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.
Ben had the highest score in the Big D Soccer league with 87 points. Captaining the hot newcomer Nicolas Lodeiro (M-$11.8) turned out to be a great play. Phil was right there with 86, although he took a -4 to get there. Our bet ends in four rounds and Phil still has to make up 37 points!
Round 24- Fight!
Phil: This round features a full slate of games, but of course you need to be looking at all the byes in Rounds 25 and 27. Are you prepared to field a full team in each of these weeks? Obviously, the LA Galaxy is the play here with solid fantasy players and no bye in either week. I’ve got Steven Gerrard (M-$10.7) and Daniel Steres (D-$5.5), and so do you. I know you were blindsided by Robbie Keane (F-$11.5) and Brian Rowe (G-$5.1) last week. Got any update on those guys?
Ben: Keane is ready to play according to him and Da Bruce. I expect at least one goal this weekend in the cozy and chance rich confines of Yankee Stadium. Rowe has already been ruled out, and I doubt he’s back in the fold until Round 26. I hope he’s back then and prime for big rounds in 27 and the DGW in round 28 (load up on Galaxy).
Phil: Other than LA, I’m definitely taking a look at Philadelphia Union guys, since they have a favorable schedule without byes. They just demolished the Revs on road by a score of 4-0. Andre Blake (G-$5.0) is the smart choice if you need a replacement for Rowe. Keegan Rosenberry (D-$5.7) is a good value for your defense. Chris Pontius (M-$7.7) is now the fifth-highest scoring midfielder in the game with a 14-point performance last week.
Ben: The addition of Lodeiro will be the biggest signing during the transfer window, but Alejandro Bedoya (M-$9.0) might end up being more crucial to his team’s postseason chances. I won’t be adding him, but he definitely boosts the fortunes of your Union guys. I’m totally on board with Phil’s suggestions.
Conversely, I’m dreading Toronto’s potential this weekend. I’ve got the armband with Lodeiro again this round, and I’m going to set up the ‘Giovincoroo’ one more time this round as I think there’s a decent chance he only earns you 3ish this round.
Phil: I’m not the kinda guy to suggest wild differentials. I want rock-solid contributors who put up the bonus points every week. I think I can move up the standings by making smart picks. One risky move I’m thinking of making is to captain Ignacio Piatti (M-$11.4) as the Montreal Impact should pummel the Chicago Fire. Lodeiro at home in a derby against a leaky Portland defense makes for a great captain as well. And of course, you should always consider Sebastian Giovinco ($13.6), who is owned by a stunning 70.1% of players.
Ben: I’ve gone all year without a minute of Piatti, but that will change this round. I’m not quite as certain that the Impact-Fire match will be a bloodbath, but Piatti’s a good add for the next 3 rounds without a doubt. I’m definitely not going to risk missing out on Nacho.
My dirty, dirty, cheap bastard pick of the round is Alberto Quintero (M-$6.5). I actually picked him up 2 rounds ago and have been rewarded by 16 delicious points for bottom dollar. He’s got back to back (favorable) home matches over the next two rounds and (most importantly) can help you get Lodeiro in your lineup if you don’t have him already. He’s also lightly owned (a little over 2%) if you enjoy a wild differential.
Round 24 Final Thoughts:
Phil: I’m tempted to burn my wildcard in Round 26 so that I can win this Fantasy Fisticuffs bet, but I’m on the cusp of a Top Ten overall finish, which is worth 200 smackeroos on the MLS Store. The smarter play is to use the wildcard in Round 28 to get set for the post-byes stretch. As much as I want to win this bet, I won’t be feeling any shame if I can make it rain at the end of the season!
Ben: A round 26 wild card would certainly qualify as a ‘differential’, although I didn’t even entertain that as an option when I weighed the benefits of wildcarding in certain rounds a few weeks ago. Stocking up on rested teams might pay dividends, but you’d still have to account for a thin round in 27 and DGWs in round 28.
I’m still not tipping my hand on when I will deploy the wild card, but I will let you know you can always check a team’s transfer history on their team page if you’re trying to get a leg up on a competitor.
You’ve got to give it up to Phil; he’s rebounded gamely since the unfortunate transfer snafu of Round 9. He’s stayed in range and kept up the pressure on me despite the handicap, and I’m going to be heavily sweating the next 4 rounds. Also, he’s been having to chase a team that’s been easily in the Top 10 since Round 6- the bar is set high. If he manages to catch me, it’ll be an impressive feat. If he doesn’t, his nude stroll among the partisans at Toyota Stadium should be met with cheers and the understanding that your fan blog provided dominant consult this season.