Houston Dynamo 2021 Fantasy Preview

Cincinnati 2020 Preview

Previous Year Recap

Following several seasons of being both aggressively mediocre and notoriously inconsistent, the Dynamo outdid themselves in 2020 to become full-on bad.  Tab Ramos’s first year as manager was one to forget – the Dynamo finished dead last in the Western conference and their .91 points per game was the worst in a long team history.  Attacking mainstays Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas left via transfer midseason and left the team searching for a way to score goals.  In fact, the Dynamo managed just 16 goals and a 1-9-7 record in the 17 games without Elis in the lineup.  Darwin Quintero was a rare bright spot – showing up as a solid fantasy player in home games who could bring in a good amount of attacking bonus points at 6.58 points per game.

Fantasy Players to Watch

Goalkeeper: Marko Maric is fully entrenched as the starter in his second season – he managed to play every minute in goal for the Dynamo in 2020.  At $5.5m in fantasy, he’s not really a bargain to be used as a money saver.  The Dynamo made moves to improve their defense in the offseason but coming off a year with just 3 clean sheets you can likely do better for your fantasy keeper.

Defenders: The Dynamo made defense a priority in the offseason with the acquisition of Tim Parker from the New York Red Bulls to start at center back.  Parker adds experience without being as ancient as his center back partner, 37 year-old Maynor Figueroa.  At $5.5m for Parker and $5.0 for Figueroa, they provide a couple of cheap options for home games against poor attacking teams.  Zarek Valentin and Adam Lundkvist are the likely starters at $5.0 at the fullback positions, but their attacking and bonus potential is extremely limited.  Rookie center back Ethan Bartlow provides a potential cheap future option at $4.5 mil, but he won’t make the starting lineup to open the season.

Midfielders:  Honestly, this might be the weakest fantasy midfield in MLS.  Only two players are priced above $5.5m in fantasy, and that seems to be accurate with the ability in this group.  Joe Corona was added to provide both defensive midfield stability and novelty joke jersey purchases for the fans and will likely partner with Matias Vera in midfield.  Both players averaged 3 points per game last year and do not offer much upside.   Your name to watch is Memo Rodriguez – the homegrown midfielder he has produced well in his limited starts in the past and is a cheap option at $7.0m who now seems to have a firm grip on a starting job.  One longshot – Tyler Pasher has started multiple preseason games for the Dynamo at $4.0m on the wing.  If he does that in actual games, you can’t beat a minimum price.

Forwards: Darwin Quintero is your focus here at $9.5m, coming off a solid fantasy year with several double-digit point games and lots of bonus points.  The issue is who will surround him up front to develop some semblance of an attack.  Maxi Urruti and Fafa Picault are each new pieces that have at one time been fantasy relevant, but neither is remotely dependable (and amusingly Picault isn’t even on the fantasy site yet).   Christian Ramirez will try and earn the lead striker role, but his Dynamo career has been a disappointment so far.  21 year-old Mateo Bajamich was a relatively expensive transfer at $1.2 for the team and could factor in the plans as well, but his role is unknown for now.

Fantasy Expectations

For several years in Fantasy MLS, the Dynamo have been a defensive wasteland with several different attackers who could bring in big points in good matchups.  This year, the attacking potential is not there, and the defense still doesn’t seem good enough to be fantasy relevant.  The Dynamo are coming off a brutal season and did not bring in enough talent to show any indication of turning that around.  Darwin Quintero offers fantasy potential, but if the team isn’t good, he won’t be reliable enough to stick in your lineup.  My simple fantasy summary – this team is bad, and you shouldn’t pick their players until later in the season if some start to stand out for their price point.

Potential Starting XI

I’m fairly confident in the defensive and defensive midfield starters for the Dynamo, but the attackers are a complete question mark.  The partners up front with Quintero could change game to game making this team one you really need to check a lineup to feel confident starting.

About Tod Modisette

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