(Apologies for the delay in this week's fantasy roundup; there were some scoring changes that I wanted to be absolutely sure were sorted out before posting.)
I'd like to say that I'm some sort of fantasy genius, having snapped up young Philadelphia midfielder Leonardo Fernandes ($4.8m) back during my initial team build. The flattering story says I had a feeling this motivated, fit athlete would find a way to make an impact for his club this season. In truth, Fernandes was a cheap space filler that allowed me to pick higher-salaried options elsewhere; that he has since turned out to be an early fantasy steal just gives me the appearance of intelligence and otherwise competent team selection.
Then again, here I am writing fantasy articles for this and other websites, so, maybe if we all ignore that previous sentence and collectively buy into this whole "I know a thing or two about fantasy" scheme, everyone wins. Sound good? Good!
But seriously, how about this Fernandes kid? While I had the ill fortune to leave him on my bench the last two weeks - weeks in which he posted 8- and 7-point scores, confirming my suspicions that the youngster is cursing me for not putting him in my starting eleven - Fernandes is having the great fortune of being able to repay his coach's confidence in spades. If Fernandes can continue to get spot duty and produce at even two-thirds of his current (admittedly unsustainable) clip, he's a steal at his current price.
Speaking of scoring clips, Jermain Defoe ($10.9m) has acclimatized well to MLS in the early stages. I predicted good things for him in my preview article at WhitecapsFC.com, and he duly delivered against D.C. United. Even more imporantly, Defoe is almost at the $11.0m mark. Those of you who bought the former Tottenham Hotspurs striker early are looking at a nice profit once the time comes to sell. Those of you who haven't bought yet, be careful; Real Salt Lake is no D.C. United, so don't go looking for easy goals from Defoe this week.
In the Eighty Six Forever fantasy league, it was a decent week for Fort Victoria SC. My team pulled in 52 points, despite missing out on all those tasty Fernandes points. I was well off the pace of the Round 3 winner, though, as Akaash Shah's Beginners Luck came away with a hefty 72 points to move into 7th place overall. Here's Akaash's team:
If you can believe it, there was still potential for Akaash to improve on a 72-point haul as Shane O'Neill ($6.5m) was on the bench with 6 points. Still, it's hard to complain with the solid away outing from Seattle, another excellent weekend from Aurélien Collin ($10.0m) and the risky-yet-rewarding (albeit a calculated risk with good odds) decision to captain Defoe. If that really is "beginners luck", I shudder to think what happens when Akaash starts trying.
Here's a look at the week ahead in MLS Fantasy Manager:
- The Philadelphia Union are starting to really gel as a team, which makes almost any buy a good one. More importantly, they're coming up on a double-points week in Round 7 (away to New York, home vs. Houston). Considering the opposition, I would prioritize defenders below the midfielders and attackers. I mentioned Fernandes before; Sebastien Le Toux ($8.6m) is another with the Rituro stamp of approval.
- Either Akaash has been listening to me singing the praises of Mauro Rosales ($7.9m) or he really is operating on beginners' luck to have both Chivas USA's playmaker - Rosales - and primary scoring threat - Erick Torres ($8.2m) - on his team. That's not a bad strategy at all, if for no other reason than the cost savings. Remember: a million saved is a million banked for later use on a better player (or something like that).
- MLSSoccer.com posted a great article on the top early steals of the fantasy season which I strongly recommend you take a look at. All of the players listed are good value for their price, though I'd consider prioritizing the likes of Hector Jimenez ($5.5m) and Harrison Shipp ($5.6m) above the others.
- How about those Portland Timbers? Their early season struggles are not likely to improve in the short term with Donovan Ricketts ($6.0m) suspended for the next two matches. If you can find a way to offload Timbers players (especially defenders) without taking a transfer penalty this round, you would be well served to do so.
- It may be tempting to jump back on the Will Bruin ($8.4m) bandwagon following the Houston Dyanmo's bye week but take a "wait-and-see" approach with the striker for the next match or so. Either the rest will have kept Bruin energized or will have dulled his early sharp form. I'd lean towards the latter option, so consider yourselves warned.
- The Montreal Impact quarantine remains in effect. Do not approach without a full biohazard suit.
As always, feel free to debate, discuss and brag in the comments section below. See you next week!