USA TODAY Sports
Another week full of surprises in the Fantasyland of Major League Soccer, and with some new faces introducing themselves, your fantasy team could be looking a lot different than it has in years passed.
Nothing will humble you more than trying to give out some sort of "advice" on a "fantasy" sports game. It's a lose-lose situation.
I spent several hours breaking down last week's matches from a fantasy perspective, looked at the matchups in the upcoming week, and felt really good about it.
Now, my team DID score another 53 points this week, and I'm sitting somewhere around 6,000 or so in the overall leaderboard, but if you're going to have an advice column on a fairly popular network website, you need to be better!
I made a great call with Jerry Bengton last week, and earned some captain's bonus points there which really helped. However, with Will Johnson and Benny Feilhaber underperforming for the second straight week, and FC Dallas giving up 3 goals to Chivas USA, some of my calls were not so hot.
This week, we look to bounce back, and I've got my eye on a few new targets. First, let's break down last week.
Matt Reis, NER (10pts). Reis turned the clocks back against Chicago last week and dialed up an old-school performance. A clean sheet bonus, 4 saves, of course a 90 minute performance, as well as some defender bonuses, made Reis this week's top goalkeeper.
Hassoun Camara, MTL (10pts). When a defender goes up and gets a goal, that'll always get some attention from me. Camara played all 90 minutes, and even added a few defender bonus points for a nice, solid week.
Amobi Okugo/Seba Le Toux, PHI (9pts/8pts). The Philly duo really got the job done in Week 2, giving the Union some pop in their offensive output. Okugo got on the scoresheet in his 90 minute performance, and Le Toux played facilitator and orchestrated it all. 17 points from two teammates is a nice week for anyone.
Robert Earnshaw, TOR (12pts). Simply put he was the best player in fantasy last week, and I, as well as countless others, didn't really see it coming. Two goals, and a 90 minute performance vaulted the TFC striker to the top of the forward rankings in a hurry. At only $7.5m, Earnshaw could STILL be considered a pretty good sleeper pick.
Josh Williams, CLB (1pt). Williams saw a huge bump in ownership after his stellar opener on First Kick weekend, however he disappointed his new owners with a 1 point performance in a rather lackluster game all around for the Crew as a team.
Maicon Santos, CHI (1pt). One of the more widely-owned forwards, Santos was shut down by a much-improved Revolution defense, and earned only the single point as the Fire continue to struggle to open the year.
Alvaro Saborio, RSL (1pt). Saborio failed to find the net and compounded his poor fantasy week with a yellow card as well. Not what you're expecting from a $10m investment.
WHO TO START, WHO TO SIT?
Bit of an up and down week for this part of the column last week, so this week's themse is to not over-think things, and trust the instincts. On top of all that? It's MLS' brainchild, "Rivalry Week" this weekend, which means plenty of bad blood, which always makes figuring out fantasy advice that much more difficult.
START: Jimmy Nielsen, GK, Sporting Kansas City. It's part form, part matchup here with this call. Chicago can't seem to get much going offensively, and even with SKC struggling a bit on the defensive end, you can't doubt their quality. Nielsen isn't flashy, but he's definitely steady.
START: Real Salt Lake defenders. Guys like Mansally, Schuler, and Beltran all look like good plays here. RSL is at home, and playing a seemingly offensively-inept Colorado team in a heated rivalry game.
START: Eddie Johnson, FWD, Seattle Sounders. This is an absolute hunch, but a well-founded one. The Cascadia rivalry matches ALWAYS seem to be these wide-open, offensive type games, and with Portland giving up a whopping 5 goals already, I'd think EJ has a real good chance of delighting the home crowd this weekend.
SIT: Austin Berry, DEF, Chicago Fire. I'm having a pretty rough time figuring out Chicago, and while Arne Friedrich has been absent, it's left Berry on an island a little bit. With Sporting Kansas City bringing so much firepower, it might be a good idea to sit the popular Berry.
SIT: Tim Cahill, MID, NYRB. Just not the type of start I'd expect from someone with his pedigree. Only 6 points from his $8m price tag definitely hurts, and with a date with D.C. United this weekend, who always play these types of matches in an ugly, rough fashion, it wouldn't surprise me to see Cahill's struggles continue.
SIT: Kenny Cooper, FWD, FC Dallas. Speaking of slow starts, there are fantasy owners all over the country second-guessing their $9.5m investment in Cooper. With FC Dallas taking on the defensively-solid Houston Dynamo this weekend, maybe it's a good idea to look for something else at such a lofty price point?
Really hope you're enjoying this weekly look into MLS Fantasyland and that it's helping you in some way. If it's not the advice, perhaps you're learning something by how to look at certain match ups each week!
Enjoy rivalry week, and good luck with your fantasy team!