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MLS Fantasy: Riding the hot hand and pulling the transfer trigger

To change, or not to change your roster?

Rivero owners are looking for many more sights like this in the weeks to come.
Rivero owners are looking for many more sights like this in the weeks to come.
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 of MLS Fantasy is almost upon us, and like last week's surprise extra day of preparation due to the weather in Philadelphia, no Friday evening game this week gives players another day to get their team lined up (this week's lineup deadline is Saturday at noon PT).

I had a decent week, though I lost in two of the head-to-head leagues I care most about, so maybe it wasn't altogether brilliant. I never claimed to be an expert, just an avid player, but here are my tips for the week:

  • Obviously deal with international absences: If your team is full of guys gone on international duty this weekend, then you're either going to take a hit or have to use your wildcard. I managed to keep the guys gone for the week on my roster (Fatai Alashe -- gee, he did pretty well last week, Kevin Molino -- who is no longer a hot pick and now is getting some angst about a lack of production in MLS from his own fans), and am taking a risk in keeping Atiba Harris in my lineup, considering he may not play even though he'll be back from St. Kitts and Nevis World Cup qualifying. But as I noted last week, playing Harris is always a risk, so I'm rolling with it.
  • Riding the hot hand: I finally jumped on the Octavio Rivero bandwagon last week, along with the Chris Wondolowski bandwagon. One of those guys came through with a goal, even if it took him to the 96th minute to do so. Obviously, three goals in three games so far for Rivero means you just have to stick with him until he hits a lull. If you've got him on your team, you don't want him to stop scoring anytime soon. Don't overthink players who are producing, obviously. Keep them in your team and your lineup until the production tails off.
  • Reworking your roster: One of my issues in Fantasy is a general reluctance to transfer players just because. If there's a bye week or injury, obviously a player needs to move on. But if I have guys who have been pretty good, I don't move them because they have a couple weeks of three points instead of seven points. Often, this works out, because I tend to add the best players and get the most out of them as time goes on, but it does mean I can fail to be proactive at times. So this week, I made two moves to try and bolster my depth and hopefully get contributions this week. I finally pulled the trigger on the misfiring sub Gaston Fernandez and picked up Harry Shipp, Alexi Lalas' best thing about the Chicago Fire at present, though it's a move that makes sense, as Shipp's been getting playing time, scored last week, and is playing a Philadelphia Union team that is struggling out of the gate almost as much as Chicago. Even if the Fire fail to get a result this week, there's still a decent chance Shipp will do something good. My second move was to distribute my budget around my forward line. With cheaper options Rivero and Wondo already on my team, I had some money to work with (I previously had expensive players Jozy Altidore and Obafemi Martins), and picked up Jairo Arrieta over bench option Dzenan Catic, who apparently is on loan in the USL and therefore won't be featuring in the weeks to come. Arrieta has a pretty tough opponent this week in the LA Galaxy, but his D.C. United will be at home, and he should get the start with Fabian Espindola still suspended and Luis Silva hurt. Arrieta is United's top scorer so far this season, so I figure if anyone will get a tally this weekend, he's the best bet. And if he isn't great, I can likely move him for another striker who's getting minutes in a week or two.
  • Tip of the Week - Tyler Deric: Like my thinking with Chicago (and to a similar extent, Philadelphia), the Colorado Rapids will finally, finally score a goal, maybe even get a win, at some point. That could come this week against the Houston Dynamo. But with Deric playing very, very well two out of three weeks so far this season, and with the Rapids yet to score this season, the game between the teams in Houston makes Deric an obvious option for starting GK. In other words, it's up to the Rapids -- or another massive Deric gaffe -- to prove us all wrong.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!