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180 minutes; one goal scored; five goals conceded; zero points. That was the tally for the Columbus Crew this weekend in a performance that left fantasy managers like myself distancing themselves from Kei Kamara ($9.1m) like he was a leaky uranium canister. Yes, Kamara is still the best overall points-earner in fantasy with 88pts, 14 ahead of his closest competitor; however, the way Columbus is trending, it's time to sell before Kamara's value tanks below profit levels. Even a little profit is a good amount of money, especially when you get presented with a gift like unlimited transfers in a round. Cha-ching! Bring me that sweet, sweet coin and a whole-team facelift!
Before we go hog wild on the abandon-Kamara-and-pals-spree, let's take a quick look at one of the teams to defeat the Crew over this past weekend: the Philadelphia Union. After their DGW split, the Union have three wins in their last five matches. Considering that the Union's prior streak was one win in eleven(?!), it would seem Jim Curtin is taking advantage of other teams' overconfidence. Either that, or Brian Sylvestre ($4.5m) is the good luck charm the Sons of Ben have been praying for to save their season. Underdog backup goalkeepers aside, there are some attractive form players right now for the Union. Cristian Maidana ($8.9m), Fabinho ($6.4m), Sebastien Le Toux ($9.2m), Sheanon Williams ($7.6m) and Vincent Nogueira ($8.1m) all join Sylvestre in the 5.0-plus form club. Maidana in particular is a mouth-watering pickup for under $9.0m, what with his 6.4 form, 62pts total and a paltry 1.3% of all managers owning him.
Elsewhere in the we-might-not-be-hot-garbage file, how about that Montreal Impact? First five league games: no wins; next five league games, four wins. The one loss in that second bank of five was a head-scratching 3-0 loss to the Chicago Fire, which does raise a few questions about the stability of the Impact's defense. Still, when your wins are 4-1 vs. Real Salt Lake, 2-1 vs. FC Dallas, 2-1 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps and 2-1 vs. Columbus Crew, that's not to be sniffed at. Indeed, Ignacio Piatti ($9.8m) and Andres Romero ($7.9m) and their sizzling form of 6.2 may be two of the sleeper picks for the upcoming rounds. Romero in particular is a steal at that price point, assuming his form remains in the upper echelons.
Moving ahead to this round - the round of unlimited transfers - we have ten teams to choose from. We can immediately discount Columbus and Chicago, since both of those teams have a bye in Round 16. Remember - only Round 15 is unlimited; you're back on to your transfer limits the next round. That leaves us with NYCFC (Nick-Fick!), the Impact, the LA Galaxy, the New England Revolution, the Seattle Sounders, FC Dallas, Orlando City SC and D.C. United. Of those eight teams, Seattle for me is the hands-down best pick of the lot. An in-form team that hasn't missed a beat since the loss of Obafemi Martins ($11.6m) to nose surgery(?!), Seattle are packed to the gills with solid buys, not the least of which are Marco Pappa ($9.2m), Tyrone Mears ($6.9m) and Stefan Frei ($5.9m). Frei in particular is the no-brainer pick for your goalkeeper this week; bet against him at your peril. Outside of Cascadia, the LA Galaxy will no doubt be looking to rebound from their 1-0 loss to Vancouver (woo!) and considering the Crew's poor form as of late, I'd expect them to rebound without any issues at all.
Round 14 Top Score
A disastrous week from 86F regular Chris Corrigan in the Eighty Six Forever fantasy league has knocked the plucky Clavin FC back down to 3rd overall and allowed some of the other competitors - namely Xenotheos' Pedro Needs A Ladder and Crew Fan's Columbus Crew SC - to make a stab at catching the seemingly uncatchable Barbara Red of Paisley SC. The best score of the round - a stellar 109 - puts all four of them to shame, though, and it comes from names very familiar to the "Top Score of the Round" podium: Derrick Freedman of Rino's Vancouver SC. Here's how he did it:
Thank goodness for auto-substitutions, right? Losing out on ten big points from Fabinho would've been a crying shame. Thankfully, Derrick banked the big points from the Philly defender and banished the space-filling Otis Earle ($4.0m) back to the bench. Long live the switcheroo!
Matchups To Watch
3. New England Revolution vs. Chicago Fire
I consider this a "show-me" match - as in, "show me why I should still pay attention to your fantasy explots". I really, really want to believe in Chicago's roster - the bargain prices of Jeff Larentowicz ($8.0m) and Harry Shipp ($8.1m) have long been documented here - but they've yet to show me why I should take the plunge and invest in them long term. Similarly, New England are a team with more streaks than a poorly cleaned mirror; right now, they're on a bad one. Paging Scott Caldwell ($7.5m), Teal Bunbury ($7.7m) and Juan Agudelo ($8.8m) - if you'd like to reverse course and make a sudden charge up the rankings, now would be a great time.
2. New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact
Man City Jr. finally got a long-overdue win in their previous match. Does that mean anything to l'Impact? Nope. If Montreal truly are a reborn team post-Champions League, this is a match they should dominate. Now might be a very good time to hop on the Piatti/Romero bandwagon.
1. Seattle Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas
As mentioned earlier, Seattle is the top dog in this weekend's slate of fights and I expect them to put some hurt on the Hoops. Fabian Castillo ($10.2m) and Mauro Diaz ($9.5m) haven't posted the sizzling scores that made them fantasy must-buys early in the season; I doubt they'll find their touch in the unwelcoming confines of CenturyLink Field. Also, Dallas are missing a metric whack-ton of players to international duty, so, that can't be good.