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11/30 9:20pm
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MLS Fantasy: Is it possible to build an All-Star team for less than $100m?

We're nearly halfway through the 2013 MLS regular season, but there's still plenty of time to have some fun with MLSsoccer.com's MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager. So get your friends together, start a private or public league and start competing today. Remember, you can still enter the ExtraTime Radio league and win weekly prizes; a free subscription to MLS Live sounds pretty good, doesn't it? (Enter this code to join: 7953-1611)

Over the first 15 weeks of MLS Fantasy Soccer, my team's value has increased significantly ($109 million as of today). I wanted to see if this gave me an advantage in any way over others who were just starting out, so I logged out and designed a completely new team from another email account. The main dilemma: how to get a team that will compete for less than $100m.

Obviously the schedule is very important to follow when choosing your players, but if I were picking a team based solely on production and value, it would look a little something like this.

MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager (New Team) - Total Price $99.9m

  1. GK - Bobby Shuttleworth (New England Revolution)
  2. GK - Clint Irwin (Colorado Rapids)
  3. DEF - Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution)
  4. DEF - Nathan Sturgis (Colorado Rapids)
  5. DEF - Markus Holgersson (New York Red Bulls)
  6. DEF - DeAndre Yedlin (Seeattle Sounders)
  7. DEF - Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids)
  8. MID - Graham Zusi (SPorting KC)
  9. MID - Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union)
  10. MID - Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
  11. MID - Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact)
  12. MID - Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps)
  13. FWD - Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
  14. FWD - Marco Di Vaio (Montreal Impact)
  15. FWD - Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution)

Do you think this team could compete against AS Roma? Is it a better "team" than the MLS Fantasy All-Star Dream Team from yesterday?

You might not know who Nathan Sturgis or Russell Teibert are, but if you check out the Stats page and view their Form (average points over the last 30 days), you'll notice how important they've been to their teams' success as of late.

READ: If the 2013 MLS All-Star Team was based on stats, these 15 players would be on it

At the beginning of the season it was difficult to tell who was going to start, what formation coaches were going to run, who was going to play 90 minutes consistently, etc. But by now you should have a good understanding how this all works. Here are some things that have helped me become a successful manager in FS:M.

  • Always be aware of suspensions, injuries and projected lineup changes.
  • If you want to know the details from each game you can get that in the MatchCenter, but if you really want to know it all, MLS Live is where it's at. You can look at the numbers all day long, but watching film is the best way to understand the players and the game.
  • Try to understand the coaching philosphy; some teams like to hold possession while others like to play the quick counter attack. Some like to focus on crossing while others prefer short passing combinations. These things will help you choose players who are consistent versus those who are high risk/high reward.
  • Travel arrangements and weather conditions also play a huge factor in playing time. If a team has three games in 10 days, don't expect the older guys to play every single minute. There are some players who will need rest and others who can handle a workload like that.

I've been told by several people that by playing MLS Fantasy Soccer, they've gained a deeper understanding of MLS and how it operates. They started out the 2013 season not knowing many players, teams, coaches, etc., but as time progressed they became more aware and more interested in the league as a whole.

Before the season started did you know how good Lamar Neagle, Chris Klute, Amobi Okugo and Diego Fagundez would be? What about Clint Irwin, Bobby Shuttleworth, Rodney Wallace and Michel?

In order to be a successful manger in FS:M you need to be able to act on what you see, not just what you read.