The MLS fantasy season is in full swing and whether you are off to a good start thanks to all those Crew and Fire players you grabbed, or you’re in the tank thanks to the Chivas USA and Houston player you banked your seasons on, you can always use some advice.
SBI Correspondent Stephen Zaffuto has you covered in that department. He made it through his Cinco De Mayo stupor to deliver this week’s fantasy MLS tips.
By STEPHEN ZAFFUTO
Cinco de Mayo didn’t happen to fall on a weekend this year, and neither did St. Patty’s Day a few months back. While one may have expected this unfortunate occurrence to provide a hefty obstacle between a cool cerveza/frothy pint (only one!) and the livers of we cubiclemongers and nine-to-fivers, it could all have been overcome with just a little ingenuity.
You see, when you’re given these inflexible, fixed-date holidays, sometimes just have to make adjustments on your own. While it would be easy to look at the calendar, see Cinco de Mayo on a Monday and leave the sombrero closeted for another year, these are precisely the situation where true champions are born. YOU must take control. No longer should you yield to the tyranny of the calendar, instead invoking your will over everything that stands between you and quenching your indomitable thirst for margaritas and car bombs.
This is precisely the way of thinking that created St. Practice Day (any weekend day in early March). Can’t make it out on March 17th? Drink yourself into a stupor on the 7th! In this same pioneering spirit, my friends and I officially decided that Cinco de Mayo would be held on March 3rd this year (and yes, we do know Spanish). And, in my opinion (as recounted to me the next day), it was “[freaking] maravillosa!”
Which brings me to fantasy MLS (sorry, my Automatic Segue Machineâ„¢ is broken this week, so bear with me). The key to being successful over a long season lies in the ability to adjust. While it’s easy (and at times therapeutic) to blame the somewhat counterintuitive and seemingly random player salary and scoring systems, the only way you’ll get better is to take the reins yourself. Master the information available through the first six weeks, find patterns, and make it work for you.
Because you’re only allotted three player moves per week, there’s only so much you can do, so here’s a little advice. Go with the flow. Don’t pick up names, pick up results. Just because Luciano Emilio is more talented than, say, Omar Cummings or Kenny Deuchar doesn’t mean he’s better for your fantasy team. While I expect Emilio to put up more numbers as the season goes on, there is one undeniable fact at this point: he’s not getting too many chances. Players like Cummings and Deuchar, on the other hand, are being put into great positions by their teammates consistently, and more opportunities means more potential for fantasy points. For the second straight week, I’ll cite the fact that Alan Gordon scored a brace two weeks ago, and rest my case.
Chris Rolfe, FWD, CHI ($435K) – After watching Colorado’s offense torch DC’s backline for 17 shots this past week, I like a few guys on Chicago’s attack. Rolfe is possibly the surest bet to find the back of the net, as he’s currently in pretty good form and should cause trouble sneaking in behind a slow DC United defense to latch onto some Blanco through balls and show off his impressive finishing ability (which, if Omar Cummings possessed Â½ of, he would have bagged a hat trick last week).
Juan Pablo Angel, FWD, NYR ($417K) – If this year’s Red Bulls – Galaxy tilt is anything like the one played in Giants Stadium last August, they might as well just play 5 v 5 with no goalies to spare them the indignity. Angel will be looking to rediscover the form of yesteryear now that he’s fully healthy, and somehow I don’t suspect Xavier or Vanney will have much to say about it.
Christian Gomez, MF, COL ($281K) – Like nearly all midfielders, Gomez’ value has plummeted. Unlike most other midfielders, though, Gomez’ has continued to produce, registering two more assists last week against his former employers and co-workers. Against a Dynamo squad that’s still struggling, look for Gomez to continue the run of good form and notch at least an assist and a shot or two on goal, and possibly more.
Honorable Mention: Blanco ($370K), R. Rogers ($227K), Morales ($244K)
Chad Marshall, D, CLB ($357K) – The best play amongst all Crew defenders as they go up against San Jose’s offense, which has had about as much access to the net as society, pre-Al Gore. Marshall is in good form and is a pretty decent bet to go the full 90, with an outside shot at adding points through a goal or assist.
Honorable Mention: Borchers ($302K), Kimura ($199K), Riley ($270K)
Brad Guzan, GK, CHV ($397K) – Suddenly only the eighth most expensive goalie in the league, Guzan has as good of value as any keeper this week. Coming off a stellar performance against Houston in which he stopped shots as if they were questionably qualified American goalkeepers and he a English work permit review board, Guzan will look to keep the good times rollin’. If he has truly regained the form that made him the apple of eyes all across the British Isles, you’ll want to buy in at the low point. Facing a still-less-than-full-strength Revs squad at the HDC could be the time to pull the trigger.
Honorable Mention: Cannon ($423K), Hesmer ($466K)
Next Week: Planning Ahead – Making the moves you WANT to make instead of the moves you NEED to make.