Fantasy Forecast: Double weeks on the radar
Jeff Smith advises to pick up Columbus and Philadelphia players
April 3, 2014
Special to whitecapsfc.com
The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, and awry it went for most MLS Fantasy Managers this past week. The average team scored just 39 points in Round 4 as many of the highest owned fantasy players had dismal weeks. Matt Hedges and Victor Bernardez both had own goals. Darlington Nagbe and Jermain Defoe each scored one point and were subbed off due to injury. Michael Harrington, Je-Vaughn Watson, and Djimi Traore all finished with negative points.
Unless you had Federico Higuain, Alvaro Saborio, or Graham Zusi, you were likely not happy with your total.
If you managed to score above 55 points, give yourself a pat on the back!
The Crew are cruising
The Columbus Crew are on fire, winning all three of their games and scoring at least two goals in all of these contests. The man at the centre of this success has been Federico Higuain, but the supporting cast around him seems dramatically better than last season. The midfield foursome of Bernardo Anor, Will Trapp, Hector Jimenez, and Tony Tchani have been fantastic on the pitch and very solid in MLS Fantasy this year. All four are also affordable, and seem poised to rise in price in the near future.
Their Week 5 opponents, Toronto FC, will be without Jermain Defoe (injury) and Steven Caldwell (suspension). Toronto looked poor defensively on the road against Real Salt Lake, and have kept a dismal percentage of possession thus far this season, even in their wins. Without Defoe’s goal poaching abilities and Caldwell’s defending, Columbus players should be in line for Fantasy success. Making Higuain your captain this week is almost a no-brainer.
Double-match weeks are on the horizon
This year MLS Fantasy Manager allows you to own four players from the same team instead of three, as it was last year. This means that double game weeks present an even larger opportunity for huge point total than before.The first team to play two games in the same MLS Fantasy week this season are Philadelphia Union and it happens in just two weeks time. Round 7 has Philadelphia play a Wednesday game in New York followed by a Saturday game at home against Houston Dynamo. This means you have six free transfers left if you want load up on Union players, and the time to start is right now.
Nearly 12% of all teams already have Sebastien Le Toux, and if you don’t have him in your lineup, you will definitely want to get him for Round 7. Amobi Okugo is a very consistent point producing defender, but at $9M he may be tricky to fit into many squads. Jack McInerney and Brian Carroll are also good options if you want to go with four union players when the time comes.
The best value among Union players has to be Leonardo Fernandes at just $5M, who started the season at $4.5M but has risen due to being transferred in by nearly 3,000 teams. While he hasn’t started in the past two weeks, the double-match week and Cristian Maidana’s underwhelming play should ensure he logs significant minutes. Expect his price to continue to climb as the season goes on.
New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo both have double-match weeks in Week 8, meaning it would be technically possible to start eight players who play two games that week. A tantalizing thought, but given that teams tend to rest players on either end of the double-match week, it may not be worth the trouble. That said, it’s a good idea to plan on picking up a few of the best Houston and New York players over the next three weeks.
My plan is to dress at least two or three players from each of the double-match week teams as the season goes along, provided I have enough transfers to make it work.
Captains To Consider – Week 5
1. Federico Higuain
2. Graham Zusi
3. Michael Parkhurst
4. Brad Davis
5. Mauro Rosales
6. Pedro Morales
7. Aurelien Collin
8. Marco DiVaio
9. Mike Magee
10. Will Bruin
Here is my team for this week.