MLS Fantasy Manager 2016 week 9
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto F.C., $12.4
Sebastian Giovinco’s form has not dipped since he joined Major League Soccer last season. He is the top points earner at this point in the fantasy season with 75 points. I could go on about how amazing he is for his club and the league but I’ve said it all before and, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you know, too. Toronto finally plays their home opener this Saturday against a shorthanded F.C. Dallas team that have let in seven goals the past couple games. Giovinco should have no problem ripping the patched together F.C.D. back line to shreds and a hat trick is not out of the question.
Gyasi Zardes, Los Angeles Galaxy, $9.6
Gyasi Zardes continues to impress his coaches, teammates, and fans every week with his mature, smart play. He has become a necessity to the success of the Los Angeles Galaxy attack. L.A. will probably lose him during parts of this summer to international duty so they’re going to make use of him while he is still around. Los Angeles plays one-win New England Revolution at home this week during a time when the Revs are having a hard time outscoring their opponents. Zardes and the L.A. attack should take full advantage of New England’s inability to stop goals this weekend. He’ll pick up other bonuses if he doesn’t score goals but I expect him to net at least one for his team.
Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact, $11.6
Didier Drogba is stepping things up for Montreal Impact now that he has worked his way back to full health. Drogba has two goals and an assist in his five appearances this season and I foresee him adding to his tally this weekend on the road against Columbus Crew. Columbus have yet to capture their late season form from last year and aren’t outscoring their opponents at the same pace. Drogba and the high-octane Montreal attack should have no problem putting a few on goal against a midfield that is a shell of what it was last season.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Michael Bradley, Toronto F.C., $10.2
Michael Bradley is the captain of Toronto F.C. and there is no way he will have a bad game at his team’s home opener. The F.C. Dallas can be a tough nut to crack but their defense is another sad story now with their injuries and lack of center backs. Michael Bradley will have an easy time leading his team in the F.C.D. final third if he can out-muscle the midfield. I don’t think he’ll net a goal from the run of play but he’s great on free kicks and will pick up a few assists and passing bonuses with his attacking role.
Lamar Neagle, D.C. United, $7.7
Lamar Neagle was always outshined by his big name teammates in Seattle but has finally started to get the attention and playing time he deserves playing for D.C. United. He’s always been a well-rounded midfielder but his contributions to the attack have become more noticeable with his new team. He fights for every ball and his passing has improved. D.C. United play at home against New York City F.C. this weekend and, with the bad shape of the RFK Stadium pitch, I don’t foresee the aged stars of N.Y.C.F.C. lasting long on the field. Look for Neagle and the D.C. attack to take advantage of their lacking presence for plenty of attacking or passing bonuses. Neagle has notched a few goals this season but I foresee him picking up points in other ways, even a defensive bonus, but he’s a great poacher so don’t be surprised to see him pick up big points in the final 18.
Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls, $11.5
Sacha Kljestan and New York Red Bulls had a horrible start to their 2016 campaign but he’s been a beast the past couple matches with a combined 29 points. Kljestan tagged Orlando City S.C. for 15 fantasy points two weeks ago and I think he could pick up close to that, if not more, in the away fixture. Orlando has been missing a big punch from their midfield with Kaka out but he could return this weekend in some capacity. He won’t be much of a factor for long as he shouldn’t play the whole game to build up his fitness and prevent further injury—Kljestan will take advantage of his absence. Look for Kljestan to pick up the majority of his points from dead ball situations or assists.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Chad Marshall, Seattle Sounders, $8.7
Chad Marshall is the anchor of Seattle Sounders, not just their back line but their whole squad. He’s one of the best defenders in MLS during the past decade and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. Seattle is having a rough season so far but could start their turn around this weekend against San José at home. San José has had some luck in Seattle which means their attack could be volatile this weekend. If that’s the case then Marshall will pick up plenty of points from his defensive bonuses because of all the clearances he’ll have to make. He’s also a solid passer and any attack Seattle will bring will most likely start from him bringing it out of the back which means passing bonuses. Marshall is also a great set piece target and he could pick up a goal from a free kick if this game gets physical.
Steven Beitashour, Toronto F.C., $7.6
Steven Beitashour is one of the Toronto F.C. players who will benefit most from finally playing at home now that stadium renovations are complete. The T.F.C. defense has performed well enough for a newly pieced together back line so far and are showing signs of improvement. F.C. Dallas has lost a lot of their fire the past couple weeks and they won’t regain it in time for this tough contest on Saturday. Beitashour is a great attacking defender who can also break up any attack that works its way down his side of the field before it becomes a threat. He’ll pick up the usual defending bonuses while also picking up at least one passing and attacking bonus. The back line should all pick up clean sheet bonuses if F.C.D.’s horrendous form continues.
Bobby Boswell, D.C. United, $8.1
Bobby Boswell is another strong defensive veteran who continues to be the heart of his defense. Boswell’s numbers look inconsistent but only because of those around him not helping carry the load and losing clean sheet points. D.C. United plays at home against the offensively strong N.Y.C.F.C. this weekend but some of that punch could be missing if the star veterans sit out from playing on the wretched artificial turf. He will still pick up plenty of defensive bonuses if they do play because of all the stops he’ll have to make but his numbers will go up if they sit. He’s another defender who is a great target for set pieces and he could pick up more points there if N.Y.C.F.C. can’t contain the D.C. attack.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake, $6.2
Nick Rimando is considered by some to be the greatest MLS goalkeeper in the league’s short history. He’s consistently amazing every year and he doesn’t seem like letting up with his team playing some of the best soccer in the league at the moment. Real Salt Lake play away to their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Colorado Rapids this weekend. Both teams are undefeated at home and each squad only has one away win this season but this match could go either way with their current forms. I think it will be a low scoring match and, more than likely, will end 0-0 or 1-1. Either way, Rimando’s shot stopping and passing abilities will play important roles to the outcome and both will earn him big points.