Official Seattle Sounders Reporter

By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart

You have a MLS Fantasy account. Now it’s time to build your squad. Selecting a Starting XI and fielding a 15 player team might seem like a daunting task if this is your first time playing MLS Fantasy. But don’t worry! I’m here to give you tips, tricks and positional player rankings for the 2020 MLS Fantasy season!


Spend money early! 

A major change in the game this year is that player prices will increase based on their positive performances, but team budgets are locked at $125 million. This means that big-budget players like Josef Martinez, Carlos Vela, Diego Valeri and Nicolas Lodiero will start to price themselves out of your budget. By midseason, you’ll most likely have to pick 1 or 2 in order to stay under budget, but in the first few weeks, before player prices rise too much, you can basically afford them all.

Favor the home team!

While this isn’t always the case in reality, home teams tend to be the favorite in MLS Fantasy. Teams like LAFC, Atlanta, Seattle, DC United and several others hold dominant home records. These types of home teams are more likely to pick up shut-out points for defenders and offensive bonuses when playing a shaky road team. 

Goals Aren’t Everything

While goals provide the highest number of points for both offensive and defensive players, they aren’t everything when it comes to total point gain. Players like Giovani Dos Santos, Diego Valeri, Osvaldo Alonso, Eduard Atuesta and Nicolas Lodeiro often collect major points from fouls against, tackles won, passes completed and other less common or flashy stats. Don’t feel like you always have to focus on goal scorers. Goals can be hard to predict, but workhorse style players tend to be consistent.


The Switcheroo

The term “Switceroo” or “Autoroo” is commonly used by MLS Fantasy managers. If you’re new to Fantasy, this concept might be a tad confusing and can be executed incorrectly. But trust me that it is often vital to success each week.

The general concept is that you include 1 to 2 players in your starting lineup that you know won’t play and whose team doesn’t play until later in the matchweek (I’ll elaborate on this more later). This would be an injured player, a player who doesn’t make the 18 or one whose team is on a bye-week. This player should also be the cheapest possible as not to impact your overall budget. Let’s call this scrub Player A.

Player A should be featured in your starting XI. Then your bench player, who we’ll call Player B, is usually someone  you hope will produce, but are unsure about. For me, these are players I just have a feeling about or one with a stat concerning their specific match-up that week that would support them producing, but they’ve been in a slump. That’s your typical Player B. And Player B (on your bench, but starting in real life) should be playing before Player A (the scrub who is in your Fantasy starting XI, but not playing in real life).

Once Player B plays, if he has produced well enough then you’re done. Double check lineups to make sure Player A is NOT in his team’s starting XI and then you’re good to go. However, if Player B doesn’t do well, then you have the option to switch Player A to someone in the later game who you hope will yield more points than Player B did on your bench. This can be a risky move, but sometimes it pays off.

Some MLS Fantasy managers run 2 Switcheroos each week to help save on overall team pricing, but I usually work with just 1. It will  be interesting to see how this manger style adjusts this year with team budgets locked, but player prices still rising.

Here is an example scenario with the Week 1 schedule:

Julian Gressel ($10.0), new signing to DC United, is playing in the first game of Week 1 at home vs Colorado. He was consistent last season as a Fantasy Player, but you aren’t sure how he’ll fit in with his new team. So you make him one of your bench players. You then start Blake Bodily of Portland ($4.5), the last game of the week and a midfielder who has yet to play for the Timbers (likely not to make the 18) and is scheduled for the last game of Week 1.

So if Gressel scores enough points by your standards, leave Bodily in your Starting XI and as long as Bodily doesn’t play for Portland, Gressel’s points will come in off your bench. But don’t forget to check lineups! If Gressel does NOT score enough points for you, then swap Bodily out for another late-game player and hope they perform better.

The Keeperoo

The Concept of the Keeperoo is very similar to the Switcheroo, but requires a bit more attention to game times and rosters.To pull off this move, a manager will start Keeper A, who has the later game of the week. Keeper B will stay on the bench. However, both Keeper A and B are starting goalkeepers who you suspect could have a high-scoring game. 

Once Keeper B plays, if his points are high enough for your liking, then you swap Keeper A for a third string goalkeeper, NOT a back-up goalkeeper, which will bring in Keeper B from your bench along with the points earned by Keeper B. Remember, a back-up goalkeeper in a team’s 18-man lineup can always come into the game. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way.

