On the one hand, I don't regret having taken a maximum compliment of Vancouver Whitecaps players in the last round of MLS Fantasy Manager. Goodness knows given a choice between the Montreal Impact and the 'Caps, I'd take our lads in blue and white 99 times out of 100. Certainly, captaining David Ousted ($5.7m) worked out well for me with that nil-all snoozer midweek - quite possibly the only positive thing one could say about that match. On the other hand, well, I'm sure the former manager of this blog would probably be waving the "regression to the mean" flag pretty darn hard at this point. Winning streaks are just that - streaks. The hype train was bound to slow down at some point; unfortunately for fantasy managers and 'Caps fans, it had to be during a double-week.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of surprise results elsewhere in Round 16, most notably with the afore-mentioned Impact. A 3-0 drubbing of the Houston Dynamo was certainly not in my predictions, though it does advance the doomsday clock another minute for Dom Kinnear as the Dynamo's season of misery continues. The Impact were paced by a brace from Jack McInerney ($8.1m); now, I know that might seem like the green light to jump on the Jack Mac bandwagon, heralding a return to his sizzling form with the Philadelphia Union, but I don't buy it. Take a "wait and see" approach with McInerney, as you should with any Impact player for the next few weeks. Maybe the acquisition of Ignacio Piatti changes that; I'm not holding my breath.
The other big surprise? Chivas USA refuses to go away quietly, which is a pleasant surprise for a franchise that desperately needs some success. Erick Torres ($8.7m) scored the winning goal for the Goats against ten-man Real Salt Lake, which makes the victory even more impressive. RSL is not a team you take lightly, even down a player, so for Chivas to walk away winners is really something. Oh, and don't look now, but Cubo is third in the Golden Boot race with ten goals. Ahead of him are Sporting Kansas City's Dom Dwyer ($8.4m) on 11 goals and New York Red Bulls' Bradley Wright-Phillips ($8.1m) with 12.
Over in the venerable Eighty Six Forever fantasy league, the Seattle contingent have clawed their way back to the top, with Benjamin Smyth's Eyes to the Evans taking the overall lead with his best-in-round score of 93:
Yeah, six clean sheets from four players and three goals from your forwards will kinda help things along. While captaining Pedro Morales ($8.9m) was probably the smarter choice at the outset of the round, I'll bet Benjamin is kicking himself for not doubling up those juicy points from the backline. Still, that's nit-picking a 93-point haul, enough to vault Mr. Smyth into first place by a mere seven points.
On to the next round, and it's an interesting one:
- When it comes to fantasy studs, Erick Torres is one name that keeps popping up as the season goes on. With Chivas on a double-game week, there's no reason not to have Cubo in your lineup. That same logic also applies to goalkeeper Dan Kennedy ($4.3m), who is dirt cheap to boot.
- Beyond that, it's tough to find good recommendations from this crop of DGW players. Sure, you have expensive outlays like Jermain Defoe ($11.3m) but his cost vs. production is not very attractive. A player who is making the most bang for your buck is Chicago's Harrison Shipp ($6.9m). Combined with Kennedy in net, you have the potential to free up a lot of cash for pricier acquisitions down the line.
- Fantasy rule of thumb: find a horrible team and load up on their opposition. Right now, that means getting the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips ($8.1m), Thierry Henry ($10.8m) and Luis Robles ($6.1m) into your squad. Hopefully you made a bit of profit from the World Cup wild card frenzy, as this might stretch your budget if you try to get all three.
- I know I should be positive about the upcoming Cascadia derby - this a Whitecaps blog, after all - but the Seattle Sounders will be a much stiffer test for the 'Caps than Montreal or the Colorado Rapids. Now is the time to sell off any Vancouver defenders you picked up for the double-week - Jordan Harvey ($7.3m), Johnny Leveron ($6.3m) or Andy O'Brien ($7.4m), for example - and be wary of adding any attackers.
- I'm not bullish on the Columbus Crew's chances against Colorado. The Crew have been decidedly average this season while the Rapids have quickly charged into second place in the Western Conference. Even with the loss of José Mari ($6.7m), Colorado should have no problem getting a result against the Crew. Keep those Columbus players on your bench or, if they're fairly pricey, consider offloading them.
- As mentioned in the pre-World Cup roundup, the quarantine zone has been painted orange for its new tenant, the Houston Dynamo. The wheels have truly come off the bus, which is also on fire and teetering over the edge of a cliff. Don't buy, is what I'm saying.