First Kick for MLS’s 24th season is rapidly approaching, and MLS has opened up its fantasy game for the spring season. If you played last year, you’ll note that their are juicy prizes up for grabs like last year (one of which, I won), and the scoring system has not changed from last year. Once again, the game will be split into an ‘Apertura/Clausura’ format with a new season beginning June 22nd. There have been a few tweaks that are worth mentioning before you draft your team and join the BigDSoccer league which you can join by clicking here.
First off, the maximum number of players you can have from any one team per week is three, down from four last year. If you played last year, you might remember the weird movement of player valuations that had little to do with a player’s performance in the game they just played, spawning one of my favorite images I’ve ever created for a blog post:
That was Senderos week three last year after scoring zero points in 45 minutes, and he earned a full price rise because of his strong three week and five week averages. I have been told by folks in the know that the algorithm for determining price rise/fall will be tied more strongly to the previous game and not three week and five week averages like last year. I’m not sure how this will work with new players to the league and players with low averages carrying over from last year yet, but we should get a pretty good idea about that after a week or so which means you’ll get a lot of content from me early in the season- yay!
Aside from that, it’s mainly just little tweaks here and there to the interface that are pretty intuitive. It’s easier to sort players within a given price range and customize that price range, and there’s even an box you can check to limit to DGW (Double Game Week, for you newbies) players. You’ll still be able to do switcheroos like you did last year, and Older Goaler’s site is still a great central index for content like schedules, advice columns, podcasts and all things useful to competitive players. Big thanks to OG for that.
If you read last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, you’ll know I’ve bemoaned the lack of good information on player injuries and noted that one thing will fix that- gambling! Is it a degenerate habit? Yes. Are you probably going to lose? Yes. Is it going to happen?
I’ll be giving my picks on games this year in this space like I did last year. I ended up with a modest 23-19-5 record on my picks last year, and while I won’t be a tout nor dive into deep analysis why I made each pick, I’ll post them here whenever I write up some nice content for the folks who enjoy our work in spite the fact we get all of our stories from Twitter. Here are my picks for this weekend*:
1. CMB Pick (-150)
2. OCSC +0.5 (-140)
3. PHI to win (Even)
4. FCD to win (-115)
5. DCU pick (+105)
6. COL pick (-115)
Last year, I planted my flag on Gyasi Zardes having a comeback season, and while he didn’t win the Golden Boot, he did lead all Americans in MLS in scoring with 19 goals. This year’s cover boy is Dominique Badji, and with six goals in eight preseason games, he’s scoring at a similar clip to that of Zardes in the 2018 preseason.
I’m not going to push my chips all in on Badji here, but that has nothing to do with the fact I don’t think he’ll hit double digit goals or lead the team in scoring this year. I feel pretty confident of that if he stays healthy, and he’ll definitely be an improvement in efficiency over Maxi Urruti. It has more to do with the fact that Jesus Ferreira looks like he’s going to push for serious minutes this year, and Badji might end up pushed out to the wing often when they’re on the field at the same time. Badji seems prime for 13 goals and four assists this year, and there will still be a committee approach to scoring.
The good news for this game is that Badji ($7.0) is exceptionally inexpensive for a starting forward. This is also the case for likely starters Michael Barrios ($7.5), Santiago Mosquera ($7.5), and Paxton Pomykal ($6.0). With three of the first four games at home and with early kickoffs each game, FCD makes for great switcheroo options for the first month of the season. They’ll be inexpensive and a good way to build cap early; this is a crucial part of the game strategy for you newbies. I’ll pop in to answer questions and give tips in the comments on Opening Day. I look forward to another season enjoying the game with my fellow degenerates, and please, don’t forget to gamble!*
*- Odds courtesy of Bovada. For Entertainment Purposes Only!