talking 757 league

MLS Fantasy Soccer thoughts for the 757 League

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Round 4

Hey 757 Leaguers,


How is it going so far? Looking at our league standings, I couldn’t help noticing that the little girl who beat me in Round 1 is sitting on top of the leader board. Congratulations Oma! Goals allowed is running a close second with Veni.Vidi.Vici not far behind. Pittsburgh Phantoms has some work to do to break out of fourth place and then there is ole Schif’s Crew SC (me) at fifth.


If you are at one of the other positions, don’t fret – it’s only Round 4. Remember the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare – there are 28 more games to perfect your game.   Besides, there is really no way to predict what is going to happen in the first few games. Round 4 could be particularly tricky because of all the players missing because of suspensions, injury, and international duty – so make your transfers carefully.


So here’s my two cents:


If you haven’t picked up Vancouver’s Octavio Rivero at $8.7, what are you waiting for? Besides, the Whitecaps play at home next week and then play twice in Round 6. I also think Dallas forward Tesho Akindele at $8.1 will steal the show in Blas Perez’s absence. Watch out taking too many Columbus, Montreal, New York City, and New York Red Bull players because they don’t play net week.


My advice for defense is to be wary of Alex Sjoberg because I saw something this week that indicated that he might be questionable (Jack Jewsbury also).


This week’s Transfer Deadline is Saturday at 3pm EST, so plan accordingly.


More MLS Fantasy Advice:


A Look at Round 3


Game 4 Absentee Comparison


A Look Back and Ahead


Captain Poll


Form/Difficulty Chart


Schedule Change


Round 3 Formations


More Advice


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Formations for Week 2

Hey 757 Leaguers,

Well, I survived Round Two after missing the trade deadline (God looks after fools and children).  So, how did you do?

I made my trades last night and realized this morning that Round Three could be impacted by International Call-ups so be careful who you pick up this week.   It might behoove you to check out the links under “Week Three Advice” to gain some possible insider information.

My tip of the week: you might want to keep in mind that Double Game Weeks are coming up in Rounds Six and Seven. It never hurts to start planning early.

Also remember that Columbus Crew, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders, and Toronto all are on a Bye Week and don’t play.  This week’s Transfer Deadline is Friday at 7pm EST, so don’t say I never hold you.

Take a look at the Starting XI from Round Two.  Some new faces got the nod to start.


A Look Back at Week Two

Week Two Review – part 1

Week Two Review – part 2

MLS Cheatsheet – Round 3

Updated Season Chart

MLS International Call-ups

Captain’s Poll


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Expected Starters, Player Strategies, and Other Advice

Expected Starters – You could search the ends of the information super highway or you cold Google until your fingers fall off . . . or, you can check out this article for a list of expected starters for each team – summarized from the Expected Starter Community and Countdown to Kickoff Community from Reddit. Disclaimer – this list is just a best guess (it’s not an exact science).

Chicago Fire

Palmer Adailton Larentowicz Jones
Ritter/ Stephens
Maloney Watson Cocis / Alex Shipp
Igboananike/ Accam


Colorado Rapids

Harrington O’Neill Burling Burch
Sarvas Pittinari
Powers Ramirez Serna


Columbus Crew

Grana Pogatetz Parkhurst Francis
Tchani Trapp
Finlay Higuain Meram


Dallas FC

Kennedy / Seitz
Loyd Hedges Keel / Zimmerman Michel/ Earie/ Hernandez
Acosta Ulloa
Akindele Diaz Castillo



DC United

Franklin Boswell Birnbaum Kemp
DeLeon Kitchen Arnaud Rolfe
Espindola Silva


Houston Dynamo

Beasley Rodriguez Taylor Sarkodie
Clark Garrido
Davis Clark
Barnes Bruin


Los Angeles Galaxy

Gargan Gonzalez Leonardo Rofers
Ishizaki Juninho Vayrynen Zardes
Keane Gordon


Montreal Impact

Camara Soumare Ciman Toia
Reo-Coker Donadel
Mapp Bernier Piatti


New England Revolution

Tierney Goncalves Farrell Alston
Jones Dorman
Rowe Ngyuen Bunbury
Agudelo / Davies

New York City FC

Williams Hernandez Mendoza Wingert
Diskerud Velasquez Grabavoy
Nemec Villa


New York Red Bulls

Duvall Jean-Baptiste Zubar Miller
Kljestan Dax
Sam Felipe Stolz /Felipe/ Zizzo/Grella


