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)! Join our league using the code
35-1619 to follow along.
Round 5 Review
A massive shout goes to Ryan Clark this week. His legendary club, DanteWashingtonBurns, defied the trend of awful with a Top 100 Round 5 score. He led all BigDSoccer scorers and tops the overall table for the season. There's still 6 in the Top 100 so the rough week didn't kill us all.
Ben: So part of my lineup strategy was keeping an extra transfer in hand while rostering DGW players with an towards Rounds 4, 6, 8, and 10. At this point, I’ve already dumped Atiba Harris (D-$5.9) for being benched, Sacha Kljestan (M-$11.2) for being terrible, and Clarence Goodson (D-$7.6) for being injured. Throw in the fact Jesse Gonzalez (G-$6.0) is riding the pine (or is he?), Mauro Diaz (M-$10.6) is still nursing an injury (or is he?), and Octavio Rivero (F-$8.3) is hurt (not that it matters, but he really is). Last week was bad, but it it would have been worse if I didn’t score double digits with Fabian Espindola (F-$10.1) and Taylor Kemp (D-$7.6). When you’re getting bailed out by DC United players, it’s time to break out the old Billy Baroo (the Wildcard).
Phil: I thought Diaz was going to play. I really did. He was only a game-time decision versus Columbus, then he practiced during the week. But apparently his "leg tightness" has become a "hamstring strain" and will not play until he’s "100 percent. I didn’t have a backup who played, so I took a donut. I decided to keep Sebastian Giovinco (F-$11.9) for one more week and get Michael Barrios (M-$8.1) and Nuno Andre Coelho (D-$7.9) instead of taking the -4 to transfer out Gio to get Coelho, Ignacio Piatti (M-$10.5) and Dom Dwyer ($10.2). I would’ve had more points if I made the other decision and I wouldn’t have to use a transfer on Dwyer this week. David Villa (F-$11.1) is a prime candidate to get sold this week.
Round 6: Fight!
Ben: I think San Jose has the juiciest matchups (NYRB at home, POR away) this round, and I’ll be investing heavily. Chris Wondolowski (F-$10.7) is primed for a ‘Yuge’ round facing two leaky defenses, and I’m so confident in him bagging 2 goals this week, I’m making him my captain. I’m less sanguine about Quincy Amarikwa (F-$7.5) (who is really hot and cold, but is also really cheap for a forward). If you want to get bang for the buck, Simon Dawkins (M-$8.6), Alberto Quintero (M-$6.6), and Shaun Francis (D-$6.0) have all been consistent bonus point producers. Their long term appeal after Round 6 is limited though.
Phil: Whoa? What about SKC? I touched on them in last week’s preview. You not only get the benefit of a DGW this round, but also, DGWs in Round 8 and Round 10. It’s worth noting that Matt Besler (D-$8.7) has cleared concussion protocol and should be a go for tonight. They have the the early game, so you’ll get to see their lineup before you finalize your transfers.
Ben: Same with Crapids for the early game. They also get another DGW in Round 10, but Pablo loves to rotate his players. Maybe injuries will force his hand this round, but before you go all gaga for discount Michael Azira (M-$5.5), remember defensive midfielders have earned the most red cards this year and that Jermaine Jones (M-$8.0) is available starting this weekend. Marco Pappa (M-$8.3) has been hot, but he’s no guarantee to start or play 60 minutes. DP Shkelzen Gashi (F-$8.9) made the MLS team of the week 2 weeks ago without scoring a goal or an assist that week which is kind of intriguing. A compelling case on him can be found here. Gun to my head picking a Crapid or two, Dillon Powers (M-$7.6) and Axel Sjoberg (D-$5.5) have both been pretty consistent and cheap.
Phil: Unless you plan on wildcarding in Round 7, you shouldn’t have more than two Portland Timbers in Round 6 because of their following bye week. Diego Valeri (M-$10.5) is a strong captain choice. The defense has been a mess with Liam Ridgewell out. Fanendo Adi (F-$10.0) is tied for the MLS lead in goals with 4 in 5 games. Portland’s DGW consists of two home games, so they got that goin’ for ‘em, which is nice.
Ben: Unless you plan on wildcarding in Round 7, you shouldn’t have more than zero New York Red Bulls on your team because they’re awful right now, and they have two games on the road this week including a jet lag special against San Jose tonight. I shilled for Sean Davis (M-$6.0) last week, and he did end up being the highest scoring Red Bull against SKC. An inch to the left in 1st half stoppage time, and he scores his first MLS goal and breaks double digits. If you have him from last week, he’s decent switcheroo material given promised rotation (link) and he’s been a good bonus point earner when he has played. Aside from that, who takes penalties? Kjlestan? Bradley-Wright Phillips (F-$10.7)? Who knows at this point. Red Bulls return home next week, but they’re a hold at best this round.
Phil: You might have heard of the last R6 DGW team... it’s FC Dallas!
Starting in the back. Who’s the goalie? Is it Jesse Gonzalez (G-$6.0) or Chris Seitz (G-$4.7)? I don’t know, which is a problem. Wouldn’t you rather have Tim Melia (G-$5.7), who has 3 DGWs in the next 6 weeks?
There’s so much rotation on the backline that I can’t recommend anyone but Matt Hedges (D-$9.0). Maynor Figueroa (D-$7.0) appears to have locked down the left back spot, but he’s playing recklessly and is due for some major cards in the new Red Card Wedding MLS. Ryan Hollinshead (M-$5.9) doesn’t get those sweet, sweet Clean Sheet points because he’s listed as a midfielder. I’ve shipped out Zimmerman as I can’t tell when he will start and when he will sit.
Will Mauro Diaz (M-$10.6) play? Yes, no, maybe so. The report is that he’s unlikely to play in Portland, but with MLS’ lax injury reporting policy, Oscar Pareja could easily be trolling us. I really don’t want to drop him because I will just pick him back up when he’s healthy and I DON’T WANNA MISS A THAAHANG. This could be a great spot to try a switcheroo.
Fabian Castillo (M-$10.7) is a hot pickup and Michael Barrios (M-$8.1) is producing at about the same rate for less coin. Maximiliano Urruti (F-$8.7) has moved onto the Dream Team with the third-highest forward score.
Round 6: Final Thoughts
To Mauro or not to Mauro? Check the picture below- does that not look from behind like a certain diminutive, South American, midfield maestro?
Ben: For me, I’m 90% certain this is Mauro Diaz. I base this on two things. First, it’s little know among even my friends and family that I’m an avid phrenologist with an advanced degree from BSU. The only other two FCD men this could be are Carlos Lizarazo (F-$7.0) or Alex Zendejas (M-$5.0). If you notice the squareness of the noggin, it matches up nicely with the magician. Similar academic comparisons of Liz and Alex’s respective melons do not yield the same result as both are more Charle Brown-headed (technical term).
Second, the posture is a dead ringer. What some have
foolishly inferred characterized as bad body language is really just Mauro’s unique and measured stance that he takes as he’s divining the next 6 moves in the game while you’re still trying to figure out what a rook is. It’s as unique and unmistakeable as his magnificent touch and impossible to confuse with imitators.
Phil: What caught my eye is the purple Nikes. Mauro has been wearing lime green Adidas boots this season. Alex Zendejas also seems to prefer Adidas. I looked at footage of the Columbus game to see what brand and color Carlos Lizarazo prefers. He has white and pink Nikes! Checkmate, atheists! Since the game in Portland is on turf, I will concede that a different set of cleats is plausible.
We can also compare haircuts. This cut looks closest to Zendejas. Diaz and Lizarazo both were last seen with mohawks and shaved sides. Here's the picture in question: