Previous Year Recap
The 2020 season was another challenging one for the Vancouver Whitecaps, from dealing with injuries to key players and having to play the latter half of the season in Portland due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team finished 9th in the Western Conference, putting them out of the playoffs for the third straight year. The Whitecaps have been a fantasy black hole over the past few years, but the additions of Deiber Caicedo, Caio Alexandre and Bruno Gaspar should help to boost the fantasy prospects of the team. If the team can finally solidify a strong starting XI under manager Marc Dos Santos, there could be some sleeper picks available for fantasy managers.
Fantasy Players to Watch
Goalkeepers: Maxime Crepeau ($5.5m) had his season cut short last year due to a broken thumb suffered in the MLS is Back tournament but is once again between the sticks as the team’s starting goalie for the 2021 season. The Canadian international kept only one clean sheet last season in four starts but has been relied upon to make many saves for a leaky defense in his years at the club, which could lead to an opportunity for save points. If he can regain his form from the 2019 season, where he made 112 saves on 153 shots on goal against, he could be an option for managers.
Defenders: The Whitecaps allowed 44 goals last season, which was third worst in MLS, only behind San Jose and the LA Galaxy. While this will not inspire confidence for fantasy managers, there are some options on the backline that could be good picks for the fantasy season. Ali Adnan ($6.0m) remains an attacking presence at the left back position as he plays in an advanced position when the team is in possession. He also takes free kicks for the team, which provides another avenue for points. New signing Bruno Gaspar ($5.5m) will also provide service and ball progression from the right back position. A healthy Erik Godoy ($5m) will do wonders for the team defense and could be a cheaper option that will likely rack up bonus points from clearances, blocks, and tackles. If the backline can stay healthy, they could provide value this season.
Midfielders: With the departure of Hwang In-beom to Ruban Kazan in August of 2020, the Caps lost their main playmaker and fantasy option in the midfield. The club is still looking to sign a DP #10, but until that player arrives, there are slim pickings for fantasy managers in the Whitecaps midfield. If Christian Dajome ($7.0m) plays up top in a 4-4-2 formation, he could be the best choice out of the midfield as he will get the opportunity for goals. Caio Alexandre ($7.0m) is the big midfield signing for the team but playing as a box-to-box midfielder may limit his fantasy potential as he may be more responsible for progressing the ball rather than taking shots on goal.
One cheap under the radar pick could be Michael Baldisimo ($4.5m), a 20-year-old who found a spot in the first team last season. If he can nail down a spot in the XI, he may become a budget option.
Forwards: The Whitecaps hoped bringing in Lucas Cavallini ($8.5m) in the winter of 2019 would help solve their goal scoring woes, but the Canadian international struggled to meet expectations, only finding the net six times in 16 starts in his first season with the club. He will be the team’s starting striker so if he can regain confidence and be provided with better service from the midfield, he could provide fantasy managers with a second-tier forward option. Colombian international Deiber Caicedo ($7.5m) played primarily as a winger at his former club Deportivo Cali but is listed as a forward in the fantasy game. It remains to be seen what position Caicedo takes up in the Caps system, so he is worth watching at the beginning of the season.
While there could be some options from the Whitecaps, expectations should remain low. If the team can solidify a consistent starting XI and sign a DP #10, they may become a good option, but for now, it is best if fantasy mangers see what the Caps offer in the first few weeks of the season. If the team shows promise, they could provide cheap options for managers this season.
Potential Starting XI
Last season, the Whitecaps used nine different formations in their 24 matches. They found some success playing a 4-4-2 at the end of the year and used this formation in their first pre-season game.