Orlando City FC

Ramos St Ledger Collin Shea
Okugo Higuita
Molino Kaka Rivas


Philadelphia Union

Williams Vitoria White Gaddis
Edu Noguerira
Le Toux Maidana Wenger


Portland Timbers

Villafana Ridgewell Borchers Powell
Chara Jewsbury
Wallace Fernandez Nagbe


Real Salt Lake

Phillips Olave Schuler Beltran
Mulholland Beckerman
Jamie/ Sandoval/ Garcia Saborio


San Jose Earthquake

Stewart Goodson Bernardez Wynne / Pintos
Salinas Garia Nyassi
Wondolowski Emeghara


Seattle Sounders

Gonzales Marshall Evans Mear
Pineda Azira
Neagle Pappa
Dempsey Martins


Sporting Kansas City

Anibaba/Ellis Opara Besler Sinovic
Anor Feilhaber Zusi
Nemeth Dwyer


Toronto FC

Bloom Caldwell Perguis Morrow
Bradley Cheyrou
Findley Giovinco Osorio


Vancouver Whitecaps

Beitashour Waston Rodriguez Harvey
Laba Koffie
Rosales Morales Manneh Mezquida

Strategery – The obvious strategy of the MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager is to generate the most points week to week. Looking ahead at the coming weeks, paying attention to this season’s rising stars, making smart trades is the key to gaining points. You will also need to plan when to use your wild cards and keep an eye on injuries and suspensions – and then there are international call-ups. Another strategy is to manage your trades to increase your team value and money in the bank, which will earn you more buying power to better be able to afford those high-priced super stars. Yet another strategy may be to field your eleven starters and picking up cheap bench warmers, typically non-starters that may not see any playing time at all (no play = no points). There are numerous online sources available to help you navigate these waters.

Player Positions Predicted to Produce Points – One of the most essential tasks you will need to master as a successful MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager is to figure out how to generate points – rather which players will generate points for your team. Most managers will attempt to identify this year’s Golden Boot candidates or league assist leader. While it will be important to predict scoring leaders, there are other factors to consider like who takes corners, set-pieces, and what player positions generate points.

Corners, Set-Pieces and Penalty Kicks – Players that take corners, set-pieces, and/or penalty kicks are more likely to generate points than others because they will have more opportunities to be involved in scoring opportunities. In previous years, articles have been written to identify these players who takes corners, set-pieces and penalty kicks.

I will keep checking and post this information as soon as it becomes available.

Keepers – Some MLS Fantasy Soccer Managers will try to save money and select a low-priced backup keeper, many of which may not get any playing time (no points for your team). One strategy would be to select a keeper who plays home games (I already wrote about Home Field Advantage). Since you are allowed to select two keepers, the backup keeper should compliment your team but having home games when your first string keeper has a Bye Week or an Away Game. If a keeper stands out as a shutout or clean sheet leader, you may want to consider adding them to your lineup but be sure to look ahead to ensure the schedule is favorable. As the season progresses, a low-priced backup keeper may be called upon as a starter – watch for these opportunities to supplement your team at a bargain basement price.

Defenders – Last season, we didn’t see many clean sheets. The previous season, there were some teams that were able to build a defensive wall to stop their opponents from scoring. What will this year hold? Time will tell. If clean sheets are infrequent, you may want to search for defenders who score goals (like on set pieces and such). Clean sheets and scoring opportunities may be inconstant. So how should you select your defenders? Look for productive Center Backs who are scoring points with Clearances, Blocks, and Interceptions (CBIs). Players listed as defenders but playing a midfield roll can potentially generate attacking points by scoring and assists and defending points with a clean sheet.

Midfielders – I don’t think you will have any trouble finding productive midfielders. The problem will come with picking the probable points leaders week after week and managing your money while doing so. Typically, the midfielders who generate points are those that touch the ball the most and create scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates, which is translated into Big Chances Created.

Forwards – I think you will find that forwards who are active on the pitch, creative in scoring and helping others to score, will generate more points than those forwards who are simply waiting for someone to feed them the ball in front of the net.

Captain – The one thing I noticed that separated the great MLS Fantasy Soccer Managers from good MLS Fantasy Soccer Managers, was the ability of the great managers to captain the points leaders week in and week out. Your captain receives double points, so it stands to reason that you want to captain your player with the highest points.

Double Game Weeks – Often times, the high scores came during a Double Game Week (DGW) when a team would have two games scheduled during a single round. Points accumulated during a DGW could catapult your team ahead of your competitors or leave you anguished when a coach desires to rest players. It’s a gamble that can pay off if you do your homework and luck is on your side.

