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Best of MLS Fantasy 2017: Top 5 players

It’s hard to believe another season is in the books.  This is the first in a series of season wrap-up posts where we’ll go over some of the best (and worst) players, performers, and teams of the 2017 MLS fantasy campaign.

First things first: top five players overall in 2017.  While there are plenty of stats to choose from and base a ranking list off of, we’re going with the top five based on total points throughout the season.

5. Nemanja Nikolic (MF – Chicago Fire)

STATS BREAKDOWN

Total points: 227
Points per game: 6.7 (15th overall)
Points per minute: 0.077 (20th overall)
Minutes played: 2,944 (15th overall)
Goals: 24 (1st overall)
Assists: 4 (~80th overall)
Bonus points: 7 — 5 att, 2 def (T-338th overall)
Price change: $1.3m
Selection change: 15.0%

Nikolic had himself a fantastic year in what turned out to be a turnaround season for the Chicago Fire, who are making their first playoff appearance since 2012.  While he didn’t crush the competition in points per game or bonus points, he came away with the 2017 Golden Boot award, banging in 24 goals in an impressive first MLS season for the 29-year-old Hungarian international.

Fun fact: Nikolic made an appearance in every single game for Chicago this season, playing all 34 games and missing only 116 minutes in total.

 

4. Romain Alessandrini (MF – Los Angeles Galaxy)

STATS BREAKDOWN

Total points: 230
Points per game: 7.7 (3rd overall)
Points per minute: 0.094 (3rd overall)
Minutes played: 2,439 (80th overall)
Goals: 13 (T-14th overall)
Assists: 12 (T-9th overall)
Bonus points: 42 — 22 att, 20 def (T-28th overall)
Price change: $1.9m
Selection change: 8.0%

Despite the Galaxy having an absolutely awful season, not only finishing last in the west, but last in the entire league, Alessandrini was probably the lone bright spot throughout a dark and abysmal 2017 campaign for LA.  Only scraping together eight wins in total, Alessandrini somehow found a way to knock in 13 goals and 12 assists, while racking up plenty of bonus points throughout the year. He tended to fly under the radar for a while with a lot of managers, staying under 10% selection until round 7 when he jumped up to 12.2% after scoring double-digit points for three rounds in a row.

While coach Sigi Schmid may initiate a roster overhaul during the offseason, it’s pretty safe to say that Alessandrini’s not going anywhere.

 

3. Nicolas Lodeiro (MF – Seattle Sounders)

STATS BREAKDOWN

Total points: 245
Points per game: 7.4 (4th overall)
Points per minute: 0.083 (T-11th overall)
Minutes played: 2,439 (11th overall)
Goals: 7 (T-41st overall)
Assists: 12 (T-9th overall)
Bonus points: 67 — 38 att, 29 def (3rd overall)
Price change: $1.3m
Selection change: 0.9%

One thing in Seattle is for sure, and it’s that Lodeiro is the most productive player on the squad.  Racking up an amazing 67 bonus points, almost evenly split between attacking and defending, while tallying 12 assists and keeping a 7.4 points-per-game average.  The next in line for Seattle based on PPG would be Joevin Jones at 6.2, and he only racked up 187 points total this season. Lodeiro led the defending MLS Cup champions to a #2 finish in the west, securing that coveted knockout round bye while they await the winner of Vancouver and San Jose in the second round of the playoffs.

 

2. David Villa (FW – New York City FC)

STATS BREAKDOWN

Total points: 249
Points per game: 8.0 (2nd overall)
Points per minute: 0.097 (1st overall)
Minutes played: 2,555 (60th overall)
Goals: 22 (2nd overall)
Assists: 9 (T-17th overall)
Bonus points: 22 — 21 att, 1 def (T-150th overall)
Price change: $2.3m
Selection change: 11.6%

Just 4 points ahead of third-place Lodeiro on the season, Villa finished with 249 points overall, and was only 2 goals shy of tying Nikolic for the Golden Boot award.  The extra impressive part? He did all of this in only 31 games, missing a total of 505 minutes throughout the whole season.  He wasn’t the greatest producer of bonus points, but his 22 goals more than made up for that.  His points-per-minute average is through the roof, boasting just under 0.1.

How a 35-year-old forward continues to produce the way he does year after year we’ll never know, but I’d bet NYCFC isn’t complaining one bit.

 

1. Diego Valeri (MF – Portland Timbers)

STATS BREAKDOWN

Total points: 263
Points per game: 8.2 (1st overall)
Points per minute: 0.093 (4th overall)
Minutes played: 2,824 (23rd overall)
Goals: 21 (3rd overall)
Assists: 11 (T-12th overall)
Bonus points: 33 — 24 att, 9 def (T-68th overall)
Price change: $2.3m
Selection change: 19.0%

He started out on top, and most definitely finished on top.  Valeri came out swinging, scoring 50 points through the first five games of the season, and he never looked back.  Leading Portland to the top of the west, he knocked in 21 goals and dished out 11 assists, averaging a league-best 8.2 fantasy points per game.  He finished the season as the most-selected player, with 36.5% of fantasy managers owning him.  He only dipped below the top-seleted spot a few times when both Villa and Nikolic held it for a hot minute, but Valeri owned the season, and it’s well-deserved.

The best part about him?  Anyone who had a “set-and-forget” approach to their captain each week really cashed in, as he turned out to be the clear choice for captain throughout the majority of the 2017 season.

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