MLS Fantasy Manager 2016: Week 11
MLS Fantasy Manager week 11 is Rivalry Week for Major League Soccer and a chance at double the points for four teams. The biggest points earners this week are going to come from Toronto F.C., New York Red Bulls, New York City F.C., and Chicago Fire. But who will those players be?
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto F.C., $12.7
Sebastian Giovinco is leading the league in fantasy points and it’s hard to deny him a roster spot any week. There’s not much more to say about him—he’s the best in the league. It’s a travesty that Giovinco didn’t earn a call-up for Italy’s Euro roster but that means he’ll be around all summer for fantasy rosters. This is the perfect week to add him because Toronto F.C. has two matches at home against a couple defensively weak teams. Giovinco is coming off a brace against Vancouver but I don’t see him slowing down this week even with only a few days rest. He could be rested one of the games but I don’t see him sitting out two whole matches especially at home. It’s also a safe bet to make him your team captain this week.
David Villa, New York City F.C., $11.6
It’s safe to say that David Villa is all in this year for New York City F.C. the aggressive way he has played this season. Villa is second overall in fantasy points at this point in the season and could top the points standings by the end if he stays healthy. N.Y.C.F.C has two matches this week against two teams it loves to score against. They play midweek against Toronto F.C. and then against crosstown rivals New York Red Bulls on the weekend. I’m not sure he’ll see action for two full matches but playing on two grass surfaces should raise the chances he sees the pitch both matches. He’ll have plenty opportunities for some goals this week but I think he’ll shine against N.Y.R.B. and it’s worth adding him even if he only plays that one match. I wouldn’t captain him but if a way can be found to add him to rosters this week then it would be for the best.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls, $10.7
Bradley Wright-Phillips is having a rough season like the rest of his team. The season is about 1/3 of the way through but there’s still time to catch the rest of the Eastern Conference since they’re only six points behind their New York rivals. This week is the perfect opportunity for N.Y.R.B. to catch the teams in front of them and Wright-Phillips will play a key role in any chances they have. Chicago has been a weak opponent for the past couple years and that means that he’ll have plenty opportunities to raise his goal tally while helping his team earn much-needed points. The derby against N.Y.C.F.C. will be a tougher affair but I think it will be higher scoring than usual if the Red Bulls can stay hot after their midweek match. Wright-Phillips will play a main role in the goals they do score if he’s not scoring them himself. He’s the most likely of the forward picks this week to play both matches and has the best shot at maximum points.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Lloyd Sam, New York Red Bulls, $9.2
Lloyd Sam is another Red Bulls star having a bad start but he’s also got the same shot to come up big this week that all of his teammates do. He might see some rest to save his legs but he’s such an indispensable part of the Red Bull attack that I think he’ll see the field both matches. He’s not usually a leading scorer for the team but his crosses and passes are where a lot of the Red Bull goals usually come from but they’re just not there this season—that’s call going to change this week against Chicago Fire. Sam and his teammates should be able to get their mojo back before they face N.Y.C.F.C. on the weekend and they’re going to need to if they hope to stand a chance against the league leaders. The crosstown match will be hard-fought and high scoring and Sam should be able to pick up some big points even if they don’t win.
Thomas McNamara, New York City F.C., $7.4
I don’t think it’s fair to call Tommy McNamara the most improved player this year because he was a great player last year but New York City F.C. had yet to gel as a team. I think a better term would be that he’s this year’s breakout player. He’s learning from legends around him and working with his teammates to put N.Y.C.F.C. almost atop the Eastern Conference. He’s consistently putting up good fantasy numbers almost every week on a team that’s lighting up the league. N.Y.C.F.C. has two tough matches this week but they tend to be high scoring match ups and McNamara will play a big part in any goal that comes this week. He picks up goals here and there but most of his points come from assists which is a trend that should continue this week. McNamara might pick up a goal against N.Y.R.B. but he will pick up assists in both games.
Michael Bradley, Toronto F.C., $10.3
Michael Bradley is back on the list again this week partly because of his league form but mainly because he’s got two shots this week. New York City F.C. will force him to play a lot of defense so he will earn defending bonuses while picking up passing bonuses. He should also play a role in any goal that Toronto earns in that match. He’ll have a better shot at offensive points against Columbus Crew especially the way the Crew have been bleeding goals. Bradley should be a short-term addition this week as he will likely be called up for the Copa America Centenario this summer but he’s worth the pick and likely transfer in the next few weeks.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Drew Moor, Toronto F.C., $7.4
Drew Moor was one of the best off-season pick-ups this season by any team. Toronto’s defense got exponentially better by adding Moor and they look like a totally different team in the back with his leadership. Moor will have his hands full against New York City F.C. and there’s no way this match will end in a clean sheet for either team but he should still manage to earn defending bonuses from clearances and possibly a passing bonus from having to help the attack move out of the back. Toronto has a better shot at a clean sheet against a Columbus team that has lost a lot of its fire power after trading away Kei Kamara. That match won’t be a walk in the park but it will not be the offensive battle the midweek match will be. If Moor can stay out of the books then he should be able to pick up maximum points from the weekend match.
Robbie Rogers, Los Angeles Galaxy, $7.7
Robbie Rogers is one of the best attacking defenders in the league and is my only one-game pick this week because of it. Los Angeles Galaxy meets San José this weekend for the California Clasico and Robbie Rogers plays great against the old enemy. Los Angeles is also heating up now and playing some of their best soccer as a team in a couple of years, Rogers is a big part of that. He patrols the wings better than some of the best pure defenders in the league while passing better than most of the wingers and outside midfielders. He’s going to need to have a great game to stop the strong San José attack but that shouldn’t be a problem while they play at home. He’ll pick up attacking, passing, and defending bonuses as well as a possible clean sheet if he can get the attackers under control.
Jonathan Campbell, Chicago Fire, $5.3
Jonathan Campbell and the Chicago Fire will most likely get shellacked against New York Red Bulls midweek but they have a great shot against fellow cellar dwellers Houston Dynamo on the weekend. The rookie Campbell is possibly Chicago’s best defender and if anyone is going to pick up a big chunk of points in these two games—it’s going to be him. He could still manage to pick up at least four points against Red Bulls if the Fire can keep the score low. The match against the Dynamo could go either way but I think it will be low scoring with Chicago coming out on top by a goal or two. Campbell will pick up a lot of defending bonuses because of the work he will have to put in but will get a passing bonus in the Dynamo game.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Clint Irwin, Toronto F.C., $5.6
Clint Irwin has the best shot at a clean sheet of the usual starting goalkeepers playing twice this week. The midweek match against New York City F.C. will be the tougher match but he should make up for not getting a clean sheet by making enough saves for a few bonus points. He should also pick up some defending bonuses from having to help clean up any balls that make it by the defense. Irwin has a strong chance at a clean sheet against the offensively lacking Columbus Crew. He won’t get as many save bonuses from this match but will make up for it by earning the clean sheet.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | You can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk