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MLS Fantasy: The Sinister Six

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

There's a famous scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker tells Harvey Dent about his lack of plans

"They're schemers trying to control their little worlds. I'm not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are."

It's an interesting scene, not least of all because the Joker seems to have everything very well planned out:  the bank robbery, his escape from prison, to the dilemma he presents Batman of Harvey or Rachel. While not directly controlling his worlds, his plans are flexible enough to achieve his ends. Although the Joker claims to be a servant of chaos, he does so hypocritically through very well thought out plans.

MLS Fantasy Managers know that "controlling their little world" is impossible. Injuries, Undisclosed injury (Love you Molino), rotations, and player transfers make controlling a fantasy team difficult. Success requires a plan with enough flexibility to respond to the chaos.

And boy, is chaos coming. Gameweek 25 is the 2015 Fantastic Four of game weeks is another fantasy game week composed entirely of midweek matches. While that's bad enough, we have another set of byes in Gameweek 27. All told we have only six teams who play both in 25 and 27. I called them the Sinister Six in the title, but if I'm staying with the comic books theme perhaps Suicide Squad is more appropriate because they're bad. Like 26% on Rotten Tomatoes bad. The six are the Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, DC United, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, and LA Galaxy. That's 5 of the bottom six in the Eastern conference.

But you have to deal with them. You have 6 transfers from now to field a Starting XI for 25, and 4 from then. That sounds like a lot, but when fantasy stars like Sjoberg, Diaz, Valeri, and Giovinco have to be rotated in and out your transfers can run out quickly, so having a core of players who have matches in 25 and 27 is essential. That gives you the flexibility to hold on to your fantasy stars as well as respond to any injuries. Let's take a look at each team.

Chicago Fire

Their season is over for them after a lackluster performance in the US Open Cup. There's not much to recommend from their stagnant attack which resembles the futile punches of a thug taking on Superman. David Accam ($9.1) is the best option, but he's hardly been consistent so you're taking a gamble. He's cheap, but the fixtures he has doesn't justify such a gamble in my opinion. For defense, Campbell has been subject to rotation at times, but at $5.0 he's a cheap ticket into their defense, and one of the cheaper defenders in this list. He's not a high scorer, but his value is in getting you 2-3 points that you can rotate in while not having to spend a transfer on a Sjoberg or other strong defender.

Columbus Crew

Since trading away Kei Kamara, and the subsequent relegation of 2015 Fantasy All-Star Ethan Finlay to the bench, you get the feeling that the Crew are just trying really hard to become something they're just not, like Peter Parker in the infamous emo dance scene. Ola Kamara ($8.9) has been a revelation since replacing Kei Kamara and at his price without byes he's probably a must have. Kamara doesn't seem likely to be rotated considering his youth and the Crew's desperation for points. Meram  ($8.5) provides another budget option: he has the occasional explosive game, but for the most part he'll score you 3 points. I'm also keeping an eye on Higuain ($10.7). He hasn't played 90 since recently retiring from his injury, so I'd be wary of picking him up this week, but before his injury he was very strong.

DC United

On paper it's rather confusing why DC United haven't been better. They have decent xG numbers, a strong keeper in Hamid, and a decent attack. But DC United has been DC Movies: a lot of good elements that just don't work together. DC made some moves to address that before the deadline, including acquiring Patrick Mullins from our beloved Pigeons (*sniff*) and Igboanaike from Chicago. I think Mullins at $6.3 might be a good 3rd or 4th forward: At that price, any consistent starter deserves a look, and that's exactly what the New Orleans native appears to be in the Nation's Capital. I'd also take a look at Lamar Neagle ($8.0) who's returning from injury but was very strong before that injury. For defense, I think at $6.2 Hamid just isn't getting enough clean sheets to justify his price. Taylor Kemp ($8.0) is getting a look by many for his offensive capabilities, getting a goal and an assist in his last two matches, but at that price I want some consistent bonus points and that's not Kemp. 3 of his last 6 matches have been 1 pointers.

LA Galaxy

Like Margot Robbie or Viola Davis in Suicide Squad, they really deserve better than to be lumped in with this mess (I thought about Will Smith too, but then remembered Wild, Wild West and decided he absolutely deserved it). They have options galore. Rowe ($5.1) is a budget keeper who happens to be on one of the best defenses in the league. You probably already have Steres ($5.4), one of the cheapest consistent starters in the game. In midfield, Stevie G has been incredibly consistent when he plays, but that qualifier has kept his value down as he's been the subject of rotation and injuries quite frequently. That's a big issue when you have a game week of just midweek matches, but I think it's worth the risk. For forward, Keane has struggled recently with Zardes gone but he's Robbie Keane. He's still been generating chances and like Giovinco can go off, and the schedule is more favorable after this week's Colorado match. In the end he's a must have considering the other options.

New England Revolution

Their defense is as good at preventing goals as Arkham Asylum is at preventing escapes. I want no part of them, especially at their sky high prices. They have 4 of the next 5 at home but the options aren't great. Nguyen is the 2nd most expensive mid in the game a but he's scored more than 4 only twice, and at $11.8 I want routine 5+ games with occasion double-digits. Same is true for Kei Kamara ($11.2) who has only scored in 3 games since his trade to New England: he's a differential pick if you can't pass up the home matches, but over the next few weeks hard to rank him very highly.

Philadelphia Union

When I watched the trailer for Wonder Woman, I liked it but it was hard to get too excited when I remembered how often we've been burned in the past by DC movies with good trailers but made by bad studios. That's how I feel about the Union. They've sunk in the table since Nogueira left, and have traded away LeToux and brought in Charlie Davies and of course Alejandro Bedoya. Like Wonder Woman, I think it could work out, but I want to see it actually work before I buy in. If it does, Philly becomes a source of jewels in this group. They have cheap defenders, with cheap mid options like Pontius ($7.5) who can score goals. Alberg ($8.5) has been hot but he hasn't gotten consistent playing time, so I'd like to see what his role is in this new midfield. CJ Sapong has cooled off, but maybe a strong midfield can find him in good opportunities. So pay close attention to the match versus New England to see how they do and evaluate then who'd like to pick up.

Non "6" Players to look at

Lodeiro-last week I was worried he was too expensive for someone who hadn't dealt with the travel of MLS yes. Well, he traveled cross country and tore Orlando to shreds. He's like Guardians of the Galaxy: the August surprise that unlike so many other August offerings is surprisingly great. He's not off until 27, so I think you're justified in taking him on until his bye. Moreover, he's improving the value of Dempsey and Morris, so keep an eye on them as well.

Giovinco: He's Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man. Every movie he's going to waltz in and steal the show. Giovinco's drought appears to be over. I'm not sold on him as a captain pick this week on the road in the heat and humidity of Houston against a team that only cares about defending. That said, you'd be a fool to transfer him out any time before his bye.