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MLS Fantasy: Thinking About the Wildcard in Week 6

Strategies for Dealing With the Diaz Injury

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

This week was an UGLY week. The average score was 51 points. That's awful, and much of the blame lies with the Mauro Diaz injury. Despite Dallas putting out the information that suggested he was likely to play, Diaz didn't even make the 18.

Sadly, I have no further information than that. MLS Fantasy people have been begging FC Dallas to provide some update as to whether Diaz even traveled to Portland without any success. Heck, even Landon Donovan asked for info last week only to get a Minions gif in reply. Making it worse, we won't have FC Dallas's lineup until AFTER the fantasy lineups lock. Did Diaz not make the 18 in order to preserve him for these two matches or is there a serious injury Dallas is hiding? Sadly, MLS's stubborn insistence on childish games with injury information leaves us in the dark.

It's baffling as to why MLS thinks this is a good idea. In the Premier League, managers (despite tons more pressure to win) are perfectly content to sit down the Friday before the weekend slate and divulge the injury status of their players, including players hurt in training i.e. injuries that were largely unknown. In the NFL, entire shows are devoted to the daily injury updates. Yet while other leagues use injury information as a way to drive interest in their leagues during the down days where their are no games, MLS continues to insult its fans by shrouding this information in mystery. There's no competitive advantage; surely Portland can watch Dallas train in its stadium and have all the information they need about Diaz. I assume MLS thinks fans won't show up to matches if fans know a big star is absent, but I can't imagine that there are that many people who wait till game day to decide if they're going to see Mauro Diaz. Even if there are, I think the league would grow significantly more if there was something to drive MLS content during the week other than videos of Mike Magee talking about Beckham in his underwear and Tommy McNamara playing Jenga. It's time for MLS to grow up and give fans the information they so desperately crave.

Shelving that particular rant for the moment, lineups lock today at 7:00 EST. Let me repeat this: LINEUPS LOCK TODAY. This is the first time the lineups lock midweek this season, and with the DGWs it's important to get your transfers in.

Many managers are considering wildcarding this week: with Diaz questionable, many managers want to use the extra transfer to get a sure-fire DGW player and don't want to take the -4 point hit to do so. But is this week the best week to use it?

With the caveat of "it depends on your team," the answer is probably no because of one thing: Sporting KC has DGWs in 6, 8 and 10. What this means is that if you take hits this week to snag SKC players, you can expect those moves to pay off over the next 5 fantasy weeks. A -4 hit isn't so bad when your player has 8(!) games to make up those lost points.

After all, in a DGW assuming the player starts both games (which is always risky due to rotation) they get 2 points just for playing 60, meaning your -4 hit looks more like a -2 hit when compared to a single game week player, and the DGW player has an extra 90 minutes to score those 2 points and more to make up the difference.

That said, if you do wildcard make sure you plan ahead. DGWs in 6,8 and 10 share a bunch of the same teams. However, in week 11 there are 4 DGW teams, only one of which has a DGW the week before. There's also the pitfall in Week 13, when 8 of the 20 teams are on bye. Making that situation worse, many of those teams on byes are the teams who will have DGWs in 10,11 or 12, meaning you'll have to scramble to clear them out of your team. It's these upcoming weird situations that have me holding off on the wildcard-as most teams use their WC quickly, many other teams will have problems fielding strong teams in these weeks. A wildcard in Week 11 will allow you to go full out on Week 10 and Week 11 whereas most teams won't be able to do that. Similarly, a wildcard in Week 13 will allow you in Week 12 to play guys regardless of whether they play again in Week 13 so you'll be able to field excellent players that most other managers simply can't justify due to the bye.

If you do wildcard this week, make sure to load up on SKC players. Second, think about who you'll want in Week 8 and make sure you're only 4 transfers or less to get there. Third, be aware that Portland has a bye next round before the Timbers are back on a DGW in Week 8, so if you load on Portland have a plan to unload them or have a bench capable of providing a decent replacement next week.

Hopefully we'll get some decent information on Diaz before the transfers lock which may make the wildcard decision easier. Good luck everyone!