The end of the 2013 MLS regular season is still two-and-a-half months away (Oct. 27), but my mind is already gearing up for 2014. One of the biggest offseason decisions: Should MLS Fantasy stay the same or is it time to try something new?
Today's debate: Salary Cap vs. Draft League
I've been involved in fantasy sports since 2006, and in my opinion, there are pros and cons to both. Before writing this article, I wasn't convinced that one style was better or that one offered a more enjoyable experience for the average fan, because I was just along for the ride. No matter which game I played, I was happy.
However, after taking a closer look at other sports leagues and comparing them to MLS, I feel as if one game fits the soccer community much better. Have a look at the comparisons and then vote in the poll below.
|Fantasy Options||Draft League||Salary Cap|
|Compete for No. 1 Overall||X|
|Players can only be selected by one team||X|
|Players can be selected by multiple teams||X|
This type of game gives you the freedom to do whatever you want at any point in the season. If you suddenly become fascinated with a certain player and want to add them to your team, go ahead and do it; all you need is money. You don't have to worry about someone picking your favorite player first and you don't have to offer up one of your best players in hopes of acquiring them via trade. You get $100 million to start. How you choose to spend it is completely up to you!
In my opinion this format offers the best of both worlds. You can participate in a head-to-head league, a classic league, or both. This makes it easy for anyone to join, without having to find a group of friends to play with. Plus, some of the best leagues to join are free of charge.
Another good thing about this game is flexibility. You can start anywhere between 3-5 defenders, 2-5 midfielders and 1-3 forwards. In a draft league, you have to start a specific amount of players at each position. Yes, there's usually an option for a flex position, but this won't give you nearly as much flexibility as a salary cap game will.
The only real downside to this format is that multiple teams can own the same players.
Draft leagues have always been the more popular of the two, especially when it comes to the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. But when it comes to soccer, this type of game could cause major issues.
Some believe that this format will make it easier for fans that don't have a deep understanding of the league and its players. When in reality, this type of game actually makes it harder.
Right now, Mike Magee is the most-owned player in MLS Fantasy. Thirty-six percent – or 3.6 out of every 10 people – have the Chicago Fire midfielder on their team. If this were a standard 10-team draft league only one person would own his rights, and if that person were smart, he or she would hold onto him all season long.
Even if you did manage to build a "Dream Team" to start off, with all of various issues that come up during the season, there could be weeks where many of your top players are missing. What are you supposed to do then?
First consider how many players are signed, waived, terminated, loaned, suspended and injured throughout the regular season. Then take into account all of the players who stand to miss time due to bye weeks and international duty. At times it can be a bit overwhelming.
There's no denying the fact that draft leagues are fun, but they are a lot of work, too. Everyone has to stay involved or it takes away from the experience. If you're in a standard 10-team league and five players fizzle out by Week 15, what's the point?
With that said, I feel like there is one game that's better suited to accommodate the fans in Major League Soccer: Salary Cap. What do you think?
Should MLS consider changing to a draft-based format next season? Or would you like to see the same game in 2014, with a twist? Leave your comments below.