Saturday, February 16, 2013

Finding players who are undervalued: Part 4 - forwards

And finally we look at pricing inefficiencies of our forwards. Again, I have grouped the top couple prices into a single "elite" bracket. For those of you who are contributors to r/mls, this highlights exactly why I was trying to convince people that Henry was a better choice for MVP than Wondo... but that's a different blog post. There has been a lot of movement for these players' supporting players this offseason with the exception of Wondo. Henry lost Cooper to Dallas, Saborio lost Espindola to New York, Johnson lost Montero to the allure of Libertadores soccer, and Keane lost Donovan to an existential crisis. It will be difficult to say exactly how all these moves will affect the elite strikers, but my guess is every one of them has a worst season than last except for Johnson and Saborio. That doesn't mean they're not worth owning, however, and we have to go with one or two of them simply for good options to captain when they have easy gameweeks.

Higuain - the most undervalued player in the entire game who is guaranteed to start (Gordon ranks above him, but is not a locked-in starter). Higuain - the player projected to score the most points out of anyone in the entire game at any position. Higuain - the guy who only has one home game (against San Jose nonetheless) in the first five gameweeks. No player has been in and out of my lineup more. He's only owned by a mere 10% at the time of writing, so has potential for significant price rise if he starts hot and not much danger of significant price fall if he doesn't.

Not quite elite options here, but still pricy enough to make it feel like they should be producing more than these guys did last season. Espindola is an interesting option for me. Assuming he'll be playing a similar role as Cooper did last season, he should get plenty of quality chances, though his historical shot conversion rate is lower. Hassli is another player who I think will greatly benefit from his transfer to Dallas. 

The players we want to have that breakout season that can make our friends wonder, "how the hell did you know he was going to score so many goals this season!?" I actually made a bold prediction that Arrieta is going to win the golden boot this year so long as Higuain remains healthy. I would still pick Higuain and try to find somewhere else to save the money. Ryan Johnson and Juan Agudelo are two players I think will overperform these predictions simply due to changes in playing style and new coaches. At this point, Estrada looks to be Seattle's second striker, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Martinez eat some of those minutes.

Again, the budget options here are not locked-in starters. MacDonald is the only one who seems to be the first choice for their team. Mwanga might be with the injury to Dike and Oduro has seen time with the first squad in the preseason for Columbus. If Gordon does end up being a starter (because of running a 4-3-3 or Wondolowski dropping to a midfield role) he becomes the best value in the entire game. It will be tough to be as efficient as last season, but still has plenty of room to deliver adequate returns for his price.

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