I’m going to try something new this year with these player picks write-ups that was inspired by the work my friend Berbacat does at Fantasy Football First. If it works, I’ll try to keep it up. If not, well then back to the old way. So let me know what you think of this Fantasy MLS 2015 Round 2 Review (Part 1).
Houston Dynamo 0 – Orlando City SC 1
After sneaking away with a win against Columbus last week, Houston was looking to make a good showing in its home opener. The game was relatively balanced with each team having about 50% possession, but Orlando’s offense was able to make better use of their possession putting three shots on goal. Houston was never able to get its offense to click and ended the game without any of their shots being on target. Unfortunately, a late game mistake by keeper Tyler Deric overshadowed an otherwise excellent performance when a bobbled back pass resulted in an own goal.
- Kaka (OLC $11.1): After two games, it’s clear that the early offensive expectations that many managers had for Kaka are playing out on the field (if not in fantasy points). Kaka has remained a key target for the Orlando offense but has also demonstrated his ability to create chances for his teammates. He had two excellent runs against Houston that resulted in shots and would have found the goal if not for the efforts of Tyler Deric. Definitely a potential transfer in during the international games.
- Rafael Ramos (OLC $5.5): A Starting defender under $6.0m can be hard to find and after a disappointing point total from Round 1, it’s reassuring to see Ramos come away with two defensive bonus points. This performance showed that he is capable of earning enough points to keep his value from falling and should reassure managers who were considering dropping him. Now if he would only rack up a few more crosses.
- Tyler Deric (HOU $4.5): His flubbed back pass and resulting own goal were huge letdowns to managers this week who can expect a drop in overall value, but don’t overact to this. Deric still made three great saves during this game which included two tough shots from Kaka. At this time, there is no reason for a mass selling.
- Brad Davis (HOUR $9.5): With Orlando missing Collin in the back, many expected Davis to take advantage and send in multiple crosses to rack up offensive bonus points. This did not happen…again. After two consecutive sub 4 point games for Davis, it’s time to look elsewhere until Houston can find more reliable offense form.
- Bryan Rochez (OLC $7.0): Once again Rochez did not start and, even worse, this time he did not even play. He’s not owned by many managers at this point, so if you are still one of the 5.7% of holdouts with hope of a $7.0m starter, you need to find a better use for this money.
Chicago Fire 0 – Vancouver Whitecaps 1
Both Chicago and Vancouver came into this game with the hope of getting a better result than from Round 1. Each team showed better attacking chemistry, but neither was able to keep many of their shots on target. In the end it was Vancouver who came away with the victory. Chicago, much to the joy of the home fans, was the clear aggressor through the first half thanks to passing and shots from Quincy Amarikwa and Harrison Shipp, but David Ousted was up to the challenge. The tide shifted during the second half as Kekuta Manneh continued to make dangerous runs down the left side, but it was a pass from Steven Beitashour that setup Octavio Rivero for the winning goal in the 86th minute.
- Kekuta Manneh (VAN $7.0): Manneh continued to demonstrative his fantasy potential by earning another bonus point from his key passes and generated a BCC this game. It’s unfortunate that his distribution and great runs down the wing have not resulted in more points for him yet. Until he does start to produce, if you still have him in your team, you may want to consider upgrading to Rivero because he is the one who is getting the better changes.
- Mauro Rosales (VAN $7.9): An unlucky injury sent Rosales off right at the end of the first half, but before that, he created several chances and was a driving force in the Vancouver offense with Pedro Morales playing a more advanced role. He usually does not play the entire 90min, and a lingering injury will make what time he gets even shorter, but keep an eye on him because he is showing some good bonus point potential.
- Harrison Shipp (CHI $7.5): After rumors that he may not be a starter, Shipp has started the last two games and became very involved in the Chicago attack during this game. He was especially potent when pairing up with Amarikwa and had two great shots on goal. The potential is here, but consistency is yet to be seen.
- Keepers: Both Busch (CHI $5.0) and Ousted (VAN $5.5) had amazing games coming up with several big saves and earning a total of 9 saves between them by the end of the day. Busch showed that he is a quality stand in when Johnson is not available, and Ousted reminded us why he was so highly praised before the start of the season.
