I'm sure there are
millions hundreds dozens a few of you out there yelling at your monitor, angry at "why this agtk kid keeps giving awful advice on a platform as internationally praised as Sounder at Heart." And yeah, I hear you, a few of my calls last week did not pan out so well. This week we talk about trusting the process, not necessarily the results, and make some calls for (insert hashtag) CascadiaWeek.
Trust the process
My two most highly recommended players from last week, Jason Hernandez ($6.6 M) and David Villa (10.3), were absolute flops last week. They were both subbed at halftime in NYCFC's game against Philly, garnering two points apiece, and both were held out against Portland. That's terrible!
The previous week, my Vancouver recommendations were, amongst others, David Ousted (5.5); Kendall Waston (8.7), Sam Adekugbe (6.1); Pedro Morales (11.0), and Russell Teibert (7.6). These five players averaged 5 pts for the DGW, which is a respectable average for a single game but pretty disappointing during a DGW.
So what's the deal? Is this all bad advice? Are the more than 25% of players who had Villa, and the 18% that had Hernandez, just a bunch of dopes? Are the guys who were stuck with Rafael Ramos's (5.2) -4 points not paying attention? Why did so many hype and play these players when they don't end up producing?
I am here to tell you to be patient and trust the process.
First of all, it is impossible to predict injuries with any kind of precision, which is exactly why Hernandez and Villa did not live up to their full potential. Hopefully they are both back this weekend. Their injuries do not mean it was a bad call to play them, it was just bad luck two of NYCFC's most important players both had to sit after a promising first half. They both garnered a bonus point in just 45 minutes of play, getting them to the 2 point threshold that seems to be the minimum for avoiding price drops. You should not regret playing him.
As for those Vancouver players? Well, turns out that this was the week to play them as, besides the suspended Morales, they all scored 6 or better in RSL with the shutout and Teibert's assist. Funny how they all scored better in a single game than they did in a DGW, but that's the unpredictability of sports. As for Ramos? Coming into last week he hadn't even earned a yellow card. Yellows and reds are more predictable than injuries, but you still never really know when one is coming. Having factors like this all hit at the same time sucks, but it isn't anything to dwell on.
What can we dwell on? Look at long-term trends and historical performance. Look at repeatable, trackable actions that have less variance than goals or assists, such as CBIs, shots and crosses. Use the single game as a data point in a season full of them. Make smart choices based on the data you have available, and eventually the results will follow. With a bit of luck, your ranking will follow too.
As you may know, Seattle faces Portland this week in the first of a three games this year. For this opening matchup, I've decided to look at both teams in depth and tell you why Seattle is good and Portland is bad.
Stefan Frei (5.5): Frei is a solid, if not spectacular, option between the pipes. Cascadia games are always fiery, so I'd expect him to have closer to the 8 saves (and 2 bonus points) he had against Colorado than the zero saves he had to make in the snoozefest against FCD. I'd expect 5-6 points, and maybe a 9 or 10 point performance if the Sounders manage to keep a shutout.
Adam Kwarasey (5.4): If you liked starting Chris Seitz in week 6, you'll LOVE Kwarasey this week!
Chad Marshall (8.6), Brad Evans (7.5), Tyrone Mears (6.8), Leo Gonzalez (6.9), Dylan Remick (5.9):
Evans has the higher point total, but Marshall is still the crèam of this crop. Marshall hasn't quite equaled his crazy 23 CBI opening week, but he still has 8 BP from CBIs in total. His Recoveries have fallen off a lot with the return of Alonso, but he's still got the highest point potential of any of these CBs, especially as he's probably due a goal or two this year. I'm not so sure he'll get them against PDX, but he'll get them sometime. Evans is almost as good of an option, a really good one factoring in the price. Based on their performance so far, I'd snag Evans based on the price. They should both get plenty of CBIs against Portland's cross happy offense.
Mears is a nice pickup if you just want to cash in on Seattle clean sheets, but don't expect any bonuses. He's only had one defensive BP all year! And finally, with Leo and Remick wrestling over the LB spot through injuries and form, I'd stay away from either of them for now. Neither is worth the risk at their prices.
Liam Ridgewell (8.3), Nat Borchers (7.9), Alvas Powell (6.9), Jorge Villafana (6.3), Jack Jewsbury (6.0): See above re: Adam Kwarasey. (but seriously, Borchers and Ridgewell are okay, Borches has been buoyed by a goal. Powell gets almost as many BPs, so if must get one of these guys, get Powell).
Clint Dempsey (11.3), Osvaldo Alonso (9.0), Lamar Neagle (8.6), Marco Pappa (8.7), Gonzalo Pineda (7.6), Andy Rose (6.5) Micheal Azira (6.5), Cristian Roldan (5.0).
Dempsey is obviously the big name here, scoring 18, 8, 6, and 6 each time he's played this year (I'm counting his assist in Colorado even though the fantasy game hasn't counted it yet). He's my captain and I'm sticking to it, especially against Portland. Alonso is entirely overpriced for his actual value. If you want a reliable d-mid for fantasy, go get Victor Ulloa (6.5), who is going to score about the same as Alonso. Neagle and Pappa are the firecrackers who will score 2 or 3 in a few games in a row before exploding for a ton of points like Neagle did last week. I might lean towards Neagle again against Portland if I had to choose between the two.
Did you know that Rose is actually the third highest scoring mid on the Sounders, having started the past four games for the Sounders? I didn't realize how consistent he's been. Anyway, who knows what Sigi is going to do with the "not Alonso" CM position. I wouldn't gamble on any of Pineda, Rose, Azira or Roldan this week.
Diego Valeri (10.0), Will Johnson (8.5), Darlington Nagbe (8.5), Rodney Wallace (8.5), Gaston Fernandez (8.5) Diego Chara (8.1), Dairon Asprilla (7.5), George Fochive (4.4).
Valeri is the only one worth owning in this bunch when he's healthy. He hasn't been healthy this year and won't be for awhile. Johnson is injured and I won't miss him. Nagbe's scored a few points this year, but still doesn't have a goal. Fernandez is just a sub this year, Wallace is inconsistent and not that good this year, Asprilla is still proving himself and Chara is another overpriced d-mid. Fochive is interesting at that price point, but probably won't play if Jewsbury is healthy. A whole lot of meh. Factor in Alonso and the rest of the Seattle defense, and I wouldn't bet on any of these guys.
Obafemi Martins (11.4), Chad Barrett (6.5).
Obafemi Martins is good at soccer.
Chad Barrett is not as good. Do I really need to do any analysis here? You know whether you can afford Oba or not.
Fanendo Adi (9.2), Maximilliano Urruti (8.6).
I actually like Adi: I think he's worth his price point and will justify his DP tag this year. But do you really want to take a risk on him against Marshall? His biggest asset is his body, and Marshall is more than strong enough to handle him. Urruti is a sometimes starter, and probably not worth the risk.
So, if you want to go all-Cascadia, go with Frei, Evans, Dempsey and Martins, if you can afford it. Maybe throw in Adi to spice things up. If you really want some extra Cascadia flavor, Pedro Morales (11.0) is back this week and Darren Mattocks (7.8) has been on fire lately. It should be a fun game on Sunday and I think the fantasy scores will reflect that.
Later this week I'll be giving you more picks from around the league, especially looking ahead at the week 10 and 11 DGWs.