MLS Fantasy Manager 2016: Week 12
MLS Fantasy Manager 2016 week 12 is a tough week to call. Most teams are about to lose their stars to international duty and only a couple of squads have two matches this week. But, I’ve got you covered this week for who is going to pull through for their squad.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Cyle Larin, Orlando City S.C., $9.3
Cyle Larin and Orlando City S.C. are finding a way to stay in the playoff hunt thanks to the weaker opponents in the Eastern Conference. Larin is playing good this season and is growing into his role as starting striker for O.C.S.C. but still has yet to make the leap to league star. He’s still got the season ahead of him to step up more than he already has for his team and he has twice the chances this week to come up big. The first match against Philadelphia Union will be hard-fought but it should end with both teams finding the back of the net at least once and Larin will play a part in the goals for O.C.S.C.. The match against New York City F.C. will be higher scoring considering how bad the N.Y.C.F.C. defense has played lately. Larin could come away from that match with a brace but he’ll at least get some offensive bonuses for his passing or assists if no goals come.
C.J. Sapong, Philadelphia Union, $8.2
C.J. Sapong’s revitalization continues as he leads the way for Philadelphia Union as they stand atop the Eastern Conference. Sapong is another goal scorer with a shot at double the points this week. Philadelphia travels to Orlando for the lone midweek game this week and it should be a hard-fought battle between the conference foes. Sapong should feature in both matches this week if his team wants to keep their spot in the standings and that means he’ll take part in the goals for Philadelphia during this match even there are only a couple goals total. The second match will be tougher as the Union travel to Colorado where the Rapids have won every home game this year. I don’t foresee this changing and Philadelphia will be hard-pressed to win but if they can manage to get a road goal then it will be Sapong who earns it.
Kekuta Manneh, Vancouver Whitecaps, $8.6
Kekuta Manneh is considered by some to be one of the future scoring stars of the league but time and patience are beginning to run out as he has yet to have a breakthrough season for Vancouver. He’s a good player with a ton of potential who has yet to make that big leap into being a consistent scorer. Manneh has shown improvement this year though and is on the cusp of making that next step. He’s a great bargain at his price with the output he’s had up to this point into the season. Vancouver welcomes last place Houston Dynamo this weekend and it will pad Manneh’s number since I think he will capitalize on the poor Dynamo defense.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Chris Pontius, Philadelphia Union, $7.2
Chris Pontius is having a solid, consistent year for a team that is surprising the league with its run at the top of the Eastern Conference. He’s not posting Giovinco-type numbers but they’re respectable and he will get more opportunities if the Union can stay on top in the East. Pontius is another player with two cracks at big numbers this week. The Union have a couple tough road games ahead of them, as stated above, but this shouldn’t mean bad numbers for Pontius. He’ll have a better shot at helping score against Orlando City, a team nowhere near as defensively sound as Colorado Rapids are. Pontius should still be able to find ways to pick up points against Colorado even if the game is low scoring or a clean sheet. He’s the type of midfielder who tracks back and connects on the majority of his passes which means more bonuses. If he doesn’t score or assist then he’ll pick up his points there.
Lee Nguyen, New England Revolution, $11.6
Unlike the previously mentioned players, Lee Nguyen is having a great year while his team is playing badly. He’s not scoring the majority of his team’s goals but he is contributing to any offensive output the Revolution have had. Nguyen had a slow start to the season but he’s really caught on fire the past four rounds with two goals and four assists against some of the league’s toughest teams. New England only has one game this week but it’s against the surprisingly weak Seattle Sounders who have yet to win on the road. Seattle has not been letting in a ton of goals but they aren’t scoring them either and this is the perfect opportunity for New England to make a jump up the standings with three points. The Revs should be able to tag Seattle for a few goals and Nguyen will take part in all of them if he isn’t scoring them himself.
Kaka, Orlando City S.C., $11.0
Kaka has had a rough year dealing with injuries but he’s performed amazingly when he has played. I don’t foresee him playing the full 90 both games but he’s going to contribute when he sees the field in either match. The first match at home will be tough but I don’t think Orlando City can win without Kaka and they need to win this match to move up the standings. Orlando City travels to New York City F.C. on the weekend and it’s another must-win conference match that Orlando can’t afford to sit him during. He’ll make a big difference to the result when he steps on the field and would be a smart choice to name as your fantasy captain this weekend.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Keegan Rosenberry, Philadelphia Union, $5.9
Keegan Rosenberry is having a “Rookie of the Year” campaign for the Philadelphia Union back line. He’s not the attacking type of defender but he’s contributing to the Union attack by making great passes out of the back and keeping the ball out of the penalty box. He’s young and makes mistakes but not many which results in fewer points penalties. The first match will be tough and he’ll be lucky to pick up four points against Orlando but the Colorado match could be fruitful. There’s a good possibility that this match could end 0-0 or with only one goal from either side which means defending or clean sheet bonuses. He also will get bonuses for his passing which means more than the minimum if a goal does sneak in.
Axel Sjoberg, Colorado Rapids, $5.9
Axel Sjoberg is one of the main reasons Colorado is having such a great season. He’s helping anchor a back line that has only let in nine goals this campaign. This is key because, even with the addition of Jermaine Jones, Colorado still has a hard time scoring. The Rapids have yet to lose at home and that won’t change this weekend. Philadelphia is playing some of their best soccer in years but the Rapids are playing their best defense since their title run in 2010. Sjoberg has a great shot at a clean sheet bonus this weekend, they’ll let in one goal at the most. He also is a great passer who could pick up an assist or passing bonus for his work at pushing the attack out of the back.
Nat Borchers, Portland Timbers, $7.8
Nat Borchers and Portland Timbers have yet to win on the road this season but that has a great chance to change this weekend against last place Chicago Fire. Borchers isn’t having the year he had last year but that has a lot to do with the fact that Portland has yet to record a clean sheet this season. Chicago is having a worse year than Portland though and that bodes well for Borchers. He’s great in the air and one of the best on set pieces (on offense or defense) in the league. He’s ruthless and clears anything that comes near him in the final 18. He’s got a good shot at picking up their first clean sheet this year but even if he doesn’t get the bonus for that, he’ll pick them up elsewhere.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
David Ousted, Vancouver Whitecaps, $6.1
David Ousted has the most fantasy points of any goalkeeper this season and his numbers could jump this weekend against Houston Dynamo. Houston isn’t scoring much this season and has very little bite to their attack so I’d be dumbfounded if they’re even able to put one in the back of the net against such a solid defense and amazing goalkeeper. The Dynamo are also abysmal on the road thus far without a single point away from Houston. Ousted will benefit the most from such an offensively weak opponent and should also get defending bonuses with his aggressive play.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | You can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk