Major League Soccer

SBI MLS Fantasy Corner


It’s that time of the week again. Time to figure out what moves you want to make to help sort out your poor excuse of a fantasy team (sorry, speaking for myself on that one).

The Chicago Fire, the best team in MLS, is back in action this week after a bye, meaning you can get ready to put players like Blanco, Barrett and Busch back into your lineups.

SBI Fantasy MLS guru Stephen Zaffuto is here with some tips to help you come lineup selection time. Here are this week’s tips:


For the past few weeks, I’ve sitting here at this electric typewriter, pontificating on this or that strategy and trying to tell you all a few ways to run your team more effectively.   Sure, more often than not I’ve given helpful advice and maybe a few of my picks have helped out your sorry excuse for a pub team.  But why should you listen to me – especially when there are currently 1110 squads, 41 of which belong to the SBI Mafia?

Wait, don’t actually answer that.  I plan on resuming the previous format again starting next week and my ego is as fragile as Petr Cech’s dome piece.  Say only nice things.  In fact, whoever pays me the most flattering compliment will receive a free one-month subscription to SBI Premium*.

(* May not actually exist)

But really, I want to have your feedback.  I want to hear the opinions of the SBI Mafia fantasy braintrust.  Beyond giving you an outlet to complain or brag, I would like to get to know the three to five people who actually read this column.  What features do you like?  What features could I do without?  What would you like to see that I haven’t included in my column?

What do you think about MLSnet/Fox Soccer Fantasy Challenge in general?  What about the format or scoring do you think could be improved upon?  Let me know your feelings, people!  And since this is the internet, you can even say things you’d probably never say in real life, behind a thick layer of anonymity (but keep it clean). 

If there is a solid enough response, I might even forward your thoughts on to the creators of the game and hopefully inspire changes for future installments.  Now is the time for change!  Rise, you soccer crazed minions in mothers’ basements all across America (and certain other parts of the known world) and let your voices be heard.  Together, powerful, unite, triumph, yada yada yada, you get the picture.

Picks of the Week


Luciano Emilio, DCU ($397K) – The 2007 Overpriced, Low-Quality Domestic Beer Golden Boot winner looks to have awakened from a horrible spell over the season’s first few months.  With a goal in each of his last two games, the Brazilian forward seems to be rediscovering the magic touch from a year ago.  If you watched the Thursday PrimeTime game, it was pretty clear that with a little bit cleaner finishing, Emilio could have netted two or three goals against New England.  If DC continues to play like they did in the first half of last week’s game, there will be plenty more chances for Emilio.  I, for one, bet that the finishing ability comes back in short order and we see a few multi-goal games from Emilio between now and August.

Honorable Mention: Brian Ching, Edson Buddle, Alejandro Moreno


Steve Ralston, NE ($311K) – The ageless assist-machine from St. Louis is actually only 33!  I didn’t believe it either, since he looks old enough to be Taylor Twellman’s creepy grandfather and has seemingly been around since Giorgio Chinaglia was actively the Best Soccer Player Ever.  In any event, Ralston can still get it done on the field, and he’ll be in a good position for points this week as he’ll run the Revs offense against a reeling FC Dallas side.

Honorable Mention: Holden, Fred, van den Bergh, Beckham, Blanco, Morales


Chad Marshall, CLB ($359) – Marshall has been a rock in the back for Columbus all year.  Playing San Jose at home usually isn’t exactly detrimental to one’s value.

Honorable Mention: Boswell, Borchers, Albright, Segares


Will Hesmer, CLB ($513K) – Sorry to take the obvious pick, but he’s got the most points of any player in the game and he’s playing at home, going up against one of the weakest offenses in the history of MLS.  To not pick Hesmer would just be getting too fancy.  Keep it simple.

Honorable Mention: Reis, Rimando

Head Coach:

Dominic Kinnear ($358K) – The last remaining bald head coach (no pun intended…no seriously, there was no intent whatsoever) from the British Isles in Texas has a pair of games this week, both of them winnable.  Come on!  It was either him or Tom Soehn!

Under the Radar:

Dane Richards, NYR ($175K) – With only one assist to his name this season due to a pre-season injury and subsequent recovery time, Richards value is criminally low right now.  Now fit, the speedy Jamaican should have Cool Runnings all over the pitch against a patchwork Chivas USA defense. 

SBI League Standings (Thru Wk 10)

1. Tang Naranja 1231 16

2. JCO is a weasel 1219 23

3. Neumannation Sensation 1199 34

4. fhqwhgads 1168 49

5. Red Bull Mt. Alto 1151 71

6. ODoctor 1136 94

7. Vourvourou FC 1133 99

8. The other lalas brother 1096 171

9. North Shore United 1090 191

10. FC Hooligans 1084 213

  • Dominghosa

    If it makes you feel any better, I’m one of the five or six that skim through your fantasy pointers.


  • Patrick

    I am not a fan of the point system because it emphasizes the goalkeeper too much (and I was between the sticks back in the day!). One week into it, I figured out that you have to trade for the best keeper each week and then make him captain. If you don’t do that, your team has little chance of competing. The predictability of that isn’t very fun, as is the relative lack of points for scoring. Even Landon Donovan’s hat-trick didn’t beat my keeper’s score that week. MLS needs to use the EPL/EUFA platform and give bonus points too.


  • MonkeyBoy

    It took a little while to figure out the scoring system and changes from last year. That killed my team the first few weeks. It’s pretty simple though – get the best keeper, stock-up on midfielders and forwards, and defenders are worthless.

    Changes I’d like to see:

    1) More value to defenders – heck, they are often why a gk can post a shut-out.

    2) Make the bench meaningful – count 1/2 of their points for the week.

    3) Less value to gk’s

    4) Bonus points for a player scoring multiple goals. A hat-trick should be worth more than a gk shutout.


  • guillermo

    Here’s what I’d like to see.

    1. Last year’s game awarded 1 point for every 10 minutes played. This would at leadt make defenders worth something.

    2. Less emphasis on the goalkeepers.

    3. I’m also not a big fan of picking a coach every week.

    As for the column, how about updates on injuries, yellow card suspensions, benchings.

    Any idea what will happen as a result of last night’s postponed game?

    Oh…..and I’m in second place…woo hoo!


  • Eric Anderson

    Does anyone else find it ridiculous that our rosters become locked even though the game yesterday never happened?


  • Noeldeanho

    I agree w/ guillermo re: column topics. I got nailed a couple of weeks ago forgetting that Guerva was on intl duty w/ Honduras and that Robert was not traveling with the team. A rundown of usual starters who are for sure not playing (suspensions, injuries, intl duty) and probably not playing (injuries, whatever) would save me a lot of haphazard sleuthing.

    Like the single-pick per position. Keeps it short and sweet.


  • HomeyBoehme

    I read this column, but really don’t understand fantasy sports games in general.

    I mean, if it really is a fantasy game, then there should be no salary restrictions, no player restrictions, no drafts, your roster should never lock in, you should be able to retroactively change your roster, or make changes in the middle of a game.


  • Joamiq

    First of all, your writing style is great. You have a better sense of humor than most people here.

    As for the game, the scoring sucks. 90% of doing well is picking the right keeper to make your captain. The player valuations may change based on performance, but they don’t change enough. There are a lot of other flaws, but I play it anyway.

    I think you should include players who are the best value (given their prices) for the week as well as your picks for the top scorers. Keeping us posted on teams that play twice or have byes in coming weeks is useful too.

    HomeyBoehme: What would be the point of that game?


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