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Fantasy MLS Corner


(With Fantasy MLS growing more and more popular, I figured it was time to incorporate a segment to help provide SBI readers with some insight into the fantasy game. Stephen Zaffuto will serve as the SBI Fantasy MLS expert and give us his weekly take on the action in the official MLS Fantasy Game. Here is this week’s report.)


In case you’ve been watching (hey, it’s never safe to assume anything), this season has been pretty tough to predict from one week to another.  Just when you think San Jose will never score, Ronnie O’Brien rediscovers his old magic.  After Colorado and Real Salt Lake have looked so promising over the first few weeks, they lose to San Jose and Toronto FC, two squads expected to struggle.

So do we give up (rhetorical question, don’t get excited)?  No, we search for anything – any sign on the periphery, any trend that lies hidden that can make this guessing-game a little more manageable.  We make sense of what information we have and try to use it to help give us the best odds of success in the future.  Will we hit every week with every piece of advice?  Probably not, but it won’t hurt to try.

In this installment, we’re going to channel everyone’s favorite infomercial guy and talk about MONEEEYYYYY.  Though our question mark covered jacket is at the cleaner’s, we’ll do our best to make sense of the system that Fox Sports/MLS Fantasy Challenge uses to determine player salaries from week to week, and advise you on how to get your team back on track.

The salary system of fantasy MLS mimics the inner-workings of the real MLS with almost terrifying precision.  Specifically, everything is inconsistent and convoluted.  What’s more, it seems that they make things up as they go along (and no, not just for Galaxy players).

Here are a few things I have discovered:

– When a player misses a game due to red card suspension, his value does not go down.  Therefore, if you had Sacha Klejstan for his annual bout with temporary insanity and subsequent red card, you didn’t lose anything by choosing to keep him on your bench instead of selling him.

– Guys coming back from injury lose value.  If a player is injured and doesn’t dress or see the field at all, his value remains the same.  However, if he comes back and plays only a small part of the game, his value will take a tumble.  For examples of this, see Holden, Stuart (-$42K from weeks 3-5), Ante Razov (-$47K from week 4-5).

Advice: if you have an injured player, you can afford to keep him on the bench if he’s completely out, but should definitely sell him if he figures to only see limited time.  Keep this in mind, Mike Magee and Claudio Reyna owners. (Crickets) No one?

– Most new additions to MLS (international or through the SuperDraft) and some other players seem to have a fixed price, regardless of how well they play.  There’s no telling how long their salaries will remain fixed, however.  For example, after 3 weeks with no change, Kenny Cooper’s price tag finally grew $41K last week.


Advice find fixed-price guy’s who are undervalued and get them for cheap before their price moves to a more reasonable level.  Here are some suggestions:

GK:  Busch ($250K), Sutton ($300K), Wells ($280K)

D: Borchers ($295K), Goldthwaite (290K), Meyers ($200K)

MF: R.O’Brien ($405K), Robert ($390K), LaBrocca ($175K), Gallardo ($440K), Guevara ($355K), Nyassi ($240K)

F: Caraccio ($285K), C. Lopez ($460K), Mansally ($250K), Deuchar ($220K)

Busch appears here for a second consecutive week.  Despite a disappointing loss at home to Kansas City, Busch remains one of the top goalkeeper options from week to week and costs next to nothing.  He’ll try to maintain a tidy sheet this week at home against Colorado.

Goldthwaite appears to be much improved and figures to continue getting playing time for a Red Bulls defense that has looked stout in two of the team’s first three games and faces a still-suspect San Jose attack this week.  Though he shares his surname with an obnoxious 1980’s comedian, Goldthwaite is – I can never resist a terrible pun – no joke.

Guevara is another repeat from last week, and with good reason.  He’s looked very sharp and the presence of he and Robert, Toronto has played like a new team the past two weeks.  He will score you points this year.  Playing at home against a strong Wizards defense isn’t ideal, but we still like El Lobo long-term.

The Good Doctor Deuchar will try to cure what ails ya as he lines up this week against a DC United defense that has given up six goals in the past two weeks.  As his teammates begin to get accustomed to his style of play, Deuchar could outperform his current price tag by a pretty wide margin. 


  1. I am doing SO bad this year (after winning last year) i’m somewhere behind Ives…. Maybe I need to captain Jon Busch———– Hub Tiger fc

  2. Ives,

    I feel like my team perfectly demonstrates how flawed this year’s game is. I haven’t changed my team since week 1 and have had Twellman starting this whole time. Yet, captaining your goalie from game 1 makes everything else irrelevant (#1 in SBI, #31 overall). Anyone who says people propping up the bottom of the table are the only ones complaining is dead wrong. Winning should be based on diligent team management and selecting the best 11 players, not exploiting the system by captaining Jon Busch.

    Awkward fist-pump,


  3. My team is awful, probably in the 250-330 range. I didn’t have time to really put thought into the original squad and probably have put in real effort on my lineup just once. I’ll try to climb out of the cellar though.

    It should be noted that I am also competing in the ESPN version of the fantasy game. I think my team is fairing a tad better there, though not as well as my fantasy EPL team, which is in the top 20 in a league of at least 250 if I recall correctly.

  4. Ives, I can’t seem to find you on the leader board. Or did I not scroll down far enough? 😉

    (I ported my team name from fantasy basebal – it makes much more sense over there…)


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