I was going to open this week's round-up with a none-too-subtle satire on MLS trumpeting a certain goal that a certain player scored on Sunday until I realized that in this day and age, getting an e-mail from a league for the sole purpose of celebrating a player setting a new statistical milestone is probably par for the course. If Sidney Crosby breaks a major Wayne Gretzky record - for the sake of argument, let's say career playoff goals - I can see NHL.com going bonkers with the hype train. Likewise, if LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's six league MVP trophies, the NBA would probably be plastering the digital walls of the internet and the physical walls of ESPN with "WE LOVE YOU LEBRON" banners. Getting a "breaking news" alert via e-mail? Probably not as offensive after a sober second thought. (For the record, I still think it was a stupid idea.)
So what does all of this mean for fantasy owners? It means Landon Donovan ($10.7m) and Robbie Keane ($11.0m) made the most of a struggling opponent in the Philadelphia Union and put them to the sword, romping to a 4-1 win on Sunday and banking a mighty haul of fantasy points for Round 12 - 18 for Donovan, 23 for Keane. If Donovan is going to go on a post-snub tear through MLS, now is the time to pick him up before his price rises. LA Galaxy has a decent schedule before the World cup break - away to the Chicago Fire, home against Chivas USA - so it won't be a bad investment for the short-term.
Know what was a bad investment? Giving the captain's armband to Stefan Ishizaki ($7.4m). I knew there'd be an element of risk giving the LA midfielder the captaincy but cripes, not that much risk: eight points at the end of the round, including the double-points bonus? Yikes. I envy those of you who took a far more calculated risk and gave the armband to one of the in-form strikers like Dom Dwyer ($8.4m), Patrick Mullins ($5.0,) or Bradley Wright-Phillips ($8.0m). Dwyer in particular had a great round, netting a brace against Toronto in a full 90 minutes of work for a total of 12 points. I'd hang onto the Sporting Kansas City striker for as long as he stays hot.
Before we get into this week's winner of the coveted Eighty Six Forever League Best Score Shout-Out, a quick plug for the official Eighty Six Forever Brazil Bracket Challenge. Make your World Cup bracket, predict who wins what where and you could get the ultimate prize of, um, bragging rights! Yeah! Quick side note: if you don't pick Mexico to make it out of the group stage, expect to hear about it from Jorge Mendoza. Right, with that out of the way, onto last round's big winner - and I do mean big, considering his 140 points was nearly double my paltry 77 - Marcus Bernardino, whose Northern Waves did the opposite of me and captained the correct member of the LA Galaxy:
Sorry, I need to go wipe up the drool that resulted from seeing a captained player earn a ginormous 46 points. Yowza. It's not like the rest of Marcus' team was a slouch either, with Dwyer, Fabian Espindola ($8.8m), Christian Fernández Salas ($7.0m) and Bill Hamid ($4.9m) all making solid contributions. You may have noticed the last three players in that list were all from D.C. United. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is not the 2013 version of D.C., something teams and fantasy managers still appear to be coming to grips with. Not Marcus, though - well done, Mr. Bernardino!
Here's the schedule for Round 13, with DGWs for Sporting Kansas City, Chivas USA and the Portland Timbers:
- I mentioned D.C.'s Christian Fernández Salas above and I'll do it again here. Yes, their opponent is Sporting Kansas City this week but it's an injury-ravaged SKC on the second game of a DGW. Fernández's history is trending the right way: 8, 5, 7, 8. That's the kind of well-priced defender you want on your team leading into the World Cup wildcard.
- It might be a bit early to say the Portland Timbers have finally turned the corner on their awful start to 2014; however, considering your alternatives for DGW teams are the star-crossed SKC and the avoid-anyone-not-named-Erick Torres ($8.7m) Chivas USA, Portland's probably your best bet. Diego Valeri ($10.4m) is still a beast in midfield and attackers Gaston Fernandez ($7.5m) and Maximiliano Urruti ($6.4m) are great budget buys if nothing else.
- The New England Revolution are playing the Montreal Impact this round. Need I say more?
- It took an injury crisis of near-comical proportions to do it, but SKC is now on the "bad buy" list until their defenders expunge whatever Tutankhamen-esque curse they're afflicted with. If you want to pick one player for their DGW (and honestly, I would only recommend picking up one), it has to be Dwyer. Everyone else? Sell, sell, sell.
- Considering the massive bye week/World Cup break looming on the horizon, try to avoid picking up any high-priced players in the immediate future. Prices are going to fluctuate wildly as wildcard-abusing managers play the metagame market to try and eke a profit out; the last thing you need is for your team value to take a hit because nobody's going to try and make a profit on Javier Morales ($11.2m).
- The Montreal Impact quarantine is still in full effect. Rumours of six-armed, nine-headed physios emerging from the atomic waste factory that is l'Impact are unfounded (albeit totally cool).
- (If anyone gets that reference, I will be pleasantly surprised.)
Who are you picking up to see you through to the World Cup break? Spill your secrets in the comments section below and I'll see you next week!