2017 MLS Fantasy Preview: Defenders

As we inch closer to the kickoff of the 2017 MLS Fantasy season, let’s take a look at some of the best and smartest players you should be focusing on ahead of the opening weekend challenge.  There have been a few changes to the rules that will make defenders a lot more valuable than in the past.

First up, let’s go over the changes.

  • Defenders are now cheaper.  The most expensive defensive players are only $6.5m to start out, so you’ll want to capitalize on this before the prices start to rise throughout the season.
  • Clean sheets are now worth five points for goalkeepers and defenders.  Just to put that in perspective, there were 11 defenders & keepers last season who had at least 10 clean sheets.  Axel Sjoberg was the top defender with 13, which would account for 65 points alone this season with the points change.

That being said, let’s check out some of the top defenders you can plan on snagging.

Keegan Rosenberry – Philadelphia – $5.0m:  You don’t have to buy the most expensive defender (even though Zimmerman at $6.5m is still a steal) to reap the benefits.  Rosenberry finished with 127 points last season and has a decent opening weekend at Vancouver.  Be wary, though, Philly has a bye in week four — although with the new unlimited transfers rule this season, that shouldn’t scare you away from him in the slightest.

Joevin Jones – Seattle – $5.0m:  How can you go wrong with a guy who’s on the cheap, guaranteed minutes, and plays for the defending MLS Cup champs?  He finished with 124 points last year and settled at a price of $6.7m by the season’s end.  He’ll be part of a very solid backline and has proven he can push forward into the attack effectively as well, as shown by his two goals and three assists last year.

Walker Zimmerman – Dallas – $6.5m:  I know, I just mentioned that you didn’t need to spend top defensive dollar to score some value, but there’s certainly no harm in picking up a proven stalwart like Zimmerman.  At only $6.5m (he finished last season with a $1.3m increase overall) and racking up 169 points last season, he’s never a bad option, especially on a Dallas team that looks equally dangerous as last year.  Playing alongside Matt Hedges ($6.5m), Dallas has one of the most rock solid defenses in the league.

Honorable Mentions:

One last tip — don’t be shy about playing a five-defender lineup.  With the extra points available for them combined with the price drop, you never know how much you can cash in by adding an extra man on your backline.

Who are your top defender picks?  Do they differ from this list?  Let us know in the comments.

There’s still time to join the MLS Cheatsheet fantasy league!  Click here or you can join with the code 4192-1033

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