MLS Fantasy and the World Cup Break

He changed his roster. Have you? - Chung Sung-Jun

The World Cup break is nearly upon us. This break creates a series of unique situations for your MLS Fantasy team.

The Basics of the Next 3 Rounds

This is Week 14 in the MLS Fantasy season, the last full weekend of games before the World Cup break.  RSL, Columbus, Colorado and Chicago all have double game weeks this week and transfers need to be completed by 4:30 PM Pacific time this Wednesday, 04 JUN 14. Like most weeks, you get two free transfers.   Montreal has this week off.  After this weekend, most of MLS gets a 3 week break.

But not all of the teams have 3 weeks off.  Next Wednesday Montreal plays DC and Portland plays Dallas.   This would create serious headaches in fielding rosters, so the league chose to give every manager a free wild card for Week 15.  The transfer deadline will be 4:30 Pacific time on Wednesday, 11 JUN 14.   Remember that you can field up to four players from each team on your roster.

Round 16 starts two weeks later on Wednesday, 25 JUN 14 when Montreal plays Vancouver.  Both teams have a double game week in Round 16 while Chicago has the week off.  Round 16 is also the third and final free wild card of the 2014 MLS Fantasy season.  This will be your last free chance to rearrange your entire roster unless you still have your personal wild card.   This wild card will allow you to reset after the World Cup and the unique situation in Round 15.

So What Does That All Mean for My Team?

Rounds 15 and 16 create some unique challenges and opportunities.  You've got a chance to rebuild your roster, but don't lose sight of some of the basic fundamentals of the game's mechanics.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

1.        While you can trade without points penalties over these two rounds, don't forget to manage your budget.  Be careful about dropping players in Round 15 who have gained significant value since you acquired them.  You will only recoup half of the difference between what you spent and their current value.  If you drop them in Round 15, you will have to spend more of your budget to add them back later.  Fine if you want someone else for the long term, but not a good idea if you want to retain them later.

2.       Use your bench to store valuable players from other teams who are already on your roster.  You can only play 11 players in Round 15.  No sense in loading up on extra players from Montreal, DC, Portland and Dallas unless you want to hold them in Round 16 and beyond.  Put the players from other teams whose value you want to save on your bench in Round 15.

3.       Consider using your bench to acquire players who are currently at the World Cup even as early as Round 15.  When the World Cup camps opened, many MLS stars were dropped from Fantasy rosters and the cost of these players dropped as well because of the mechanics of the game.  For example Clint Dempsey's value dropped from $10.9 to $10.4.  The closer we get to June 25th, the more managers who will consider adding him to their post-WC Fantasy rosters and his price will rise.  Buy him Week 15 if you want him and you'll get him at a bargain price. This strategy isn't without risk.  Most MLS managers are liable to give WC participants some time off when they return to MLS, so he's not likely to play right away.  And there is always the potential for injury to derail your well laid fantasy plans.  (I had Aurelien Collin on my roster for a DGW and he got hurt in the first half of the first game that week.  Grrrrr. )  Even at $10.4 Dempsey is an expensive player to have sitting on your bench.  But if you've got the roster budget and want him, you are not likely to get a better deal than next week if he picks up after the WC where he left off.

4.       Make your transfers early, particularly for Round 15.  With everyone in the entire game concentrating on 4 teams, prices are going to climb for the key players from those teams.  Not only will you save budget by making your transfers early, it's also a great chance to add a bit of value to your team.  More players than usual from these teams are going to max out their single week price rise (which I believe is capped at $0.3 per Round).  Each player you buy at the start of the Round 15 transfer window who reaches the max rise will gain your team $0.1 in overall team value.  If you want to keep this value, but not the player beyond Round 15, sell early in Round 16.

The MLS World Cup Bracket Challenge

Just a reminder, Sounder at Heart has a league within the Brazil Bracket Challenge.  Come join us and celebrate the world's game. (And it's so much more fun than any silly NCAA Basketball Bracket.)

Register your team at http://bracket.mlssoccer.com

Direct link to the SaH league. It is currently the second most popular public league.

There is also an SB Nation bracket.

Current Sounder at Heart League Leaders

SaH Classic League

The Classic league has a new overall leader in Deuces Wild unseating -Eternal- with a total score of 954 points and good for an 8 point margin.  (They currently sit 4th and 5th Overall in all of MLS Fantasy.) Third and Fourth place are also new this week with Mighty Capys sitting at 926 and BrashertheThrasher just behind at 920.  620Crush and Eyes to the Evans round out the top 5 tied at 919.  Eight league teams have earned over 900 points.  Well done.  I finally cracked the top 100 at 797 points and I'm thrilled.

SaH Contributor H2H League

Things are getting crowded in the H2H league.   Friberg Tacos, Sporting Gromit and FC Transparency all have 9-0-4 records with Friberg Tacos still holding the top spot by virtue of 741 total points.  But Bedir Than Average sits at 8-1-4, Blacksmith Abbey (my team) and The Walt Whitmans are both 8-0-5 and #DempseyWatch is just behind at 7-1-5.  Teams 4-8 in the standings all currently have more total points than any of the first 3 teams in the league.  With 8 of the top 9 teams in the league squaring off against each other this week, the standings are going to see a shake-up this weekend.

Never Yacht Alone EPL Fantasy League

And a belated shout out to FC92 who won this year's Never Yacht Alone EPL Fantasy league with 2,346 total points.  Plastic Palace FC, Yank Out of Place, My Rabona and Blacksmith Abbey rounded out the top 5.  Thanks for joining me in my first foray into EPL Fantasy football.

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