Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the rescheduling of the Los Angeles Guardians vs Phoenix Sol. We decided to leave in some of the Los Angeles players to provide comparisons. You will also notice the use of male and female in our fantasy articles. FanVictor only offers these two genders at the moment. MLQ is working with the company to see if adding additional genders is a possibility for the future.
By Harrison Prince
Another season of MLQ is in full swing, and this season fantasy quidditch comes along for the ride.
Much like other fantasy sports, fantasy quidditch allows you–the fans–to choose the players that you think will perform well each week. To help you choose, a group of quidditch insiders and statisticians get together each week and put out a ranking of players up for draft. Below is an explanation of this week’s rankings so that everybody–die hard quidditch fans and relative newcomers alike–can understand the logic behind the rankings.
There are many talented keepers taking the pitch this weekend, so don’t panic if you don’t get your top pick. The two biggest names are Shane Hurlbert (ROC) and Tony Rodriguez (LA), and at $50 and $48, respectively, they are the two most expensive players in the draft. Hurlbert is deserving of the high price tag; he led the league in both goals scored and shots taken last season, while still putting up respectable numbers on the defensive side of the ball. Had fantasy quidditch existed last season, he would have been the highest scoring player in MLQ. Right on his heels is MLQ-newcomer Rodriguez, who has the talent and skill to challenge Hurlbert as the season goes on. He was ranked at No. 2 this week largely because of his inexperience in an MLQ setting. Does he have the ability to be the top-ranked keeper? Absolutely. But first he’ll need to prove he can play as well in MLQ as he does the rest of the year. Expect these two names to consistently be at the top of the rankings all season.
If last season is any indication, Jon Jackson (ROC, $40) will also put up great numbers. He’ll most likely be playing behind Hurlbert, which could have a small impact on his points, but, overall, he’s a great player who makes a valuable addition to any team. The talented Dylan Schepers (DET, $36) has a difficult matchup in Rochester. He’ll earn quite a few fantasy points, but he’s going to have to work to do so. Finally, Chris Barnard (DET, $26) will be doing a lot of ball handling for Detroit. If you find yourself unable to pick up one of the other big-name keepers, Barnard could be a great pick at that price.
Very little explanation is needed for the seeker rankings this week. Darren Creary (WASH, $36) finds himself at the top of the list, followed closely by Margo Aleman (LA, $35). Creary–who was Washington’s best quaffle player a year ago–has a number of tools that make him a dominant seeker, not the least of which is his size and length. His impressive reach makes getting snitch grabs easy for him, so he is a very safe pick at $36. Aleman, much like Tony Rodriguez, is another talented player who was ranked at number two because of his lack of MLQ experience. Once he proves that he can perform at this level–assumedly an easy task for him–he’ll be a consistent threat for the number one spot.
Again, this is a category with rankings that should speak for themselves. Sara Smacher (ROC, $35) returns to MLQ after a 2015 season which ranked her fifth overall in beats, and as the top female in that category. With a good matchup against Detroit, she can easily pick up right where she left off last season.
Katryna Fernandez-Hicks (WASH, $26) and Diane Marie Martin (WASH, $25) were both solid players for Washington last year and will make good additions to any fantasy roster. If you have to decide between the two, go with Martin: her beating was slightly more efficient than Fernandez-Hicks, and she was better statistically at forcing quaffle turnovers and gaining bludger control. If you find yourself without a lot of money to spend in this category, consider Erin McCrady (ROCH, $20). McCrady is an MLQ veteran who produced very well for Ottawa last season, and should continue to do so for Rochester this year.
Beaters are a key factor in any quidditch victory, as a good beater can effectively shut down their opponents. Martin Chiasson (OTT, $36) is an example of a beater who will wreak havoc on his opponent’s offensive gameplan. He was a major contributor for Ottawa last season on both offense and defense and returns to the team this year expecting to continue that trend. James Richert (DET, $35) is another beater who will see success this season, re-joining a Detroit team who relied on him heavily a year ago. He and Chiasson will be near the top of the rankings all summer, and their exact placement will depend on their opponent. This week, Richert, who will be facing a talented Rochester lineup, was ranked slightly below Chiasson, who will have little trouble with Washington.
Speaking of Washington, Mike Madonna (WASH, $23) will see quite a bit of playing time; he’ll have his work cut out for him but you can expect him to put up some respectable fantasy points in spite of that. His teammate, Ricky Nelson (WASH, $15), is ranked in the top 15 this week, but may not get as many points due to more limited playing time. He’ll certainly perform well for a player of that price. If you have a little more money to burn, however, consider grabbing Dan Gagne (ROC, $19). He was a reliable player for Rochester last season and will continue to play well for them this season. At only $19 this week, he has the potential to be a huge steal so keep an eye on him.
Erin Mallory (WASH, $35) is proof that the women’s chaser game is alive and well; she outprices the top male chaser this week. Mallory is one of the best female chasers in the game today, and with a favorable matchup against Ottawa, she’ll have no problem producing some stellar numbers. If she’s out of your price range, her teammate Liz Ebeling (WASH, $17) could be your answer. She was not only a primary chaser at Maryland but the team president as well. Between her knowledge of the game and her natural talent, her rookie year in the MLQ will be nothing short of outstanding.
Two potential sleeper picks here are Krystina Packard (DET, $23) and Mae Overholt (DET, $10). Rochester will struggle to find someone that can match Packard and if she gets a mismatch in her favor she will not hesitate to exploit it. Overholt, on the other hand, has a way of getting open around the hoops. If she can work her magic, and if her teammates can consistently get her the ball, then she’ll be good for quite a few points herself.
The male chaser category has a lot of depth this week, even outside of the top twenty. If you play your cards right, your chaser lineup can score you a staggering amount of points. Washington occupies three of the top five spots with Cory Apps ($30), Raul Natera ($29) and Eric King ($28). Apps and Natera performed well for Washington last year, and while King wasn’t on an MLQ roster last year, he certainly has the talent to keep up with his teammates. Consider grabbing one of them, as all of them will match up well against Ottawa. Alex Mitchell (DET, $28) is another strong pick; he plays well with and without the ball, a factor that separates good chasers from great ones. He also relies on his quickness and field awareness to rack up takeaways, so watch for him to put up good defensive numbers as the season continues. Jakob Russell (DET, $10), another Detroit player, will have a lot of success as a point defender; between him and Mitchell, Detroit’s defense will be difficult for opponents to contend with.
Brian Wong (OTT, $23) and Devin Dutt (ROC, $20), two productive players last season, have the potential to bring in a lot of fantasy points this year. Consider picking them up now and getting a head start on the competition. Some other players of note are Brad Whipple (DET, $14) and Solomon Gominiak (ROC, $25). Whipple will struggle against the size of his Rochester opponents this series, but if he can make the proper adjustments he will see a lot of success on the pitch. Gominiak was Rochester’s utility player last season, getting good numbers in each statistical quaffle category. With the potential to earn points at seeker as well this year, he could be the double threat you need to put your team on top.