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Week 1 MLS Fantasy Player Picks

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Well, it is opening week and all hope springs eternal. Each Major League Soccer team, as well as each fan with his individual fantasy team enjoys the possibility of unrealized expectations. As we all know, there are over $10,000 in prizes up for grabs and each of us wants (more than) our fair share.

The face of MLS (and MLS Fantasy) last season. Will Giovinco do it again this season?
The face of MLS (and MLS Fantasy) last season. Will Giovinco do it again this season?
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Week One is the week where we all get started with our selections. Who are the best players to carry us through the season? Sure, we want to get off to a good start this week, but it is even more important to have a functional roster that will carry us through. And of course, everyone would like to have both (great opening week and solid ongoing roster).

There are a couple of strategies in selecting a roster in game week one which are distinct from picking the best players for that particular week. I typically utilize what is known as the "studs and duds" formula, loading up on the best players I can squeeze in, while supplementing my roster with lower priced players. These players are typically on the defensive end and on the bench. As we also have an automatic substitution again this season, it is a good option to have at least one player certain to play on the bench.

Anyway, enough about strategizing one's roster. Let's go ahead and get started with the selections.


Jesse Gonzalez of FC Dallas. Gonzalez ended up beating out Dan Kennedy and Chris Seitz last season, establishing himself as the clear number 1. He starts for a team with Championship expectations which should enjoy a strong defense.

David Ousted was perhaps the outstanding goalkeeper in MLS last season. Vancouver begin the season with a run of strong fixtures and a lot of certainty around their own defense.

David Bingham of San Jose is a goalkeeper who really stepped up last season. The Earthquakes have a plum fixture, hosting Colorado, in Game Week 1.


Clarence Goodson has the same fixture as Bingham in the first week. I would recommend having either him or Shaun Francis to begin the season.

Dallas offers a variety of options in the back, each with different budget considerations. Matt Hedges (9.0) was one of the top points achievers as a defender last season. Atiba Harris is bargain priced at 6.0. If you prefer a mid priced option, consider Maynor Figueroa at 7.0 or Zach Lloyd at 7.5. Although these are the expected starters, Hedges and Lloyd are the most assured of being in the lineup.

Tim Parker is a budget option for Vancouver at 6.0. Starting at central defender (his competition, Christian Dean, was injured earlier in training this week), he is sure to get his share of clearances, blocks and interceptions and is a great choice.

Chicago offers a rookie who starts for a budget price (5.0), Brandon Vincent. Chicago is said to be substantially improved this season.

Kevin Ellis enjoyed a breakout season, last year for Sporting Kansas City. He is a certain mid range starter and points producer for a 7.0 price.


Mauro Diaz or Fabian Castillo either would be strong options playing for a solid FC Dallas team. I prefer the consistency of Diaz at 10.0 to the streaky Castillo at 10.5.

Javier Morales is healthy to start the season for Real Salt Lake. He is the centerpiece of their attack, on all of their set pieces and a major points producer for their squad.

Diego Valeri heads up MLS champion Portland's side. He is an outstanding attacking option at 10.0.

David Accam was a bright light for Chicago in a dismal season for the team. He is ready to go from the beginning, although was held out of training a bit this week,awaiting the season opener.

Sascha Kljestan led the way for the MLS Supporter's Shield winners New York Red Bulls. He will be in the middle of everything they have going on again this season.

Matt Polster at 5.5, Will Trapp at 7.0 and Nick DeLeon at 6.5 each offer something as a midrange or value option to fill out one's roster.


Most experts suggest that Sebastian Giovinco is a season keeper among all of the player options. Plug him in at 11.5 and choose which weeks to make him your captain. He was the first player I selected this season.

David Villa has the quality we like as a player for New York City Football Club. He is expected to get many chances in their high powered offense and now has a season of MLS under his belt. Yes, please . .

Kei Kamara has just received a DP contract at Columbus following his breakout season. He is an outstanding option for this game week and the season.

Robbie Keane of the Los Angeles Galaxy has proven himself to be a fantastic MLS and fantasy option. The Galaxy have a home opener against DC United, many expect the Galaxy to roll'

Solid cases could also be made for Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski, Didier Drogba or Bradley Wright-Phillips.

As far as budget or lesser priced striker options go, consider Cyle Larin for Orlando at 9.0, Quincy Amerikwa for San Jose at 7.5 or Jordan Morris at 8.5 each are worthy of consideration.

After a lot of tinkering (and I may not be done, yet) my team looks like this: Gonzalez, S. Francis, T. Parker, A. Harris, Kljestan, Accam, Valeri, Diaz, Morales, Villa and Giovinco (c)

I prefer the better chances having 5 midfielders than the crapshoot of selecting three forwards.

Are there any players you have your eye on, particularly bargains or season keepers?

Best wishes to everyone in your first week.