TRANSFER DEADLINE: Friday, 11 pm ET
- MLS Injury Report
- MLS Disciplinary Report
- BYES IN ROUND 21: COL, NY
- UPCOMING DOUBLE GAME WEEKS: None (Rd. 21), None (Rd. 22)
- Fantasy Doctor: Finding the best values with one more round of Gold Cup absences
- MMCB: Columbus Crew SC players rule MLS Fantasy in Round 20
If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen a recent debate about the value of Kei Kamara as a fantasy player. The discussion focused on how efficient he was with his chances especially since many of them come inside the box. The evidence was persuasive and it’s making me reconsider his place in my team. It also made me wonder which players are actually providing the most bank for the buck, and that’s what I focused on when I made my list for this round.
There are a lot of stats you can look at when trying to find effective keepers, but when it comes down to it, a 'keeper's job is to stop shots. The three best, available, keepers at doing this are Tim Melia (SKC $5.0m), who has saved 82 percent of the shots he’s faced, the-injured Stefan Frei (SEA $5.8m) with 80 percent, and David Ousted (VAN $5.7m) with 74 percent. All are great options, but if you looking for the most bang for your buck, then Melia easily comes away as the top choice going forward.
Value Clone: After a rough start to the season Sporting Kansas City have been on a great run, especially on defense, where they've earned four clean sheets in their last six games. Matt Besler ($9.6m) is SKC’s top scoring defender but it’s Kevin Ellis ($6.5m) who’s been generating the most points per million, and with both players earning similar clearance, block, and interception numbers, he’s clearly the better value of the two.
Bench Warmer: With the New York Red Bulls on a bye this round the best defending option will not available, so now may be the time to go to your bench if you’re one of the 14.4% of managers who own Eric Gehrig (CHI $5.1m). Yes, Chicago is at the bottom of the table, but Gehrig is third in both CBIs and points per million. Plus the Fire host New England this round, and the Revolution have not won any of their last six away games.
Point Machine: If you’re looking for the best defender to invest your money in, then number three is not who you want. You want number one and that player is Jorge Villafana (POR $6.3m), who has returned 13.33 points per million to his owners. It’s true that Portland does not have the best schedule over the next few rounds, but if you consider Villafana a long term investment, he’ll pay off over time.
Totally Worth It: It’s not uncommon to find that big money players don’t produce at significantly higher rates when compared to value players, but that is not the case for Benny Feilhaber (SKC 10.4m). He’s currently number two in points per million and in the top five in points per 90 minutes. To me, this reinforces his “must have” status, especially with a DGW coming up in round 25.
The Provider: Assists, Crosses, and Key Passes are the key stats that contribute to high midfielder points, and only one player appears in the top three in all of these categories, Cristian Maidana (PHI $9.2m). Over his past six games he’s earned five assists and been a key player in the Union’s change in fortunes. Normally Philly struggle on the road, but with DC’s loss of Bill Hamid, they should be able to capitalize on the chances Maidana creates.
On the Edge: If you’d rather get a player who is more of a differential, then consider Mauro Diaz (DAL $9.9m) who is only owned by 2.8% of managers. He’s not currently leading the pack in any major stats, but he’s been steadily rising in the ranks and with a promising schedule over the next two rounds, that could soon change.
Injury Check: After missing the last six rounds Obafemi Martins (SEA $11.7m) is finally practicing again and just in time to help Seattle recover from their Gold Cup slump. What’s most impressive about Oba’s numbers is that even with his long absence, he’s still third overall in goals scored per 90 and almost 60% of his shots have been on target. He’s still questionable for this weekend, but be sure to keep an eye on his status going forward.
Rising Differential: If you’ve stated to lose faith in one of the current big three forwards, or just want to free up some money to grab one of the new DP midfielders, then consider bringing Krisztian Nemeth (SKC $8.6m) into your squad. Over his past five games he’s only failed to score or earn an assist one time, and this consistency has made him one of the top five point producing forwards in the $8.5m and up price range.
There are my picks for Round 21. Do you agree that Kamara is not worth all the hype around him? Post your thoughts below or stop by MLS Fantasy Boss to check out my other charts and resources and discuss your picks with other managers. If you’re interested in seeing the stats I used for this piece, I’ll also post the Excel file later Friday.