I won't be so bold as to suggest what players you want on your team(s) this year, but I will offer up some interesting statistical data for your consideration. In looking at Defenders, there has been some guidance offered that talks about going with a 'team' of defenders versus some individual defenders. If you consider looking at a team of defenders, here's a look at how some teams compare to others for Bonus Points...
Defender Blocks, Interceptions and Clearances:
Oddly enough the Chicago Fire have a total score of 9.50 bonus points per game while Toronto (8.67) Real Salt Lake (8.44) and FC Dallas (8.22) follow somewhat close behind.
How I got there: I took the total defender blocks, interceptions and clearances per game (added them up) and then divided by 6 (actions per bonus point).
For the Recoveries bonus points I took the same approach and here's the top teams on recoveries after three weeks:
The Columbus Crew lead with 5.92 bonus points per game in recoveries, followed by New York at 5.06, Toronto FC at 4.92, and Seattle at 4.83 bonus points per game.
Reminder: these are team averages, not individual averages added collectively. Matty confirms that adding up a bunch of individual averages won't necessarily lead to the same as the team average.
Next up are negative points for goals against (roughly). In looking at the team defenses in that Category the best teams (that don't yield negative points) are Houston (0); with Columbus, Colorado and Toronto all yielding just -1 point.
All told the top five defending teams with respect to bonus points are:
1) Toronto (averaging 13 per game)
2) Columbus (averaging 12 per game)
3) Houston (averaging 10 per game)
4/5) Seattle and Chicago (averaging 9 per game)
What this is offering is that if you run a flat back four with just one team--say, Houston--you could have averaged 10 bonus points per game with your players.
This does not take into account all the other ways to capture points in Fantasy Football but perhaps it may help locate some cheaper defenders that will get you a better-than-average point total per game.
With the defending side of the pitch offered up for bonus points here's a look at which teams offer up more crosses than average and how successful they are in that effort.
The team that averages the most crosses per game is San Jose with 30.5. Montreal follows with 28.3 per game, while the LA Galaxy offer up 24.5 per game.
The team that averages the most successful crosses per game is also San Jose, with 10 per game hitting their target. Montreal is again second with 8.7 successful crosses per game while Sporting Kansas city leapfrogs LA with 7 successful crosses per game. Of note is that LA drops down to 5.5 successful crosses per game (sixth best).
In considering that information, perhaps a way to capture some additional bonus points for crossing would be to pick out at least one midfielder/forward for San Jose and perhaps one from Montreal or Kansas City.
All told, that may give you better chances of getting points week-to-week with somewhat less money invested than just buying the stars.
All the best, Chris