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MLS Fantasy League Discussion (Week 5)

I haven't historically been an avid fantasy sports player. I played a couple of years in a football league and enjoyed it greatly, but when that community dissolved, I didn't really make much of an effort to jump into another one. I joined the SF MLS league this year on a whim and have really enjoyed it despite my relative lack of experience. I also acknowledge that it's early yet and my enthusiasm may wane. The one thing that I feel like is missing is the general discussion that goes on. Be it professional pundits Q&A and analysis or discussion forum bantering, I feel like there isn't a large amount of consumable media out there for me to scavenge and obsessively consider my lineup. It's unhealthy, but just like the occasional cheeseburger, I want it.

Again, I am a relative newbie at it (both the MLS fantasy set-up and really, MLS in general) but I'm wondering if anyone else would like to obsess over and discuss lineups throughout the weeks, break whatever injury news there is, discuss general roster build etc. I know Ryan puts up the Fantasy update that gives a general breakdown on our league but I was thinking about a more technical discussion as well.

Anyway, here's my first post about it. I'm going to go through my teams from week to week and show where I may have made mistakes, where I lucked out and where I think I actually made some smart decisions. Happy to hear where I'm way off base and where I'm helping you out. I'll try to do a new post weekly. I do this stressing again that I am no expert, but just wanting to foster discussion and providing an easy place to put questions.

(INSERT JUMP BAR ONCE I FIND IT!!)

This first part is just a run down of my initial roster build and my subsequent trades and the thought process behind those trades. If you're uninterested in the preliminary stuff, skip past as it's fairly long (you'll see another long straight line similar to one right below this). This next part may be somewhat self-indulgent for which I apologize.

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Week 1

Position-Name (Pts scored)

G-Troy Perkins (9)
G-Paolo Tornaghi (DNP)
D-Aurellien Collin (5)
D-Matt Besler (4)
D-YP Lee (8)
D-Victor Bernardez (3)
D-Austin Berry (DNP)
M-Nagbe (8)
M-Valeri (8)
M-Diago Kobayashi (7)
M-Kelyn Rowe (DNP)
M-Lee Nguyen (DNP)
F-Dominic Oduro (7)
F-Darren Mattocks (4)
F-Ryan Johnson (2)

Total points - 65 (lost my head-to-head 0-1)

In my initial build of my team, I think I made a big mistake. I tried really hard to have a fairly even set of players 1-15. Keeping that in mind, I generally didn't pick any super high profile names. I stayed away from Wondo, Zusi and Higuain. Roster balance is something that you need to eventually build towards, but you also need to grab some of those big names at their cheapest early on. Carry a couple of really cheap players early on and grab the big boys. You can only play 11 players, so while it's good to keep in mind the upcoming byes, there's no need to carry 15 good players. Probably better off with 3-4 great players, 7-8 good players and 3-5 "cheap prospects".

I had some good instincts regarding Kobayashi and Perkins. Perkins was more of a "he's pretty cheap ($5.0) and not terrible" choice. Kobayashi I'd seen that preseason goal and read about his control/technical ability and thought that combined with Mattocks he would quickly rack up the assists and at a reasonable price of $7.5. My biggest mistake was probably Nguyen, not because he's not a decent choice, but because he had a bye that week. Rowe had the same issue, but was pretty inexpensive and was one of my "cheap prospects" picks.

The one thing I did right was focus on the defense. Defenders were much cheaper on the whole, even the "elite" defenders and I stacked up on those. YP Lee gets into the attack quite a bit, Collin and Besler are generally awesome. Bernardez had been, though not so much this year and Berry rounded it out. I also had a hometown flavor with 3 Timbers picked (also 3 Whitecaps). My one big splurge was Mattocks and I still think he'll have a great year, but it didn't really work out that first week.

