With the Summer Transfer Window closed and most moves announced by this point, there is a lot for fantasy managers to digest. New players can shake up chemistry, while departing players leave holes that have to be filled. Production levels will rise and fall depending on how fast players gel and value players may become instant successes at their price points. Let's take a look at the notable storylines from the MLS Fantasy perspective.
Columbus Crew SC
Portuguese midfielder Pedro Santos ($9.5) has been brought in as Columbus’ third Designated Player and likely led to the trade of Ethan Finlay ($8.5) to Minnesota United. Given the Kekuta Manneh ($7.8) trade earlier on, it’s safe to assume Crew SC are looking to raise their goal production.
D.C. looked to be in fire sale mode in this window until the last couple days. First, Lamar Neagle ($7.1) was sent to Seattle and then Bobby Boswell ($5.3) was traded to Atlanta United. Despite the appearance, United were busy and announced three big signings on Deadline Day. They added midfielder Zoltan Stieber ($8.0), and transferred in US international Paul Arriola ($9.0). D.C. finished the day by adding Russell Canouse ($6.5), to go alongside an earlier move, for Bolivian teen Bruno Miranda ($6.0).
The biggest fantasy impact these moves have is arguably going to be how teams perform against them. D.C. are clearly in full rebuild mode and what chemistry the team had has been thrown out the window. Depending on how quickly the new additions acclimate, more 3-0 or 4-0 defeats may be on the way.
Minnesota’s first year has had its share of ups and downs. The defense has been the primary issue this season, but instead of adding defensive help, the Loons opted to bring in Ethan Finlay from Columbus.
Finlay’s inclusion only muddies the waters in Minnesota from a fantasy standpoint. A signing of this magnitude puts the pressure on to fit Finlay into the lineup, but it’s unclear who will be displaced. If Finlay can regain his breakout form, Minnesota will be an offensive force a lot more often.
Orlando City SC
After a blockbuster deal for Dom Dwyer ($8.7), Orlando is expected to excel offensively, but Dwyer coming from a single forward set has not meshed perfectly to start off his campaign with the Lions. While not as high profile, the Yoshimar Yotun ($8.0) signing should be the highlight of the transfer window. Kaká ($10.0) has underperformed all year and bringing in support or outright replacing him might be just what Jason Kreis needs to boost the Lions into a deep playoff run.
At this time, it’s unclear how Orlando will lineup on the pitch and who will be displaced as Yotun earns more playing time. Kreis really likes his 4-4-2 diamond, but that may change to accommodate the current roster. Will Johnson ($7.0) has been a staple on the team, but his spot might be better suited for someone else.
Cyle Larin ($9.3) and Kaká are the two players that need to be highlighted. Orlando City added players capable of competing with each of them. Larin will likely see his numbers decrease as Dwyer acclimates and gets more chances. It’s unclear how the Lions will line up, but Kaká’s poor performances at times might see him sent to the bench in favor.
The Seattle Sounders have quietly added depth to their roster that may be able to displace regular options. Neagle coming home from D.C. United gives an immediate option up top that can give rest to both Clint Dempsey ($9.9) and Jordan Morris ($8.5) as well as playing midfield. Former Barcelona academy product Victor Rodriguez ($8.5) has been signed. If the left winger plays like the other Barca products that have come to MLS, he will have an immediate impact.
The biggest fantasy concern with these moves is the impact it will have on Morris and Will Bruin ($7.2). Bruin has had a resurgence of late and really earned his keep, but could be put back on the bench with the addition of Rodriguez and Morris' insertion as a center forward. This is despite the fact that his points per game in fantasy is higher than that of Morris (4.2-3.3).
Sporting Kansas City
Trading Dwyer is one of the highlights of the secondary transfer window, but Peter Vermes thinks the team is still capable of winning MLS Cup. Trading a star striker would usually make Vermes sound incorrect, but Sporting KC has done well since Dwyer’s departure and Diego Rubio ($6.9) is stepping up to fill his shoes already.
Before the U.S. Open Cup Semfinal, the fantasy options in Kansas City looked bleak on the attacking front. Gerso ($8.2) was the only lock to start, but after the game Rubio clearly looks to have a hold on the center forward role until it is taken from him. Daniel Salloi ($4.5) and Latif Blessing ($7.4) have tons of upside, but only one position to share. Expect rotation or a 60-30 split as the team continues the season.