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MLS Fantasy Look-ahead: Best players for first month

The MLS Fantasy season kicks off when the season does next weekend. Are you ready for a year of following MLS' various story lines closely?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

MLS Fantasy Soccer is one of the great ways to get prepared for the upcoming season. If you haven't joined the LAG Confidential Fantasy League I highly recommend it (link). It's filling up nicely, and Fantasy is a great way to get familiar with rosters outside the Galaxy.

Fantasy is also great for putting the season into perspective. This chart included in Ben Jata's tweet maps out the entire MLS season by fantasy rounds, and the color coded spreadsheet shows how the season will break down at a glance. The most striking part is the big red bar for the World Cup break. Looking closer you can see the large gap between rounds in June as all of MLS takes a break for the tournament in Brazil.

Looking at the Galaxy column, you can see that CONCACAF Champions League means relying on Robbie Keane or Landon Donovan as your main point getting could be problematic that first month. The Galaxy do not play an MLS match once the tie with Tijuana starts. The club hosts RSL to kick off MLS, then travel to Salt Lake four days after traveling to Tijuana. They then have the final weekend in March off, missing two Fantasy rounds.

Having two weekends off in March will help keep LA legs fresh for the series with Tijuana, but it's not so helpful for Fantasy. Two clubs have three home matches in March. FC Dallas opens the season hosting Montreal, Chivas, and Portland; Seattle hosts Kansas City, Toronto, and Columbus. Neither of those slates are cupcake-filled, but especially in the early going few road teams are favored in MLS.

LA starts double weeks in May, having four in total. Toronto has the most of any club with five double weeks, but they also have three bye weeks before the World Cup like LA. So not only is the Keane/Donovan duo one you have to pay close attention to if you go there for your expensive players, Bradley/DeFoe are going to be sporadic too. FC Dallas again stands out on this note, as they only have one bye-week and are playing through the big World Cup week off.

After reviewing the schedule I made the decision to use Dallas players as my filler, kicking off Colorado players who won't be available the first week anyhow. With MLS' Fantasy system, those paying attention will essentially dump their entire roster at the World Cup anyhow, which will make rebuilding the roster at post-World-Cup prices an interesting exercise.

Anyhow, join the LAG Confidential Fantasy League already, and start thinking about the myriad issues facing MLS managers this season.