Advice – Well, I probably need to get out from behind this computer screen and see what’s going on this weekend. So, instead of going on and on, I will leave you with advice from folks more knowledgeable than I. Remember to set up your team by March 6th at 10pm EST and let me know if you have any questions.

– Transfer Basics

– Expert Choices

– Bench Strategies

– Defensive Strategies

– Value Players

– Comparing the 2014 Season

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Are You Ready for the 2015 MLS Fantasy Soccer Season?

Getting Started – If you have never played MLS Fantasy or are a little rusty since October there are tons of articles on the MLS Fantasy Soccer and MLS Soccer websites. I’d start with some Fantasy Soccer 101 and other advice articles and news. If you did play in previous years, it would be a good idea to check out this year’s rule changes. Let me know if you have specific questions and I will do my best to get you an answer.

Deadline – You have until 10pm EST on March 6th to finalize your team. Once a round has started and before a player’s match has started, you may switch players using manager substitutions. If you are still on the fence about fielding your team, I will try to provide some helps that I use when choosing my lineup. I will say that the auto-select feature was helpful to get me started. You will not be locked in and can change as many times as you want up until the deadline.

Home Field Advantage – Is there a measurable home field advantage in MLS? Check out this article from Princeton Sports Analytics and see if you agree. If there is such a thing as Home Field Advantage and you believe in that kind of stuff, then you might want to look at the coming weeks to project who has the more home games.

  • Portland has four games at home in the first 5 rounds.
  • Dallas and Houston have three games at home and the two of their home games are played in the first two weeks.
  • Orlando City, Sporting KC, and Vancouver also play three games at home and start Round 1 at home but not Round 2. Orlando and Sporting alternate Home and Away games, while Vancouver sees action on the road for Rounds 2 and 3 and then sees two additional home games.
  • However, Vancouver does have a Double Game Week in Round 6.
  • Chicago also has three home games but plays Round 1 and 3 on the road.

Bye Weeks (the Speed Bumps of Fantasy MLS) – Looking at the first few weeks, you may notice that several teams are scheduled for Bye Weeks, meaning that they do not play during that week.

  • Columbus has two Bye Weeks in the next 5 weeks.
  • In Round 2, Colorado, DC United, Montreal, and the New York Red Bulls have a Bye Week.
  • Besides Columbus in Round 3, Real Salt Lake, Seattle, and Toronto have a Bye Week.
  • Then in Round 5, New York City, and Columbus, have a Bye Week. Every team plays in Rounds 1 and 4.
  • Dallas, Vancouver, and KC don’t have byes til the free transfer week.

Home and away details, as well as bye weeks can be found at MLS Fantasy Boss, provided by Dashdar. Form and Difficulty Chart courtesy of MLS Fantasy Boss

As Dashdar explains, “Say you’re trying to decide on a keeper. You decide that you like Columbus and have hopes that Clark will be able to have similar numbers in 2015 as he did in 2014. You also know that teams perform better at home so you decide that, instead of just playing 1 keeper for the entire season, you want to rotate him with another keeper. Sure, you could pick anther big name keeper like Rimando, but how many time would you be able to field a home keeper? Go to the chart. Find CLB [Columbus] row on the left and find where it intersects with the RSL [Real Salt Lake] column. You can see that, in the first 18 Rounds, a Keeper pairing of CLB and RSL would let you have a home keeper for 12 games. However, if you picked up a keeper from SKC [Sporting Kansas City], you would be able to play a home keeper in 17 of the first 18 rounds. This may only result in you earning 10 or 12 more points over the season, but considering the close scores that many managers have 10 or 12 points could mean the difference from top 10 or not.”

He continues, “So that’s the basics of how this chart works. I like to use them for Keeper rotations, but you can also use them easily with defenders. It could be an ideal way to help you rotate some value defenders. I’ve found it a little less helpful for offensive players, but you could use the same rotations with forwards too and hope for more goals at home than on the road.”

Next Time – My next article will be on the possible starters and where fantasy points get generated.

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Thinking About the 2015 MLS Fantasy Soccer Season

So, what does the new season hold in store for MLS Fantasy?  Well, I thought I would take a look since we are all snowed in.  First, I looked at the current team rosters and then compared the rosters to last year’s MLS Fantasy statistics.  Here’s what I came up with . . .

