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Final

MLS Fantasy 101: How to navigate the transfer market as you build your 18-man roster from scratch

MLS Fantasy 101 is your entry-level course to becoming a fantasy soccer manager extraordinaire.

We're getting closer to the 2014 MLS season opener. That means you've already registered your MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager team, built a squad, and joined a league or two, or three, or more! Now it's time to start paying close attention to transfers and deadlines.

WHAT IS A TRANSFER?

A transfer is basically a fantasy trade. You swap a player on your team for another player in the game who you don't already own. However, you do not have unlimited trades, so you'll need to be careful with your transfers. It's not always only about what is happening in any given week. You'll want pay close attention to the weeks ahead.

Preparing for upcoming bye weeks will be crucial. Just ask the managers who got hit with goose eggs or four-point penalties last season!

HOW MANY TRANSFERS DO I HAVE EACH ROUND?

You can see how many free transfers you have each round by going to the transfers page.

Each round you will be allotted two free transfers. You can also "buy" additional transfers. Any additional transfer made will deduct four points from your round total, so use it sparingly or when desperation strikes.

During the FIFA World Cup in June-July, you will be allowed additional free transfers as the available player pool decreases and games become more spread out. 

Like last season, FSM allows unused transfers carry over to the next round. If you do not use all of your free transfers in a round, one additional transfer will carry over to the following round. If you do not use this saved free transfer in the following round, it will be carried over until you do. You can never have more than one saved transfer, however.

WHAT IS THE TRANSFER WILDCARD?

The transfer wildcard is like a gift from the fantasy soccer gods. It allows you to completely redo your squad without being penalized for using more than the free transfers allotted.

Each manager is issued one wildcard at the start of the season. A wildcard allows you to make unlimited transfers throughout a round. You may use it at anytime during the season. Once you use your wildcard, all your saved transfers will be lost. You will be back to the usual two free transfers the following round.

Here are three strategies to consider when deciding the best time to use your wildcard:

  • You may be frustrated with your initial squad selection and will want to use your wildcard early on so that you don't lose ground to your competitors.
  • Your wildcard could come in handy if you find your team is full of players who will be inactive for a round due to international call-ups, injuries or bye weeks.
  • Though not as often as last season, there will be rounds during which teams play more than once. Study the schedule and transfer deadlines to determine which teams play multiple games within each round. If you use your wildcard to load up on players who will play multiple games in the round, you'll set yourself up to earn double points from your team.

WHAT IS THE TRANSFER DEADLINE?

The transfer deadline is always 15 minutes before kick off of the first match of each round.

On your "My Team" page there are several deadline reminders for the current round. Make a note of this and be sure to finalize your moves before your team is locked in for the round. If you miss a transfer deadline without making the necessary changes to your team, it could prove devastating.