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MLS Fantasy 2017

The Triumphant Return of Fake MLS.

2016 MLS Cup - Seattle Sounders v Toronto FC Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Today is the day I start my 3rd year sharing my weekly pearls of wisdom for MLSsoccer.com's fantasy game here on Big D Soccer. Now that I've wrestled control away from total loser and lightweight Phil Luetchford, we can dispense with the fake news, ok.

First truth bomb of note is the code for our blog's league, which is 856-446. Believe me. Second, failing FMLS (the F is for FAILING. Sad!) decided wisely to drain the swamp via some rule changes. If you've heard it's just daily fantasy carried out over the course of a season, many people are saying this is just more lies from the biased pundits. What do you expect? I hate to say it.

Anyway, now that I've relieved my Trump Blue Balls (I missed out on the lovely Quick Burn the other day), I'll go over a few of the tweaks to FMLS 17'.

No more Wild Card, Unlimited Transfers

Unlike previous seasons, there will be no cap on transfers for any round this season which, among other things, eliminates the utility of a 'wild card'. For the hard core players, this eliminates an element of strategy that made the game a fun challenge (bad). That said, this should help all players hedge against injuries (ok), encourage players to stick with the game for the course of the season (good), increase squad variance (also good), and hopefully increase overall participation and web traffic which could lead to more prizes and better prizes (awesome).

FMLS still offers both overall and head to head mini-leagues which brings me to the exaggerated point that the game will play exactly like daily. FMLS will still offer weekly prizes with the granddaddy of those being the Opening Week Challenge. If you take home the top score that week, you win 2 tickets to a game, a $200 gift card, and MLS Live. For one week, play it like DFS i.e. find an off the grid player who's cheap and a rarity on the roster. I'll be throwing out gems on a weekly basis this year starting March 3rd if you want to hear it from someone who finished in the Top 25 overall last season.

After that though, depending on your leagues, trying to shoot the moon every week will backfire if your goal is the ultimate prize. You'll end up laying duds that see you drop off the pace to the point you'll never return. Over the course of the season, a balance of stars and high floor players with low budget numbers will provide you with the best chances for H2H and overall success. In conclusion, go big week 1 and mitigate your risk after that. Speaking of budget, there have been some pretty significant...

Roster and Salary Tweaks

While there have been some slight tweaks to player valuations, the big news here is the roster tweak and salary cap reduction. The cap was lowered $20.0 and one roster slot eliminated (now 3 Forwards instead of 4). The days of wheeling out a 3-5-2 chock full of 7 premium attackers is over (at least initially). Price increases are still the same as last year, and with the ability to rotate your squad on a weekly basis, savvy managers will use this to their tactical advantage early. Just be careful you don't fall in love with a preseason stud (Auf Wiedersehn, Timo) who never plays. Also, it's worth considering that...

Extra Cleansheet Points for Goalkeepers and Defense

Predicting cleansheet bonuses can be something of a fool's errand, but over the course of the season, your defense just became more valuable. Since good defenders are significantly cheaper than good attackers, considering a 4 to 5 man backline some weeks could be a good play. Additionally, the cost of elite bonus point producers like Matt Hedges, Laurent Ciman, and Harrison Afful, have all declined this year. Not only does this encourage some investment that you wouldn't likely consider last year, it also reduces some of the value of a bargain basement defender that may have been a fixture on your team in 2016. Taking it a step further, you lose some of the value that you picked up on outside backs last year (through smaller difference in opportunity cost), so central backs are probably going to be even more in vogue than last year. I'll touch on that one some more when we get to Week 1. Welcome back, ya filthy animals.