Thank you, Sebastian Giovinco ($13.3m).
What more can I say? The "Atomic Ant" salvaged what had the potential to be a disastrous round for me thanks in no small part to the shocking number of upsets (or "banana skins") from Round 29. The San Jose Earthquakes coming away with one point out of a possible six? The Montreal Impact defeating the New England Revolution 3-0? Real Salt Lake blowing out LA Galaxy? New York City FC winning twice? Good gravy, what a topsy-turvy round, punctuated by four(!) NYCFC players in the Round 29 Dream Team. Thankfully, Giovinco heard my plea in last week's article and banked 19 points over two matches, mostly against the Colorado Rapids. Not a bad haul at all, especially when he's wearing the fantasy captain's armband.
The results from the weekend do raise a few questions about the viability of certain fantasy teams going forward, though. First and foremost: what is going on in San Jose? This is a team that should be riding a healthy collection of home games towards a playoff berth. Instead, they've gone colder than a polar bear's nose with a four-game winless streak (2D, 2L). I've been gamely waving the "Dom Gonna Dom" flag for a while now and now appears to be the time to stop. Then again, I said that about riding the Benny Feilhaber ($10.6m) train and look how that turned out: two goals. Yes, I've brought Feilhaber in and dropped Shea Salinas ($8.8m). Yes, crow tastes a little gamey. I will say this about the 'Quakes: Quincy Amarikwa ($7.0m) is still a good budget buy at forward but don't expect him to win leagues for you. The other team to raise questions about is the other California-based team: the LA Galaxy. After a hot ride through the summer, Bruce Arena's men are winless in three (1D, 2L). Robbie Keane ($12.0m) is still Robbie Keane and is still on my roster but the rest of his teammates are expendable. I don't care if Omar Gonzalez ($10.2m) is the highest-scoring defender in the game; ten million dollars on a defender at this time of year (or, indeed, ever) is ludicrous when you could be getting more production from cheaper players - say, Ethan Finlay ($9.3m)
Finally, it's another double-game week (DGW) in Round 30 with no "bye" teams in Round 31. (Round 32, however... oh my.) Based on what I said previously, it might be time to bring back a player or two from SKC and, heck, maybe a Montreal player or two makes your starting eleven. Goodness knows Donny Toia ($5.2m) is still dirt cheap and pulled in a respectable 10 points in his previous DGW. That said, Montreal are entering a hectic, make-up-all-those-league-games-you-missed phase of their schedule; if we learned anything from D.C. United earlier in the year, it's that squad rotation can and will happen, ruining your hopes of banking extra points. Buy with care.
Oh, and no, Taylor Peay ($4.1m) did not play this past round. Cancel the alarm.
Round 29 Top Score
There were triple-digit scores galore in the Eighty Six Forever fantasy league, proving a healthy and captained Giovinco is the core of the successful fantasy manager's team this season. Barbara Red of Paisley SC also made the smart moves of investing in Amarikwa and some guy named Didier Drogba ($10.4m) who, despite only playing half of his DGW, still logged 11 points. Not too shabby. Also not too shabby - the 128-point haul by Todd Paulhus of CarlRobinsonSweaters:
Matchups To Watch
3. Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. New York City FC
Man City Jr. NYCFC arrive on the west coast to face off against a duly-humbled Whitecaps squad that, in all likelihood, should not feel any ill effects from the midweek CONCACAF Champions League match. Rotation has been Carl Robinson's watchword and, with Matias Laba ($7.0m) back from suspension, I expect the starting lineup for the 'Caps to be more than capable of shutting down City's big boys. Then again, David Villa ($1.5m) is still the fifth-highest(?!) scoring player in all of MLS Fantasy Manager...
2. Montreal Impact vs. Chicago Fire
The Drogba-era Impact are, coincidentally, the post-Klopas Impact. They also get the distinct honour of beating up Chicago to star off the DGW. Well, this should be a bloodbath...
1. Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire
...though not as much as when the Fire head up the 401 to face Giovinco & Co. I'm wrestling very hard with myself over whether to captain a DGW Feilhaber or a versus-Chicago Giovinco. There's really no bad option, so which one will be better?