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MLS Fantasy Fisticuffs: Round 3

Phil storms ahead by 7 after cleaning up in Round 2.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

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 2 Review

There's a ton to get to this week so a quick shout out to Straight Diop FC for hanging on to league the BigDSoccer division for another week and congrats to La Curva F.C. for top score of the week.


Ben: Guessing by the scores I see, most of the league suffered to some extent by the bubble burst that was the 5-0 drubbing received by FC Dallas in the Texas Derby. Let us never speak of it again. Furthermore, while my Robbie Keane (F-$11.4) looks good at the moment, Sebastian Giovinco (F-$11.8) continues his hot start to the season, and if he continues to benefit from inexplicably absent defense a hot start, I'll be looking at a $12.2 cap hit to pick him up in Round 5.

If you're in the 68% who owns the Atomic Ant, you can skip this part. If you're one of the 32% who don't own him, I won't ask you to drink the Kool-Aid as the Guyanan army advances on our camp. If you're on the fence, I will say that Gio's got a tough game at Spork this week and follows that with a match at stingy Crapids in Round 4 so a goal and an assist doesn't seem bankable (unless 30 goals and 30 assists this year seems reasonable).


Phil: While Ben was choking on Kool-Aid, I was inducted into the Justice League ‘cause all I saw were Green Arrows. My sneaky-good pickup, Kei Kamara (F-$11.0), got a solid 8 points, while Giovinco and David Villa (F-$11.1) racked up the big points and each increased $0.2. Not only did my team score a solid 83 points, moving up to third in the Big D Soccer league, but I was on the MLS Fantasy Insider podcast! Make sure to give it a listen.


Ben: Thanks for the shout out to your co-author on the podcast! Oh wait, you didn't mention your co-author? Well, nevermind then- hopefully I don't forget about you when I do the Black and Red United podcast next week. Also, does adding the 2nd leading goal scorer from last year count as 'sneaky' anything?

No, I'm not bitter about that or a bad week (70 isn't horrible, all things considered). A bad week at this point is no reason to freak out- it happens to the best of us. If you've had two bad weeks at this point, go ahead and use that wild card (you get 1 for weeks 1-17 and 1 for weeks 18-34) before it's too late. If you're at that point, you're just one round before the first DGW. Plan accordingly- this DGW is particularly enticing because it’s a 2 week round so 2 games from each regular starter is more probable than when a team plays twice in the same week.

Round 3: Fight!

Phil: Dallas, Vancouver, DC, and New England have DGWs in Round 4, so don’t drop your Dallas duds just yet! Well, unless that player is Atiba Harris (D-$5.9). He was subbed out at the half for Ryan Hollingshead (M-$5.9) because of his unsettling performance. Even if he hasn’t lost his spot permanently, he’s St. Kitts and Nevis’ captain and will miss at least one of the DGW games. Maynor Figueroa (D-$7.0) will miss the first DGW game against DC United.


Ben: Jesse Gonzalez (GK-$6.0) was just called up for the Mexican Olympic team, so he will also miss the first DGW game against DC United. You can add Chris Seitz (GK-$4.5) or shell out an extra 1.1 for Bobby Shuttleworth (GK-$5.6) like I suggested last week.


Phil: Vancouver hasn’t really gotten it going yet, but Pedro Morales (M-$10.6) is still a player to have. He’s put up points in each of the first 2 weeks and has DGWs in weeks 4, 8, and 10. One key to MLS Fantasy is to get players who are on free kicks and penalties and rack up bonus points, and Porales fits the bill. Ignacio Piatti (M-$10.4) has been turning heads, but I prefer to have Pedro Morales for his DGW. I might get Piatti in Rounds 5 or 7.


Ben: DC United players make me swoon this week. They have their home opener against Crapids this weekend before a home/away double dip against FC Dallas at RFK before traveling across country to face San Jose. Let me emphasize once more that this round is 2 weeks so you don’t have the same worries about rest.

DC goalkeeper Travis Worra (GK-$4.1) is coming off a clean sheet at New England and looks to be the starter. Andrew Dykstra (GK-$4.9) who sat out last week with back spasms, is going to have back surgery and will reportedly miss 10-12 weeks. New signing Charlie Horton (GK-$4.5) is probably still getting acclimated but could be in the mix before Bill Hamid returns in mid-May.

On defense, Steve Birnbaum (D-$7.5) looks like a tempting option for the price, but there’s potential for him to miss the 1st half of the DGW if he’s called by Klinsmann. If you’re going to add a DC defender this week, go with Taylor Kemp (GK-$7.6). Kemp picked up 3 defending bonus points last week to go with a clean sheet, and he’s a threat for attacking bonus via crosses at set piece delivery when DC wants left-footed service. On top of the DGW, DC plays 4 of their next 5 games at home.

If you’re going low ball at mid, Marcelo Sarvas (M-$7.1) has averaged 3.5 bonus points per round, and he’ll play 2 next round. Also, keep an eye on Fabian Espindola (F-$9.8). He’s supposed to be back after a minor hamstring issue and is the rare forward who takes the bulk of set pieces and corner kicks for his team. He’ll be a must have next round if he’s healthy.


Phil: I’m really jealous of those who were lucky enough to pick Worra as their scrub goalie. I’m not going to spend a transfer to get him when I have David Ousted (G-$5.9). DC just doesn’t look convincing, so I’m not bothering with them.

Ben: New England had a DGW next week, but I’d avoid Lee Nguyen (M-$11.0) this week to see if he gets a call up for the National Team next week, and I’m also avoiding hot item Andrew Wenger (M-$7.3) for now because I think the Houston bubble pops with possibly no Giles Barnes (F-$8.5) and Cristian Maidana (M-$9.1) this week and roads games for the next 2 rounds.


Phil: I was considering moving Andreas Ivanschitz (M-$7.5) for Wenger, but I think you’re right about Houston crashing down to Earth. I wasn’t convinced about Diego Fagundez (M-$8.2) last week with Rowe, Agudelo, and Bunbury all eligible to rotate, but with Charlie Davies’ injury, I think Fagundez will start both DGW games and I’d like him in my lineup.


Ben: Andrea Pirlo (M-$10.0) had SIX bonus points last week at Yankee Stadium and could be prime for a ‘yuge’ round if you can find a place for him. Remember, NYCFC plays their next 3 at home, and games at Yankee Stadium last year averaged more than a goal per game higher than all other MLS matches. Speaking of which, I captained David Villa (F-$11.1) last week, and I see him having an even bigger week this week against Orlando’s shaky defense.


Phil: I haven’t really seen any better captain suggestion than David Villa. I gave him the armband. If you’re adventurous, try Mauro Diaz (M-$10.2) in a bounce-back game for FC Dallas at home! Diego Valeri (M-$10.2) is another option, playing at home against RSL.

Round 3: Final Thoughts

Ben: If you’re like me and you love Didier Drogba (F-$11.5), hold off for a few weeks. I know he’s traveling to Frisco this week, but he may not start, and there’s a good chance he skips the next 2 games for Montreal since they’ll be played on artificial turf.


Phil: I want to caution everyone who has San Jose defenders. SJ gave up 18 and 16 shots in the first 2 games, and was very lucky to have only conceded 1 goal. I’m trying to figure out how to transfer Clarence Goodson (D-$7.6) out of my lineup to acquire a New England defender. Our old pal Je-Vaughn Watson (D-$7.1) is the right price, but could be called up for Jamaica.