Fantasy Forecast: Unpredictably can't be calculated
I know this article is supposed to be a forecast but I’d like to open with a little bit of reflection; specifically, on the craziness that happened in Columbus last week. Nearly every pundit and fantasy prognosticator - myself included - called for Toronto FC to be annihilated at the hands of the Crew. Apparently, Toronto didn’t get the memo, stunning Columbus 2-0 and making a lot of people who captained Federico Higuain ($10.9m) - myself included - more than a little unhappy.
Why do I bring this up? Because fantasy sports are, just like the real thing, prone to upsets that buck the odds and defy conventional logic. Sometimes you just have to take the outlier results as they are and move on to the next week. It is truly an insane individual that pretends to be an expert in predicting the future… which, uh, hm. That doesn’t exactly cast me in a good light, does it? Uh…
New moral: there’s always next week. Boom! Much better. So, let’s get right to it!
Double Double Week Week
Looking ahead on the Major League Soccer schedule, the magical event known as a “double week” is approaching. For the uninitiated, a “double week” is where a team plays both a midweek match and a weekend match with both matches counting towards your score. As you can imagine, this is where the good fantasy managers separate themselves from the average ones. Picking players that are likely to get you as close to 180 minutes as possible are a must; captaining said players are also up there on the “must do” list. For example, the lucky team with the double in Round 7 - not this coming round, but the next one - is the Philadelphia Union. That means you have one round (two if you haven’t made any moves yet) to get as many reliable Philly players in your squad as possible. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath ($5.0m) fits this bill nicely, with midfielder Sebastien Le Toux ($8.7m) not a bad shout either.
In the next few rounds, teams with double-weeks include New York, Houston, Columbus, Seattle, FC Dallas, San Jose and Colorado. If you’re not using your free transfers on these teams, you’re doing something wrong. At the very least, a goalkeeper from any of these teams is a must for the foreseeable future, with top picks being Houston's Tally Hall and Dallas' Chris Seitz.
Meanwhile, Back In The Present…
That said, we’re not at Round 7 yet - we’re at Round 6, where Sporting Kansas City is on a bye. If you have a free transfer to swap out the likes of Graham Zusi ($10.9m) or Aurélien Collin ($10.0m) for someone that will actually be playing this week, it’s a better prospect than leaving a high-priced player rotting on your bench.
Taking a peek at the rest of the schedule, two matches in particular stand out to me. First, FC Dallas is home to Seattle Sounders FC. It’s not like I needed another reason to espouse the virtues of Mauro Diaz ($8.3m) but here we are. If Seattle’s woes on the road against Portland last week are a sign of things to come, look for Diaz and his midfield buddies Je-Vaughn Watson ($6.2m) and Fabian Castillo ($7.2m) to rack up their fair share of attacking points. Secondly, a revitalized Portland is at home to a Chivas USA squad that is proving so far to be a cut above their recent incarnations. In other words, if you like points, grab some of the Rose City combatants: Darlington Nagbe ($9.3m), Maximiliano Urruti ($6.5m), Mauro Rosales ($8.0m) and Erick Torres ($8.5m) all have potential to help improve your squad this week.
Hey, What About Those Whitecaps?
It dawns on me that at some point I should probably talk about the team whose website was kind enough to print this article. Truth be told, up until now, I’ve been hesitant to recommend any of the ‘Caps pending some results from the opening matches of the season. Well, those opening matches have come and gone and I’ve since warmed up to a trio of Whitecaps:
• Darren Mattocks ($7.5m) - He finally got his goal and still looks like a complete forward this season. As long as Mattocks keeps doing all the right things on the field, he’s going to get points, be they goals or assists…
• Kenny Miller ($8.6m) - …to this gentlemen over here. Miller looks like he’s playing for a renewed contract and has a price point well below that of other top-tier strikers for other teams (e.g. Federico Higuain ($10.9m)). If you’re worried about Miller getting goals, don’t forget: he’s been the primary penalty-taker for the Whitecaps thus far.
• Pedro Morales ($8.5m) - He’s found his groove and is coming off back-to-back 6-point weeks, which is great for fantasy owners who want another producing midfielder. Morales is going to get attacking points as long as he keeps pinging those sublime crosses, some of which will no doubt become assists.
My Team For Round 6:
Rituro is a freelance writer and contributor to Eighty Six Forever, the SB Nation blog devoted to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. He also hosts the Eighty Six Forever MLS Fantasy League, which you should definitely join, and streams videos of his attempts to manage Whitecaps FC in Football Manager 2014 on his YouTube page.