1). GAIN A FEW / LOSE A FEW:  In 2015, the first thing you will notice is that there a one more team than last year.  Actually, two teams were added:  New York City Football Club and Orlando City Soccer Club.  However, we also lost a club in Chivas USA thus making the total 20 teams in 2015.  New York City FC picked up 11 players new to MLS and acquired 15 from within MLS, while Orlando City SC sought 17 players new to MLS and acquired 10 from within.  New York City brought in new to MLS:  forward David Villa (DP) and midfielders Frank Lampard (DP) and Mix Diskerud.  As well as having acquired the likes of forward Patrick Mullins and Tony Taylor from New England, midfielders Sebastian Velasquez and Ned Grabavoy from Real Salt Lake, Thomas McNamara from Chivas USA, and Andrew Jacobson from Dallas, and defenders Chris Wingert from Real Salt Lake, Josh Williams from the Columbus Crew, George John from FC Dallas, and Jason Hernandez from the San Jose Earthquakes.  Big names brought in by Orlando City SC include:  midfielders Kaka, Brek Shea and Cristian Higuita and defender Rafael Ramos; along with acquisitions:  forward Danny Mwanga from the Colorado rapids, midfielder Eric Avila from Chivas USA, Tony Cascio from the Houston Dynamo, Lewis Neal from DC United, Amobi Okugo from the Philadelphia Union, defenders Aurelien Collin from Sporting Kansas City, and goal keepers Donovan Ricketts from the Portland Timbers.  As for Chivas, it was divided up with one to two players going to teams like Colorado, Dallas, Houston, Montreal, New York Red Bulls, San Jose, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, New York City, and Orlando City.  Chicago, Columbus, DC, LA, New England, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake, and Kansas City did not add any Chivas players to their rosters.

2). 2015 vs 2014:  There are currently 534 players listed on the team rosters:  119 new players, 337 remained on last year’s team, 74 changed to a new team (also, 230 left MLS to retire of move to international leagues).  Current Team Rosters showed as few as 22 players (NE) and as many as 33 players (SJ), compared to last year’s statistics of as few as 17 (CHI and CHV) and as many as 25 (DAL and LA) with an average of almost 22 players per roster.  This means that we will more than likely see some changes to these numbers once the new MLS Fantasy season starts.  Therefore, this information is provided for planning purposes but don’t take it too literally.

3). STAYING POWER:  Is it any surprise that the champs chose to stick to a formula that worked for them last year?  The LA Galaxy kept the most players from last year’s team with a total of 23 players.  And they only picked up 4 new players (new to MLS) and didn’t pick up any players from other teams.  LA will be bringing in Steven Gerrard from England and Ignacio Maganto from Spain to shore up the midfield in Donovan’s absence; as well as American made Daniel Keller in defense and Andrew Wolverton as goal keeper.  Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes will look to continue the scoring tradition with Omar Gonzalez anchoring the back line.

4). STAY WITH WHAT WORKS:  The New England Revolution made a good run for the cup last year and are following LA’s plan of status quo with only 3 acquisitions.  The Rev’s brought back forward scoring threat Juan Agudelo into the lineup this season and picked up forward Sean Okoli from the Seattle Sounders.  Lastly, they replaced Bobby Shuttleworth as keeper for Houston’s Tally Hall.  With US Men’s National Team’s Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen controlling the middle, New England looks to finish strong again this year.

5). LIGHT FROM LAST YEAR:  Chicago only kept 14 of their original players from last year, picking up 8 new players and 2 additional players from around the league. They traded for Jon Busch from the San Jose Earthquakes and Eric Gehrig for the Columbus Crew.  They added designated players David Accam, a forward from Ghana, Kennedy Igboananike, a forward from Nigeria, and Shaun Maloney, a midfielder from Malaysia.  Also new to MLS are forward Guly do Prado and defender Adailton dos Santos Fiho from Brazil; defender Joevin Jones from Trinidad & Tobago; and defender Patrick Doody and midfielder Michael Stephens from the good old USA.

6). NEW LOOK / NEW BLOOD:  The Columbus Crew did an overhaul on their kit over the break, abandoning the working man’s team logo for a more modern MLS look.  Not only will the uniform have a new look, but the team will have a new look as well – one third of the team to be specific.  Forwards Kei Kamara from Sierra Leone and Sagi Lev-Ari from Israel join the boys in yellow.  The midfield will also get refreshed with Cedrick Mabwati from the Congo, Mohammad Saeid from Sweden, Kristinn Steindorsson from Iceland, and Ben Swanson from the US.  They will be complimenting the likes of Federico Higuain, Wil Trapp, Ethan Finlay, and Justin Meram.  The Defense will get help from Sergio Campbell from Jamaica, Hernan Grana from Argentina, and Kalen Ryden from the US (and addition from the Colorado Rapids, Christ Klute) – assisting Michael Parkhurst, Chad Barson, Waylon Francis, Tyson Wahl.  With a strong back line, creative midfield and creative finisher in Kei Kamara – Columbus should be able to shake things up this year.

