Draft Analysis – Selecting Forwards

Forwards

In MLS Fantasy, forwards have the highest potential of any player. The thing is, everyone can have them. You can’t win a week on forwards alone. That’s not the case in Draft style.  This position is arguably the most crucial when preparing for a draft.

While many midfielders equal or surpass forwards in Points Per Game (PPG) and Points Per 90 (PP90), there are also a lot more of them to choose from.  This means that forwards have a higher Points Above Replacement than other positions. 

Taking these players early and filling out your team with the best possible strikers will yield long term success.

Giovinco and Villa

The consensus #1 overall pick in every draft league is going to be Sebastian Giovinco.  His PP90 is better than anyone else’s and he’s a one of a kind player. Right behind him is David Villa. Villa’s output is steady and he’s clearly the best alternate to Giovinco.

These two could, and really should, go in the first two picks.  While Lodiero, Piatti, or Kljestan may seem appealing, the next men up are still quality midfielders.

Premium Forwards

Looking beyond Giovinco and Villa, you will see a murkier picture.  Several names will surface that all have their merits for being the next few selected.

  • Bradley Wright-Phillips was the third best point producer in 2016, but finishes 4th in PP90.  He’s going to be hard to ignore. 
  • Ola Kamara bested BWP in PP90 in far fewer games and on a worse team.  If Columbus can turn things around, his numbers are bound to rise.
  • Giovani dos Santos is now playing without Robbie Keane.  Is it his time to shine as LA’s feature player? He was 4th in points among forwards in 2016.
  • Dom Dwyer is the rock in SKC’s attack playing more minutes than any forward besides Villa and Morris.  His PP90 isn’t flashy, but he finished 5th in overall points by staying on the field.

Holding Steady

Several guys in MLS just seem to be consistently decent and have to be on the radar.  Jaoa Plata, Fenando Adi, Cyle Larin, and Chris Wondolowski are not necessarily heavy hitters, but they bring consistency to a position of need.

Forwards On the Rise

Several forwards in MLS could be destined for great seasons in 2017. 

  • Kei Kamara never found his groove with NE, but his preseason start shows promise.  He’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
  • Jordan Morris was a rookie phenom gaining lots of valuable minutes and playing with two of the best in MLS.  With both Dempsey and Lodeiro behind him, he could really light it up if the combo doesn’t limit is points potential.
  • Matteo Mancosu was brought in midseason 2106 to help Montreal, and boy did he. With Drogba gone, this is Mancosu’s spot and he showed us he wants it in the playoffs.

Falling Out

Lots of teams have added depth at striker that could see increases competition.  Watch out for these traps so you don’t get stuck with a dud.

  • Maxi Urruti is going to split time with newcomer Colman. Expect a noticeable drop off in production this season.
  • CJ Sapong has been the feature forward for Philadelphia in recent seasons but Jay Simpson hopes to change that.  Don’t count on Sapong to remain a regular starter.

Newcomers

New players are hard to judge, but there are a few set up for great things in 2017.

  • Jay Simpson was brought in by Philly to help them score goals, something their forwards have struggled with.  He’s like going to be the feature.
  • Nemanja Nikolic is Chicago’s new stud at the forward position. Given the turnaround in the squad, he could be the missing piece, plus he has little competition.
  • Freddy Montero looks to be MLS bound as he negotiates with Vancouver. Given all the turmoil there, he could settle into a nice role.
  • Jones and Villalba are the guys for expansion side Atlanta.  Both have a major upsides and will shock MLS inn their first season.

Top 25 Forwards

RankPlayerTeam
1Giovinco
Toronto
2Villa
NYCFC
3Dos Santos
LA Galaxy
4O. Kamara
Columbus
5Wright Phillips
NYRB
6Plata
RSL
7Larin
Orlando
8Altidore
Toronto
9Gashi
Colorado
10Mullins
DC United
11DwyerSKC
12Adi
Portland
13K. Kamara
New England
14Morris
Seattle
15Agudelo
New England
16Badji
Colorado
17Nikolic
Chicago
18Jones
Atlanta
19Zardes
La Galaxy
20Colman
Dallas
21Wondolowski
San Jose
22de Leeuw
Chicago
23Montero
Vancouver
24Shelton
NYCFC
25Movsisyan
RSL

About Blayne Riffle

Blayne is an IT Technician with a math degree, online journalist, and MLS Discussion Group moderator.

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