Gee, thanks, Clint Dempsey ($10.6m). How many weeks did I go on about how your performance was bound to average out, only to have you post more unsustainable numbers? And, after I finally cracked and bought in to the Seattle hype, what did you do in a double-game week (DGW) in which you were my captain? Sweet bupkis by previous standards. Five measly points out of two matches?! I thought we were done with this nonsense after the curse of Leonardo Fernandes ($5.0m) was lifted! Bah! Thank goodness I was able to get rid of Deuce at a break-even price thanks to the gift that is Round 11 Wildcard Mania™.
Yes, that's right - if you're reading this before the Wednesday mid-week match takes place, you still have time to take advantage of a completely free transfer wildcard! I've been trying to ride the price of top players like a junior stock market investor with some degree of success - "some" being the operative word, as my gains have been cancelled out by twitchy roster fiddling as FIFA World Cup call-ups are announced and my general opinion on an upcoming match flip-flops. Even if you're not trying to play the MLS Fantasy Manager meta-game and weasel a few extra dollars into your team value, you still have a golden opportunity to reshape your squad in advance of the World Cup and more DGWs.
One person you'd be foolish not to take advantage of is New York Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips ($8.0m), who is on fire with eight goals in four games. Pessimists might note he's only scored nine goals total all year; optimists might note Wright-Phillips' price has shot up and could offer a good monetary gain, if nothing else, during ye olde season of free transfers. Beyond this month's striker of the moment, another rising stock to take note of is, surprisingly, D.C. United. The former laughing stock of Major League Soccer and current defending Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champ (the mind still boggles on that one) is on an upward trend and have a DGW in Round 12. While D.C.'s final opponent of that three-match string is another hot team - the New England Revolution - their preceding two matches are against the Montreal Impact and the Houston Dynamo. Grabbing at least one D.C. player - say, Fabian Espindola ($8.6m) or Bobby Boswell ($8.5m) - is not nearly as risky a proposition as it was in Round 1.
Over in the Eighty Six Forever league, Round 10 was thick with triple-digit scores for those who invested wisely and captained smartly. No fewer than fifteen teams cracked the 100-point barrier, littering the rankings page with green and red arrows as teams jockeyed for position like they were in a super-sized Kentucky Derby. (Seriously, what other soccer blog is going to make week-old horse racing references, folks? This is quality right here - grade A quality.) Leading the pack for the second week in a row was Tony O'Donoghue and his Have A Go Heroes, who banked a whopping 121 points to move into first overall in the 86F league and fourth overall in all of MLS Fantasy Manager(!). Here's how Tony's squad did:
So, that Brad Davis ($10.6m) is kind of a good player, eh? A solid 17 points from the Dynamo midfielder ensured Tony's choice of captain did not go to waste and a wise investment in the clean-sheet-happy Colorado Rapids paid serious dividends. Contributions from the likes of Lamar Neagle ($8.2m), Obafemi Martins ($9.9m) and Victor Bernardez ($8.4m) did not go unappreciated, either. Well done (again), Tony!
If you want to try and catch the Heroes, you'd better pay close attention to the schedule over the next few weeks. Careful planning of your transfers following the free wildcard madness will be crucial leading into the World Cup break. Here are the matches for Round 11:
- No Graham Zusi ($10.8m) or Matt Besler ($9.4m) for Sporting Kansas City? No problem. Aurélien Collin ($10.0m) is still a beast on defense, well worth his price point and will be my captain through this round. Don't forget to have at least two of Collin, Benny Feilhaber ($8.3m) or Dom Dwyer ($8.3m) in your starting eleven for this round.
- The MLSSoccer.com fantasy brain trust are high on FC Dallas midfielder Danny Garcia ($4.6m) as a cheap bench option going forward and I agree. A sub-$5.0m player that will see minutes? Yes, please. Those of you looking to shave a few dollars off your midfield salaries would do well to pick up Garcia for a few rounds.
- I mentioned Real Salt Lake a few round-ups ago as being a pricey yet rewarding option at all parts of the pitch and I stand by that endorsement. Javier Morales ($10.8m) may be finally rounding into that killer form from 2013 that made fantasy owners salivate. On the less breaking-the-bank side, Joao Plata ($7.4m) is an absolute steal at his price point.
- If you haven't abandoned the Montreal Impact ship yet, good grief, what are you waiting for? The team is an absolute wreck from top to bottom; in fact, the only player worth keeping at this point is backup goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau ($3.0m) simply because he's cheaper than dirt. Dump all the rest, pronto.
- The Columbus Crew have been all kinds of icky these days. How icky? "Seven game winless streak" icky. "Three goals scored in seven matches" icky. "321 minutes without a goal" icky. That, folks, is what we in the fantasy manager business refer to by the technical term of "super-icky". There is no sense in keeping the likes of Federico Higuain ($10.6m) and Giancarlo Gonzalez ($7.5m) on your team when they can neither score nor stop other teams from scoring.
- The Toronto FC quarantine is still in effect and may be intensified if the Reds get a result tonight.
As always, feel free to share a tale, spin a yarn or otherwise yakkity yak down in the comments section below. How active have you been in this freebie wildcard round? See you next week!