MLS Fantasy Manager 2017 week one
Major League Soccer Fantasy Manager is back for 2017 with plenty of new and returning stars to fill out some amazing rosters. This year isn’t different from the 2016 season when it comes to roster spots if you’re playing the official MLS Fantasy Manager. Your roster requires two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders, and three forwards to complete your team of 15. Some stars have dropped in price while others have shot up after a monster season last year. There’s plenty to choose from so let’s hop into the picks for a packed week one.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto F.C., $12.0
Sebastian Giovinco should be the player every fantasy manager bases their team around. He’s the best player in the league when he’s healthy and he had three months to heal up after a tough loss in the MLS Cup final. Toronto F.C. has a tough road game to start the season with but Giovinco won’t have a problem making an impact on the result regardless of what it is. The Toronto attack has made amazing strides to the point that it no longer depends on Giovinco but he’s still the most important piece which means he’ll pick up points from any goal whether he scores it or sets it up.
David Villa, New York City F.C., $10.0
David Villa is coming off an amazing second season with New York City F.C. that proved he was all in for this team. David Villa will have to keep on fire this year if he wants to get N.Y.C.F.C. to their goal of winning it all after only a couple of seasons of existence. New York City opens the season on the road against Orlando City S.C. in their new stadium so this will be a tough match to win. I don’t think N.Y.C.F.C. has to win this match for Villa to tally a goal or two. The blue side of New York has proven time and again they have no problem trying to outscore their opponent instead of defending even though that has improved. I think Villa will come away with at least one goal and maybe two if Orlando City’s defensive woes continue.
Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers, $9.5
Fanendo Adi quietly had a solid 2016 season for a team that underperformed. Adi has proven time and again that he is a top-notch goal scorer in MLS and is dangerous against any defense. The Portland Timbers play in the season opener against expansion side Minnesota United F.C. and this bodes well for Adi’s goal scoring chances. It usually takes half a season before an expansion side begins to click as a unit and this is their first game as a top division franchise. I doubt that Adi will tear apart the Minnesota defense but I could see him easily notching a brace against this new team. Portland is still not the strongest defensive team in the league but their attack is lethal.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls, $10.0
Sacha Kljestan is arguably the best United States Men’s midfielder playing in the league. He has an ability to orchestrate scoring chances better than most central midfielders the rest of MLS has to offer. He’s not the most creative but he’s definitely one of the most skilled with a soccer I.Q. among the world’s best. He has a great pass and gorgeous free kick that both translate into goals for his New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls are opening the season on the road against another expansion side, Atlanta United F.C.. Atlanta’s front office has attempted to put together a powerful, skillful attack but may have neglected an instantly cohesive defense in the process. I don’t think Atlanta will have a bad year but I could see them having a tumultuous start which translates into a big game for Kljestan. I don’t think he’ll have to score in this game to notch big points if he picks up an assist or two to go along with passing and attacking bonuses. He’s another great player to build your roster around heading into the first week of the season.
Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact, $10.0
Ignacio Piatti has proven time and again that he is always in the conversation for most valuable player at the end of the season. He elevates the skill of the Montreal Impact attack just by being on the field in any game and they’ve gotten better every year he’s been apart of the roster. His ability to lead a team is astounding but he also has no issue putting them on his back in dire straits. This translates to awesome numbers throughout the year. The Impact open the season on the road against the San José Earthquakes. The Earthquakes tried to have a great offseason but fell horribly short of their goal. They didn’t make the improvements they needed and I only see a rough year ahead for them starting with this tough opponent in week one. That all means that Piatti and the Montreal attack should pick apart the San José defense. I see him netting a goal but think he’ll pad his opening week numbers with passing and attacking bonuses. I also won’t be surprised if the Impact hold San José scoreless for a clean sheet bonus.
Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers, $10.0
Diego Valeri continues to set the bar higher every season for what star attacking midfielder should be in MLS. He’s skilled on the ball, has a great passing ability, and has no problem making the hard-nosed plays other attacking midfielders are afraid of. He’s guaranteed to fight for the shirt every week. Valeri matches up well against a Minnesota United F.C. midfield that hasn’t played enough matches together to gel as a unit. He’ll pick up most of his points this week from his passing and assists but that could translate to goals as well if Minnesota fouls too much. Valeri is always dangerous but he’s deadly on set pieces and any free kick within range will most likely end up in the back of the net.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Walker Zimmerman, F.C. Dallas, $6.5
Walker Zimmerman has proven to be another great draft pick for F.C. Dallas now that he has turned into a two-way threat and intelligent defender. He’s able to knock down any cross that comes his way and is able to stop any attacker that gets near him. His strong attacking prowess catches most opponents off guard and he might be the best set-piece target in the league. He’s the type of defender that fantasy managers should build their team around. I recommend doing whatever possible to fit him into a roster. Zimmerman and F.C.D. have a tough week ahead of them as they open on the road against the Los Angeles Galaxy but this is a different Galaxy squad from previous seasons. The Galaxy lost a few attacking options and have an almost entirely new coaching staff. I also doubt their new attacking signings will have figured each other out yet which means a strong defensive match for F.C.D.. Zimmerman should have no problem picking up defending bonuses with clearances and a possible clean sheet but he’s always a threat on crosses so don’t be surprised if he notches a goal or assist.
Axel Sjoberg, Colorado Rapids., $6.5
Photo by Chris Humphreys/ USA Today Sports
Axel Sjoberg made his way into my picks for a good chunk of last season and I have no issues picking him again. He proved time and again that he is a reliable center back for the league’s stingiest defense. He doesn’t score a lot and he isn’t the greatest passer but he’s solid in every defensive situation. He’ll get rid of any ball that comes into the box and he’ll snuff out any attack that comes up the middle. The Colorado Rapids were nearly unbeatable at home last season where they open up this year against one of 2016’s most disappointing squads, the New England Revolution. There were some great teams that couldn’t notch a goal in Colorado last year and the Revolution are far from great. This should be a clean sheet for the Rapids which means a possible double-digit game for Sjoberg.
Alvas Powell, Portland Timbers, $5.0
Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Timber defense had a bad 2016, there’s no way around it. They were missing out on some key parts the majority of the season and could never find a good footing to help out their great attack. They lost their leader, Nat Borchers, in the offseason but they’re still a threat as long as Alvas Powell and his teammates stay healthy. The Timbers are playing at home so they should make easy work of Minnesota United . Powell is an attacking threat as well as a great defender and he’ll pick up some bonuses from there but will get majority of his points from the clean sheet that’s coming.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls, $6.0
Luis Robles is the best goalkeeper in MLS right now. It’s not even an argument. He’s playing the best soccer of his life for a great team that is prone to defensive lapses. He bails out the Red Bulls on a weekly basis from some tough situations. The Red Bulls got lucky with their opening match against expansion side Atlanta United. I think they’ll take advantage of this young team and that means a clean sheet for Robles. I think he’ll be called into action as the Red Bull defense tries to gel but that means bonus points from saves. He’ll have a double-digit week if he can keep Atlanta off the scoreboard.