Keegan Rosenberry - Philadelphia Union - Fantasy

Fantasy: Rating the most popular players ahead of the 2017 season

On this week's MLS Fantasy Insider podcast, Reid Connelly invites MLSsoccer.com's Ben Baer on the show to discuss the changes to MLS Fantasy for this season and the reasons behind them. Then Jason, Mike, and Andrew preview how the new game changes will affect your decisions this year in MLS Fantasy!


As an MLS Fantasy manager, it’s important to ensure that your team has plenty of big-name, high scoring stars, such as 2016 MLS Fantasy MVP Sebastian Giovinco. It’s easy to check and see which players are the most popular among fantasy managers – you can find it under the Research menu within MLS Fantasy.

There are some good and some bad choices leading the pack right now.

Player Position Team Price ($ in millions) Selected by 2016 Points
Sebastian Giovinco FWD TOR 12.0 42% 255
Keegan Rosenberry DEF PHI 5.0 37% 127
Ignacio Piatti MID MTL 10.0 28% 234
David Villa FWD NYC 10.0 25% 243
Walker Zimmerman DEF DAL 6.5 24% 169
Sam Cronin MID COL 6.5 21% 132
Darlington Nagbe MID POR 8.5 20% 140
Josh Saunders GK ORL 4.5 20% 149
Joevin Jones DEF SEA 5.0 20% 124
Sacha Kljestan MID NY 10.0 19% 225
Brian Rowe GK LA 5.5 19% 166
Aaron Guillen DEF DAL 4.0 19% 8
Jordan Morris FWD SEA 9.0 18% 154
Diego Valeri MID POR 10.0 17% 222
Matheus Silva MID SJ 4.0 17% 4
Jelle Van Damme DEF LA 6.0 17% 122
Justin Morrow DEF TOR 6.0 17% 165
Cristian Roldan MID SEA 7.0 17% 134
Axel Sjoberg DEF COL 6.5 16% 164
Lamar Neagle MID DC 7.5 15% 150

My Likes from the Top 20 Selected Players:

Giovinco is unsurprisingly No. 1 on the list, even with his league-leading $12.0m price tag. David Villa is playing on the road, but it’s against Orlando City SC, who gave up more goals than any other teams in MLS last season. Diego Valeri has a home game against an expansion team, so he’s a no-brainer. Axel Sjoberg is pricey this season, but I like Colorado’s defense, especially at home to start the season. Sam Cronin is definitely a good value pick, as Andrew Winner pointed out recently.

My Dislikes from the Top 20 Selected Players:

Keegan Rosenberry is a surprising choice at 37 percent, simply because I’m not going to pick any defenders playing away from home, even if he only costs $5.0. I’m not sold on any of the goalkeepers or defenders in this list, to be honest: Josh Saunders probably won’t be a starter in Round 1, Brian Rowe and the LA Galaxy are playing against a usually threatening FC Dallas side, and aside from Sjoberg, the rest of the defenders are playing away from home. I would normally pick up Ignacio Piatti, but San Jose have proved over the last couple years that they are difficult to break down defensively at home.

Straying from the Popular Players

It’s equally crucial for your team to have some players that aren’t popular picks among fantasy managers. Think of it as a way to make your team stand out from the crowd. If you’re able to key in on a couple of hidden gems each week, you’ll get the points that other managers pass up.

On defense, I’ll be looking for cheap starters that have home matchups pretty much every week. In Round 1, Alec Kann and Zack Steffen both qualify at $4.5m. Liam Ridgewell and Eric Miller also both have favorable match-ups, and easily fit the budget at $5.0m.

Marlon Hairston was one of the best value players in 2016, due to the fact that he was an attacking player that was listed as a defender in Fantasy MLS. His designation has changed to midfielder, but at $7.0m and playing at home against New England, I think he’s still well worth a look. Luciano Acosta picked up 11 assists last season, and D.C. United play at home against Sporting KC. Mauro Manotas and Joao Plata both looked threatening when they were on the field last year, and could definitely find themselves with expanded roles on their respective teams this season.

Player Position Team Price Selected by 2016 Points
Alec Kann GK ATL 4.5 4.4% 0
Zack Steffen GK CLB 4.5 2.5% 0
Liam Ridgewell DEF POR 5.0 5.8% 81
Eric Miller DEF COL 5.0 2.0% 89
Marlon Hairston MID COL 7.0 1.5% 112
Luciano Acosta MID DC 8.5 4.7% 131
Mauro Manotas FWD HOU 7.5 1.5% 131
Joao Plata FWD RSL 9.0 3.6% 166

Who are you looking at that would be considered a “differential” pick? Let us know in the comments below!

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