So here goes...
It's so hard to get into MLS fantasy at the beginning of the season. The Premier League is still in full swing, and the MLS rosters are just starting to take shape, much less do we have any clear idea of who will or won't play, and who will or won't be any good.
But play we must. First things first, here are the games we'll be playing:
MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager | MLSsoccer.com
- Join our "Beat the Bloggers" Prviate Group
ESPN - FC Manager - Game Home
- Join our "EPL Methadone" Prviate Group
with code 2423-687.
- Join our "EPL Methadone" Prviate Group
Now, let's read up on MLS fantasy in general, and find some good over-arching resources:
- Fantasy Report: Building a winning squad within the cap | MLSsoccer.com
- Fantasy EPL Methadone: Major League Soccer Fantasy
- MLS Fantasy Preparation - It Begins - Never Manage Alone
- MLS Fantasy Gameweek One: Predicted Line Ups - MLSFantasyManager.com
- Fixture Analysis - MLSFantasyManager.com
After the jump, we're going to travel around the league via the magic of SBNation. These guys love their teams, and they know their stuff. It's well worth reading their previews, as well as checking out their individual blogs.
Finally, I'll reveal my week 1 teams in each of the official MLS and ESPN games, and try to give a little explanation as to why I picked whom I did.
SBNation's MLS Team Previews
- 2012 LA Galaxy Preview: Even Bigger Things Could Be On Horizon - SBNation.com
- 2012 Seattle Sounders Preview: The Open Cup Is Not Enough - SBNation.com
- 2012 Toronto FC Preview: No More Punchlines - SBNation.com
- 2012 Colorado Rapids Preview: Depth Will Be Key To Oscar Pareja's Success - SBNation.com
- 2012 Sporting KC Preview: Lots of Depth Up Top, Not So Much In Back - SBNation.com
- 2012 Portland Timbers Preview: At Least One Cup On The Horizon - SBNation.com
- 2012 Columbus Crew Preview: New Additions Raise Expectations - SBNation.com
- 2012 Houston Dynamo Preview: Another Trip To MLS Cup Final A Definite Possibility - SBNation.com
- 2012 Vancouver Whitecaps Preview: Sky's The Limit, But Hardly Guaranteed - SBNation.com
- 2012 Chivas USA Preview: Massive Turnover Could Fuel Turnaround - SBNation.com
- 2012 DC United Preview: Expectations Are Sky High - SBNation.com
- 2012 FC Dallas Preview: Lack Of Depth Is Only Concern - SBNation.com
- 2012 Montreal Impact Preview: Expect Some Growing Pains - SBNation.com
Jeremy's Week 1 MLS Fantasy Teams
MLS Fantasy Soccer (Official Game)
This is an odd game, especially when coming from Yahoo!'s Premier League fare. There are no formation changes, and you only get one or two transfers a week. I take it this is more like the Official Premier League game, but it's foreign to me. The other noticeable feature of the game is that players are priced VERY aggressively. Anyone halfway decent will cost you an arm and a leg, and even fitting twelve or thirteen starters into your side is difficult.
- Bill Hamid - I love my DCUnited, and Hamid is an emerging star. DC should be tougher defensively this year, and hopefully Hamid will benefit.
- Ryan Meara - Another cheap keeper. He may not last long as NY Red Bulls starter, but cheap works for now.
- Corey Ashe - Surprisingly inexpensive as a starter on a contending team, and one that is built from the back. In addition to defensive points, he did start out as a left-winger so hopefully he'll get into the attack as well.
- Rodney Wallace - The most expensive defender I bought, but one who seems to have a chance at starting the season in midfield. When Portland was good last season, Wallace was a solid fantasy choice. Hopefully we get that player again.
- Lee Young-Pyo - YPLee! You don't understand how excited Neal and I were when he signed for MLS. This was a no-brainer (if relatively expensive) pick even before knowing that his first match was at home against the expansion Impact de Montreal.
- Marc Burch - A cheap filler, and an old favorite from his DC United days. He has a mean left foot and can take set-pieces when healthy and starting. Who knows if that combination will ever line-up again, however.
- Kwame Watson-Siriboe - More filler. Chosen because of his price, his name, and because he actually has an MLS appearance to that name.
- Martin Rivero - A relatively inexpensive, attacking midfielder. I've always liked Colorado for MLS fantasy, so hopefully my streak continues here.
- Dwayne De Rosario - The one MUST HAVE for my fantasy team. Regardless the cost, he's the reigning MLS MVP, a midfielder playing striker, taking kicks, and on an improving team that has goals in its DNA. And playing on my favorite team. No-brainer. First name on the team sheet.
- Kelyn Rowe - See Rivero above (inexpensive, attacking). Hopefully Rowe can establish himself in New England quickly.
- Mike Magee - The most cost-effective entry into the league's prohibitive favorites. Magee pitches in with his fair share of goals and I've always liked him as a player, despite his New York MetroStars pedigree.
- Luis Silva - See Rivero and Rowe above. No fantasy good has ever come from Toronto. They even ruined Laurent Robert, one of the most sure-thing fantasy players ever. But cheap, in line to start games as a forward/attacking midfielder. Worth a spot then.
- Hamdi Salihi - Big name striker brought to DC to lead the team. I have high hopes, and since I'll be rooting for him anyway, why not do so on my fantasy team as well.
- Kris Boyd - I'm pouring all my residual good feelings towards John Spencer into the Boyd pick this year.
- David Estrada - Starting and scoring for Seattle in preseason and the CONCACAF Champions League. I just hope he can keep his place when Eddie Johnson is fully fit.
ESPN's oddly-named FC Manager: USA
It's real easy to put together a line-up of heavy-hitters in this game. Price isn't the object, it's limiting yourself to 15 players. I went for:
- Nick Rimando - Still doing the business for a tough Real Salt Lake side.
- Josh Saunders - The undisputed number one on the league's best team. They may have some issues in defence this year, but Saunders should do well.
- Rodney Wallace
- Jair Benítez - An outside back on what should be a dynamic FC Dallas team. I don't know much about Benitez, but am willing to take a gamble.
- Corey Ashe
- Kosuke Kimura - A very attacking fullback for a Rapids team that I like. He did very well for me last season and I'm happy to go back to the well.
- Lee Young-Pyo
- Benny Feilhaber - Another player who performed for me at the back-end of last season. He's the hub of this Revolution side, and there should be points.
- Brad Davis - The one player I was upset not to be able to afford in both games. Davis is an MLS legend and has been consistently at the top of the fantasy scoring charts for years. Injury prone, but a real (and really under-rated) star.
- Dwayne De Rosario
- Brek Shea - One of the most exciting US players right now, and the best player in MLS last season, for the first half at least. I'm not sure how he'll play now with the weight of expectations on him, but for fantasy he is worth the gamble.
- Landon Donovan - Still the hub of what could be a historically good LA Galaxy team. He's also a notorious fast starter and piles on the goals early in MLS seasons.
- Robbie Keane - He has such a good spell with Aston Villa that it is hard not to pick him for MLS fantasy now. He showed that he still has the skill to create and to finish chances.
- Eric Hassli - He was an enigma last season. Scoring wonder goals at times (and you REALLY need to watch this one against Seattle), but all to often losing his head and getting sent off. With an opener at home against an expansion side, I'm willing to give him another chance.
- Hamdi Salihi
That's it for me. We really hope that you'll join us for fantasy MLS. It's a fun way to spend the summer/off-season, and it will keep you out of trouble. For the most part.
Have you picked a team yet? Have you settled on one game or the other? We'd love to hear your thoughts.