MLS Fantasy Manager week ten comes with a quick turnaround this week with matches starting Tuesday at 8:30 PM EDT. There are four teams with double duty this week: Houston Dynamo, Los Angeles Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, and San Jose Earthquakes. They all have great attacking options with solid defenses, expect this week’s picks to be full of them. Don’t forget to check the injury report.

TOP FORWARD PICKS

Dec 7, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes (11) controls the soccer ball during the 2014 MLS Cup final against the New England Revolution at Stubhub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
 Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

 

Gyasi Zardes, Los Angeles Galaxy, $9.4

Zardes has been slumping without his strike partner, the injured Robbie Keane, but this week he plays against out-of-form Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas with their injury riddled back line. He’s faster than both defenses with a gorgeous first touch most young MLS forwards lack. He’s also gotten much smarter with the ball this season because of his mentors on the team.  He won’t go the full 90 minutes both games but he’ll play in each. I think he’s a gamble worth taking.

USA Today Sports

Chris Wondolowski, San José Earthquakes, $10.8

Chris Wondolowski is one of the best in the league, even when he’s slumping he can still make a difference in a game. This week San José goes on the road to Houston and Chicago; Houston is coming off a 4-1 defeat to in-state rival FC Dallas and Chicago is coming off a shut-out loss to Sporting Kansas City. Neither one of these teams want to lose big two weeks in a row but I doubt Houston has recovered from their thumping and Chicago is shorthanded due to a red card suspension to forward David Accam. There’s also a lot of bad blood between Houston and San José due to the history of the two franchises, bad blood that San José tends to use to their advantage. I expect Wondolowski to pick up more points against Houston than Chicago with both games helping anyone who decides to make him their captain.

Ted S. Warren/AP Photo

Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders, $11.6

Martins has been almost unstoppable since coming back from an early season strain. He obliterated New York City FC on Sunday with the help of Clint Dempsey ($11.6) and they’re both only going to play better until the early summer months when Dempsey will most likely go away on international duty. Columbus Crew SC are not nearly the defensive pushover that NYCFC are but they’re better going forward than they are defending a high-paced counter, something Seattle does better than almost every team in the league. Martins is always capable of a two-goal or two-assist performance, either one will happen this weekend.

 

TOP MIDFIELD PICKS

Thomas J. Gosse
Thomas J. Gosse

Giles Barnes, Houston Dynamo, $9.4

Giles Barnes has surprised me this during the first third of this season. He hasn’t had a bad career in MLS, he just hasn’t had an amazing career. He puts up good numbers but nothing spectacular in a midfield that has seen better days. This season seems different because he’s delivering when he should deliver and is holding his own against tough opponents. He was one of the few shining points of last week’s drubbing by FCD and scored the team’s lone goal. He gets two decent chances to shine again this week against San José Earthquakes and Toronto FC. Both teams have yet to hit a consistent stride and have had some tough results go against them. I expect him to grind out some hard-fought points against SJ and tally more against TFC.

Stephen Dunn

Baggio Husidic, Los Angeles Galaxy, $8.0

Baggio Husidic has been one of the few stand-out players for LA Galaxy during their usual early season slow start. It’s hard to pick between him and midfield partner Stefan Ishizaki ($8.0) but what separates him is he’s been playing the full game more often in recent weeks. They’re both similar in their roles, they both will be heavily relied upon during their two-game week but Husidic will grind out a game and brings a more physical style that will help against Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas—two teams that aren’t afraid to get dirty. He’s more likely to get an assist than a goal but all points add up, that will be plenty this week.

Scott G. Winterhorn

Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake, $8.8

Everything on the field for Real Salt Lake goes through Kyle Beckerman. Whether it’s the attack or the defense, he’s in charge. He’s what coaches dream about building a team around and has been a shining example of what a prototypical MLS midfielder is. However, that doesn’t always translate well to fantasy soccer because it’s more about controlling the flow of the game and grinding out results. It also doesn’t help matters that his team isn’t winning the games they usually win this time of year. Real Salt Lake has one tough game this week and another game that, on paper, doesn’t seem to be the chore the other game is. Los Angeles is a conference rival that Beckerman has had some memorable clashes with but Chicago’s midfield is not nearly as physical or bruising as RSL’s. He may pick up a few points in the LA game but he’s going to tally more against Chicago. I wouldn’t usually recommend him but this week he’s going to come through on paper as well as the field.

 

TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS

Photo: Scott Tucker
Photo: Scott Tucker

Clarence Goodson, San José Earthquakes, $7.7

Clarence is the type of defender any team wants in the center of their back line. He’s big and he has better footwork than most center backs in MLS. He makes for a great target on set pieces while being able to clear any ball that comes sailing in to the box from the wings. Both San José games are on the road this week against teams that haven’t scored a lot except for fluke high-scoring games. San José may not pick up two clean sheets but I’ll be surprised if they let in more than one goal this week. Goodson is likely to pick up defending bonuses and possibly a goal against Colorado. Now’s a great time to add him since he’s a decent price for a star defender.

photo by Victor Decolongon

Robbie Rogers, Los Angeles Galaxy, $7.2

Robbie Rogers hasn’t contributed to the attack this season as much as I expected but he’s still found a way to cobble together a decent amount of points. He spent most of his career as an attacking winger or outside midfielder before slotting in as left back for LA Galaxy last season. Most experts didn’t think this would work out as well as it has but he’s been the starter in that spot since. He’s well-rounded so he’s just as good going forward to attack as he is going back to defend. He hasn’t contributed to the attack this season the way I thought he would but that has a good chance to change this week against wounded FC Dallas.

Photo: Darryl Dyck

Pa-Modou Kah, Vancouver Whitecaps, $6.4

Pa-Modou Kah’s price does not reflect his output this season. He’s not the attacking option that Kendall Waston is but he’s just as important to the Vancouver central defense. Kah is not as big as Waston either so he isn’t the set piece target Waston is but he’s more likely to pick up more defending bonuses because of his tendency to hang back more. He’ll stop any attack up the middle, on the ground more than he will the air but that means more touches and more clearances with the possibility of defending bonuses. Vancouver plays lowly Philadelphia Union who just can’t figure out how to hold on to a win this season. He’s going to pick up another clean sheet bonus this week.

GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK

Photo by Lyndsay Radnedge

David Bingham, San José Earthquakes, $5.0

David Bingham is finally rounding in to the starting goalkeeper that San José hoped for when they picked him up four years ago. He’s spent some time on loan in Europe and in the North American Soccer League with San Antonio Scorpions but was finally able to secure a starting role this season. He had a few hiccups in his opening games but has been solid since. Bingham gets two games this week and one of them is against low-scoring Colorado Rapids. If his defense can help him out against Houston, a shut-out isn’t out of the question but I don’t expect it. I do expect big numbers from saves or defending bonuses though. He’s will be this week’s stand-out goalkeeper and will definitely continue to turn some heads.

BARGAIN PICK OF THE WEEK

USA Today Sports

Fatai Alashe, San José Earthquakes, Midfield, $5.1

Fatai Alashe has started seven of nine games this season while appearing in eight total. He’s played well enough to get the attention of the Under-23 U.S. Men’s National team just ahead of Olympic Qualifying. He only has one goal this season and has yet to put up numbers but he’s still fulfilling a role the team needs. He’s going to see even more playing time this week with the two games and I definitely think his low numbers are going to spike. It’s a great time to pick him up while his price is still low.

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