Welcome to the 2015 Fantasy MLS season.
Here, we'll look at part one of a series of previews that will help you prepare your squad for the week one kickoff. Just as teams will begin their long journey to be crowned champions of Major League Soccer when the first game week opens up on March 6, fantasy managers across North America will be prepping their rosters soon in anticipation of being crowned the Fantasy MLS champion.
Whether or not you're new to the MLS/Fantasy MLS scene, it's a great way to grow your knowledge of the game and the league. FMLS calls for a lot of attention from you in managing your roster, causing you to become more involved with the different players and teams around the league. Last year I used FMLS to grow my knowledge of North American soccer, most specifically the MLS itself. I found myself in 34th overall after the first round of FMLS, and in the top 100 after seven rounds before tailing off.
Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you thinking about setting up your roster in anticipation of round one. We'll get into the more technical aspects of picking your starting XI closer to when the season starts but for now we'll keep it simple by reminding you of some of the basic aspects of the game that can make a big difference.
Embrace the Unfortunate Reality of Fantasy MLS
You're going to make mistakes, trust me. For a lot of FMLS, you learn the right way of doing things by screwing it up entirely the first time. For me last season, that was underestimating how long the season was. It's a lot to absorb the first time you do it, but you have to stay focused throughout the entire season. Don't lose hope or motivation, because most of the time the people who stick it out till the end are rewarded with high-place finishes.
Consult your Resources
Fantasy MLS is a big task to take on by yourself if you're new to the community, so don't go it alone. Consulting some of the great resources available to you such as MLSSoccer.com's "Starting Lineup", Reddit's /r/FantasyMLS subreddit, fantasy experts like Ben Jata, and podcasts like Fantasy Insider provide great advice to Fantasy owners of all levels. If you're on Twitter, a great way to keep up-to-date is to subscribe to my list of Fantasy MLS Resources. I will continually add to it as the season progresses.
A lot of tools are available to you under the research tab on your FMLS team's home page to help you understand more about relevant statistics such as transfers in & out (which we'll touch on later in another part), in-form players, injuries, price changes, dream teams, and many more. Be sure to check these out from round to round to get a bearing on certain players and what you can do in the coming rounds.
Know the Schedule
For the entirety of the 2015 MLS season, important pieces of info like Ben Jata's schedule spreadsheet will be the first thing you check before making any moves. I highly recommending saving this and keeping it close to you for all FMLS decisions. Heck, even make it your desktop background if that'll help you. You want to maximize the amount of time your players have on the field, so adjusting your team for double game weeks and minimizing byes is very important in order to increase your total point output.
FMLS is a 34-week race broken down into week-by-week sprints. It's a long-term process, but you shouldn't look beyond, at the most, the next five weeks as you progress. Plan accordingly to keep your game plan more flexible as certain events change the course of how each game week plays out. We'll take a look at the first few weeks closer to the beginning of the season.
Be on the lookout for more information about the structure of this year's FMLS closer to the start of the season. I'm sure the structure will be similar to that of last year's, barring a few small changes. I hope you're just as excited for the 2015 FMLS season as much as the regular season itself.