7). CLEAN SLATE:  Sporting Kansas City, like the Columbus Crew, will be bringing in some new blood to hopefully make them a contender in 2015.  Will the loss of staple players like forwards Bieler, Sapong, Saad; midfielders Rosell, Joseph, Zizzo; defenders Olum, Juliao, Collin; and goal keepers Gruenebaum, and Kronberg prove to deep a cut?  Or will US Men’s National Team players Graham Zusi and Matt Besler be able to hold it together with the help of forward Dom Dwyer; midfielders Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura; defenders Kevin Ellis, Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic, and Erik Palmer-Brown; and keeper Jon Kempin?  Coach Peter Vermes will have to work in new players:  Krisztian Nemeth – forward from Hungary, midfielders James Marcelin from Haiti, Soni Mustivar from France and Connor Hallisey from the US, as well as Bernardo Anor acquired from the Columbus Crew and Serando Carrasco acquired from the Houston Dynamo; defender Saad Abdul-Salaam from the US, and Jalil Anibaba American acquired from the Seattle Sounders; and Goal Keeper Luis Marin from Chile.  And let’s not forget the highly anticipated return of midfielder Roger Espinoza to the Sporting KC lineup.

8). MIDFIELD TOUCH-UP:  DC United are looking to fill in some holes left by the absence of midfielders Neal and Porter, and defenders Parke and Fernandez.  Midfielders Miguel Aguilar from Mexico, Markus Halsti from Finland, and Dan Metzger from the US are new additions to MLS as well as the acquisition of midfielder Andrew Driver from the Houston Dynamo and the return of midfielder Michael Farfan.    DC United superstars:  Chris Rolfe, Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson, Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud, Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin, Taylor Kemp, and Chris Korb; and Men’s National Teammates:  Steven Birnbaum, Perry Kitchen, and Bill Hamid will also be welcoming newly acquired forward Jairo Arrieta from the Columbus Crew.  Will these changes be enough for Ben Olsen to take his team to the playoffs?

9). OVERHAULED:  The Montreal Impact made 14 changes to their 32 man roster this year.  Montreal lost their power forward Marco Di Vaio and much of their back line.  They also gave up their midfielder Felipe Martins to New York, defender Jeb Brovsky to New York City, and keeper Troy Perkins to Seattle. Montreal brought into MLS forward Romario Williams from Jamaica, midfielder Marco Donadel from Italy, defenders Adrian Lopez from Spain, Laurent Ciman from Belgium, and goal keeper Kristian Nicht from Germany.  The Impact also acquired forwards Dominic Oduro from Toronto FC, Cameron Porter from DC United, midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker from the Vancouver Whitecaps, defenders Ambroise Oyongo from the New York Red Bulls, Bakary Soumare from the Chicago Fire, Donny Toia from Chivas USA, and goal keeper Eric Kronberg from Sporting Kansas City.

10). REBUILDING:   The Seattle Sounders were contenders last year but couldn’t get up enough steam to finish strong.  Then they lost Yedlin, Traore, and Hahnemann.  This year, they look to add new to MLS (several Homegrown) forwards Andy Bevin from New Zealand, and Andy Craven, Darwin Jones and Victor Mansaray from the US; midfielder Christian Roldan from the US; defenders Oniel Fisher and Tyrone Mears from England, and goal keepers Charlie Lyon and Tyler Miller from the US.  The Sounders also acquired defender Andres Correa from Chivas USA and keeper Troy Perkins from the Montreal Impact.

11). OTHER NOTABLE TIDBITS:  You are going to see lots of new faces this year – 119 new faces to be specific.  More notable of these new players include:  forward Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco to Toronto FC, midfielder Nick Besler to the Portland Timbers and Sasha Kljestan to the New York Red Bulls.  A complete list of players transferred in and players transferred out is available on the MLS Soccer website (

“Why starting looking at all this information”, you may ask?  I have only two simple reasons.

#1.  The 2015 MLS Fantasy Soccer website should be up and running soon to start the 2015 season.

#2.  You need to get your head in the game!  A third reason is because I have an extra day off because of the snow and decided to bang this out.  You’re welcome.