Erick Torres (@MLS)
This week starts the Cup competition for MLS fantasy. Many players in various leagues will now have something new to play for. Unless you’re fighting for a playoff spot in your current league, the Cup competition offers a fresh start for many fantasy owners.
If you’re only playing in a classic league format, the head to head style of play will be a bit different – but really, getting the highest score possible is always the main goal. And getting a good score this week may be harder to do than many people think. Between international WCQ call ups and key injuries, fielding a winning team this week will have to have an element of creativity.
5 things to consider:
1) You need to know how much your international players are worth to you.
The MLS fantasy site has done a fine job of highlighting each international player – now the decision lies in whether to bench those players, or sell them to bring in some new scoring options. First off, this is a short international break, and players are only scheduled to be out for just the one round. Given that you only keep half the profit from a player’s price rise, you need to carefully consider how you approach this.
Players like Donovan and Keane are easy to sell, but if you’ve had them awhile, they will prove hard to buy back. Keane is now listed at 11.0M and Donovan is at 10.5M. If you could find other players to sell to accommodate your roster, you may want to do so.
This may be one of those weeks where you focus more on starting 11 players and leave your bench full of players on international duty. It’s a risky move. How many times have you seen your #1 sub come in for a late scratch and help your score? It does happen, after all, and the bench is always your safety net. Look at your team finances and upcoming matches closely before making your decision.
2) Find the sleepers in the Double Game Week (DGW)
Four teams will play twice in Round 29; Columbus, Chivas, Seattle and Houston will kick of the action Wednesday, and play again over the weekend.
This isn’t the typical DGW set of teams that people start to trip over themselves to stock up on. But there are some values and very decent players that you can pick up that you will actually want to carry over into coming weeks. Typically, you can assume that your opponent will have at least 3 players in a DGW scoring situation – and that’s the minimum. So you need to get a few players that you can count on to combat the higher scores that your opponent will be posting.
If you’re saving your money, and stashing your high-priced internationals, the best deals for 7.0M or below for DGW players would be: Adam Moffat (HOU 7.0M), Josh Williams (COL 5.4M) and Lamar Neagle (SEA 5.5M)
3) Who thought Erick Torres (CHV) would be this good?
Torres may not be defined as a ‘sleeper’ anymore. But he’s still a striker at a value price that should be on your team this week if possible. With his past two performances, and Chivas playing twice this week, he may be a great captain pick.
Last week at Vancouver, Torres showed off how special he is with an unstoppable bicycle kick – and continued with that form and scored a second goal before the first half was out. Torres has now scored 6 goals in his 7 matches in the MLS. And four of those goals have come in the last two games netting him 12 points for each game for fantasy owners. His current price is 7.5M, and only looks to keep rising. He isn’t on the level yet where a person would sell Higuain or Keane to buy him, but if you have a striker who hasn’t performed as of late, Torres is a great option for a quick upgrade.
This week, Torres will play @Seattle and home to D.C. The Seattle game on the road may not be the best for results, but a home game against D.C. may net some positive gains. And even the Seattle fixture is not guaranteed to be an impossible challenge. Seattle has key players in international duty and Torres showed in Vancouver that he doesn’t mind playing in front of a hostile crowd.
4) Remember that Higuain is still in play
Even though Higuain has the suspension going into the game against Houston, he’s still eligible to play in the second game of the round against SKC. This really is a blessing for many owners. Sure, he’s not going to get double scoring, but he will be well rested.
Just the fact that he can play this round opens up a spot on your bench that can be used for other players you want to keep. What remains to be seen is how Higuain, and the rest of the Columbus players, react to the new coach. DGW aside, Higuain still has the potential to produce big points for you this week if you have him.
5) Jamaican me nervous…(sorry, bad pun)
Portland may be in rough shape this week. The Timbers are losing their three Jamaican internationals in Ricketts (GK), Ryan Johnson (F) and Powell (D). In addition to that, Will Johnson and Jack Jewsbury look to be ailing from injury along with striker Piquionne. Furthering the complication is Zemanski sitting out for a red card. Valeri looks to be listed as active, but it remains to be seen how fit he is coming off his last knock.
Portland is going to have a tough time – but they do get a home game against an iffy Toronto squad. The silver lining to all this is that Rodney Wallace didn’t get called up to international duty, and Jose Valencia may get his time to shine for the full 90 minutes. But with so many players out for Portland, there ought to be a ‘buyer beware’ sign on the remaining Timbers players that may be selected for a spot start.
Good luck in the Cup everybody.