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 25 was a stalemate in our fantasy fisticuffs wager, with Phil registering 57 points on the judges' scale and Ben scoring 56. Sebastian Giovinco (F-$13.7) was the only player for either of us to actually score a goal, and everyone has him so it doesn't really count anyway. Each of us fell a few slots in the overall competition. But Straight Diop FC, coached by Brian Garrett, saw nothing but green arrows with his high score of 77 in the Big D League. And he even did it with Castillo, so in all likelihood we just got beat by a dead team. Shame!
Phil: I made a huge mistake last week by thinking that Montreal would crush Chicago, when reality turned out to be the exact opposite. Not only did I captain Ignacio Piatti (M-$11.4), but I brought in Didier Drogba (F-$11.8), who scored pitiful three and two points. You know what? Drogs is a prime candidate to get rotated this week, so I probably will have to burn that second transfer on shipping him out, especially because he has a Round 27 bye. I'm gonna play it safer this round by putting the armband on Giovinco like everyone else.
Ben: Don't be so hasty on Drogba, Phil. One great thing about Montreal is that they're one of 6 teams you'll get to see before rosters lock. DC's defense isn't scaring anyone these days, so there'll be plenty of chances for bonus points at a minimum. I fear the Bill Hamid (G-$6.3) beast mode as much as the next guy, but I'd keep Drogba if he's in the XI.
I brought in Piatti myself last round, but I didn't have big expectations for him against Chicago (although I did fear not having him). I brought in Jonathan Campbell (G-$6.3) last round to offset Piatti's high price, and he exceeded my expectations which was were so low he stayed on my bench. The upshot is that I'm well-stocked for this round, and I'm considering Ambroise Oyongo (D-$6.4 rested and short travel on the weekend) even though they're off in Round 27.
Round 25- Fight!
Phil: I'm well prepared for the Round 25 bye. I only have to transfer one player to get a full team. It would be nice to bank a transfer for next week, when I want to bring all the studs back in. But it's not going to work that way in reality, is it? Chances are, there will be plenty of rotation for this midweek round.
That's why it's crucial to check the lineups before rosters lock. This week, we have access to three out of the six games: CLB vs. PHI, MTL vs. DC, and ORL vs. Toronto before the deadline at 6:30pm TONIGHT! I'm not taking a hit to replace a rotated player unless it is a forward or mid and I replace him with a guy that I know is starting.
Ben: I'm in the same boat. Or at least, I think I'm in the same boat. Rotation is hard to predict, but I'm guessing it's possible that one or more of Robbie Keane (F-$11.5), Steven Gerrard (M-$10.7), and Daniel Steres (D-$5.5) could be rested in Chicago. I'll probably stick with Oyongo because it's a better hedge on making sure I can field a whole team, but I can't help but notice that 2015 fantasy darling Ethan Finlay (M-$10.7) seems to have regained his swerve. He'd be my preferred attacker to add this week based on his uptick in form and the fact the Crew play in Round 27. Columbus has a DGW in Round 31 too, so now my be a good time to add Mr. Finlay.
Phil: Kaka (M-$11.4) would be a fun pickup, although he has a Round 27 bye. You could look for a Philly player, like Keegan Rosenberry (D-$5.7), Chris Pontius (M-$7.7), or Tranquillo Barnetta (M-$7.9), since they don't have an upcoming bye. Pontius is a goal threat, while Barnetta has regained his #10 slot. I'd also recommend Justin Meran (M-$8.6) from Columbus.
Round 26- Fight!
Phil: I'm concerned about the availability of Nicolas Lodeiro (M-$11.8) in R26. He's going to get called up by Uruguay. Word is that the Sounders have asked to keep him for their rematch with the Timbers, but we don't know yet if they'll have him or not. He'll be on a bye in Round 27 either way, so have a plan to ship him out early. With Piatti on a R27 bye, I'm going to trade those two in Round 26 for two of my midfield mainstays - "Stacha" Sacha Kljestan (M-$12.7) and "Magic Little Unicorn" Mauro Diaz (M-$11.3). The good news is that every team plays in Round 26, so you have some flexibility.
Ben: Oddly enough, with a banked transfer my first add next round will be a replacement for the defender (Oyongo) I just brought in for Round 25. You probably don't recall, but way way back in Round 2, I touted a young defender named Marlon Hairston (D-$5.5) as a value buy. He'll be my priority add for next round. Here's why:
- He's dirt cheap, and he's starting every game.
- Colorado's defense has been the league's best.
- He DOESN"T even play defense- he's a wing attacker, and he's been scoring.
- He's the #1 player ranked by Value Form (Form to price ratio), and it isn't even close.
- He won't play 90 all the time. The upshot here is that, when Victor Ulloa hits a bomb after the 80th minute to split the points, he'll have been subbed out and STILL get the clean sheet bonus.
After that, I'll begrudgingly add the ‘Stach' for Lodeiro. Gross.
Round 25/6 Final Thoughts:
I want max LAG and max MON for round 28. LAG plays through, so any tough decisions should be brokered with that in mind. If you want to look really long term, Chicago and Columbus have a DGW in 31 and 32 respectively, and they play every week through Round 32 (before the unlimited transfer round). You buying Chicago? Yeah, me neither, but they're no longer dead to me either.