MLS Fantasy week four is probably the closest you can get to making a Game of Thrones reference in Major League Soccer.
MLS Fantasy saw its first week of sporadic performances and roster drops in round four, with players like Mauro Diaz and David Villa dropping from their teams' respective 18-man rosters this weekend, causing a lot of headaches for FMLS managers.
While some had incredible weeks near 70 and 80 points, others who are near the top 1000 were incredibly subpar with some scores near the low 30's. This is coming from some of the testimonials seen on Reddit's /r/FantasyMLS where a lot of the hardcore reside, so that says a lot about how crazy this week actually was.
So where did this week go wrong?
Far beyond Saturday's transfer deadline, important players such as FC Dallas' Mauro Diaz, New York City FC's David Villa, Obafemi Martins of Seattle, and Axel Sjoberg of Colorado were dropped from their teams' line-ups late when managers could do nothing about it. Of these big four big names in FMLS, two of them are in the top 15 in terms of selection (Sjoberg, Martins). If you include Clint Dempsey, who sat out injured this week due to a hamstring complication, with Sjoberg and Martins that makes three of the top 15 most selected players were out of commission.
Managers were forced to reduce their line-ups extremely, some of whom were playing with eight or nine players in their lineup as opposed to the normal 11. They were left relying on subs such as Zach Steinberger, Dominique Badji, and Ryan Hollingshead (who hasn't done too badly in that regard with 18 points in his last four games, two as a starter).
If you had a full roster this week, you got lucky.
Where did this week go right?
If you weren't part of the great late roster scratching of March 2015, you were already better off than a majority of the 27,000-odd FMLS managers. That was step one to success this week, and I'm happy that I avoided it (unfortunately Jordan Harvey sat on the bench again for the third week in a row, wasting $7.5 of my valuable dollars warming the bench).
There were a few players who made a huge impact and one in particular stood out. Sporting Kansas City defender Ike Opara scored a whopping 17 points from center back with 90 minutes, a clean sheet, and five defensive bonus points (wow).
If you #DaredToOpara, you'd be singing right now. If you captained him, I'd call you crazy and buy you a beer. Adailton for the Chicago Fire had 13 points for the loyal 0.1% who selected him. Before week four, he had four points all season. Kelyn Rowe of New England had a great showing with two goals, a bonus defensive point, and 90 minutes for 13 points.
Honorable mentions include Kaka and Harrison Shipp for their great performances this week. Despite unpopular opinion, Kaka did the damage for Orlando against Montreal in a thrilling 2-2 draw while Shipp carried the weight for an underwhelming Fire side who earned their first win of the season against an even lowlier Philadelphia Union.
So far in the Dynamo Theory Classic and Head-to-Head leagues, Paisley FC leads the charge with 254 points (undefeated in H2H) while former Dynamo Theory FMLS writer Travi the Rabbi and I sit tied with 246 points.
Next week is the first week to prepare for the elusive double game week in round six when the Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew have doubleheaders. I'd think about putting guys like Pedro Morales, Octavio Rivero and Steven Beitashour into your lineup in anticipation of the Whitecaps' DGW before picking up maybe one or two Crew players for round seven. You want to maximize as many players as you can in those games to benefit from the double points, and paired with a captaincy, it could be a deadly combination for points.