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MLS Fantasy Fisticuffs: Round 2

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After Round 1, the scorecard reads Ben 94, Phil 88. What does the second round hold?

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Fisticuffs pits angry combatants head-to-head in an MLS Fantasy soccer showdown. Each week, Phil and Ben argue over which players will perform. The stakes are high. The competitor whose team scores the fewer amount of points through Round 27 (September 3rd) will have to endure two laps of shaming around the Toyota Stadium concourse, Cersei Lannister style (though probably not nude)!

Round 1 Review

The Big D Soccer fantasy league is kicking butt! Congratulations to Brian Garrett, Nick Moss, Jason Sterbenz, Taylor Hester, and David Schroeder, who all scored 100 points or more and finished in the top 100 players!

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Phil: I was at the Beer Guardians' 24-Hour Tailgate from Saturday through Sunday, so I was a little worried I would be out of the loop for important fantasy updates. But the opposite actually occurred! Papi came by on Saturday night and told us that Walker Zimmerman (D-$6.1) returned from Norway looking hungry and would be starting next to Matt Hedges (D-$9.1)! I dropped Zach Loyd (D-$7.5) and brought Zimmerman in. Captaining Mauro Diaz (M-$10.2) was definitely the right move. Seeing Maximiliano Urruti (F-$8.5) play the full 90 and bag a goal gives me confidence in him as a strong pickup.

The news that Kaka (M-$10.5) would be out threw me off. From my phone in the Toyota Stadium tailgate lot, I went for the safe play and swapped in Javier Morales (M-$10.5), although the other players I was considering, Ignacio Piatti (M-$10.2) and Pedro Morales (M-$10.6) had bigger weeks.

But I made a big mistake, at least in the short term. I saw some of Saturday's practice and Chris Seitz (G-$4.5) looked really good. I thought that if Jesse Gonzalez (G-$6.1) had any injury concern at all, Oscar Pareja would feel comfortable going with Seitzy. Since I didn't want to lock up two FC Dallas roster positions on goalie, I swapped Jesse for David Ousted (G-$5.9). Playing against a Drogba-less Montreal, what could go wrong? Everything, apparently. Ousted allowed 3 goals, scoring 1 point and losing $0.1 while Jesse got the clean sheet, scoring 8 points and gaining $0.1. I'm hoping this isn't the one decision that wrecks my whole season.

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Ben: I beat Phil by 6 points. Aside from picking Sacha Kjlestan (M-$11.0) as my Kaka replacement, I have few complaints about last week.

Round 2: Fight!

Phil: How do you like not having Sebastian Giovinco (F-$11.6) now, Ben? I hope all the readers listened to my advice and not Ben's and had Giovinco in their teams. It doesn't matter that his first eight games are away, he must be owned. This week, he will line up NYCFC's porous defense on the postage stamp that is Yankee Stadium. Expect another double-digit tally from the Atomic Ant.

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Ben: Fading Giovinco and Robbie Keane (F-$11.5) looked pretty spot on for the first 80 minutes of their respective games, and then they both banged in penalties (because you can totally bank on those, right?). I won't freak out and add either of these guys this week (it's a marathon, not a sprint). If I'm adding a guy in this price range, it's David Villa (F-$10.9). Villa scored 11 goals in 13 games at Yankees Stadium last year and he'll bag a goal, an assist, some bonus points, and a partridge in a pear tree on Sunday. If you're on the hunt for something a little cheaper, Urruti or Charlie Davies (F-$8.5) both play 2 in Round 4. Be warned that both of these guys may be a little more goal dependent for scoring.

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Phil:  I'm definitely sticking with Villa, who has 4 upcoming home games in a row. I'm also content with Ousted, who has a DGW in Round 4 just like Jesse Gonzalez and is a lock to start every week.

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Ben: For .50 less, you can have Bobby Shuttleworth (G-$5.5). I have him paired with Jesse and he has DGW's in Round 4 and Round 8. I'll pay the extra for a backup at goalkeeper because I hate taking a zero, and his schedule complements Jesse's nicely over the first couple months of the season.

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Phil: For those looking for a bargain player, I recommend Tsubah Endoh (M-$5.5) who looks to be starting at least until Jozy Altidore returns. One of my bargain defender picks from last week, Shaun Francis (D-$6.0) left injured at the half and was replaced by Kip Colvey (D-$4.5), who could be an even better bargain! Tommy Redding (D-$5.0) got the start for Orlando City SC with Aurelien Collin injured. The word on the street is that he's starting and we'll have the benefit of confirming it before fantasy lineups lock on Friday.

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Ben: If your mind is on your money, and your money's on your mind, then the Smokin' Endoh will have you rolling down the street with ease and a cup of something. He's a cheap midfielder playing in an advanced position whose ideal for the switcheroo. He's a must add if you want to add a high dollar player elsewhere.

A lot of the cheap pick ups are injury-dependent, and that includes the NYCFC trio of Tommy McNamara (M-$7.2), Tony Taylor (F-$5.5), and Khiry Shelton (F-$6.1) all of whom nailed it last weekend (who knows what Viera will do when Lampard comes back). If you want long-term and off the grid, I think Marlon Hairston (D-$5.0) has right back locked down for Colorado. It's a dart throw on a guy with midfielder skills, but how could a miser not love a guy who's seemingly a shoe-in to play 30+ games this year? Boring for sure, but you can't have it Burger King style every week.

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Phil: Smokin' Endoh? I was thinking Battle of Endoh, but I am wearing my Star Wars t-shirt today. For my big pick-up recommendation, I'm turning to Columbus Crew SC's heart-shaped-hands thrower-upper Kei Kamara (F-$10.9). He will be feasting on the Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire for the next two weeks. After that, I can transfer him out for a forward with a DGW in Round 4, like Maxi Urruti.

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Ben: With apologies to Nacho Piatti (M-$10.2), who stole everyone's lunch money in X-Files-landia, the plan was always to add Diego Fagundez (M-$8.2) this week. A hedge against Fagundez scoring a deuce or being a sub this weekend was laughable in retrospect. For price, he was only bested by flukish performances from Mike Magee (F-$7.2) and Nuno Andre Coelho (D-$7.7). If you want to bank on equally successful encores here, be my guest. I'll be betting on Fagundez to chalk up the points this week and next and following it up with a treasure trove in the Round 4 DGW.

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Phil: Fagundez is always a risk to rotate with Juan Agudelo, Kelyn Rowe, and Teal Bunbury all ready to start on the wing. I could bring him in for Andreas Ivanschitz (M-$7.5), but Ivanschitz's disappointing Round 1 can be chalked up to the early red card in Seattle. It's a rookie mistake to give up on a quality player who had a bad week but plays an important role in his team. I'd like to have David Accam (M-$9.2), but I'd also like to prepare for DGWs in Rounds 4 and 6, so I'll bank a transfer.

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