Previous Year Recap
There is only one place to start with the Columbus Crew: They won MLS Cup on the back of the 2nd best defense in MLS. What’s even more impressive is that they were missing three key players. Vito Wormgoor suffered a season ending leg injury, Lucas Zelarayan missed significant time, and Jonathan Menash was unavailable a points throughout the season. This team provided fantasy options all over and consistently put together solid performances that will carry over to 2021.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Goalkeeper: Eloy Room will be the first choice once again, but there is competition in 2021. Room missed some time in 2020 and backups Evan Bush and Matt Lampson are there to pounce if Room falls out of form.
Defenders: The Crew defense is packed with talent and every player has the potential to be a heavy hitter on the fantasy score sheet. Both Afful and Valenzuela offer potential going forward and their center backs are all capable of scoring. This is a group to watch and take the cheapest option available, but don’t expect them to remain cheap for long.
Midfielders: Pedro Santos and Lucas Zelarayan headline this team. They have the potential to be the best midfield tandem in fantasy and feed off each other. Where this gets interesting is seeing how Columbus utilize Kevin Molino in this squad. He can play midfield or on the wing and could be a fantasy gold mine if he’s the 3rd or 4th focus in the attack when he starts, but he could easily be the first sub with Luis Diaz being the starter.
Forwards: The Crew’s attacking hopes have lived and died with Gyasi Zardes since his trade to Columbus. Managers should expect that to continue. What may be different in 2021 is how long Zardes plays after the 60-75 minute mark. He’s consistently played a lot of minutes, but the addition of Bradley Wright-Phillips could see Zardes get more rest or get subbed our more frequently. BWP as a super sub in front of this stacked midfield has switcheroo potential.
Three Crew players in a weekly lineup was always viable in 2020 with the only drawback being road form. That will continue in 2021 with managers having to balance attack vs defense given the myriad of options. Price will become an issue with this team sooner rather than later, but the production will remain steady.
Potential Starting XI