Houston Dynamo 2020 Fantasy Preview

Houston 2020 Preview

2019 marked the fifth season in six years that the Dynamo missed the playoffs which clearly signaled changes were needed.  Exit Wilmer Cabrera, enter Tab Ramos.  Ramos comes in for 2020 after a strong run as the U.S. National Team Under-20 coach and hopes to bring an emphasis on player development.  In fantasy terms – they Dynamo have long been known as fantasy teases – players put up big scores one week before disappearing for weeks on end.    2020 brings a few new names combined with familiar goalscorers that could lead to some offensive firepower.  The defense remains a huge question mark with potential cheap starters available whenever team budget becomes an issue (i.e. not for the first few weeks for sure).

Tactics & Key Players

Tab Ramos mentioned a 4-3-3 formation in his opening press conference, but a new coach and new players leaves some uncertainty.

Goalkeeper: Starting keeper Marko Maric is new to MLS entirely, coming from Lillestrøm SK, Norweigan Eliteserien.  A starting price at $5.5m isn’t exactly a steal, and $4.5m backup Cody Cropper will be familiar to fantasy players from his previous bargain work with the New England Revolution.

Defenders: The Dynamo backline lacks a strong history of performance, but depth and cheap prices could lead some budget appeal later in the fantasy season.  $5.5m Aljaz Struna and $5.0m Maynor Figueroa should start at center back but don’t have a ton of goal or bonus point upside.  $4.5m backup Wilmer Cabrera has starting experience and occasional fantasy relevance with the Montreal Impact, so keep an eye out if he starts due to rotation or injury. Adam Lundkvist and Jose Bizama are the likely starters at outside back at $5.0m each.  Lundkvist carries a little potential to share corner kicks, and Zarek Valentin arrives from Portland to provide depth at both spots.

Defensive Midfielders: A huge problem spot for the Dynamo and fantasy irrelevance.  Matias Vera (with a solid debut season) and Boniek Garcia are poised to start at $6.0m, but the big issue is that a lack of passing creativity or a strong box to box midfielder could keep the attack from ever gaining much consistency.

Attacking Midfielders: Darwin Quintero is the big new name, coming over in a trade from Minnesota after a very inconsistent season.  The big question is his position.  He has only a sub appearance in the preseason and has experience as a wing, striker, or second striker – leaving his expected role up in the air. His playmaking qualities have previously provided big set piece and bonus point potential, and his $8.5m price could easily be a bargain.  Tomas Martinez could start in the number 10 role or come off the bench depending on where Quintero slots in.  He comes cheap at $7.0m but is more of a wait and see player after a brutal fantasy season in 2019 averaging under 4 points per game.  Young Memo Rodriguez showed fantasy and goal scoring potential in 2019 but likely will start the season as a substitute at $6.0m.

Forwards: After an offseason of transfer rumors for both players, Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis both return.  Both players averaged over 5 fantasy points per game last season and definitely provide double digit scoring potential in good home matchups.  At $9.5m for Manotas and $9.0 for Elis, both should be on the fantasy radar when the Dynamo play at home.  Manotas gets a slight edge as the true striker and a 19 goal breakout season in his history from 2018, but either could emerge as the hot hand.  Christian Ramirez at $7.0m likely will be fighting for sub appearances with Manotas, Elis, and Quintero crowding the front line but should remain on the radar if injuries or transfers change things.

Notable Changes

Romell Quioto, Joe Willis, and Damarcus Beasley are out.  Darwin Quintero, Marko Maric, and Zarek Valentin are in.  Despite the coaching change, the lineup remains pretty steady with the integration of Quintero the big question mark going forward.

Fantasy Expectations

Consistency.  It has eluded the Dynamo offensively and has made their forwards frustrating in Fantasy MLS in the past.  The question is if new coach Tab Ramos and the addition of Quintero can change things.  The giant hole on the team is someone to truly take on the #10 role – Quintero has stated he prefers to play as a second striker and Tomas Martinez is lacking in true play-making qualities.  So I am reluctant to predict this will drastically improve in 2020.  However, Manotas, Elis, and Quintero all have a history of goal-scoring and fantasy performance, so all 3 offer potential, especially in strong home matchups.  It may help to wait out the first weeks of the season on Dynamo players to see how well Quintero fits into the squad.

The Dynamo conceded 59 goals in 2019 to tie for the 4th worst defensive record in MLS.  It is hard to see how this will radically change, and none of their defenders were bonus point or offensive darlings.  So don’t expect much here unless you need a cheaper starter.

I predict Manotas as the best Dynamo fantasy performer in the first half of the season with Quintero stepping up as the season rolls along as he starts to add up the bonus points.  Elis will pop in with some occasional big scores.

Predicted XI

Right back is the most heated position battle in the preseason between Bizama and Valentin but neither is a great fantasy option.  Quintero and Elis have battled minor injury issues in the preseason so they offer some risk for starting week 1.  Christian Ramirez and Memo Rodriguez both see themselves outside the predicted 11 but offer good cheap fantasy scoring potential if they can sneak into starting roles up front due to injuries.

About Tod Modisette

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