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Ben's Fantasy (MLS Fantasy Manager Round 25)

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Your contrarian primer for this round

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

This is it. This is the big week if you’re going to crawl back in to this thing. If you’re Phil, you can ignore this; but everyone else needs to go big this round. My weekly article slots in regularly on game days because I’m lazy but also because it gives me every moment of time possible to dive into the minutiae. By the time I write this, I’ve got a pretty decent idea of who the most popular players are, and crowdsourcing certainly helps me do my write up to an extent.

What it also does is help me look at the why a little bit more closely. You probably already know that Diego Valeri is one of the more popular adds this week, and you might know that he’s averaging over 10 per game over his last 4 matches. You probably didn’t know that another very popular midfield add over his last 4 matches is only averaging 1.5 key passes and 2.25 shots per game over that span. That midfielder is Diego Valeri. Are you still confident about adding him?

We’re going for maximum points and maximum differential in the column this week. It’s time to burn the ships. Let’s get to it...

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Fool’s Gold: (Round 24. (NA), Season 12-8 (4.26 avg))

  1. Justin Meram M $9.9
  2. Clint Dempsey F $10.1
  3. Adolfo Machado D $5.3
  4. Ola Kamara F $10.5

Bonus Fade: Zach Steffen GK $4.9

If you’re not familiar how I do this, my rules are pretty strict. You can go here to review. I’m shorting Columbus heavily this round. They start off the week with a rested LA side prime for a bounce and finish off their 3rd game in 8 days with FC Dallas, who hung 3 on Columbus the last time they visited. This is the week Columbus’s season dies.

I’m hearing some murmurs about player rotation for the Sounders this round, and Dempsey is one of the more obvious candidates to miss a start. They’ve racked up a lot of their damage over the last few weeks against bottom feeders, so he might not even be good for 4 over 2 games let alone per. Finally, Houston’s got a couple of tough matchups this round. For Machado, his risk is compounded by the fact that he’s one yellow away from suspension. Without Cabezas and De la Garza to start out the round, his popularity is kind of a head scratcher. Best of luck to all of those who are more sanguine about the Hondurans fortunes this round.

Edit: Joevin Jones is not on this list, but he’s gone this round. Find a Plan B.

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 24. 4-0-1, Season 66-29-19)

  1. Albert Rusnak M $9.7
  2. Josef Martinez F $10.8
  3. Maxi Urruti F $10.0
  4. Jozy Altidore D $7.1
  5. Luciano Acosta -M $8.3

Welp, it was sad times last round if you didn’t captain Ignacio Piatti. Fortunately, the entirety of our division’s Top 10 played the chalk and reaped the rewards. Most notably, Phil’s nemesis Pancho Villa’s Watch did and was able to fill in the gaps to the tune of 153 last round for top score. Phil still has a comfortable lead, but this was about the same time last year where I had a comfortable lead and it began to dwindle.

RSL has a daisy of a setup this round, and I love Albert Rusnak to go big. The guy is a bonus point machine on top of his penchant for providing the killer pass and the occasional goal. He has a similar ceiling to Josef Martinez, who I think comes back this week and provides top score at the forward spot. It’s hard to tell given the lack of transparency with injuries in MLS so, if he doesn’t start, I’ll be just as happy to roll with Miguel Almiron this round.

Remember me scratching my beard whiskers about Diego Valeri? Maxi has one fewer key pass than Valeri in the same span and seven more shots which gives him 4 shots/game over that span. That doesn’t even include the 2 goals he had that were wiped away by VAR. Combine that with the aforementioned absences, a tasty matchup with Will Trapp and company, and Urruti’s incredible motor, and there’s a recipe for some significant havoc this round. I’m going full bore with FC Dallas this round; give me their central defenders and Jesse, too.

Everyone is running to Giovinco this round, but my gut feeling is that Jozy outscores him this round. He’s kind of boom or bust, but I’m trusting my instincts on this one. Finally, I’m standing by the trend I noted a couple of rounds ago. DC will score this round (hell, they’ve got 2 home games) and put up at least one game with a crooked number. Acosta is the best vector to enjoy the spoils of that, so he round out my Ballers this round.

If you’re just checking in, this is how I score the Ballers and Specials.

Skinflint’s Specials: (Round 24 4-1-0, Season 56-59-0)

  1. Anton Walkes D $4.2
  2. Dave Romney D $5.0
  3. Kofi Opare D $4.4
  4. Russel Canouse M $6.5
  5. Jack Elliot D $4.3

Bonus Special: Nouhou Tolo (D- $4.2) should slot in for Jones this round. He’s as good an option as any of the 5 listed.

There’s a pretty simple calculation at work with all of the defenders; they’ve all got 2 games this round and are favored to play both. I give Walkes the pole position here because I think he’s got the best chance of adding a goal or an assist. Elliot has the least appetizing matchups of the 4, but he’s locked in for Philly, and he’s pretty much a sure thing to get you your point per dollar. Canouse made his first start in Colorado over the weekend, and the early returns are promising. He has the poor man’s Godoy/Alonso vibe about him, and two home games could easily translate to a double digit round for him. If you need a budget man who’ll actually play to fill out your roster in the midfield this round, give him a look and thank me next week. I’ll be here at 5:30 for chat and last minute tips if you decide you’re crazy enough to ask me. Good luck!

Complaints, comments, suggestions, slang? Email bmlyon (at) yahoo.com