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MLS Fantasy: Bye, Bye, Bye

Navigating a Week With 8 Teams on Bye

Villa waves goodbye to the teams on bye
Villa waves goodbye to the teams on bye
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

8 teams are on bye this week, and unless you have a wildcard your team is likely to be out of sync this week. Here are the teams that are gone: Chicago, Colorado, Montreal, New England, New York Red Bulls, Orlando, Toronto, and Vancouver. Combine that with injuries and the international call-ups (including random midweek ones; thanks Brazil!), and it'll drive you crazy.

There are a lot of questions managers have, so let's get to them.

Should I take hits instead of having players who aren't playing this week?

That depends on where your players. If you have some defenders, the chances of them making 4 points or more (i.e. the amount needed to justify the hit) is pretty low. That article I linked has the numbers, but midfielders and goalies are the most consistent positions to be able to score 4 or more. Forwards are inconsistent but if they do score they'll make up for that hit (since a forward usually scores either nothing or a goal an assist, meaning forwards tend to score either 2, 5, or 7 points).

I take this to mean that you should take hits to get players playing for your forwards and midfielders but just leave the defenders and goalkeepers alone.

Are there any players so good I should hold on to them for a week?

If you can field a team while benching Sacha Kljestan, I would do it. Otherwise, I don't know that there are any superstars so valuable that you can't just transfer them back in Round 14. Giovinco's form has faltered and he left his last match with an injury. Some of the top fantasy options like Valeri and Diaz are playing this round. Transferring out a player like BWP who just scored a hat trick, but you can transfer him back in in 14 no strings attached.

Who Should I Target to Transfer In?

Especially if you're taking the hits, the best way to make up your value is to get players with DGWs soon. The good news is 3 out of the 4 teams in 15 and 1 of the 2 teams in 16 play this week as well. You probably already have Philadelphia players, and they play at home to a Columbus team dealing with significant injuries in the backline. Columbus gave up 3 goals to the RSL B team; keep your Philly players.

The Galaxy are without their usual compliment of stars, but Giovanni Dos Santos is staying home and he's been scoring tons of goals. Watch out though; the underlying numbers suggest GDS's rate is as eternal as a boy band (6 goals with a xG of 1.43 is not good). Mike Magee on the other hand is significantly cheaper ($4.1 less) and has been getting considerable bonus points despite his inconsistent playing time, which shouldn't be a problem while Keane and Zardes are out fighting for country. There's also the England international who may or may not want to be here. No, the OTHER one. This one, Stevie G, has put up fantasy scores of 6,5,9,7,6,6,5 and 7 (ignoring the one game he played 3 minutes in). You'll note all of those numbers are bigger than 4, making Stevie G a good bet to pay off if you take a hit to bring him in even before his DGW.

Last but not least is RSL which plays our beloved Pigeons this week. Javier Morales, a long-time favorite of fantasy players, hasn't been as consistent this year. Moreover, he seems to have lost fantasy-rich set-piece and penalty kick duty (although Plata missed last week, so perhaps that will change).Plata on the other hand has scored less than 7 points when he played 90 minutes only once. Plata's been over performing his xG and xA numbers so that rate isn't sustainable but at $9.5 that's a very strong option.

The other team with a DGW is our own NYCFC. David Villa is a strong option, obviously, but it's hard to recommend anyone else with the way the team has been tearing up our hearts at home.

As for teams without a DGW, Diaz and Valeri have been punishing foolish owners who transferred them out with strong scores. (Valeri, I didn't mean to transfer you out for kaka. It was a moment of weakness. I want, you, back). Higuain of Columbus has been posting some strong scores as well. Out of the three I like Diaz the best: Dallas plays at home to Houston, which just fired its coach, while Valeri gets SJ (who will be looking for a 0-0) and Higuain goes on the road to Philly.

After this, we get a bit of a break for Copa America, followed by 4 weeks of fairly regular play, then a massive bye week in 18 before we get a FREE WILDCARD in 19. Good luck!