In both MLS Fantasy and Draft format, midfielders are your core point producers. You can run up to five midfielders in your starting lineup. While this position is not nearly as critical to getting a good draft, drafting well can set you apart from your opponents.
Nicolas Lodeiro is the consensus best midfielder in the game and arguably the second best overall player. In MLS, players typically do not do well when joining a team midseason. There is typically an adjustment period while players learn the league. That was not the case for Lodeiro. If he follows the trend of others and his output increases, he’s going to be a hot commodity.
In the forwards article, the claim was made that Villa should go second overall instead of Lodeiro and in larger leagues this does hold true. There is more depth and far more options at midfield than at forward. In a smaller league where more strikers are available, it is advisable to take Lodeiro. But Lodeiro is the second best player in the game and passing on him is going to be difficult, even if there is ample justification.
The group behind Lodeiro is a formidable one with many similar options to choose from. Every one of the them is poised for a good season and could easily take the #2 midfielder spot.
- Ignacio Piatti lead all midfielders in points in 2016. Mancosu might take some of his chances, but Piatti finds a way.
- Diego Valeri boasts the second highest PP90 among midfielders and really is a force to be reckoned with.
- Sacha Kljestan lead MLS in assists and that won’t stop in 2017 as the team shifts formation.
- Benny Feilhaber SKC’s premier playmaker is one of the most dynamic midfielders in the game. He also takes PKs. If SKC’s new wingers work out, he might be an assist machine.
- Osvaldo Alonso Seattle’s CDM surprised many in 2016 being a top 5 scorer out of a defensive role. Don’t sleep on him this year.
Several guys in MLS just seem to be consistently decent and have to be on the radar. Lee Nguyen, Javier Morales, Michael Barrios, Sebastian Lletget, Kevin Molino, David Accam, and Justin Meram are just a few of the guys that consistently put up decent numbers and can really fill out a roster.
Kaka has a huge upside, but he’s struggled to maintain a steady point production. He’s nearly premium, but his absences leave managers looking for more dependable options.
Midfielders On the Rise
Several midfielders in MLS definitely look like they will improve from their 2016 form.
- Kelly Acosta found his groove with FCD last season and quietly racked up the numbers. Dallas is down Diaz and added Morales, but Acosta could really be a breakout player in 2017.
- Lloyd Sam was traded from NYRB to DC United and provided an immediate spark. His first full season should be an improvement.
- Marlon Hairston impressed so many in 2016 as a defender turned winger for Colorado. Now he’s truly ingrained in the attack role and should provide plenty of points if he stays on the field.
Midfields are always adjusting, so look out for who might be missing the starting lineups.
- Tommy McNamara might not be the fixture he was last season. NYCFC have added Maxi Moralez and it appears he will be taking over the number 10 shirt. TMac can play wide as well as CAM, but NYC has lots of options.
- Mauro Diaz makes the list due to injury. It’s unclear when he will return to action. At best, he’s a late pickup hoping for a speedy return.
- Graham Zusi is being tested at RB with the USMNT and SKC. It’s a switch that will further his career, but could be devastating to his fantasy position.
New players are hard to judge, but there are a few set up for great things in 2017.
- Miguel Almiron has been tasked with leading Atlanta’s inaugural squad. He’s got all the promise and is working with one of the best expansion teams in league history.
- Albert Runsak is RSL’s new playmaker and the team is his for the taking. With Morales and Martinez both out of the picture, a new playmaker needs to fill the position.
- Romain Alessandrini and Joao Pedro are LA’s new DPs. LA usually gets these right and the midfield needed an overhaul.
Top 35 Midfielders According to the Author
These are highly subjective and dependent on repeated performances and speculation. While the individual positions might be off, the general area of each player is a better indication of how they are expected to perform.