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MLS FANTASY: The Red Badge of Fantasy Trouble

Navigating the Injuries to Set Up for the DGWs in Week 8

Everyone is either injured or probably will get injured
Everyone is either injured or probably will get injured
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Managers this week opened up their squad and were presented with many players wearing the red badge of fantasy trouble. A little red box with a exclamation point next to your player isn't a good thing. That means your player is injured or suspended, it means those plans for transfers are dashed and you need to come up with a new plan. Let's go over the big ones:

  • Joao Plata - Left quad injury, out 7-10 days. He's the best forward in the game, and one of the best values. RSL initially downplayed the injury which occurred in training yesterday, but admitted today that it would cause him to miss one or two matches. This is a great lesson for managers who trust team's information about player injuries: don't. Pay attention to if a player is practicing or actually playing. The words of the manager are just meaningless.
  • Diego Valeri - Bye this week, Suspended Game 1 of the DGW. Diego Valeri's foolish red card cost fantasy managers dearly, but if you planned to transfer him out, you don't have to transfer him in in Week 8 anymore.
  • Matt Hedges - Out 4-6 Weeks. Initially it was claimed it was a tweak due to playing on turf. Haha no. See above.
  • Mauro Diaz - Diaz is coming off what was sold as a minor injury but has taken him out of action since mid-Week 4. Pareja says he's flying with the team to Vancouver this week, so you can put him back on your radar. A matchup against the hapless Red Bulls (boy, doesn't that feel good to type?) might be juicy, but Dallas doesn't have a DGW again until 10, so I would wait at least this week before deciding to bring him back into your squad.
  • Victor Cabrera - The Montreal Defender came off mid-game against Chicago with a head injury. He trained with the full team today, but if you don't have him yet, I think you can skip the matchup this week against the Fighting Giovincos of Toronto to make sure he's good to go.
  • Almost everyone worth picking up on the Rapids - Pablo pablo'ed us with secret injuries to Dillon Powers and Axel Sjoberg, followed up by Marco Pappa picking up an injury during the games last week. Both Powers and Sjoberg have hamstring injuries, which tends to take people a few weeks to recover, while Pappa is out 2-4 weeks.

Check out the full injury report to see if your player is listed. If you have one of these players and need replacements, let's cover some options from those with DGWs in week 8. This is the best strategy to use especially if you need to take a hit in order to transfer out an injured/suspended/Sacha Kljestan as the extra game gives you the best opportunity to make up that ground. I'm not going to pick from any Portland players because Portland is off this round, so no reason to transfer in Portland players this round.

Defenders:

Chris Tierney ($8.1) - One of the big scorers in NE's last DGW in Week 4, Tierney is the rare fantasy defender who has been taking set pieces, earning an assist and an attacking bonus point in Round 6. Tierney also plays both matches at home (Valeri-less Portland and Orlando) in the DGW which is always favorable for defenders.

Ronald Matarrita ($7.6) - It's rare that a defender earns 10 points without scoring a goal or a clean sheet, but Mataritta managed to do just that against Orlando. Scores of 3, 5, 10, and 7 before the dud against Columbus (2) suggest that Mataritta is able to rack up a number of bonus points in the cozy confines of the Bronx, where he'll be both matches of the DGW. I think I'd be more willing to pick him up next after the matchup at the Union considering he's struggled in both road matches this year.

Midfielders:

Diego Fagundez ($8.1) - He's cheap and he has explosive capability, but he hasn't played 90 minutes since the match against NYC. His last 5 scores are 1, 3, 8, 2, and 2 meaning he's a goal or bust player. I recommend staying away from these types of players.

Tommy McNamara ($7.2) - One of the best cheap midfield options in the game, but I think he's a bit of a rotation risk in a DGW. We saw him come off early in half off his starts, and with POKU working back into the team picture (not to mention a certain former Chelsea legend) I'm not sure if he'll earn the minutes to deserve a fantasy roster spot.

Ignacio Piatti ($10.6) - Must have. Transfer priority No. 1. He has the most fantasy points in the game to date with a game less than a lot of other players. Don't overthink this; yes, Drogba might take some opportunities, but Drogba will also create more opportunities for Piatti to assist Drogba or score on his own.

Kaka ($10.9) - No, he doesn't have a DGW until 12, so I'm breaking my rules. But he's scored 16, 7 and 9 points so far, which are DGW-like numbers. He's the best option if you look at the DGW teams in 8 and aren't impressed by the choices.

Forwards:

David Villa ($11.3) - Has 7.2 points per game but still gets a lot of vitriol from fantasy managers. I don't get it. He's on PKs, he takes a lot of shots and has one or two great opportunities a match. With a DGW, I think he's a must have.

Didier Drogba ($11.5) - He's played less than 63 minutes this season and has a goal. There's no way he plays 180 minutes at his age over this double game week; I would expect him to sub in or be subbed this week and every game in the DGW. Still, he's such a potent offensive threat who gets to face off against NYC's defense and the Colorado Rapids Backups (Now Starring Jermaine Jones). I can see why the price may lead you to go for Adi or Dwyer instead, but Drogba's price is high because his ceiling is higher than all but a few forwards in MLS.

You'll note I didn't add any SKC players, but I figure you have them on your roster already. If not, Melia, Coehlo, Zusi, Feilhaber, and Dwyer remain good options. Zusi missing a game already due to strep may help him out going forward as he's already gotten the rest/rotation that is coming. However, the glut of matches for SKC led to Vermes already rotating players in and out, leading Benny to put up a Jurgen-justifying 0 points in 45 minutes. The rotation is going to be risk for all SKC players and there's simply no way to predict when a player will get rested.

I also didn't mention any Vancouver players. That's because other than Ousted, they haven't been good without Pedro Morales. Parker at 6.5 is worth a look solely because he's incredibly cheap for a locked in starter so could enable you to free up some cash to invest elsewhere.

As always if you have a question let me know in the comments below or send me a note via Twitter @MikeDatTiger. Good luck!