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 21 Review:
Ring-a-ding-ding: FC Walter (I think again) lead all scorers in the BigDSoccer league last round with a smashing 98 points. He killed it. How did the gurus do?
Phil: I thought my score was pretty good, but 80 points was only good enough to fall one slot overall. It turns out that having Sebastian Giovinco (F-$13.4) as captain does not make me a special flower. I deployed a 4-5-1 with all of my favorite midfield chance creators in Mauro Diaz (M-$11.4), Benny Feilhaber (M-$11.4), Diego Valeri (M-$11.2), Sacha Kljestan (M-$12.4), and Ignacio Piatti (M-$11.3), but none of them scored double digits. I only have six rounds to make up 49 points on Ben!
Ben: You’re not going to make it and 1 point a week, bru. I scored 79 following the incredibly smart lemmings who captained Giovinco. Other than that, it was pretty meh. Clean sheets from Walker Zimmerman (D-$6.7) and Justin Morrow (D-$8.0) as well as a PK goal from Roland Alberg (M-$8.5) kept a red card from Didier Drogba (F-$11.9) and Michael Azira (D-$5.3 and fortunately on my bench) from spoiling my round. I’m still in the Top 5, but I’m losing ground on the top scorer.
How do you feel about adding Real Salt Lake players?
Phil: It’s quite tricky as they have a DGW now, but byes in Rounds 25 and 27. Will you have enough players to play in R25? I already have The Wall of the Wasatch, Nick Rimando (G-$6.3), who should be good for both games this week, right? Justen Glad (D-$4.9) is a no-go because he seems to have lost his starting job. Javier Morales (M-$10.8) is sure to be rested for one of the games. Since Yura Movsisyan is out, I could see Joao Plata (F-$9.6) being a good add.
Ben: I’m steering clear of RSL this round (although I’m regretting dumping out on Jorales last round). Since June 14 they’ve played 11 matches and managed a 2-2-7 record during that stretch. 11 points from 9 MLS games is Eastern Conference bad and looks even worse when you consider 6 of those 9 MLS games were at home. RSL isn’t good enough, young enough, or healthy enough to cash this round in for major points, and they’ll definitely rotate. I’ll pass.
Sell or Hold Mauro Diaz?
Phil: Sell both Mauro and Walker Zimmerman. Not only do they have byes this week, but they have Round 25 byes as well. Try to pick up players that will play in Round 25, like Nacho Piatti for Diaz and Daniel Steres (D-$5.5) for Zim.
Ben: Because of cards, I have to sell at least one of them this week. I’m not of the school of thought that money on the bench is a waste if you’re planning on adding them immediately after the bye and spending two transfers when you could have spent none. I want a piece of FC Dallas between the bye rounds, so I’ll probably dump (begrudgingly) Diaz and keep Zim through the bye.
Will you be buying Nicolas Lodeiro for $11.5?
Phil: No. He is too expensive. Give me a tried-and-true MLS Fantasy general for less money, like Feilhaber, Valeri, or Piatti.
Ben: Lodeiro’s my Diaz replacement, and here are my reasons why. First, although expensive, he’s virtually the same price as Mauro. Second, he looks great. Against a strong LA team, he unofficially racked up 8 points without scoring a goal or an assist (those will come shortly). Third, I’m sensing people will take a wait and see approach on Lodeiro. I’ll go ahead and take a stab on him having a big week this round and enjoy the differential. Seattle’s upcoming schedule looks pretty good, too.
Who is the best cheap forward for this round?
Ben: Adding Lodeiro means adding a cheap forward at some point. If Columbus weren't on a bye, I’d be in on Ola Kamara (F-$8.9) all day. If you can hold on until next round, Columbus is bye free for the rest of the season. Cyle Larin (F-$9.6) has been scoring consistently, but calling him 'cheap' is kind of stretching.
If you feel like going way out on a limb and being really cheap Patrick Mullins (F-$6.4) may just be your guy. He appears to have wrestled the starting target striker spot from Alvaro Saborio (F-$7.7), and DC’s got a great schedule coming up. He’s strictly a ‘switcheroo’ play, but if the starting spot is his, his points to price ratio could be excellent. It's also worth noting that DC is one of the 12 teams playing in Round 25.
Phil: If by cheap we mean "under double-digits," then there are only a few starting options. I’d go with Plata at $9.6 because I think there’s a good shot he plays both games this week.
Round 22 Final Thoughts:
Watch out! It’s a Wednesday deadline when Toronto FC kicks off at RSL at 6pm central. Also, it's worth noting that, with Alejandro Bedoya's move to Philadelphia Union, things are about to be shaken up in Chester. This should be a boon to their defense, but predicting the fortunes of all their midfield at this point is dodgy. If you own Roland Alberg (M-$8.5), Tranquilo Barnetta (M-$7.7), Chris Pontius (M-$7.4), or Ilsinho (M-$8.1), I'd be tempted to dump out now until we see a few games with Bedoya in the team. I'm also interested to see how Ale will score and function in the Philly midfield. Best of luck, you champions of fake footy!