If you're somebody who's outside of the hardcore Fantasy Major League Soccer community, discussions have been heated since the end of last season over how the overall process of FMLS can be made better for this upcoming season.
MLS Digital's Jason Saghini tweeted out on February 6 that FMLS managers should expect a mid-February start date for FMLS. Despite knowing that the MLS season kicks off on March 6, managers have been left in the dark not really knowing when they'll be able to start toying around with their rosters until now. Last season, FMLS opened up on February 6, so this is looking like all we're going to get in terms of a start date. The waiting game continues.
Along with being in the dark about the start-up date, possible changes to the format of FMLS have been greatly speculated by players, but no formal communication has been sent out by the MLS. Ben Jata, who is leaving his post as Fantasy MLS Guru this year, left a list of suggestions for FMLS on how to improve the current format. Ben was the spearhead of FMLS, providing key information and insight into FMLS topics such as rosters, statistics, and much more. He'll be a great loss to the community.
A lot of features introduced or taken away last year made the experience hard for some players to fully immerse themselves in the game. Let's take a look at some of the proposed changes from Ben and around the community and how they could affect FMLS.
"Bring back auto subs."
This has to be the biggest given out of all of the proposed changes. Two seasons ago, a player who didn't play was swapped out for the first available player on their manager's bench. With the lack of this feature last season, too many managers weren't able to edit their line-ups close to game time when the rosters were released. This would cause them to lose out on major points and eventually lose interest in FMLS. There's nothing stopping them from putting this feature back in this upcoming season, as it makes the FMLS process way less demanding on its managers.
"Can we have leagues that support a draft style?"
This has been a debate that was featured last season by the head brass at FMLS, and would provide an interesting new angle to the game. The format has been much more prevalent in NFL, NHL, and NBA leagues, but the MLS has been struggling to find a comfortable deviation from the standard salary cap format. Leagues would most likely have to be held to a head-to-head style between 4-12 managers to limit selection to the league's top players. Think about how many players are available to managers throughout the season while contrasting that with how many of them actually play to see why keeping the pool of players relatively small is a good idea. The format would most likely call on more attention from its managers as they constantly battle their injured, suspended, benched players, and other realities of the MLS. However, it could provide the hardcore community of FMLS with an avenue to compete on a higher level.
"15-player rosters with a $100 million cap."
If you played FMLS last season, odds are that your 18-player roster consisted of your 11 starters, maybe two or three competent subs, and then four or five no name ‘filler players' that probably never started for your team and were only there because you needed another defender/midfielder/forward, they were cheap, and you spent all of your money on your starting XI. Cutting the roster to 15, combined with proper scaling of prices for players to accommodate a full starting XI in addition to four competent subs could be something that could benefit FMLS.
"Defenders are too expensive. They aren't worth the investment."
This argument goes hand in hand with the above mention of a $100 million cap and 15-player roster. In the early goings of the season, defenders amount for a hefty total of your point earnings. After that, much of your cap probably went to big players like Robbie Keane or Obafemi Martins up top. But the game often forced you into spending big bucks on defenders because you were obligated to put them into your lineup. The only hitch is it ran you close to $7.0M and more. What it does is it comes back to proper scaling of position's prices to reflect value in the point category.
We should see Fantasy MLS open up in the next week or so, along with new changes to the league format. All we can do is stay tuned and wait for the MLS to make their move.
Are you hoping for some other changes not mentioned above? Leave a comment below if you have a suggestion or an opinion on any of the proposed changes.