BigDSoccer's wildly successful fantasy column took last week off (totally by accident), so we'll recap what was missed.
That's a pretty decent representation of Phil waking up last Monday. He will take the Cersei Lannister walk of shame on October 16th. I'll be the guy following him with a bell, so yeah, I 'won the bet'. A lean 6 point margin was enough to earn the role of musician instead of burlesque dance. You're welcome, fam.
I also won the privilege of flying solo with this column for the rest of the year, and I'm going to have to do a bang up job. What once was a pretty solid lead is now completely gone. Phil didn't match Andrés Solloa's MeLaSopla (don't translate that folks) 134 as BigD's high scorer last round, but he left me in the dust after my barren round 28. That said, I'm still in the Top 25 and I've still got the wild card at my disposal (unlike most of the other top performers).
With that in mind, I have to start watching my tips. Unlike Fisticuffs, the Victory Lap picks won't necessarily follow my own. I won't be posting my lineup previous to the round, and if there's something I really like, I'll probably keep it to myself (I do have Paypal if you're interested in the Wiseguy Special though). It'll be dealer's choice from here on out. I can't promise any specific content until the end of the year. There's no guarantee Deleon Duodecímo won't make an appearance, and given my slide in the last month, I certainly won't certify any of this will help you win. That said, you could always do worse, and you're probably screwing around at work anyway, so quit whining. This week, let's try some really off the radar picks. Gotta take some long shots now if you want to make a move, amirite? I'll do my best to make them cheap and little-owned.
Marlon Hairston is still cheap at $5.6 and is a full blown attacker for Crapids. He's also only owned by 3.7%, and he's arguably the best shot for a goal/assist/cleansheet combo you can buy. Colorado's schedule sets up fairly well over the next few rounds, and he has a DGW in Round 32. His only downside is that he's been known to succumb to the mysterious nick, so make sure you have cover.
Speaking of which, Alphonso Davies could be a great option for cover at bottom dollar cost. Davies is the 3rd youngest signing in league history and is fresh from bagging a goal and an assist in Whitecaps 2-1 win in Kansas City this week's CCL match. He's getting close to earning regular starts for Vancouver and could end up being a cheaper and more dangerous version of Hairston as an attacking winger. He's $4.5 so you can easily add him as bench filler; I think he's got a big game in him between now and the end of the year. He's currently 0.1% owned.
Switching over to the midfield, Orlando's been fun lately. You had several options to bank on the Lions last round, but the most intriguing proposition to me in Matias Perez Garcia. Garcia has a little class to his game, but he never really fit in San Jose. Well, Jason Kreis seems to have figured out how to use him, and he made the Best XI in fantasy last round. At $7.9, he's cheap for a chance creator, and he should rack up some bonus points this round if he finds a way not to bag an assist and/or a goal against the porous Columbus defense. He's 0.7% owned as of now, so he presents an intriguing option on the cheap with a DGW in round 31 to sweeten the deal.
Speaking of DGWs, Houston...ok, I just made a puddle of sick. Pickings will be lean in Round 32- only 6 teams play that round. Houston plays twice that round. Alex Lima is Houston's top fantasy scorer this season. No, really...he's kind of a poor man's Ozzie Alonso, and is only 4.5% owned at the moment (although that's rapidly changing). Houston's on the road this round, but they have 3 out of 4 at home after that, and Dynamo is playing better under Wade Barrett's guidance. Alex's floor has been 4 since the beginning of July.
Speaking of the Orange Menace, they might be committing to the Mauro Manotas bit, and $6.0 is cheap, cheap, cheap for a forward. He's taking a fair number of shots and could easily screw around and get a hat trick in another meaningless game for the Dynamo and is less than 1% owned at the moment. Ugh, Houston...they did score 3 this past weekend. I think that's a fluke, but we're looking for lightning in a bottle at this point in the year. He's a hungry young player with something, so it could be worth a shot if you're as desperate as I am.
To be clear, I'm not explicitly suggesting these are all players you should target this round. Hairston and Garcia are at home, and Lima's floor seems like it's venue immune like Alonso's. I bring that up because I think New England's going to get destroyed this weekend, but they'll be primed to bounce back in round 30. When that happens, Juan Agudelo will probably have a hand in that.
He has 4 goals and an assist across all competitions in his last 3 matches and looks like he might be reprising his role as the next great hope for American soccer. $8.3 is a little high dollar for what I was shooting for in this column, but that's cheaper than popular pickup Jozy Altidore. He's also only 2.4% owned and a road match in Columbus followed by a home match against Spork is hardly daunting. If you're hell bent on going with all DGW players in Round 31, his matchups in 33 and 34 (@CHI, vs MON) could be your ticket to victory.
Cry of the Vanquished (Phil):
"Oh, were that the Fisticuffs of Fantasy lasted but one fortnight more. Such is life."