Week 2

Position-Name (Pts scored)

G-Troy Perkins (DNP)
G-Matt Pickens (1)
D-Aurellien Collin (3)
D-Matt Hedges (4)
D-YP Lee (4)
D-Victor Bernardez (4)
D-Jeb Brovsky (DNP)
M-Nagbe (2)
M-Valeri (4)
M-Diago Kobayashi (7)
M-Graham Zusi (16 - C)
M-Kyle Bekker (DNP)
F-Frederic Higuain (4)
F-Darren Mattocks (5)
F-DeShorn Brown (DNP)

Total points - 54 (won my head-to-head 1-1)

I definitely panicked a little as I was way down the list with only 65 points the first week (which really isn't that bad a total, it's just that first week seemed to have some huge point totals). I decided to use my wildcard and grab some of the big names and get the money by picking some really cheap prospects. First thing was to get Zusi. I ended up clearing out some space by getting rid of Nguyen and Rowe and picking up Bekker who has impressed early on in Toronto and was dirt cheap. I also dumped Besler and picked up Brovsky after all the talk about Montreal's bunker system I figured he would be a good choice for consistent points at a really cheap price of $4.5. Finally, I got rid of Oduro despite the goal he scored (which was a fluky breakaway from before the midfield line all the way down and replaced him with Brown, who was getting all sorts of good press (was deciding between him and Earnshaw and while he's been good, Earnshaw would have been the way to go given his production up to now).

The only real mistake I made in setting my lineup was going with Pickens instead of Perkins. I didn't start Perkins (or Brovsky) because they were playing Portland. And even with their hunker mentality being obvious from the week prior, I thought Portland would break them down a little easier and score at least a couple of goals.

Week 3

Position-Name (Pts scored)

G-Troy Perkins (3)
G-Matt Pickens (DNP)
D-Aurellien Collin (8)
D-Matt Hedges (DNP)
D-YP Lee (DNP)
D-Victor Bernardez (2)
D-Jeb Brovsky (4)
M-Nagbe (2)
M-Valeri (3)
M-Diago Kobayashi (DNP)
M-Graham Zusi (16 - C)
M-Mike Magee (2)
F-Frederic Higuain (8)
F-Adam Jahn (5)
F-DeShorn Brown (7)

Total points - 60 (won my head-to-head 2-1)

Bye games hit me hard with all the Whitecaps (I had 3) being off. YP Lee was easy to account for, I just plugged in Brovsky. I actually got rid of Mattocks so I could afford another big player and brought in Magee (I picked up Adam Jahn for Mattocks and Magee for Bekker). Jahn came in late for Fucito the week prior and scored. With Fucito hurt and Lenhart and Gordon still out as well, Jahn was probably going to start and I hoped that him paired with Wondo would give him some opportunity. He was also really inexpensive. Magee had that big game then the bye and I was hoping to get some magic from him. I think this may have been a bad choice as Magee may just have had a special week that first game. I still have him and he got a goal the next week, but I am seriously considering dumping him and taking advantage of the value he has right now. At this point I'm pretty happy overall with where my team is at. I've got a steady point producing backline with pretty good potential for shutouts. Higuain is a monster and Brown provides production with a low price tag and Jahn the same (with less production of course). My midfield is a little ragged, but Zusi is propping it up.

Week 4

Position-Name (Pts scored)

G-Troy Perkins (9)
G-Matt Pickens (DNP)
D-Aurellien Collin (9)
D-Matt Hedges (DNP)
D-YP Lee (3)
D-Todd Dunivant (7)
D-Jeb Brovsky (7)
M-David Ferreira (3)
M-Valeri (DNP)
M-Diago Kobayashi (2)
M-Graham Zusi (DNP)
M-Mike Magee (11)
F-Frederic Higuain (10-C)
F-Adam Jahn (2)
F-DeShorn Brown (2)

Total points - 65 (won my head-to-head 3-1)

This past week I dropped Bernardez (who had been the one big disappointment on the backline) and replaced him with Dunivant. LA was playing a pretty mediocre opponent in Colorado and even though I had DeShorn Brown, I figure Dunivant would have been good for 3-4 points and a cheaper price tag than Bernardez. That allowed me to drop Nagbe (who had a bye) for Ferreira who had been tearing it up. That whole Dallas team is tearing it up and Ferreira seems to be the one with the best chance at keeping it up as the offense seems to flow through him. I need to get rid of Pickens as he's got the broken arm, but I didn't have another trade space, so I was stuck with him for another week. I was really excited after the first set of games as my defense really came through big and I had Jahn, Brown, Ferreira, Kobayashi and Lee still waiting to go. They all kind of flopped for me and while I scored well, I thought I would have had a big week.

