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Fantasy MLS is back!

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Gyasi Zardes??? Also, leagues, rule changes, and resources to put you in the catbird seat.

MLS: 2017 Portraits Robert Mora-USA TODAY Sports

MLS kicks off it’s 23rd season tomorrow, so it’s now or never (or maybe it isn’t?) for setting up your fantasy club for this season. Before I dive in to the meat, Gyasi Zardes is prominently featured with good reason. Zardes has been a veritable human torch in the preseason with 6 goals in 5 games. He was traded to Columbus for Ola Kamara because LA was looking for a true ‘9’, and man, I’ve got to say Zardes kind of looks like that guy so far in Columbus. It may just be the change of scenery, or the system fit, or it maybe a fluky preseason outlier; regardless, you need to keep him ($8.5) in mind for at least home fixtures. Zardes leading the league in goals this year would be totally #becauseMLS. Also, please start/continue to gamble on our sport, famalams. Here are my picks for this weekend*:

1. CMB +1 (-110)

2. LAFC +1 (-140)

3. LAG to win (+135)

4. PHI/NER Draw (+265)

5. SKC/NYCFC Draw (+230)

So what’s changed? A lot, to be perfectly honest- let’s start with roster locks. Fantasy MLS now does rolling roster locks. If you forget to set your lineup for the first match- it’s no big deal. Depending on your roster, you can still switch it up for the later matches and not get stuck with zeros. If you’re like me and love some Super Mauro in your lineup (good for 10+ against Tauro), then you’re going to love this new functionality. But wait! It gets even better worse well, I’m not sure.

Anywho, as a result of this new bug/feature, the switcheroo options are pretty crazy. You can roo a keeper now, and that’s just for starters. You should go here to explore the possibilities. At the outset, pricing is going to be a bear, so you should probably try and find value plays where you can.

As for leagues to play in, I’m shilling for two today. Ours of course at Big D Soccer, which you can join here. Also, here’s a Texas Derby league where we fight it out with the swamplings. For more leagues, a cruise through Reddit should suffice.

Speaking of which, one the obsessives there by the name of Older Goaler really delivers the goods. He created his own page which has an array of links better than I would re-produce here. This is handy for scheduling, advice, trends, injury notes, and pretty much everything you need to gun for one of the two championships this year (yes, FMLS has gone to Apertura/Clausura format)

Finally, I’ll touch on lineups and give you my 11. Paul Kennedy did a fairly good job of projecting each team’s starters this week. Here’s my provisional lineup.

Alright, here’s the first thing to note. Because of how the autosubs work, if Tarbell gets a clean sheet, I can downgrade Melia for a scrub and have extra salary to play with on Sunday. Tarbell will just slide in then- this is a tactic you’ll want to employ most game weeks. The other thing different with auto subs this year is that the sub with the highest score goes in first. Busio is a great way to save budget, and I can just let the better of the two bench players slide in. Now, let’s say I have two bench players go nuts. EZ PZ- I just sub out a Sunday player for a scrub, and they both go in. I’m rolling with more defenders this week because the defense usually seems ahead of the offense in the early weeks of the season, but you can deploy a variety of tactics to maximize your haul this year as long as you end up with a viable lineup. I’ll be around on the board today if you want to discuss tips and picks. It’s not like there’s a hard lock out any more, so fire away.

*- Odds courtesy of Bovada. For Entertainment Purposes Only!