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Ben's Fantasy (MLS Fantasy Manager Round 23)

The Black (and Red) Swan

MLS: Toronto FC at New York City FC Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

My calendar flashed a reminder to me on Monday. The big week was finally here. This is the week to go big on DC United. Hear me out.

Handicappers frequently tout value in trends. There’s a pretty significant element of sorcery to this practice given that it often compares teams over the course of different seasons to the point there aren’t even any of the same players on the team when you get to the beginning of the trend. So why is it even a tactic worth trying again? Honestly, it does seem like betting a trend is really just feeding confirmation bias. If you’re skeptical of that, well, I’m pretty much on board with you. That said, if a trend carries out over a long enough period, who am I not to share that information?

The trend I’m referencing leads to a significantly contrarian play this weekend. The play: Go long on DC United attackers. The trend: in every season since 2011, DC United has scored 3+ goals in at least one home game in August. Furthermore, in that span, the only season where they didn’t manage to score 4 or more was in the 2013 season where they managed only 16 points and 22 goals for the entire season. The last 2 seasons, they’ve put up SIX in a game at home in August.

Delving into that a little further, DC United did manage to finish in the Top 5 in the league in goals scored in 2011 and 2012. Since then, their attack was hardly elite- only returning to the Top 5 again last year after a 6 goal game in August and a 3 month stretch at the end of the season where they failed to score 2 or more goals in a match one time. With that in mind earlier this year, I checked the August schedule and circled this date. This is where DC breaks out.

Some might point to the New England game, and there’s certainly an argument to be made there. New England promises to be an open game as well although some of the action could be dampened by weather and rivalry that a matchup against a young (and at times leaky) RSL defense doesn’t feature. It’s better to find the points first instead of chasing them, and if old trends hold, you’ll find no better opportunity for found points your competition lost than right here.

DC has made some big moves in the transfer window, and an offensive outburst on Saturday could easily be attributed to that. Lucho Acosta and Deshorn Brown are the closest to a sure thing here. If Patrick Nyarko’s eye has healed, I like him here, too. I’ve given you a sketchy reason for why it was predictable. Let’s see how everyone reacts.


Fool’s Gold: (Round 22. 2-2 (4.8 avg), Season 9-7 (4.32 avg))

  1. Bradley Wright-Phillips F $10.5
  2. CJ Sapong F $10.5
  3. Sacha Kjlestan- M $11.3
  4. Jack Elliot- D $4.5

Jones and Roldan did even better making a fool of me last round combining for 16 last round, and given the matchup with fatigued Spork, I won’t be returning to that folly this round. My other fades, however, combined for 3, so we’re still cooking with gas here.

It’s a going in on a hunch kind of round, and that’s pretty much all I’ve got on the Cows. They’ve been pretty good, but I get the feeling their match with OCSC is going to end up being kind of dour. Philly? Yeah, the same- I don’t think McCarthy is going to end up with 9 saves again, and I’m crossing my fingers that Sapong is kept off the board. It’s a gut feeling, and that’s all I’ve got to offer- no measurable trend, alas.

Again- this is the avoid pile. Do so at your own peril. These are all popular players I’m fading in order to catch up. This end’s this week’s disclaimer.

Byrd’s Ballers: (Round 22. 3-1-1, Season 62-29-18)

  1. Sebastian Giovinco F $13.1
  2. Lee Nguyen M $10.8
  3. Justin Meram M $10.0
  4. Matt Hedges D $7.1
  5. Luciano Acosta - M $8.3

Former MFLS regular Melissa Metzger’s Hampton Strikers took top honors last round posting an impressive score of 107. That’s 11 better than Phil, who still looks on course to coast to the season title. The folks who didn’t captain Villa last round certainly missed out (yours truly, included).

I was thwarted by Nikolic last round; many others’ frustration rested with Giovinco. He won’t disapoint this round. Nguyen and Meram have been beasts at home this year. I’m serious about DC this round, and that extra money can be put into the defense. Hedges has a hefty price tag but, quietly, he’s well worth it this round with goal shy Crapids coming to town. I’m thumbing my nose at the consensus this round. You know the season long ballers all too well, so ignore my ballers for the tried and true at your peril.

Skinflint’s Specials: (Round 22 1-4-0, Season 52-58-0)

  1. Anthony Jackson-Hamel F $5.0
  2. Artur M $5.7
  3. Kofi Opare D $4.3
  4. AJ De la Garza D $5.0
  5. Nicholas Hadler D $4.5

Since my rule for scoring this has no rounding or greatest integer function at play, my only win last round was Solignac. Every one of the defenders I listed last round scored four. That’s fine at that price, but that’s also fade-able, and it’s also not up to standard for a win. If I can finish the year at .500 or better on these picks, I’ll be pleased.

Wew! Good options in this price range this round are sparse. I’m hoping Jackson-Hamel starts and takes advantage of Philly (who has some dings) and Artur racks up some bonus points in a tough matchup with Chicago. De la Garza and Hadler probably have the best matchups but are hardly a sure thing. The same goes for Opare, although RSL hasn’t scored in a while so who knows. Hopefully, the DC attackers will free up some bucks for you to avoid this selection for the most part. Good luc, fam!

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