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MLS Fantasy Week 3: Looking Forward to the DGWs

How to Use Your Transfers Effectively

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 is an awkward time when choosing to make your transfers. The 2015 data that guided your preseason is looking less and less reliable, but it'd hard to tell many things definitive from only two weeks of MLS play. After all, at this point last year NYCFC had only given up one goal and wouldn't give up another until Week 4. Obviously, guys like Piatti and Accam have put up big numbers, but it'd hard to say how much they'll cool down. On the opposite side, the Red Bulls both in real and fantasy life have put up bad numbers, but it'd hard to declare with confidence that this will be the case even two weeks from now.

It's also awkward in this year's version because things are about to ramp up very quickly with 3 Double Game Weeks: Week 4, Week 6, and Week 8. It's important to plan your transfers both in who you keep and who you transfer in so that you can field a fantasy team composed of mostly DGW players. If you missed my introduction to fantasy, a DGW player is a player that plays two games in that single fantasy week. So Fantasy "Week" 4 actually lasts from March 26 until April 3 and four different teams play two games during that period. Each game is counted towards the player's total fantasy score for that week, meaning DGW players are great opportunities for big points.

Right now in Week 3 you absolutely you should be setting up your team for the big DGWs in Week 4. However, you also want to maintain flexibility. You only have 2 free transfers a week, and you don't want to have to spend 8 transfers in order to convert your squad from Week 4 to the next set of DGWs in Week 6. With that in mind, let's look at the schedule:

  • Week 4 DGW Teams: DC United, FC Dallas, New England Revolution, and Vancouver Whitecaps
  • Week 6 DGW Teams: Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, San Jose Quakes, and Sporting KC.
  • Week 8 DGW Teams: Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York City FC, Portland Timbers, Sporting KC, Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • Teams without a DGW: Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, Orlando City, Philadelphia Union, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders, Toronto FC.
  • Teams with Byes: Chicago Fire (Week 7), Portland Timbers (Week 7).
  • Other note: Week 4 is scheduled during an international break, which means that many players will be unavailable.

So in this stretch, FC Dallas, New England, Portland, Sporting KC, and Vancouver have two DGWs. Obviously, those are the teams that become the top priority targets. On the other hand, players like Larin from Orlando, Accam from Chicago, or Wenger from Houston (all popular players in the game) seem less appealing to transfer at this point.

Next, you have to ask yourself who the best players are from those teams in order to figure out who you HAVE to have in your lineup. For example, Mauro Diaz (10.2) even in a 5-0 loss put up 5 fantasy points. He's the best player from Dallas, and an easy must-have. If you don't have him in your lineup now, you either need to transfer him in this week or make a plan for where he'll fit in for your transfers in Week 4. Vancouver features Pedro Morales (10.6) who's scored 17 points total and is the 8th best midfielder overall.

You also need to decide which players are good only for their DGWs i.e. players you only want to transfer in the week of the DGW and then transfer out the next week or soon thereafter. For example, New England's best fantasy player right now is Diego Fagundez who has a total of 21 points. However, 17 of those points came in Gameweek 1, with a mere 4 points in Gameweek 2, one of those from a clean sheet bonus for midfielders. Fagundez then has a high ceiling but a very low floor, and those are the players I tend to stay away from, although his price (8.2) is low enough so that I'll give him a look.

One thing in making your plans: Normally taking a points hit of -4 for going over your free transfers doesn't make much sense. 4 points is almost an entire goal, and so mathematically it generally doesn't make sense to take that hit for only one week of production. DGWs are an exception. If you're transferring out a non-DGW player for a DGW player, you have to realize that likely the DGW player will start two games. Simply by playing 60 minutes the DGW player will earn 2 points, meaning you're only betting 2 points. That is, you can assume Player A will get 2 points + Goals/Assists/Bonus Points. Player B who is on a game week will get 4 points + goals/assists/bonus points. All that needs to happen then is that player B with an extra 90 minutes has to outscore Player A by 2 points to make the hit worth it. With many players getting at least a bonus point or two, that's an easy bet to come out ahead on. Your biggest concern is that the DGW player does start both matches, as sometimes MLS coaches let players rest in one of the two games to preserve their stamina.

That said, you don't want to go overboard. Yes, DC United has a Double Gameweek. DC United is also a terrible team and generally its players are hot fantasy garbage. Giovinco even on a Single Game Week is probably better than those players, and it's silly transferring Giovinco in one week and then transferring him back in the next for a player who's generally not productive. That's two transfers that can be used elsewhere.

HUDSON RIVER BLUE League

Michael Bonagura's ShitBrick FC took the top spot in our standings this week with 173, with Jorge Garcia's La Curva F.C. posting the best score of the week of 85. Special shoutout goes to Matt Ufford and Calvin Daniel, who both went with "Pokumon" puns for their team names. You can actually change your team name as often as you like, so feel free to keep thinking of puns to freshen it up.