It may be all-star week in Major League Soccer, but that doesn’t mean it’s a week off for you Fantasy MLS players.
Tonight’s make-up game between Houston and D.C. United starts a busy week in MLS that will work around Thursday’s all-star game.
SBI fantasy correspondent Casey Cannon takes a look at the good and bad buys for this week in fantasy MLS:
Hello and Welcome to the Soccer by Ives Fantasy Guide – now with pepper spray for hotdogs! Every week I dig through statistics, news, and rumors to provide the reader with the kind of fantasy advice that only someone who loves the smell of mace in the concession stand 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/.
Lesson Learned number one: The first game of the week is TODAY, Tuesday at 7:30 EST. Go pick a team right now.
Last week was strange with all the teams sharing points in MLS play. I avoided a draw and managed to do better than 50% with my picks last week. I recommended taking three from LA. That safe pick worked out reasonably well with two goals, but since it is such a safe pick I feel like I should only get half credit. I recommended taking three from Chicago. That didn’t go as well as I hoped. I recommended avoiding all of Dallas FC except Cooper. Dallas did better than I expected earning a draw, but I still claim 50% on the pick.
Busch, the Goalie pick earned a shutout due to some stellar play and friendly woodwork. Buddle, my value pick earned 5 points for his $230,000 expense while Mapp, my overpriced warning, only earned 4 points for his $507,000 expense. So my individual picks were perfect pushing me to 4/6 for the week. Enough to earn my paycheck, but not enough to make the all star game. Even though I don’t get to attend (no really, I am happy to have your parents over hon), in honor of the MLS all Star game, I will share lessons learned from the first half of the season. The first one isn’t a lesson learned, but still important if my reader is interested in picking a DC or Houston player this week. Keep reading for my picks of the week and more mid season lessons learned.
Lesson Learned #2: The best alignment is a 3-4-3, but anything with three defenders is ok. The top forwards have a higher point per game average than the top midfielders who are higher than the top defenders. On any given week there is plenty of variance in actual play to allow playing hunches. Additionally, when a team plays two games in a week this hint may loose all validity.
Take Three – LA. Donovan and Buddle are still one and two on the spreadsheet for field players. Beckham dropped to 19th. The spreadsheet says that taking all three should yield 36 fantasy points this week. Perhaps Carlos Ruiz is worth a try? Just remember not to take Cronin, he gets lit up more than a pinball machine.
Lesson Learned #3. Always save a trade for a winning coach. Coaches average 9 points a game, which is more than all but the top six field players. Make sure to get the coach right every week, even if it means accepting a lesser field player.
Take Three – Real Salt Lake. RSL has a huge home carpet advantage. They are playing against a Toronto team that needs a forward to be a legitimate threat. Morales, fresh off an all star snub will have extra motivation. This should be an easy win for the Utah boys.
Avoid – Toronto. Away from BMO field, I just don’t see them pulling this game out. Maybe they get a fluke goal, but that’s all. And lets take a moment to mourn the career of Jeff Cunningham.
Lesson Learned #4 Make sure to have a keeper on the bench. As long as Jon Busch in relatively cheap he either needs to be the starter, or on the bench. Goalie is such an important position, having a safety valve on the bench can save wasting trades every week and is just good practice.
Keeper – Nick Rimando. I am disagreeing with the spreadsheet here. My math-centric spreadsheet still has Jon Busch as the best fantasy keeper in the league. Busch makes 3.5 points per game more than Rimando. But I just can’t turn down Rimando at home over the Maple Leafs. I have the spreadsheet because I don’t pick well without it; be warned about this recommendation.
Lesson Learned #5. $333,333. That is the amount an average player on a team costs. This week the average field player should make four points a game. Anyone paying more than $333,333 for a player should expect more than four points. This is why Jon Busch at $210,000 for 22.75 points per game and Buddle at $183,000 for 14.9 points per game are such great values.
Value – Edson Buddle. The second field player on the spreadsheet, he only costs $12,317 per expected point. I can’t understand why his price isn’t higher. Beckham seems to like Gullit, but I have to believe that Edson Buddle loves his coach most of all.
Overpriced – Ramiro Corrales. One of the worst values in all of fantasy soccer. This San Jose player costs $407,000 and averages one point per game. Some very hard math shows that every point he earns costs $407,000 fantasy dollars. Not even the federal government wastes money this badly.
Stop by next week for a new section: To Up, Two Down.