MLS Fantasy Manager 2016 week 2
MLS Fantasy Manager 2016 week two brings us our first rivalry matches of the season and some intriguing marquee match-ups. It’s still early in the season and there are no midweek matches this week so let’s get right into it!
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Kei Kamara, Columbus Crew S.C., $10.9
Kei Kamara was the Golden Boot runner-up in 2015 on his return to MLS, losing the award on a tie-breaker to league MVP Sebastian Giovinco. Columbus played on the road in Portland in a rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup Final. Portland is a tough team to beat and an even harder team to beat in their stadium so it’s no surprise he wasn’t able to tally his first goal of the season. This week is different though as the Crew come home to play Philadelphia Union, who looked out of sorts against F.C. Dallas in their opener. Columbus played well in their road loss and are going to look even better when they get their first home win of the season and this will result in Kamara picking up big fantasy points. I recommend making him your team captain if you decide to add him, he’s going to have a monster weekend.
Cyle Larin, Orlando City S.C., $9.1
Cyle Larin had an amazing second half in Orlando City’s come-from-behind draw last weekend. Larin was a streaky forward in his rookie year who was solid for about a month before disappearing for another month or so. This means that Larin is heating up now and is a good addition to any roster for a reasonable price. The defensive weakness of Chicago Fire should also help him get on the score sheet. Chicago let in four goals last week as they tried to trade offensive blows with their opponent and I expect much of the same as they play on the road in front of a tough crowd in Orlando. Larin is hot and in his comfort zone, he’s dangerous right now.
Charlie Davies, New England Revolution, $8.5
Charlie Davies had a good start to his season in a tough environment on the road which bodes well for his first game at home this year. Davies alternated the starting role with Juan Agudelo last season but I have little reason to think he’d be out of the starting line-up in his current form this weekend. New England plays a D.C. United team that fell apart on the road last weekend and I don’t expect that to change this weekend. Davies is the type of player who makes an impact on a match even as a substitute so even if he doesn’t start, it’s smart to have him in a line-up. He’s also a great value at his current price that will only go up if he keeps scoring as the season goes along.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew S.C., $10.5
Ethan Finlay is an assisting machine that only makes his teammates better when he’s on the field. Last year was a breakout season for Finlay and he is only getting better in 2016. Finlay scores on occasion but is a great fantasy pick because of how often he tallies assists or picks up other bonuses from his play. He’s also a great pick this week for the same reason as his teammates—it’s their first home game of the season and it’s against a weak opponent. He’s going to have a man of the match performance this weekend.
Carlos Gruezo, F.C. Dallas, $8.0
Carlos Gruezo was one of the best signings for the league this past offseason. Gruezo of Ecuador was the fourth youngest player at the 2014 FIFA World Cup but you wouldn’t believe it by his maturity and leadership on the field. Gruezo had an amazing for MLS match against Philadelphia last week and while his fantasy score wasn’t extravagant, it was solid and a sign of consistency. He made a lot of well placed passes and picked up a defending bonus along the way. F.C. Dallas travels to hated rival Houston Dynamo this weekend looking leaps and bounds faster, more cohesive, and plain better than their old enemy. Gruezo is going to get more defending bonuses this weekend based on how heated this match-up his but he’ll also contribute more to the attack since the F.C.D. midfield matches up well against Houston’s midfield. He’ll get more than four points and could pick up an assist along the way.
Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact, $10.2
Ignacio Piatti had about as good a match as a player could have last week as he notched 20 fantasy points. This week will be against another tough opponent for the Montreal maestro as the Impact play against visiting New York Red Bulls. Piatti played amazingly against the strong Vancouver Whitecaps and I think he’ll have another great match against a Red Bulls defense that is still figuring out life after Matt Miazga. He may not have another 20 point performance but he’s still going to have a stellar match and, while he is not cheap, he won’t eat up a ton of cap space for your roster.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Michael Parkhurst, Columbus Crew S.C., $8.0
Captain Michael Parkhurst is the heart of the Columbus Crew defense, the anchor that keeps them a solid back line. Parkhurst had a solid game against Portland last week and he’ll be better this week against a weaker opponent. He was able to earn defending and passing bonuses last week but took deductions for conceding two goals. I don’t foresee Philadelphia tagging Columbus for one goal much less two so he could earn anywhere between five to eight points depending on the score. He’s a smart pick and probably the only easy defensive pick this weekend.
Nat Borchers, Portland Timbers, $8.0
Nat Borchers has a rough match on the road against San José Earthquakes this weekend but it won’t be high scoring. The Quakes lacked offensive punch last weekend against a good defense so they won’t do well at all against a much stronger, more cohesive opponent. Borchers eats up all passes and crosses that make their way anywhere near him and he’s a solid passer out of the back. This game has a good chance of ending in a 0-0 draw, a great result for any defense. That’s an automatic four points for Borchers but he’ll also pick up bonuses for clearances and his passing.
Robbie Rogers, Los Angeles Galaxy, $7.5
Robbie Rogers is the type of defender you add for his offensive prowess as much as his defensive skills. He is one of the best wing defenders in the league while being one of the best crossers at his position. Rogers has one of the best work rates in the league as well which adds up for both defending and attacking bonuses. Los Angeles travels to Colorado this weekend where they’ve had issues scoring in the past. Lucky for them, Colorado is also still having problems scoring. This game will be lucrative for any body who has Rogers in their line-up if Los Angeles can get multiple goals because the Rapids sure won’t.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Steve Clark, Columbus Crew S.C., $5.5
I’ve picked a Crew player at every other position this week so it’s no surprise I’m going with another here. I’m going with Clark here strictly on the basis that I expect Philadelphia to go scoreless again this week. I think Clark will get a few defending bonuses this week even if Philadelphia does manage to find the back of the net for the first time this season. He’ll also get bonuses for saves on top of the other points he’ll notch. He’s the safest bet for a clean sheet this weekend.
BONUS BARGAIN PICK
Mike Magee, Los Angeles Galaxy, $7.2
Mike Magee had a rough couple seasons in recent years but now he is healthy and back with the team where he had the most success. He did have an MVP year for Chicago after leaving Los Angeles but he spent most of his time with the Fire on the disabled list with injuries or recovering from surgery. Magee had a monster game with two goals last weekend coming on as a substitute to help propel Los Angeles to a come-from-behind 4-1 victory over D.C. United. He’s going to pick up plenty of minutes with Giovani Dos Santos out with a leg injury and then he’ll see more playing time this summer with Dos Santos or Keane both gone on international duty. He’s a smart pick up while he still has a criminally low price tag.