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Greetings from the past! This article is being written on Tuesday; if anything changes injury-wise or suspension-wise when the article goes live on Wednesday, disregard the relevant portions and blame Jorge Mendoza.
Well, I should've expected that Sebastian Giovinco ($12.9m) would be held to three stinkin' points after I hyped him up so much last week. Toronto FC were stomped by New York Red Bulls 3-0 in a match that only cements how well Jesse Marsch has done to rebuild and repair the team following the losses of Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry. Sure makes me feel good about hanging on to Matt Miazga ($6.0m), though, especially considering he's a steal at that price point. About the only other person I'd consider a must-have-bargain-basement-steal-of-the-year at that ratio is Chicago Fire's Matt Polster ($4.7m), who is getting consistent minutes as a rookie. Yes, his value is below where it was to start the year but the guy is sitting on 67 points. 67! For under $5.0m! If that's not value bench-filler, I don't know what is.
But speaking of New York-based soccer teams, let's take a look at the one on a double-game week in Round 25: New York City FC (a.k.a. NYCFC, a.k.a. Nick-Fick, a.k.a. Man City Jr.). In Round 24, the teal-kitted men of the Eastern Conference dropped a resounding 3-1 victory on D.C. United thanks to Tommy McNamara ($7.1m), David Villa ($11.4m) and the current front seat occupant of the MLS Hype Train, Kwadwo Poku ($6.9m). Villa's 139pts is nothing to sniff at since it places him fifth-highest in all of MLS Fantasy Manager, second-highest among forwards behind Kei Kamara ($9.6m). He's also half a million dollars cheaper than Robbie Keane ($11.9m), who is in the same luxury car as Villa on the hype train as the LA Galaxy hit their traditional late-season surge. Here's the thing: Villa is actually the in-form player in fantasy, boasting a 9.8 to Keane's 8.0 - both absurdly good numbers and right up there with heavy-hitters like Benny Feilhaber ($10.8m), Giovinco, Poku(?!) and Cristian Maidana ($9.5m). (Sidenote - Philly could surprise people if Maidana keeps distributing like he is. Only 3.8% of people own Maidana; sleeper pick?) I'm not going to advise you drop Keane like a hot potato - not until the next LA bye week, at any rate - but if you have neither player on your bench, Villa could make a good short-term investment before midnight strikes for NYCFC and Andrea Pirlo ($10.1m) turns back into a pumpkin. Poku is a bit higher up the risk chain but for all we know he could play 180 minutes with a goal and/or assist in each. Kid's good, is what I'm saying.
Meanwhile, down in Lower Cascadia, something crazy is happening: the Portland Timbers are not conceding goals. Backstopped by Adam Kwarasey Larsen ($6.0m) in goal and a defense of Liam Ridgewell ($8.4m), Jorge Villafana ($6.4m), Alvas Powell ($7.5m) and Nat Borchers ($8.4m), the Timbers have 11(!) clean sheets on the season, best in MLS, and have not been scored on in 273 minutes. Sure, they're requiring players like Borchers to nod in last-gasp headers to smash-and-grab three points but the point is their defenders are suddenly hot commodities - Villafana especially, given his price point. As I continue to harp on the point about saving funds to get the Keanes, Villas and Giovincos of the league onto your team, Villafana right now looks to be a good value pick.
Round 24 Top Score
That Giovinco stinker sure didn't help my fantasy team; thankfully, it didn't help a ton of other teams, either, including those in the Eighty Six Forever fantasy league. As such, nobody gained ground on Barbara Red of Paisley SC; indeed, her 79 points was one of the best of the round. It wasn't the best, though, and neither was the score of Dave Townsend of Manneh Money who, was single point away from back-to-back top scores. Instead, the highest total was 82, scored by Greg McMann and his simply-named team, Greg:
Lookee lookee at who managed to keep both Keane and Villa in the same starting XI... well played, sir. Well played.
Matchups To Watch
3. Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Well, I was almost right last week with SKC so I'm giving it another go in their first double-game match against the 'Quakes. It's clear Dom Kinnear is building a younger squad for the future, which comes with accompanying lumps and learning hurdles. The problem is that doesn't necessarily get you three points, especially not against a team as fiery-hot as the Sporks.
2. Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo
And now we see if the Timbers backline can hold against the infernal troublemaker that is "El Cubo", Erick Torres ($10.0m). Goodness knows we've seen first-hand how Cubo can slice apart Cascadian teams in their own barns; does he replicate that feat against Kwarasey & Co.?
1. Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders
Obafemi Martins ($11.8m) is back and scoring goals against ten-man opposition at home. Now we see if he can do it on the road. Considering RSL's woes, I suspect the answer is "yes".