovan and Stuart Holden lauding his capabilities. Last year’s fantasy data show he’s doing good things.
Justin Morrow (TOR)—$6 The fullback had a good season in 2016. He put up 10 clean sheets, 4 assists, 5 goals, and ended the season with 165 points.
Axel Sjoberg (COL)—$6.5 The tall center back had a standout season. A lot of us picked him up for cheap last year and watched him rack up 164 points on the season.
Luis Robles (NY)—$6 The MLS Goalkeeper of the Year also raked in the most fantasy points for a GK last year with 168.
Brian Rowe (LA)— $5.5 Rowe wasn’t expected to be LA’s starting keeper with Dan Kennedy on the roster, but he earned that spot and zipped up some fantasy points. 166.
RSL’s Top Fantasy Players
Joao Plata—$9 He shares the priciest player spot this year with Rusnák. He raked in 166 points last year. Is this Plaa’s year for double digit goals and assists? He had 9 goals and 12 assists last year.
Nick Rimando—$6 Our stellar keeper pulled in 135 points. Are you expecting more clean sheets this season? Maybe he can start taking the PKs everyone else seems to miss.
Justin Glad—$5.5 The number three spot for RSL is held by the young defender with 129 points. More experience, stronger cohesion, more clean sheets here? Maybe a few goals?
If you have questions about MLS Fantasy Soccer, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (my handle’s at the top). If I don’t know the answer, I’ll figure it out and let you know.