Chris Pontius, Fantasy
USA Today Sports

MLS Fantasy: Attacking wasteland? Not anymore in DC following Eddie Johnson trade

D.C. United needed a forward, so they went out and got one, plus a bunch of question marks.

Will Tuesday's trade with Seattle, one that brought Eddie Johnson to the nation's capital, produce the goals that D.C. so desperately need? How will it affect the core of youngsters around him? Will United players become relevant in fantasy again?

We'll attempt to provide an answer to the latter, and in a word, the answer should be a resounding yes.

A year after scoring the fourth-most goals during the 2012 MLS regular season, D.C. United recorded a league-low 22 goals -- one goal every 1.55 games. Nearly every attacking player was undesirable in fantasy terms for most of the season and it seemed nothing could be done to change that.

In 2013, D.C. United ranked in the bottom five among all MLS teams in each of the following categories: Headed goals, big chances created, big chances scored, crossing accuracy and aerials won. The majority of these will change instantly with EJ running the show up front.

Since returning from his venture overseas, Johnson led the Sounders in scoring two straight seasons. He set the club-record with 14 goals in 2012 and added nine more last year despite being in and out of the lineup because of national team duty.

With Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon and Luis Silva now feeding him the ball, Johnson could hit that mark in 2014 alone. He probably won't, of course, but there's no reason not to expect a jolt of finishing for a team that was devoid of it.

Johnson has hammered home a team-high 13 headers and 14 big chances for Seattle over the past two seasons. Add in Bobby Boswell to the mix and D.C. just got a whole lot more dangerous on set-pieces and corners.

So how does all this affect the values of D.C. United players in MLS Fantasy for 2014? As long as they can remain healthy, they will become relevant again, that's for sure.

Last season only two D.C. United players finished with more than 100 points: Bill Hamid (112) and Perry Kitchen (107). Johnson meanwhile finished with 101 points, tied for ninth-best on Seattle.

While those numbers dipped slightly since EJ's 135-point effort in 2012, playing time and team chemistry were the main culprits. He missed 13 of the team's 34 games due to international duty and injuries, plus the midseason acquisition of Clint Dempsey clearly affected team chemistry.

With the trade to D.C. and the opportunity to prove that he did indeed deserve to be paid, expect Johnson to be as eager as any to start 2014 off with a bang. Will he be on your MLS Fantasy team come March? I'd surely recommend it if the price is right.


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