What MLS Fantasy's scoring changes mean for your team in 2016

MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager’s scoring system underwent a serious overhaul in the offseason. There’s no way to predict exactly how that’s going to translate to the 2016 MLS season. What we can do, though, is apply the rule changes to the 2015 season, and see who would’ve benefited the most from each of these new rules if they were in effect last year.

Let’s break them down, one by one:

Fouls Suffered

(4 fouls = 1 point)

Player Pos Foul Bonus
Higuita (ORL) MID 12
Dwyer (SKC) FWD 12
Diaz (DAL) MID 11
Perez Garcia (SJ) MID 10
Nguyen (NE) MID 10
Giovinco (TOR) FWD* 10
Amarikwa (SJ) FWD 9
Nagbe (POR) MID 8
J. Ramirez (COL) MID 7
Nyarko (CHI) MID 7

*Midfielder in 2015

Let’s get the least exciting one out of the way first. Attacking playmakers and often-fouled midfielders will get a slight boost in points from fouls suffered, but nothing significant. Based on the 2015 data, the biggest beneficiaries are Orlando City SC’s Cristian Higuita and Sporting Kansas City’s Dom Dwyer, who would’ve gained 12 points over the course of the season. That’s around one extra point every three matches -- not enough to warrant any roster adjustments.

Passes Completed

(35 passes at 85 percent = 1 point, 70 passes at 85 percent = 2 points)

Player Pos Pass Bonus
Alonso (SEA) MID 29
J. Morales (RSL) MID 20
McCarty (NY) MID 19
Trapp (CLB) MID 19
Juninho (LA) MID 18
Ceren (ORL) MID 17
Kitchen (DC) MID 17
Higuita (ORL) MID 16
Nagbe (POR) MID 15
Caldwell (NE) MID 15

Notice a pattern here? Midfielders that may not show up on the scoresheet will now get a significant boost in points from being instrumental in their team’s passing game. If these points were included last year, Dax McCarty would’ve finished more than 25 points ahead of both Lloyd Sam and Felipe in the New York Red Bulls’ midfield.

Shots Taken

(4 shots = 1 point)

Player Pos Shot Bonus
Giovinco (TOR) FWD 31
Villa (NYC) FWD 22
Kamara (CLB) FWD 20
B. Wright-Phillips (NY) FWD 15
Rivero (VAN) FWD 13
Dwyer (SKC) FWD 12
Wondolowski (SJ) FWD 11
Manneh (VAN) FWD 10
Accam (CHI) MID 9
Castillo (DAL) MID 9

Last year, forwards usually only paid off when they scored or created assists. This year, even if your player doesn’t score a goal, he can still easily come away with four or five total points in a game if he’s heavily involved in the attack. Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco would’ve averaged nearly one additional point per match just on his shot attempts alone.

Defensive Bonus

(4 clearances, 4 interceptions, or 4 tackles = 1 point; 2 blocks = 1 point)

Player Old Def Bonus New Def Bonus Difference
Laba (VAN) 4 37 33
Powell (POR) 27 58 31
Gonzalez (LA) 46 73 27
Larentowicz (LA) 34 59 25
Miazga (NY) 37 62 25
Ciman (MTL) 35 59 24
Collin (ORL) 35 56 21
Mustivar (SKC) 17 38 21
Chara (POR) 2 23 21
Perrinelle (NY) 36 56 20

This change beefs up the score primarily for center backs and holding midfielders. Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Matias Laba jumps from an unplayable 3.6 points per 90 minutes played to a fairly good output of 5.2. For a cost of only $7.5 million in MLS Fantasy money, that’s pretty solid. Montreal Impact’s Laurent Ciman’s new defensive bonus puts him less than a point per game behind teammate Ignacio Piatti!

Who benefits the most?

You may be on data overload by now, but here’s one final table that you will want to see: the top 20 players that gained the most overall points from this year’s rules:

Player Pos 2015 Score 2016 Rules Bonus Adjusted Total
Higuita (ORL) MID 85 48 133
Alonso (SEA) MID 68 46 114
Laba (VAN) MID 102 44 146
Giovinco (TOR) FWD 251 41 292
McCarty (NY) MID 155 39 194
Chara (POR) MID 87 34 121
Juninho (LA) MID 151 34 185
Ceren (ORL) MID 101 32 133
J. Morales (RSL) MID 172 32 204
Powell (POR) DEF 130 32 162
Ciman (MTL) DEF 124 31 155
Larentowicz (LA) MID 137 31 168
Parkhurst (CLB) DEF 118 30 148
Beckerman (RSL) MID 90 29 119
Gonzalez (LA) DEF 158 29 187
Villa (NYC) FWD 185 29 214
Collin (ORL) DEF 114 28 142
Mustivar (SKC) MID 87 27 114
Tchani (CLB) MID 144 27 171
Cabrera (MTL) DEF 86 26 112

Who do you think this is going to help the most this season? Let us know in the comments below. That’s all for now, folks!