As we head into the third month of the MLS calendar here in 2013, there's only one recurring theme apparently no one is talking about in MLS Fantasy Manager: it's a defender's game.
Four of the top five fantasy point-getters thus far are defenders, and the top eight defenders ALL SCORE HIGHER than the leading striker. I told you in preseason to load up on elite defenders, and I hope you listened.
Here at All We Do Is Nguyen FC things are continuing their upward trend after another 60+ point week that has seen us vault into the top 500 overall out of 21,000 teams. Also, perhaps more importantly, there's a member of The Rebellion on top of the Midnight Riders official league.
With the league lineups locking at 10:15 EST tonight, let's get things going quickly and jump right into how we can get your fantasy team headed back in the right direction.
ROUND 9 STARS
Chance Myers, DEF, Sporting KC ($5.3m). A brace from a defender? Instant star. Add to that a full 89 minute appearance and you'v got yourself one heck of a week from the dark horse defender on a star studded KC back line.
Tim Cahill, MID, NYRB ($8.0m). Speaking of two goal performances, the Aussie midfielder broke out in a big way for New York over the weekend, and with his 90 minute performance and even a defending bonus, Cahill was the player of the round, with 14 points.
Ryan Johnson, FWD, Portland ($8.3m). RJ pumped the stat sheet full in round 9, with a goal, an assist, 79 minutes played, and his share of attacking bonuses. When you add to that the fact that he did it on the road, against the best defense in MLS, you may need to take a look at what he's doing out West.
ROUND 9 SCRUBS
Jack McInerney, FWD, Philadelphia ($8.6m). Picked by over 18% of all teams in Fantasyland, Jack Mac pulled a no-show in Foxboro. Granted, the Revs have proven to be a tough defense, but he's always seemed to kill the Revs. A blip? Or the start of a trend?
Dwayne DeRosario, MID, DC United ($9.4m). You simply cannot afford to get 1 point from a 90 minute performance from a player that cost THAT much.
THE TRANSFER MARKET
So what looks good this week? Unfortunately, it pains me to say this but taking one or two players from the Portland Timbers seems like a pretty good idea to me. New England is traveling on a short week, and has one of the most depleted defensive cores I can seem to remember in recent history. Players like the aforementioned Ryan Johnson, Diego Chara ($7.4m), and Darlington Nagbe ($7.8m) would all look like smart plays to me.
If you've loaded up on FC Dallas defenders like Matt Hedges, you're probably looking for a defender or two this weekend, look no further than the Sporting Kansas City back line. With an unpredictable and frenzied Chivas USA coming into Sporting Park, studs like Aurelien Collin ($6.4m) and Matt Besler ($6.1m) all look good. A sneaky good play might be Drew Moor ($5.3m) against a struggling Toronto FC at home, or even a defender off the San Jose back line, who take on Montreal out in San Jose after the Impact played mid-week.
Strikers have been an absolute mystery to me this year. The top striker only has 4 points, which is 23 points less than the leading player (Collin). MY advice? Find a matchup you like, and pick a stud. Players like Thierry Henry ($10.5m), Chris Wondolowski ($10.2m), and Federico Higuain ($9.3m) may all have inflated prices for their production, but if you're going to roll the dice with a forward, it may as well be an elite one. Wondo definitely looks good as I like the matchup, and you certainly have to like Henry's production as of late.
Take a look at your lineup this afternoon and figure out how you can get the absolute most out of your money? If you're strapped for transfer cash, be advised that the best player in fantasy right now only cost $6.3m. It's all about figuring out who gives you the best chance to be consistently successful. Big weeks are nice, but I've strung together several weeks of 50+ points and it does nothing but increase your ranks.
Strikers are an absolute crapshoot every week, so the best you can do is take a look at run of form, as often times forwards will get hot and stay that way for a week or two following. Still, your best bet for points is to take defenders and midfielders who consistently contribute and play 75+ minutes a game.
Hope you're all having a blast, and with over 21,000 teams registered at www.mlssoccer.com it certainly seems like the game is gaining in popularity. Good luck this week, and I'll make sure to post my lineup for the usual full disclosure from the author!