Every year there are several players that exceed expectations in MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager. Savvy fantasy managers are quick to scoop these under-the-radar players up in hopes that they will set them apart from the rest of the pack. Today we’re going to look at 10 players with breakout fantasy potential in 2016.
Keep in mind this list does not factor in rookies, newcomers to the league or players who have already had a breakout season in MLS. We’re focusing on players who have prior MLS experience and could make a significant impact in Fantasy this season.
Andre Blake, Goalkeeper ($5.0m) - The first overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft has seen action in just 7 games over the last two seasons. He’ll finally get his chance to prove his worth as he looks set to start the season as the first-choice goalkeeper in Philly.
Steve Birnbaum, Defender ($7.5m) - Birnbaum can supply fantasy points on both sides of the ball, as evidenced by his recent contributions with the US national team. If Birnbaum can put together a full season of that kind of play, he’ll be a regular on the fantasy Dream Team in 2016.
Joevin Jones, Defender ($7.0m) - The speedy left back caught the attention of fantasy owners last year in his first MLS season. Jones has a new home in Seattle and gives their attack an upgrade on the left side of the field. He’s not shy about getting forward and is a good bet to improve on his 1 goal, 1 assist output from last season.
Andreas Ivanschitz, Midfielder ($7.5m) - The Sounders have a new-look attack in 2016 and Ivanschitz figures to play a key role. The Austrian international provides quality service and with Obafemi Martins gone, will be relied upon to produce.
Dillon Serna, Midfielder ($6.0m) - He’s been in and out of the Rapids lineup since entering the league as a Homegrown player in 2013, but has shown what he can do when given the chance. With attacking reinforcements in Colorado, Serna could emerge as a viable fantasy option if he becomes a regular starter.
Kevin Molino, Midfielder ($8.0m) - Molino (above) was expected to play a big role in the Orlando City attack in 2015 before suffering a season-ending injury just two months into the season. His minutes may be monitored early on, but look for Molino to be a popular fantasy pickup once he gets going.
Innocent Emeghara, Forward ($9.0m) - Innocent gave us a glimpse at what he’s capable of before a knee injury ruled him out for the majority of last season. If he can stay healthy, the Swiss striker will play an integral part in the Earthquakes attack this year.
Gonzalo Veron, Forward ($9.0m) - Veron saw sporadic playing time last year after being signed as late in the season by the Red Bulls. The versatile attacker should see meaningful minutes from the get-go, which should convert into multiple goals, assists and fantasy points.
Gilberto, Forward ($9.0m) - Another late-season addition, Gilberto finished 2015 in fine form with four goals and five-plus shots in four of the Fire’s last five games. Remember that the new scoring format awards a point for every four shots a player takes. If that kind of production carries over into 2016, the talented Brazilian could put up some big fantasy numbers.
Giovani dos Santos, Forward ($11.0m) - The Mexican international produced three goals and five assists in just 10 games in his first MLS season. While the majority of fantasy managers will look to Galaxy strike partner Robbie Keane, a full season for dos Santos could see him post similar fantasy production.
Who do you think will have a breakout season? Let us know in the comments below.