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Ben's Fantasy (MLS Fantasy Manager Round 10)

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Round starts tonight!

MLS: Real Salt Lake at New York Red Bulls Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

We're keeping this bit short this week, so no time to dilly dally. There will be DGWs in the next five rounds, and aside from a brief mention of the teams with DGWs and a link to the DGW manifesto, there's a pretty good chance this part of the weekly won't have much to do with soccer at all.

MLS Fantasy Boss introduced matchup rankings this round based on ‘Expected Goals’ (xG) which is, to my knowledge, the first of its kind publicly available on the interwebs. Before I take a big steamy dump on this, this ranking system has the advantage of being as cold and bloodless as you can get when analyzing a matchup. Relying on data like this insulates you from groupthink and personal biases better than almost all other fantasy analysis available.

That said, I’m going to put it out there right now that I’m something of an xG skeptic and haven’t seen it demonstrated to be a superior predicative tool. Or even a good one. Or even a...I’m skeptical to its value based on some of the agnosticism built into the data gathering. Further, some of the objections raised about it being an overly general model haven’t really (from what I’ve seen- please feel free to demonstrate otherwise) been addressed well. Further, the use of this over the course of a 90 minute game is also agnostic of game states and tied to some small sample sizes at this point in the season. Give it a look, and if something raises an eyebrow (RSL favored over Dallas this weekend) maybe use this as an audit for your handicapping. Pretty sure if this is run against ELO for the next six weeks or so, ELO’s predictivity will crush xG like a grape, but it could certainly be useful for a second look or two.

For a little perspective, The xG model says your best bets this round are Spork, OCSC, Tor, and RBNY, in that order. No...Tor are on the best rest having played last Friday and not having to have traveled. They actually have DGWs the next two rounds, so I’d be wary of some rotation for the Seattle games. I’d consider fading Altidore and Vazquez for the round because of the turf in the Pacific Northwest.

Spork are worthy this round, and the rush is to the defense. It’s worth noting that Sinovic is one yellow card away from a suspension, so be careful there. I’m actually investing in Spork’s O this round. They started to click last round, and the 2 matches these round aren’t half bad. After that I like New York over Orlando- I think the Orlando bubble pops this round, and a double game week on the road for both games doesn’t excite me. Factor in rotation, and I’m giving the Lions a miss. In New York’s case, they don’t have to travel as much, and the back end of their DGW round is a short trip to Philly who have been brutal.


Byrd’s Ballers: (Round 9. 2-2-1, Season 25-16-4)

  1. Sebastian Giovinco- F $12.3
  2. Bennie Feilhaber- M $10.4
  3. Nicolas Lodeiro - M $11.5
  4. Michael Bradley- M $8.8
  5. David Villa- F $10.5

Beerretriever SC’s and I continue are steady ascent, but Blacksmith Abbey tops all scorers last round with 99. Phil “The Dalai” Luetchford continues to top the BDS overall leader board by 1 over Bad Kompany. Seriously, I barely had to re-write that last sentence.

Same rule applies- for my DGW players, I’m not picking them for Ballers unless they’ll average top performance over two games. Giovinco and Bradley are the picks in Toronto because they seem like they’ll have less risk of rotation. I’m confident about Feilhaber for Spork, but there’s certainly a few players in attack who could go double digits this round (e.g. Gerso’s CHEAP for a DP). Lodeiro kind of sorta breaks my ‘two goals’ rule, as my confidence in two goals for SEA Saturday is only ok. That said, Lodeiro’s bottom is five this year, and has only missed baller eligibility twice this year. Villa at home is similarly reliable.

Skinflint’s Specials: (Round 9 3-2-0, Season 21-24-0)

  1. Tyler Adams M $4.9
  2. Stephen Beitashour D $5.0
  3. Eriq Zavaleta D $5.1
  4. Damian Perinelle D $5.0
  5. Ilie Sanchez- M $7.0

Tyler Adams- 4, 4, 4...young legs, 90 minutes, 4 points. He’s dirt cheap. 4X2, and he can be your switcheroo and save your budget. I wouldn’t be surprised if New York tries to roll out an FCD-style Homegrown lineup in Sporkland hoping for a similar result. New York? Please. Still, there’s good points to be had there, and I think Perinelle plays 2 as well with countryman Collin out for a few weeks. Toronto’s defenders are a good shout this round; I’ll count Zavaleta as Special until he hits 5.2. For Sporkers wanting to go cheap (at least by my standards), you have to go to midfield to find a relative bargain. Sanchez is basically a more expensive version of Adams. That said, he’s on a better team with better matchups. You could certainly do worse this round.

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