The new MLS Fantasy season is upon us and after months of waiting, we’re finally able to see what new 2016 MLS fantasy rule changes have been made during the off season. I’m happy to say that, unlike last year, the majority of changes do not impact basic game functions, like price changes or substitutions, but instead are focused on how players earn points. What excites me most about these changes is the obvious attempt to respond to community feedback and a desire to raise the point threshold for some positions.
This article will just be a quick overview of the changes. If you have not already, check out the latest MLSFI podcast to hear Ben Baer go over all the rules and why the changes were made. Keep checking back for a follow up article that focuses on some charts of the players who stand to benefit.
Roster and Budget
Last season, MLS Fantasy increased both our roster size and budget from 15 players and a $100m budget to 18 players and a $120m budget. While many managers enjoyed having more money, they didn’t care for the roster bloat. The result was that few viable subs, if any, were kept on benches and money was instead shifted into the starting 11.
This year, we get a compromise. Our 2016 roster has been reduced to 16 players but our budget has stayed at $120 million. I’m a big fan of this change. By dropping two slots, every manager has essentially been given an extra $9m to spend on either their bench or starting 11.
Will this help encourage more managers to keep viable bench options and promote more diverse team selections? I’m not sure, but I would encourage all managers to play around with it and see what kind of teams you can create.
Point Generation Changes
The most significant of the new 2016 MLS fantasy rule changes all deal with player point generation. The quick summary is that we have seven new point generating actions that should help many players become more viable for our fantasy rosters.
One of the most requested suggested changes last season was for players to earn points for pass completion. Well pop the cork because we have it. Players can earn up to 2 points for pass completion by accomplishing the following: complete 35 passes with at least an 85% success rate for 1 point or complete 70 passes with a greater than 85% success rate for 2 points.
I expect this stat to help give out defensive midfielders a boost in points as they help advance the attack forward or in switching the attack to different sides of the field. There is also a chance that defenders could get a boost but it may be harder for them to achieve the pass success percentage.
How many times last year did you find yourself saying “If only [Insert Player Name Here] got a point for that shot, I’d be winning right now”! That’s right, I’m looking at your Keane and Bradley Wright-Phillips. This season, we’ll be able to put that thought to the test, but it’s not going to be a 1 for 1 point generating stat. A player will earn 1 point for every 4 shots (total shots, including blocks). That’s right, TOTAL shots.
I’m not going to lie, I’m not the biggest fan of this change because I think it’s very subjective in nature and depends on more factors than just the actions of the player. But that does not change the fact that players will now be able to earn 1 point for every 4 fouls that they suffer in a game. However, I will point out that there is no penalty for players who commit fouls beyond the usual penalty for yellow and red cards.
The End of CBIs
For many seasons, we’ve all played with CBI (Clearances, Blocks, and Interceptions) as a combined stat and as a point generator for our defenders. This year, CBIs have been split into 4 new point generating actions. A player will now earn 1 point for every 4 clearances, 1 point for every 2 blocks, 1 point for every 4 interceptions, and 1 point for every 4 tackles (won or lost).
White these new stats are still focused on defenders, we could see defensive midfielders and keepers benefit from this point split as well. It’s also worth noting there is a chance that some defenders will see point decreases as they are no longer able to benefit from the CBI total and my not always hit the new minimums for the individual stats.
So what do you think about the new 2016 MLS fantasy rule changes? Will they help the game? Did they overlook something you really wanted? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or interact with other managers in MLSFB Live Chat or over at r/FantasyMLS.