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MLS Fantasy Fisticuffs: Who to take in Round 10

Ben's back this week for a round of shadow boxing.

Nick Turchiaro-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)! Join our league using the code 35-1619 to follow along. Phil has re-taken the "lead" with the score sitting at 769-767.

Round 9 Review

Well last week was...interesting. Duodécimo's advice yielded you a tidy 32 points, although if you heeded his Houston haiku, you probably missed out. Let's be honest though- you weren't hot to trot to add Dynamold anyway. The legendary DrPepperHixon snagged top score this week while Damaged Goods endured an ok round to hold the lead for another week. 6 Big D'ers are in the Top 100 with 3 in the Top 10 (pending), so we remain arguably the most competitive league in fake MLS. Kudos.

My round? Eh, not bad, but still not good enough to hold off Phil for the purposes of our bet. I'm still enjoying my best year playing this game, and I'm still carrying an extra transfer. Didier Drogba (F-$11.8) paced my team with a whopping 16 points, but I wouldn't add him now because he's got a game on turf in Round 11 (he might not play) and a bye in Round 13 (more on that in a minute). As for Phil, well I'll let him describe it in a future installment. Suffice it to say, what looked like a good play this round probably has him feeling like this today:

Round 10: Fight!

Alright, so there won't be any actual fighting this week. Since it's an early deadline this week (6pm CDT today), I sincerely hope you're goofing off at work and getting your lineup ready. Rather than usual back and forth, I'll just concentrate on the DGW teams. How about a ranking and some thoughts and a player pick or two? Sound good?

1. Philadelphia Union: No, I'm not writing this after a trip to one of the half dozen dispensaries near my place. As of this writing, Union lead the East in points per game. Sure the schedule's difficult, but they're catching LA Galaxy after short rest and a cross country flight. LA's been shut out in 2 of 4 road games, so they can definitely be had here. More importantly, they've got 2 more DGWs in the following 5 rounds, a decent schedule, and only Andre Blake (G-$4.9) will be leaving after Round 11 for Copa America. Additionally, there are a plethora of cheap options- I like Keegan Rosenberry (D-$5.6), Chris Pontius (M-$7.2), and CJ Sapong (F-$8.2) for the next 6 rounds.

2. FC Dallas: I know there form hasn't been great, but it's hard to argue with 2 home games this round. Dallas also doesn't have to worry to much about CA departures (maybe Gruezo and Acosta), and like Philadelphia, you won't have to worry about shuffling players out for Round 13. If you haven't gotten Mauro Diaz (M-$10.6) back in to your lineup yet, make it happen Cap'n.

3. Colorado Rapids: Speaking of crazy teams leading their conference in points per game, we've got Crapids. There have been a lot of soccer fans dismissive of Jermaine Jones (M-$8.2), but I've never been one of them. Colorado has earned 10 points in the 4 games he's played (3 wins at home and a draw on the road), and given New England's slide since he left, it's hard to debate that he's not still an extremely valuable piece for a competitor. He certainly didn't have any doubts and reminded everyone of New England's record with and without him back in February. The problem is that he'll be gone after Round 11. When you consider that Kevin Doyle (F-$7.7) and Shelkzen Gashi (F-$9.1) will also be gone for Euro 16' after Round 11, and Crapids start to look like they might go back to being Crapidly. Michael Azira (M-$5.5) and Axel Sjoberg (D-$5.6) both provide cheap reliable options, but after Round 11, I'm not really interested in having any stock here until the summer tournaments end.

4. Portland Timbers: While the midweek game at FC Dallas isn't a great fixture for them, a home date this weekend against NYCFC is promising, and Diego Valeri (M-$10.5) and Fernando Adi (F-$10.3) are impossible to ignore. Losing Nagbe for Copa America won't be great for them, but they remain pretty whole otherwise. They also have a game during the bye week-laden Round 13. The thing is, you've probably got one or both of the two that I've mentioned, and there's a paucity of good options behind them when it comes to price vs. performance.

5. Chicago Fire: Chicago could be higher if David Accam (M-$9.2) were healthy, but until he returns, the attack has looked pretty toothless. You've got two good cheap options in Matt Lampson (G-$4.7) and Jonathan Campbell ($5.3), but outside of that, you're really throwing darts. I guess FC Dallas alum Arturo Alvarez (M-$6.9) has some sneaky appeal at that price; but with 3 of the 4 games on the road in the next two rounds, rotation almost assured, and a Bye in Round 13, I definitely wouldn't add more than one of these guys this week.

6. Sporting Kansas City: A month ago in a different forum, I wrote this about Spork,

SKC is playing 8 league games in the span of 32 days. A similar stretch last year basically killed their season, and I have to think Vermes rotates better this year. I'll have Melia and Coelho for the duration, and that's it.

4 weeks later, even Tim Melia (G-$5.6) got rotated. Nuno Coehlo (D-$7.9) hasn't missed a minute yet, so I'm kind of worried he might get rotated this week. If you're a Graham Zusi (M-$10.1) owner, this probably should terrify you. He looks like decent fodder to get Kamara (suspended) back to Spork.

It's not all gloom and doom though. Sure they'll have a couple of players (Besler, Mustivar) gone for CA, but you don't have to worry about the byes in Round 13, and the cycle of misery looks like it's probably nearing the end. They also have 3 of the next 4 at home. I'm calling this a hold unless you've got Zusi; I'd transfer him out for any number of options.

7. Houston Dynamo: Orange is the color of schizophrenia, or at least this crew of misfits makes it seem like it. Houston scored a nice win against Spork last week, but that was their first win since the game that shall not be mentioned. Of their field players, only Andrew Wenger (M-$7.2) makes the top 20 of positional scoring for the league. That may seem like great value, but when you consider over half of his points came in the first 2 rounds, that's a dodgy bet at best. I can see him as a budget add/switcheroo play in certain scenarios. Houston's defense has looked better recently, and they don't have a bye in Round 13, but I'm steering clear.

8. Vancouver Whitecaps: Speaking of struggling Western Conference teams (Hey, at least we're not as crappy as Houston!) whom I'd hate seeing land Kamara even though he might fix a lot of their problems, Vancouver has a grand total of 2 goals from their forwards this year. I know, you'll say that they're just 3 points behind FCD, and that they'd be in a playoff position in the Eastern Conference with their current record. That's all true, but that's pretty much indicative of Pedro Morales (M-$10.8) converting a league-leading 4 PKs so far this year. That's good for almost 30% of their goals, and I don't see them being able to earn penalties consistently enough to mask their forwards deficiencies.

Add that to the fact that they've got some injury problems, they have a Bye in Round 13, and they're slated to lose Bolaños, Waston, and Perez for CA after Round 11, and I'm not keen on adding these guys. I guess you can hold what you have (particularly on D-they've been reasonable enough), but I'm definitely not going out of my way for Whitecaps this round.

Round 10: Final Thoughts

Nothing this week- I've run out of space. We can do it in the comments, yo. Good luck!