First off, a rousing thank you to everyone who joined our dedicated MLS Fantasy league in time for round one - all 165(!) of you. There's still time to join in the fun, so be sure to head on over to fantasy.mlssoccer.com and create your team. If you already have a team, click here to automatically join the Eighty Six Forever league. (If the link doesn't work, manually enter code 186-1197.)
If you saw my inaugural "Fantasy Forecast" for WhitecapsFC.com, you also saw the roster I took into the opening match. I have to say, I'm pretty thrilled that I finished the weekend with above-average results. There's nothing more embarrassing than flouting one's alleged knowledge on a subject only to fail miserably. I think we can all agree a 67-point round is far from a miserable failure:
As you can see, I nearly whiffed on my captaincy choice, missing both Federico Higuain and Corey Ashe's 11-point nights. While I stand by my position on the risk-reward of a forward as captain, it's a lucky thing both Houston defenders had good nights - Kofi Sarkodie's 9 points is a fine return for the fullback and I'll take my 18 points with no further complaints.
Elsewhere in the league, our top performer of the round was Sporting Chance coached by one Trevor B. Sporting Chance made their bones on an impressive haul from their forwards, topped off with a captained Higuain:
Even Trevor's benched forward, Quincy Amarikwa, managed a goal for his fantasy team, which is either brilliant foresight or incredible luck for the first day of the season. Either way, it's a great start for Sporting Chance with very few transfers needing to be made to account for the Week 2 bye teams (Columbus, DC, LA). On that note, let's look ahead to the next round:
- Orange is the new
blackhotness. Houston's early schedule gives them another home date against a promising opponent; this time, it's the less-than-inspiring Montreal squad. If you can get an extra Houston player onto your squad, do so. There will be goals and, should all go well, maybe even another clean sheet.
- Sporting KC at home? Versus a Dallas team in flux? Oh my, yes. That's a solid buy on SKC.
- If you're looking for some away teams to sneak a result, I like Real Salt Lake against a Champions League-weakened San Jose. I wouldn't bank on a clean sheet but I would grab a midfielder for some defending points and perhaps an assist.
- After Vancouver's solid opening day performance, my hesitance about their fantasy prospects has all but vanished. Sebastián Fernández, assuming he's still in the starting XI, is a great buy. Pedro Morales, once he's fit, will also be good to have - just not right now.
- Not only do the LA Galaxy have a bye this week, they have a bye in Round 4. This is definitely not the time to be loading up on Galaxy players; sell 'em if you got 'em.
- Montreal's upcoming schedule is a nightmare: Houston, Seattle, Philadelphia and New York? Ugh. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
- Even though they may be on the cheaper side, use caution around DC as they continue their rebuild. Defenders, especially, should be left alone as you're probably not going to see many DC clean sheets this year.
Finally, be vigilant in checking the build-up to each match. Knowing who's likely to start and who's likely to sit will save you the embarrassment of captaining a zero-point player. There are plenty of resources at MLSSoccer.com as well as the pages for each of the 19 teams.
As always, feel free to debate, discuss and brag in the comments section below. Good luck!