We are back to a full slate of MLS matches with only Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire on a bye this week. Since all of the American-based MLS team picked up an extra game this week in the 4th round of the US Open Cup, there's an extra degree of difficulty assessing teams relative strength. Let's dive in.
Critiquing the expert:
It was a mediocre week for the 'expert' last week, but I did manage a small climb up the board in all leagues. Despite Montreal taking a pasting at the hands of NYCFC, all 4 of my Impact selections earned at least one bonus point (cumulatively they averaged 2.5 per player). Of the other 6, half had good weeks and half had 'meh' weeks.
On the flip side, I captained Dempsey, and I'm pretty sure he was the only Sounder not to score last week. Worse, I failed to heed my own warning about Kofi Opare who finally returned to the bench in favor of Steve Birnbaum. Opare's sub, Matt Polster posted a big, fat doughnut, and I'm ruing the decision not to transfer Opare out when it would not have cost me anything.
Verdict: B-. It wasn't a bad week, but ignoring your own advice is worth (at least) a letter grade. At least I'm doing better when I started this endeavor.
The Hoops travel to Commerce City on the final game of a grueling 5 game road trip to play the Colorado Rapids. Both teams are coming off of 4-1 victories at home (or at least close to home) against USL sides. Both teams rested several starters (although Colorado rested everyone except for LaBrocca). On the one hand, Colorado should be rested and should have had time to incorporate some new talent. They also have 6 clean sheets in 14 games.
On the other hand, they're in last place in the West, and their form, outside of that Friday night in Frisco of which we will never speak of, has been uninspiring with just 1 win in their last 9. Additionally, they give as good as they get, having been shut out 6 times this year.
Adds: Dan Kennedy ($4.8)- How is a stud like Dan-O so cheap? A 5 game road trip featuring thumpings by Seattle and Spork will do the trick. I think Matt Hedges come back this week, FC Dallas avoids a red card, and we win the coin flip on whether Colorado scores or not. Dallas gets a decent run of winnable and clean-sheatable games for the next month and a half.
Avoid: Je-Vaughn Watson ($6.6)- Jamaica's is essentially a lame duck in the Copa America, but JVW won't be back until next week. I have no idea whether Atiba Harris, Ryan Hollingshead, Zach Loyd, or Kellyn Acosta slides in at right back, but if you really want to add one of them, you'll get to see the lineup before the transfer window closes on Friday.
For this week, I'm concentrating on ELO ratings to pick the best matchups for this week (here, Courtesy of mlsfantasyboss.com).
Red Bull New York 63%
Drilling down further, all 5 teams have a DGW next week. Taking a look at Seattle, they've got a long road trip next week with a game on the East Coast (PHI) followed by a trip to Cascadia rivals Portland. If you didn't hear, Seattle hosted Portland in the US Open Cup this week, and things did not go according to Hoyle. Obafemi Martins will very likely miss the next 5 games. Clint Dempsey might miss more thanks to this piece of performance art. I'm steering clear of the Sounders for a while.
Toronto has 2 home very winnable home games next week. You almost have to find a way to have 4 of them on your roster when they take on Montreal and DC United at BMO. The other big favorites this weekend all have one at home and one on the road but do not have to travel that far this week (especially not in Red Bull's case, as their road game is in Yankee Stadium). I'll give you a couple of suggestions from each in the order of how I value each's fortunes over the next 2 weeks.
Toronto: Sebastian Giovinco ($12.1) and Chris Konopka ($5.2). In Giovinco, he's been a beast. He's tied for 1st in PPG amongst midfielders and isn't getting any cheaper in the next 2 weeks. Konopka should also benefit from the home cooking over the next 2 weeks. He's only missed out on bonus points in one of his 6 starts.
Red Bull New York: Luis Robles ($5.6) and Matt Miazga ($5.4). The Red Bulls form of late has dipped a bit, but they do have favorable fixtures for the next week. In Robles, you get a moderately priced option who will almost certainly pick up bonus points in Yankee Stadium on top of what he gets out of his two home games. Miazga is a little less straight forward. He started 8 consecutive matches for RBNY before leaving for a very successful U-20 World Cup. His last start was RBNY's last win, but he got sent off after 35 minutes in that one. Because of his low price, I'd recommend him as a caperoo for this week as their are 8 teams that play after RBNY finishes on Saturday. If he re-assumes his place in the first XI, he should be a bargain over the next few weeks.
Portland: Diego Valeri ($10.1) and Adam Kwarasey. I love Portland's form right now. I hate the cost! There's hardly a bargain to be found. Valeri bagged a goal in 60 minutes against Seattle in the Open Cup, and he looks like he's ready to take off. He's another guy to buy before he becomes prohibitive- an every week starter like Benny Feilhaber and Giovinco. Kwaresey is 2nd in the league in shutouts this year. If you're not familiar with him, he started in goal for Ghana when they played the U.S. in the World Cup last summer. A tough road trip to LA is sandwiched between home tilts against weakened sides (Houston and Seattle) so there's good potential here.
LA Galaxy: Roy Keane ($11.0) and Jose Villareal ($6.1). I hate spending more than 10.0 on a Forward when productive options like Kei Kamara, Charle Davies, and Krisztian Nemeth are available, but I might make an exception for Keane. Keane has had a tough year beset with injuries and integrating new teammates into the fold. Losing Landon Donovan didn't help either. Much like FC Dallas, LA has a predictable pattern in recent years. They always start out slow then proceed to dominate their fixtures to the finish line. Roy's getting up there in age (34), but he looks healthy now, is coming off a hat trick in Open cup play, and has the play-making (assists) facet to his game like Martins. He's a natural transfer for Oba while he's out at the very least.
Villareal also has had trouble with injuries, but he's been just as productive per game as Keane so far over a larger sample size. He looks healthy now, and he's a first-choice player who will play on the left wing or up top with Keane (Zardes out wide). His upside at that price tag is just too good to pass him up at the moment, and they've got favorable matchups and a light travel schedule over the next 2 weeks.
Much like previous weeks, I'll throw up my lineup about 15 minutes before kickoff. I'm dying to see what happens to Dempsey (my transfer strategy kind of hinges on it). Good luck!
Update: Dempsey's out for 3 games.