We’ve already spent time covering some of the most promising new players coming into the league this year. But what about those who are on the rise?
This is my list of players who are poised to have a breakout year in 2017 – from a Fantasy perspective, of course.
Dominique Badji, Colorado Rapids
After seeing his playing time rise steadily over the past two seasons, Dominique Badji ($6.5) has finally earned a regular spot in the Colorado starting XI. His speed makes him a perfect fit for Colorado’s counterattacking setup and with a quality group of attacking midfielders behind him, he’s in an excellent position to have his best year yet.
Breakout Prediction: Badji’s goal total hits double digits in 2017, while maintaining a handful of assists. Let’s say 11 goals and 5 to 8 assists.
Johan Venegas, Minnesota United FC
Expansion teams can be boom or bust for fantasy points in their inaugural campaigns. But if Costa Rican international Johan Venegas ($7.5) keeps ups his preseason form, he could be in for a huge season. Venegas saw limited playing time at Montreal, but has apparently been tapped for the one of the forward spots with Minnesota. The key to his success will be maintaining a good connection with 2016 fantasy breakout Kevin Molino.
- Breakout Prediction: Venegos will split his goals with Molino, but that will also increase his assist potential. I’m going with 6 to 8 in each category.
Matteo Mancosu, Montreal Impact
2017 marks the beginning of Montreal AD, or After Drogba. The Impact needed another player to be their potent finisher and Matteo Mancosu ($8.0) has stepped up. A midseason arrival, he played limited minutes in 2016, but earned a respectable number of goals and assists. Over a full season, Mancosu’s totals should be excellent.
Breakout Predictions: Mancosu forms a connection with Ignacio Piatti that leads him to No. 1 or 2 on the Montreal goal scoring chart. Fewer than 12 goals and 4 to 6 assists would surprise me.
Jack Harrison, New York City FC
An early injury left Jack Harrison ($7.5) unavailable for a large portion of the 2016 season, but after he recovered, he quickly stepped into the starting XI. With the addition of Maxi Moralez to the NYCFC midfield, Harrison will have another quality attacking player to whom he can send and receive passes from.
Breakout Predictions: Harrison’s prime duty will continue to be to provide service to David Villa, but the addition of Moralez should see his assists numbers soar. He’ll still earn his share of goals so I’d expect 6 goals and 12 to 14 assists.
Roland Alberg, Philadelphia Union
It may be strange to consider 2017 a breakout fantasy year for Roland Alberg ($7.5) after he scored 9 goals and earned 3 assists in 2016. But he also only started 9 games and played a total of 1157 minutes. Now that he has had more time to adapt to MLS, Alberg will likely start the season as Philly’s No. 10 and should be a potent goal threat as long as newcomer Haris Medunjanin can help fortify the midfield behind him.
Breakout Prediction: There is no reason to expect less than his 2016 numbers, and some new attacking options should open the door for more assets. I’ll say 11 goals and 7 to 9 assists for this season.
On the Edge
There are also a few players I want to highlight who have the potential to make a big splash in 2017, but only if the get an opportunity for significant starting minutes.
San Jose’s Tommy Thompson ($5.5) is a quality midfielder who has had a good preseason, it’s just hard to see where he fits into the Earthquakes starting 11 right now.
Sporting Kansas City’s Erik Palmer-Brown ($4.5) is back from a successful loan with Porto and could easily win a starting spot if injury hits any of SKC’s other center backs.
These are some of my potential 2017 Fantasy breakouts. Do you have any others? Share them in the comments below.