When it comes to handicapping midfielders in MLS Fantasy Manager, it's a crap shoot. The inflated price tags make your decision all that more important. Should you spend $10m on Cambodian tourist Landon Donovan? With only $100m to spend, you've got to make sure you've got the right guys in mind!
Brad Davis ($9m). The Dynamo midfielder has got it all: health, assists, goals, and not too many cautions. His 8 goal, 12 assist season propelled him to the top spot in MLS Fantasy among midfielders last year with 210 (!!!) points. With the Dynamo poised to make another run, Davis is a good bet.
Graham Zusi ($9.5m). Speaking of good bets, last year's assist leader in MLS finished only 2 points behind Davis, and with Sporting Kansas City looking even stronger than they did in 2012, Zusi is a great choice to anchor your team at midfield. Zusi is one of those players that's primed to break out and become an MLS superstar, if he isn't already.
Mauro Rosales ($9m). What can the Argentinian DP do for an encore after setting a team record in assists in 2012 with 13? How about the fact that he's starting to get looks in preseason at FORWARD also? The most impressive part about his 150+ point performance in fantasy last year? He did it in only 27 games.
THE SECOND TIER
Dwayne De Rosario ($9.5m). Two game suspension aside, DeRo is an MLS veteran stalwart at this point going into the 2013 season. He finally seems settled (I always thought it strange how much he was traded or moved around) and to me that can only prime him for a strong season after only totaling 134 points last year. I think the suspension makes him chomp at the bit to start his year. For about $1m less, you could also go with teammate Chris Pontius, who himself had a breakout year and actually outscored De Ro in fantasy in 2012.
Kyle Beckerman ($8.5m). Nobody patrols the center of the field quite like Beckerman, and with the Real Salt Lake standout getting more looks with the USMNT, he's destined for a better output in 2013. 4 goals and 4 assists in 30 games was a nice year for Beckerman, but you've got to control the cards: second on the team with 7.
Patrick Nyarko ($9m). Speed kills, and Nyarko has plenty of it. Only 4 points shy of a 150 point season in fantasy last year, Nyarko gives you a little bit of everything. 4 goals, 7 assists, and most importantly, 34 games played, all add up to a stellar season for the Fire midfielder, and with Chicago gearing up to make a run at the playoffs, Nyarko will play a big part in anyone's fantasy team.
Lee Nguyen ($8.5m). Nguyen was something of a revelation last year in New England, coming over from Vancouver in preseason and showing that the 'Caps made a huge mistake moving him. 110 fantasy points from Lee in 2012 from his 5 goal and 2 assist season. Biggest factor here is the departure of Feilhaber from New England: it is clearly Nguyen's ship to sail in the Revs' midfield in 2013.
Jack Jewsbury ($7.5m). Portland's midfield general had himself a fine season in 2012, totaling 115 points in a 3 goal, 4 assist season. With Caleb Porter at the helm, and Portland surrounding him with some better talent in 2013, expect the Timber's Jewsbury to be a sneaky good play in fantasy.
Benny Feilhaber ($8m). This hurts to write as a Revs die-hard, but Benny's trade to SKC is not only great for him personally, it's great for fantasy owners as well. Feilhaber had 84 points last year in fantasy on a bottom of the table team where for periods of time he would even get benched by Jay Heaps. Benny is going to thrive in Kansas City, and his production will show it.
Kelyn Rowe ($6m). Total homer pick here, but I've got to say: I think Rowe is ready for a big sophomore year. The Revs will be better, the talent around him is better (so is the attitude too now that Benny is gone), and the Revs want to play attractive, attacking soccer. Best part? At $6m, why NOT take a chance on Rowe and gamble that he'll top his 82 point performance from last year?
That will do it for our midfielder preview! I'll break down the strikers for you later on today so you'll be ready for tomorrow's season openers!!! First Kick is tomorrow! How great is that?