Managing your fantasy team is getting tougher and tougher. With vacations and erratic MLS scheduling converging to leave you scurrying to set your lineup, some of you (like me) have thrown in the towel and started to look ahead to the EPL fantasy season for some redemption.
That doesn’t go for all of you. Some of you are still fighting the good fight in the MLS Fantasy Game and you survivors deserve some help. With that in mind, here is SBI Fantasy MLS guru Casey Cannon with his weekly tips and suggestions for the upcoming fantasy week:
By CASEY CANNON
Hello and Welcome to the Soccer by Ives Fantasy Guide – now with new formulas! Every week I dig through statistics, news, and rumors to provide the reader with the kind of fantasy advice that only someone who is busier than a wombat at a cheese eating contest can provide. I write this Monday night before the official injury reports come out, so don’t be grumpy if I tell you to pick a hurt player. For information on MLS Fantasy Football go to http://fantasy.mlsnet.com/.
We are entering another period where player availability will be greatly reduced. Right now only 93 of the top 150 field players are available. And the following week things only get worse. But before we pursue the slim pickings, lets see how my advice last week worked out.
Sadly my first pick, taking three players from LA, was a disaster. At least there were no red cards. I continued on to recommended three from RSL and to avoid all of Toronto. While I got the winner of that contest correct, the game was much closer than I expected, so only half credit for the two picks.
On the individual side, I ignored the spreadsheet and recommend Nick Rimando over Jon Busch. Ignoring my spreadsheet only cost me, what, like forty five points? I feel better because I warned everyone that I was picking against the spreadsheet. In related news, the computer from War Games wants to beat me in chess again.
My value pick, Buddle, was sadly part of the LA debacle and only earned 2 points. Far from Value material. Also far from value was Ramiro Corrales, my overpriced warning, who earned a whopping zero points for his $407,000 cost. All told I only went 2/6 for the week (the spreadsheet went 3/6. I guess that’s why I made the thing in the first place.) With my dismal week behind me, lets look ahead to the coming week.
It is exceedingly important to look at the schedule for the next two weeks. This week only ten teams play. The player pool is reduced further by Olympic call ups and the usual bumps and bruises. Next week only eight teams play. The entire list of teams that play in both weeks is as follows: Kansas City, D.C. United, Chivas, Chicago, Toronto. My number one recommendation for the week is to only trade for players from one of these five teams. I think many fantasy rosters will carry dead weight in the coming weeks. Having a squad full of active players will be a huge advantage. With that in mind, read on for the team picks.
Take Three – LA. (WARNING: LA does NOT play next week. Ensure it is possible to bench the LA players picked) Donovan and Buddle are still one and two on the spreadsheet for field players, even after the horrible Dallas game. Beckham continues to fall, this week down to 23rd – more on that below. The spreadsheet says that taking all three should yield 34 fantasy points this week. Playing against the expansion San Jose should give LA a couple goals. Remember to only take mids and forwards, Cronin get beaten more than an orphan with ADHD.
Take Three – Chicago. Lets weigh the evidence. Chicago is at home. An Eastern team against a Western team. Chicago has more points. Ante Razov with a chip on his shoulder, Guzan off to the EPL, Kljestan in China and Blanco wearing his street clothes. I gotta call advantage Chicago. As an added bonus Chicago plays next week as well.
Avoid – San Jose. They are picking up new players, but those new players will need time to jell. The leagues worst team is also off next week, so fight the temptation to guess which random player will put a ball past the LA goalie and just stay away.
Two Up, Two Down
Over the past few weeks I have been tweaking the spreadsheet to track which players are lighting up the league and which ones are letting their points per game drop. This new feature for the Soccer by Ives Fantasy Guide will highlight two players working their way up the spreadsheet and which ones are scoring less than Eddie Johnson in the premier league.
TWO UP: The two players working their way up this week are Chad Marshall and Conor Casey. Marshall has added .9 points per game over the last three weeks while moving up 15 spaces to the 28th ranked field player. Casey also added .9 points per game and moved up 15 spaces to 14th on the spreadsheet. In an odd twist, if Casey had finished any of his chances Sunday, Marshall would not be mentioned here, while Casey would be much higher. (Yes, I know Kenny Cooper is on a tear right now, but no one reading this needs me to point that out.)
TWO DOWN: Two designated players are loosing ground the last three weeks. Beckham and Blanco are both down. Beckham dropping his average .75 points a game while Blanco is .89 down. To put this into perspective these players have lost about 15% of their fantasy value. Is this a case of older players wearing out at mid season, or MLS teams aggressively marking these marquee players? Regardless the spreadsheet doesn’t lie, these two have been disappointing lately. Just something to think about before picking individual players for this week.
Keeper – Jon Busch. I am sorry Mr. Spreadsheet, I should have listened to you. Lets never argue again. The spreadsheet says Bushie is the number one keeper this week, and the matchup against Chivas is certainly a winnable one. So be like me and trust the numbers.
Value – Edson Buddle. I hate writing the same thing every week. But until Robbie Rogers is back from China, there is no one close to Buddle’s numbers – 14 points per game – for his rock bottom price. Next week I promise I won’t recommend Buddle.
Overpriced – Laurent Robert. This guy earns fewer fantasy points per game than Jeff Cunningham. Cunningham is in Coach Carver’s dog house, with only 1.7 points per game Robert should be in yours.
Stop by next week as I sift though the 84 field players available.