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MLS Fantasy Fisticuffs: Round 23

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Late advice from your dueling fantasy fellows.

The pick to click.
The pick to click.
Kim Klement-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.

Round 22 Review:

Ali Alzaabi got the highest grade this week as his team Pirlo Class 21 scored a massive 140 points, topping the Big D Soccer League honor roll. His gamble on Javier Morales (M-$11.0) paid off with 23 points. And if you didn't captain Sebastian Giovinco (F-$13.6), I feel bad for you.

***

Phil: Don't look now, Ben. I'm catching up! I tightened the gap by 17 points this week. If I can do that twice more in the next five rounds, I'll take the lead!

***

Ben: I'll admit it; I'm a bit nervous after last round. There's little to no chance I lose all of my baby weight before October, so the walk of shame will really be shameful (and unflattering...maybe even a tad gross). As good as Nicolas Lodeiro (M-$11.6) was, he only scored 8 which was the worst of both worlds for me: not enough points to maximize the differential, enough points to make him a very popular add. Screw me.

***

Phil: I AM jealous about Lodeiro, as I now have to take a -4 if I want to get him. But I was right on my value forward pick of Joao Plata (F-$9.7) over Cyle Larin (F-$9.6). I didn't actually pick up Plata, however, because I thought he was too risky. With Orlando City SC's tough upcoming schedule (two away games and a Round 27 bye), are you sticking with Larin?

***

Ben: No really, screw me. Lodeiro and my hail mary, Albert Quintero (M-$6.5, 9 points last round), paid off, but there was a crappy deuce as my reward for adding Robbie Keane (F-$11.5). LA stunk which made Sacha Kjlestan (M-$12.6) worth the price and the despair of rostering that horrible mustache. Red Bulls stunk for letting LA come back and earn a point (a retroactive Keane assist didn't go to the round score, naturally).

Worst of all, Chicago needs to be relegated after that mail-in at RSL. Jorales has scored 30 in the 2 rounds since I advocated dropping him due to the crummy upcoming schedule. Roland Alberg (M-$8.5)didn't even play last round (screw him). My luck has officially run out. I suck.

Round 23- Fight!

Phil: My fantasy man crush, Diego Valeri (M-$11.3), is now sellable with road games in DC and Seattle leading up to a Round 25 bye. But Benny Feilhaber (M-$11.4) is even more droppable with only one assist in the last five games and a road battle right here in sweltering Frisco this weekend.

***

Ben: I'll be keeping Valeri until (and perhaps through) the bye. One good thing about the way my awful no good terrible roster is set up is that I have 13 players rostered whose team plays the single day Round 25. Dom Dwyer (F-$10.1) isn't one of those, and he's getting dumped this round for a cheap forward. I alluded to Ola Kamara (F-$8.9) last round, and that's still probably the pick. That said, I'm liking the chemistry Jordan Morris (F-$8.4) is developing with Lodeiro. Morris does have a bye in Round 27 (need to start being mindful of the 8 teams on bye that round) so your decision should be based on form, track record, and your roster. After that, it's all a matter of taste.

Now that we're over the ‘will he or won't he' that was the Fabian Castillo (F- no price, dead to us) drama, the other wing/forward spot suddenly becomes a position of intrigue. Ryan Hollingshead (M-$6.0) suddenly becomes the middle floor- bang for your buck guy if he can lock down the spot opposite Michael Barrios (M-$8.0). Hollingshead regularly earns bonus points through his industry, and let's face it, the goals and assists from Fabi will be replaced from someone. Ryno's the strongest candidate to do so, and he's really cheap. I don't have a problem adding him this round if you need a budget guy despite the bye in Round 25.

***

Phil: Hollingshead? I like how he's locked down the LW slot, but I'm not getting any FC Dallas players until Round 26 at the earliest. The guys I really want to own right now are Lodeiro, Kamara, Kevin Molino (M-$8.8) if he's healthy, and some LA Galaxy guys. Now we know that The Bruce has rested his guys in the Open Cup, guys like Rowe, Steres, Gerrard, Dos Santos, and Keane are good to go through Round 27.

***

Ben: Agree on the LA guys. Steven Gerrard (M-$10.5) is definitely my add of the week. He's averaging 7.5 ppg over his last 6 starts. He'd be averaging a full 8 if he had received real time credit for both of his assists last round. LA's schedule is mighty juicy over the next 8 rounds, and I'll be rolling with the max on my roster for most of it (barring injury which is no sure thing). Colorado's D is good, but I'm expecting a vengeful bloodletting on Saturday (with a mostly rested team).

Round 23 Final Thoughts:

Byes in Round 25: Crapids, FCD, NYCFC, New York Red Bulls, Portland, RSL, Spork, Vancouver. If your roster is loaded with Round 25 guys beforehand, you can probably avoid taking zeros that round.

Byes in Round 27: Houston (why bother), MON, Orlando City, RSL (go ahead and dump those guys now), Quakes, Sounders, Spork, TFC. This is an international break too, so you'll want to be careful about calling up internationals expecting them to play that round.

Until next week, good luck to all (except Phil, of course).