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That brings us up to date on my team. My trades this week were to get rid of Pickens, pick up Bill Hamid, get rid of Valeri and pick up Jackson (DAL). I got Hamid because he's still pretty cheap ($5.2) and my GK situation should be set now between he and Perkins. I'm hoping Hamid keeps up his hot play and at $5.2 it's not too big a gamble especially with Perkins playing behind that great defense. I finally decided to give up on Valeri too. He seems to have been taken out of his game pretty easily. I know this was against a strong defensive side in Montreal and a great CDM in OlonsoAlonso, but even so I feel like it's a recipe that a lot of teams can use. Shutting down Valeri is an easy way of shutting down the majority of the Portland offense. If I had to choose, I would pick Nagbe over Valeri despite the fact that Valeri takes most of the available free kicks. That whole Dallas team seems to be humming, especially with a great general midfield and I think Jackson along with Ferreira have the most potential. Jackson is also relatively cheap at $7.6.

Here are who I think are the best bets for this week (I included a * to represent players on my own team):

Forwards:
Darren Mattocks (@CHV) - Even though I unloaded him early and he's going up against a Chivas side that has only given up 2 goals in the past 3 matches, I think that Mattocks is going to start to really heat up.
Chris Wondolowski (v. HOU)- He's got 2 goals, the first on a PK so he's not exactly lighting it up. But his last goal was a nice quick, well placed shot from outside the box that bounced off the post and in. He's still putting himself in all the right places to score, just not finishing. And I think he's proven that he knows how to finish so I think he'll go on a tear.
*Bargain option: DeShorn Brown (v. POR) - I hate to pick against the home side, but there's no loyalty in fantasy sports (at least there shouldn't be). The Portland defense has been pretty bad. And even though they shored it up against SEA, I don't think they're quite ready to pitch a shutout. I think Brown scores at least one especially at home.

Midfielders:
*David Ferriera (@NE) - Dallas is on a roll and Ferriera is generally in the middle of that. Even with a slow week for him last week, I think he picks up at least an assist this week.
Edgar Mejia (v. VAN) - He's had some big scoring weeks and some not so big scoring weeks. I think that this is one of those big ones. Vancouver travels down to them and even though Chivas isn't going to have a big crowd, I think the home cooking gets Mejia some points.
Bargain option - Amobi Okugo (@NY) - at $6.1 he'll give you the full 90 2 points plus a host of CBI (clearances, blocks and interceptions) for at least a couple of bonuses. Given NY lack of goals he'll also give you a good shot at a 1 point clean sheet bonus.

Defenders:
Matt Besler (v. MON) - Fresh off a great showing against Mexico, he goes up against the counterattacking Montreal offence. Montreal has scored in every game so far. But they've only scored 1 goal. I think Besler and SKC shuts them out.
George John (@NE) - New England has had some trouble generating goals and my guess is that continues. He'll also get you a couple of defending bonus points as he cleans it up in the back.
*Bargain option - Jeb Brovsky (@SKC) - I don't think you can go wrong going with any Montreal defender, but Brovsky is still pretty inexpensive at $5.0. I think his value just keeps growing too as Montreal keeps picking up clean sheets.

Goalkeepers:
Jimmy Neilsen (v. MON) - I think he gets the shutout. He's not going to face a ton of shots, so he won't get the defending bonus, but like Besler he keeps them off the scoreboard.
Bargain option - Clint Irwin (v. POR) - I put him here just because he's still really cheap at $4.1 and he should still be starting against the Timbers. He's probably not going to get the clean sheet (LET'S HOPE!) but I'm guessing he'll rack up some saves and a couple of defending bonus points.

Additional Information: (New updates as of 3/29 9:36AM)

  • During Week 6 you can use up to 3 transfers instead of the usual 2. So keep that in mind before jumping the gun and taking a points hit or using your wildcard. (via jordwes)
  • Graham Zusi and Matt Besler are still up in the air for Saturday because of their USMNT appearances.
  • Robbie Keane is doubtful.

Whew! That was a long one. Going forward it shouldn't be as much because there won't be a 4 week rundown. Maybe this is all just a bad experiment. Anyway, please comment away even if to tell me that I'm an idiot. I'll try to respond to any questions with my thoughts as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading!

New post for Week 6 is up! Link

Edited (3/28 - 9:33AM)- Fixed some spelling and grammar errors and changed up the formatting. Also included a "hot sheet" of tips at the end for some tidbits of info that come in through the comments that I think are useful for everyone to know.

Alright guys, I don't believe I have to say this but, just in case, please do not submit anything racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise not appropriate for even the younger Timbers fans.

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