- Pedro Morales (VAN $11.0): Pedro had several chances for goals during this game, but flubbed all of them. He’s also not been generating the bonus points that we all came to love last season. This could be the result of manager Carl Robinson encouraging him to take up a more advanced attacking position or just still trying to find his form. Whatever the reason, a 3-4 point midfielder that costs $11.0 is a waste of money.
Columbus Crew SC 2 – Toronto FC 0
In Round 1, two teams were not able to take advantage of outnumbering their opponents due to red cards, but that was not how it played out for Columbus. After some early back and forth, the Crew began to dominate possession leaving Toronto to depend on counter attacking for the majority of their offensive chances. The game shifted completely to the Crew’s favor in the closing minutes of the first half when Justin Morrow received a controversial red card. Toronto was forced to shift to a much more defensive formation at the start of the second half, which limited the chances of Altidore and Giovinco. Columbus pressed this man advantage in the second half and were rewarded by a goals from Justin Meram, recently back from suspension, and new hard hat model Kei Kamara.
- Justin Meram (CLB $7.6): After missing the first game of the season due to a carry over penalty from 2014, Meram slotted right back in without issue. He was a scoring threat all night, taking five shots before before scoring on a cross from Ethan Finlay in the 56th minute, and also hustled back to play defense. He could be a great investment for the upcoming Columbus double game in Round 6.
- Kei Kamara (CLB $8.0): The best part about Kamara’s goal was his celebration. Now that that’s our of the way, we should all be equally impressed with his ability to take advantages of the chances he finds himself in. In both of his last two games, he’s generated at or just about half of Columbus’s on target shots and is currently tied for most shots in the league. You can’t get goals without chances and so far Kamara is making the most of his.
- Columbus Wing Backs: It’s not often that’s I’ll highlight wing backs, but both from Columbus have earned attacking results that should put them on the watch list for every manager. They represent a more affordable way to get into the Columbus back line and could provide some surprising results every now and again.
- Columbus Bye Rounds: With so much early promise from this Crew team, their bye weeks in Rounds 3 and 5 are a big disappointment. With hope, this will not impact the form that they are currently on and earn many managers big points during the double game in Round 6.
FC Dallas 3 – Sporting Kansas City 1
It didn’t take Dallas anywhere near as long to start scoring this week, with the opening goal coming just 17 minutes into the game. Even with SKC controlling the majority of possession, Dallas was able to take advantage of Michel’s set plays, Castillo’s crosses, and the goal scoring prowess of Perez to exploit the absence of Matt Besler. Sporting’s Roger Espinoza tied the game near the end of the first half, but this game was all about miss opportunities(including a missed OK by Dom Dwyer) for them and the inability to contain the Dallas’s attack.
- Michel (DAL $9.2): After confusing many managers by not starting in Round 1, Michel re-entered the lineup this week and made his presence known by assisting two of the three Dallas goals. With upcoming international games on the horizon, the Dallas schedule might not be as hard as it looks and if you’re thinking about grabbing Michel, you should do it soon because his $9.2m price could keep jumping up.
- Benny Feilhaber (SKC $9.2): I questioned last week if Feilhaber could maintain his offensive form. After racking up another assist this week, he’s starting to become a stronger Zusi alternative, especially with international games looming.
- Amadou Dia (SKC $4.4): Dia was a great cheap way into the SCK defense, but not if they keep giving up goals like this and especially not when he gets beat like he was by Perez this week. As the first choice players continue to get healthy and return from suspension, we all need to remember that he could soon find himself on the bench and finding a more reliable replacement sooner rather than later is advisable.
- SKC attack: It’s just not clicking and that is being reflected in fantasy ownership. After Dia, Dwyer is the highest owned player at 9.3%. So if you’re still holding on to one of their players, you may want to reconsider until they start to put up better numbers.
That’s my breakdown for the first half of Round 2. What do you think? Did any players jump out at you who you think deserve to be highlighted? Mention them in the comments below, or send me a Tweet and let me know. Also, don’t forget to get involved with the get community her at MLS Fantasy Boss and over at /r/FantasyMLS.