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Ben's Fantasy (MLS Fantasy Manager Round 19)

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Tips to ignore before you blow your hand off.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Sporting KC Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

There’s 15 rounds left to play and, since there’s one round with only three games, you might as well make it 14. I’m noting this because the window for making a comeback is shutting rapidly. By my reckoning, your chances of making a comeback are <1% if you’re any further back than 98 points. Even then, you’d have to match Damaged Goods closing kick on the overall leader (7 points/round over the last 3) for the remainder of the season. If Richard managed to sustain that delta for the rest of the season, he’s got a decent shot of taking it all. The problem is, that he’s just shy of Top 100 overall and he’s 2nd in our league. You’ve got to catch him before you even fancy having a long shot chance of winning it all.

The strategy going forward for everyone not named Richard and Phil is simple; live fast, take chances, and leave a good-looking corpse. I’ve been concentrating on contrarian plays for several rounds now with mixed results. For example, last week I suggested fading popular plays Spork and Chicago. My reasoning was pretty sound. Portland was coming in rested while full strength spork sweated through a road USOC match midweek. Minus a saved penalty taken down the middle by Diego Valeri (oof), I’m none the worse for wear for shorting Kansas City last round.

Ouch. Almost the exact setup- yeah, Vancouver isn’t the quality of Portland- with Chicago being even worse off because they just came off a 120 minute loss on turf. Certainly, they’d rotate for a non-conference match. Nah. They put their foot on the gas for the first half and never looked back. However, this could end up being a pyrrhic victory for Chicago; Bastian Schweinsteiger had ‘very sharp soreness’ when he came out before the end of the first half. If he misses significant time, Chicago will have trouble. Correlation does not equal causation, but maybe Paunovic will be more cautious with the whip going forward.

Anyway, rather than blanket fades, I’ll be shooting for 4 to 5 individuals per round for the rest of the year. Much like Ballers and Specials, I’ll provide you picks to fade and tally the score. To qualify as going out on a ledge, I’m going to say that they need to be either Top 5 transferred in at their position for the round or better than 20% owned (or hopefully both). This will be strictly wins and losses- 4 or less is a win, anything more is a loss. To make a run and have a realistic chance to swoop in at the end, we’ll need to hit around 75% on the fades (and hit on our replacements). Here goes nothing.


Fool’s Gold:

  1. Nemanja Nikolic F $10.8
  2. Maynor Figueroa D $5.8
  3. Lee Nguyen- M $10.4
  4. Leandro Gonazlez Pirez- D $6.3

I was going to tip my hat to the film Bad Lieutenant here, but I forgot just how edqy that flick was. It’s a good film, but it won’t bring you out of the doldrums if you’re feeling blue. All of these players are top 3 adds at their position this round and all of them played 90 this weekend before a flight home or a flight away.

I’ll never expressly bet against Nikolic again if he scores this round, but all of the Top 3 are missing important players to Gold Cup. I’m basically playing a hunch that Atlanta gives up a goal tonight. Maynor Figueroa is the top transfer in this round on defense, but he’s gone to Honduras camp. For those asking about Cubo, he’s actually available on Wednesday.

Byrd’s Ballers: (Round 18. 2-1-2, Season 51-23-15)

  1. Diego Valeri M $10.8
  2. Romain Alessandrini M $10.1
  3. Kevin Molino- M $10.2
  4. Federico Higuain- M $10.6 Ike Opara D- $6.4
  5. Maxi Urruti - F $9.6

Lovell FC made the right call on Chicago last round, and that catapulted him to a score of 110 for top score last round. Like everyone else, he’s still trailing Phil by 50+. Players like Phil are exactly who the fades have in mind, but I imagine he’s passing on half of those anyway.

There’s two matches you’ll see before the lineups lock. You could easily load up on those 4 teams to avoid taking a 0 anywhere, but we’ve got to take risks now. Go where the goals are. There are goals in Dallas (pick a 2nd, by all means). There are goals in Minnesota (for Columbus, too). There will be goals in LA (Alessandrini’s risky, but that’s why you keep your bench stocked this round). Valeri looks primed to pick apart a Chicago team that’s bound to be dead and without McCarty and Schweinsteiger. He won’t miss a penalty again this round.

Edit: Well, fiddlesticks. Higuain has been left home. This seems like a good time to let all 5 of you know that I think the Spork D is stout this round.

Skinflint’s Specials: (Round 18 4-1-0, Season 46-44-0)

  1. Walker Hume D $3.9
  2. Soony Saad F $5.8
  3. Jack McBean F $5.5
  4. Ibson M $6.7
  5. Kevin Ellis D $4.9

First time over .500 all season. Man, these are hard. A lot of good options for non-defenders this round. Saad’s KC’s 9 with Dwyer out, and he’ll get you a goal here and there. I think he and Ellis help spank Philly on Thursday. McBean and Ibson both offer decent front side switcheroo options this round; go Ibson for floor and McBean for ceiling. Again, there’s goals in both of those games. Finally, our other Walker seems like a lock to start tonight, and the price is right. He’s good value even if Dallas lets a goal slip in and, yeah, you could use him on the switcheroo, too. Word of warning on that; don’t get cute unless you’ve got an extra option. Rotation seems likely for several teams this round. Alright, good luck with your fades, good look with your picks to click, and good luck with your bottom.

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