Welcome to the second week and “official” start to your MLS fantasy journey. Last week was the Opening Challenge and now that it's over, all the teams and leagues reset and we start all over. If you haven't joined fantasy yet, now is pretty much your last chance before you face an extreme disadvantage!
So what did we learn in Week 1? Well we learned that Portland can spank an expansion team with ease. Many managers predicted this and had 3 or even 4 Portland players in their lineup. The most popular names I saw were Fanendo Adi at $9.5, Sebastian Blanco at $9.0, and of course Diego Valer at $10.0.. A good portion of managers played all three players and if you captained Valeri or Adi, you were sitting pretty after the first game. Portland couldn't hang onto the clean sheet as Christian Ramirez ($8.0) subbed on and gave the Loons hope, which was later crushed by extremely poor defending by United which Adi took complete advantage of. While the results of the game were slightly skewed, Portland players will still be a solid option going forward.
If you spent the $12.0 and captained Sebastian Giovinco...I'm sorry. He drew a penalty against Real Salt Lake but then missed it and then managed to pick up a yellow. He finished the week with 1 point which is way below what we expect from Seba. Don't freak out about him not being an option going forward, he is still the best player in the league and on a different day he puts his penalty away no problem.
Orlando got to break in their new stadium and many thought this game would be a goal fest. Unfortunately Kaka went out injured within the first 10 minutes and it completely changed the game. What we learned was that Giles Barnes could be a solid fantasy option going forward. With Kaka out Barnes will likely take his place, and with his pace and goal scoring talent, he is a bargain at $7.5
Colorado is still a defensive machine. I saw countless lineups that featured a 4 man Colorado backline and honestly...it paid off! Colorado kept their clean sheet and Zach MacMath ($4.5) and company brought in solid defensive points. They're facing the New York Red Bull's this weekend away from home, so we’ll get to see that defense in action again!
Last weekend also introduced Atlanta United to MLS, and as they started the game looking incredibly strong against the Red Bull’s, they crashed and burned at the end. Sacha Kljestan ($10.0) walked away from that game with an assist off a corner, otherwise he had a very quiet night. The player from that game to watch going forward is definitely going to be Miguel Almiron for $9.0. He was dangerous all night and we got a serious look at his speed and vision. However, Atlanta is playing in what will be one of the coldest games against Minnesota on Sunday, and while Atlanta looked way better than the Loons, I don't see either team performing well. When things get cold and wet and snowy, you start seeing those things impact the game more than the players.
Speaking of cold weather, do not own an Orlando or New England player this week. Their game was postponed due to how cold it was going to be and neither team will play this round. Drop them like it's hot and find a new way to get points!
At the start of the season, I predicted that New England would be the worst team in the league this season, while that could still happen, I also thought that Philadelphia looked really poor against Vancouver. That being said, Vancouver looked much better than I was expecting. I highly suggest owning Alphonso Davies for $4.5. The kid was involved all game and he looked very dangerous. Being an out of position player also helps!
San Jose is another team that surprised me. I really thought Montreal would have a field day against the Earthquakes but that really wasn't the case. We learned that Nick Lima is a steal at $4.5. Anibal Godoy also proved his worth st $7.0.
The last game I want to touch on was Houston vs Seattle. Seattle started the game looking horrible and Houston totally took advantage. Cubo Torres ($8.5) had a nice free kick goal and Romell Quioto ($8.5) had a beautiful outside the box goal. Both of these guys could be threats heading forward. I personally would like to see a couple more games before I'd add them to my team, but if you're short on cash, these two could help you out. On the Seattle side, I thought the defense looked confused and disoriented all night. I have shout out Clint Dempsey at $9.5 though, in his first game back he got a goal and reeled in 9 fantasy points. Glad to have you back Clint!
My picks for the week
Luis Robles ($6.0): He's kind of expensive but we know that Colorado is more of a defensive team than an attacking one, and I can see Robles getting a clean sheet fairly easily.
Alphonso Davies ($4.5): Whether he gets a clean sheet against San Jose or not, he's still a must own player in my opinion.
Jimmy Medranda ($5.0): Medranda is listed as a defender but in the past we've seen him lineup in more advanced positions. Even as a defender, he still gets in the attack, and I think he could be an important piece at home against Dallas this round.
Nick Lima ($4.5): Playing against a sound defense in Vancouver but could honestly see him getting the clean sheet.
Diego Valeri ($10.0): He picked up where he left off last season and he's still a great fantasy option. Galaxy did not look impressive against Dallas and I think Valeri will find away to pick up points this round.
Justin Meram ($9.5): Justin looked excellent against Chicago, he was easily the best player for the Crew last round. Houston might give him a hard time, but it's a risk I'm willing to take.
Ignacio Piatti ($10.0): Piatti did not accomplish much on the road against San Jose, but this round he's at home and taking on a Seattle Sounders defense that looked less than stellar last week.
Jack Harrison ($7.5): While he didn't get in the score sheet against Orlando, he still got the ball in good places and Joe Bendik absolutely robbed him of a goal in that game. I think him playing at home against D.C. will be good for him.
David Accam($9.5): I wouldn't normally recommend a Chicago player, but with Accam’s speed, I just don't think the RSL backline will be able to keep up.
Giovanni Dos Santos ($10.0): Portland’s backline is a little beat up. I heard that Vytas will be out and that Ridgewell has some ankle issues. Dos Santos will be looking to exploit that.
David Villa ($10.0): First home game against against D.C. I see him finding a way onto the score sheet.
Those are my picks for this round! Good luck to all the managers out there! Show me your lineups on twitter @notchadwick_ I would love to see them!
Also want to say congratulations to The Golden Eagles from the Total MLS League. Your team finished first in our league and you were only 1 point shy of winning the Opening Weekend Challenge, way to go!!