Here is an example with real player names and Week 1’s schedule:

Bill Hamid (DC $6.0) is playing against Colorado on Saturday at 10 AM, the first game of the week. He would be your bench goalkeeper. Stefan Frei (SEA $6.0) is playing one of the last games of the round against Chicago on Sunday at 12 PM. If Bill Hamid does really well against Colorado (5 points or more is my bar, usually) leave him on your bench and put in a non-playing goalkeeper for Stephen Frei, like Seattle’s third string goalkeeper, Stefan Cleveland ($4.0).

Hamid (plays first) on bench and Frei (plays second) starting.
Swap Cleveland in for Frei to bring in Hamid’s bench points.

Positional Rankings

Below are my positional rankings for the MLS Fantasy season. They’re in no particular order of value, just the top 5 and 10 players I think will be vital to MLS Fantasy teams each week.


  • Tyler Miller, MIN $5.5
  • Brad Guzan, ATL $6.0
  • Stefan Frei, SEA $6.0
  • Bill Hamid, DC $6.0
  • Daniel Vega, SJ $5.5

One absence some might find noticeable from this list is the new LAFC keeper, Kenneth Vermeer. I think Walker Zimmerman, Steven Beitashour, and Tyler Miller were vital contributors to LAFC’s shutouts last season. I’m not sold on this new signing or the backline, especially after their CCL opener last week. Tim Melia (SKC), Clint Irwin (COL) and Andre Blake (PHI) make the honorable mention list.


  • Miles Robinson, ATL $6.5
  • Aaron Long, RBNY $6.5
  • Ike Opara, MIN $6.5
  • Eddie Segura, LAFC $6.0
  • Ryan Hollingshead, DAL $5.5
  • Omar Gonzalez, TOR $6.0
  • Kelvin Leerdam, SEA $5.5
  • Steve Birnbaum, DC $5.5
  • Anton Tinnerholm, NYC $6.0
  • Keegan Rosenberry, COL $5.5

Wingbacks are my personal favorite when it comes to MLS Fantasy defenders, but don’t overlook those dominant centerbacks who can score goals and clean up the major messes inside their own penalty area. I don’t often play more than 3 defenders, but some weeks, 4 in the back is a must. Honorable mentions here are Francisco Calvo (CHI), Florian Jungwirth (SJ) and Romain Metanire (MIN).


  • Nicolas Lodeiro, SEA $12
  • Diego Valeri, POR $10.5
  • Alejandro Pozuelo, TOR $11
  • Eduard Atuesta, LAFC $10.5
  • Carles Gil, NE $11
  • Jonathan dos Santos, LA $9.5
  • Julian Gressel, DC $10
  • Saphir Taider, MTL $10.5
  • Pity Martinez, ATL $9.0
  • Johnny Russell, SKC $9.5

With midfielders, I like to pick players who take corners or penalty kicks, or have great chemistry with their forwards. Assists and goals tend to be in the double digits each season with these 10 midfielders. Honorable mentions for this list are Jan Gregus (MIN), Albert Rusnak (RSL), Darwin Quintero (HOU) and Maxi Moralez (NYCFC).


  • Carlos Vela, LAFC $13
  • Josef Martinez, ATL $11.5
  • Cristian Pavon, LA $11
  • Raul Ruidiaz, SEA $11
  • Gyasi Zardes, COL $10
  • Ola Kamara, DC $9.5
  • Gustav Bou, NE $10.5
  • Chicharito, LA $11.5
  • Heber, NYCFC $10.5
  • Kei Kamara, COL $9.5

Penalty kick takers and corner kick takers are the type of forward I try to take as well, but some of these players are just pure goal scorers. My honorable mention list here is Alan Pulido (SKC), Diego Rossi (LAFC), Jozy Altidore (TOR), Jordan Morris (SEA) and Lucas Cavallini (VAN). Some of the forwards on that list are new to the league who I think can make an impact, but are unproven. For that reason, I’m giving them a few weeks before I buy into the hype.

The first match of the week kicks off at 1 PM EST and rosters for players will lock at their team’s scheduled kickoff time.

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Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @savage_hart

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