MLS Fantasy: Ranking the top 20 defenders for 2019

The MLS Fantasy game is live and if you have not started thinking about your first team yet, what’s stopping you?

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the early preseason information, then you’re in the right place. In this article I’ll be providing a list of promising defenders but be sure to check out the preseason rankings for goalkeepers, midfielders and forwards.

Now, let’s talk defense.

What am I looking for?

The most valuable defender stats very depending of the type of player. For attack-minded fullbacks, you want players with high passing numbers. For the defensive center backs, you’re looking for tackles, blocks, interceptions and their involvement on set plays.

The golden egg is if you can identify a player who is playing further up the field in an offensive position (aka out of position, or OOP). These players have a better chance of scoring goals and earning assists and tend to be priced much lower than their midfielder or forward counterparts. Unfortunately, preseason is not the best predictor of OOP players due to the lineup experimentation that coaches are so fond of. So, it’s best to stick with the bread and butter stats for now.

It’s also important to pay attention to how transferred players are integrating into their new teams. Many of these players were acquired with the idea they'd become starters, but poor preseason performances could see them splitting time with others at the start of the season. 

What about price?

If you did a double take when you saw the starting prices of some defenders, then you are not alone, but it makes sense when you consider the defensive unit as a whole. The defensive organization of teams like the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City make them very hard to break down and for me, that justifies the price.

Fortunately, you don’t have to get the most expensive players to get these benefits. Lower cost wide players can often be ideal additions to your team when you are trying to save some money but still want a chance at a potential clean sheet. Now, here is my top 20 list of promising preseason fantasy defender prospects.

Rank Player Team Price
Graham Zusi SKC $7.0
Aaron Long RBNY $7.0
3 Tim Parker RBNY $7.0
Michael Parkhurst ATL $5.5
Matt Hedges DAL $6.5
6 Harrison Afful CLB $6.5
7 Zakaria Diallo MTL $5.5
8 Anton Tinnerholm NYC $6.5
9 Kim Kee-hee SEA $5.5
10 Joseph Mora DC $5.0
11  Eddie Segura LAFC $5.0
12 Nick Lima SJ $5.5
13 Francisco Calvo MIN $6.0
14 Axel Sjoberg COL $5.5
15 Greg Garza CIN $5.5
16 Julio Cascante POR $4.5
17 Claude Dielna POR $5.0
18 George Bello ATL $4.5
19 Marcelo CHI $5.5
20 Auston Trusty PHI $5.5

If you’re interested in getting all the details about the changes to the 2019 fantasy game, or if this is your first year playing, check out the video above from the Fantasy United FC crew or you can listen to the first preseason episode of the MLS Fantasy Insider Podcast.

Series: 

LIVE YOUR COLORS: Download the free MLS app - The official MLS app gets a major update for 2020, making it easier than ever to keep up with your favorite club, check standings, watch videos and much more.