MLS Fantasy Manager week 14
MLS Fantasy Manager week 14 brings with it another great shot at double the points for some of the league’s best players. Six teams this week have games on both Wednesday and Saturday. Also, make sure to check this week’s injury report to see who is hurt and who is on international duty.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew SC, $10.4
Federico Higuain has taken a backseat lately to Kei Kamara ($9.1) and his amazing form but that has a chance to change this week. Columbus Crew SC has two games against conference opponents this week at a time when both opponents are fighting to pull themselves out of the gutter. It may not be the most opportune time to rest Kamara but I very much see the chance for him to play maybe only 30 or 60 minutes depending on the flow of the game. Both forwards are capable of scoring amazing goals at any moment and have a lot of minutes overall this season but Higuain played only 18 minutes last week due to a tactical switch which means he has fresher legs. Philadelphia and Montreal have been known to bleed goals this season (even with their more positive recent form) so the chances will be there for the Higuain and the Columbus offense to pounce on every opportunity. Look for the goals to come more at home on Saturday than on the road midweek but they will happen. Hopefully, you’ve taken the hint and kept Kamara on your roster—adding Higuain this week almost quadruples your chances at big points.
Kennedy Igboananike, Chicago Fire, $7.7
Kennedy Igboananike had an amazing game last week as he finally lived up to his Designated Player contract. He’s had a rough start to the season but he is finally beginning to adjust to the Major League Soccer style and pace. Igboananike has improved as the weeks have gone on as he has also learned to play with his teammates. Igboananike looks to gain major minutes this week after David Accam ($8.4) picked up a knock against Montreal Impact putting Accam’s chances at playing two full games in jeopardy. Chicago is a team that doesn’t depend on their forwards to score, in fact most of their goals have come from the midfield or defense, but they’ll also be without Shaun Maloney who was called away for international duty with Scotland. This means that the weight of goal scoring will fall heavier on Iboananike’s shoulders and he will step up to have an impact on the score sheet.
Octavio Rivero has gone quiet in front of goal the past few weeks but that is more to do with the tough defenses he has played against and less to do with his goal scoring ability. He may not have put the ball in the back of the net but he’s still playing well enough to be a threat on the field and, even in drought, is still the Whitecaps’ best scoring option. Vancouver plays two rough away games this week in Montreal and Los Angeles but this doesn’t mean Vancouver won’t score any goals. Los Angeles is missing key players due to injuries while Montreal is still playing catch-up with the rest of the league’s schedule. Both are tough stadiums to win in but not tough to score in, Rivero will find his way back to his early season form.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Pedro Morales, Vancouver Whitecaps, $11.4
Pedro Morales has been the key to success for Vancouver Whitecaps this season. Morales is creating chances with his amazing play when he isn’t assisting or scoring the goals himself. He’s playing so well that even when Vancouver doesn’t win he manages to make an impact to pick up fantasy points. He has a big price tag but he’s worth it when you consider the two games this week. Vancouver is playing two road games but they’re also one of the best road teams the league has to offer. The Whitecaps may not score a ton of goals but whatever they do score, Morales will be a key component to the tally.
Tony Tchani, Columbus Crew SC, $7.2
Tony Tchani doesn’t get the attention that other big name midfielders garner but he puts up big numbers that are just as amazing. Tchani has quietly turned in to a key midfielder for Columbus who is just as important to the defense as he is to the attack. He isn’t scoring massive fantasy points but he’s consistently scoring them every week. He does enough work to get in to the attack while tracking back to cover his defensive assignments. His style of play adds up if he gets enough stops and clearances while making key passes. His week could go either way, either he’ll get rested because of his current workload or he’ll play the full 90 both games because of his necessity to the team. With two away games and because he tends to play in a more withdrawn, defensive role—I doubt he’ll get that rest.
Harrison Shipp, Chicago Fire, $8.0
The Chicago Fire midfield is quietly morphing in to one of the most valuable midfields in the league. When I say valuable, I’m more referring that value to the team than I am to the league. Harrison Shipp and Shaun Maloney (away on international duty with Scotland this week or he would’ve made the list) account for the majority of the team’s assists between the two of them and a few goals themselves. In fact, most of the goals and scoring chances are coming from mainly the midfield and defense. With Maloney gone, this puts more pressure and focus on Shipp to take charge of the midfield to push the team forward. He is one of the league’s smallest but he’s by far the most tenacious. Chicago will continue their improvement, even without Maloney, and Shipp will be the driving force for the offense this week.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire, $8.0
There are many reasons Larentowicz keeps making my lists—his leadership, his consistency on the field, his defensive prowess—but the main reason is, even as a defender, he is the team’s leading scorer with four goals. He has a good chance of scoring every week not only because he is a big target for set pieces but he is also the penalty kick taker for the team. Factor in the great chance for a goal to his amazing defensive numbers and it’s a big mistake leave him off your roster this season. He’s the type of player you add and keep no matter what. This won’t be the last time I recommend him, that’s for sure, so do the smart thing—keep him around.
Waylon Francis, Columbus Crew SC, $6.4
I doubt many MLS fans outside of Columbus know who Waylon Francis is or that he plays for Columbus Crew SC. He doesn’t have a ton of points because he didn’t see playing time at the beginning of the season but he’s going to see minutes this week with Michael Parkhurst ($7.7) serving a red card suspension for Wednesday’s game. In fact, the main reason Michael Parkhurst isn’t on the list this week is because of that red card suspension. Francis plays on the wing as typical attacking wing defender which means he has a better chance at picking up an assist along with defensive bonuses. If the middle of the defense can protect the goal this week without Parkhurst then it will keep Francis free on the wing to make that impact he’s known for.
Kendall Waston, Vancouver Whitecaps, $8.9
I knew Kendall Waston was going to have a good season the last time I had him on the list back in week six but I didn’t think he’d be one of the top five points earners this far in to the season. He’s had a rough few weeks like his other teammates and there’s a small chance he may get some rest during one of this week’s game but he’s so integral to the Vancouver defense that I don’t see him missing a full game. He isn’t the type of player who will pick up a goal or an assist during the run of play but he’s definitely going to pick up defending bonuses because of his role as a central defender. He clears out a ton of crosses because of his size and is sometimes the last man between the goalkeeper and a charging forward which means plenty of opportunities to pick up points.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Steve Clark, Columbus Crew SC, $5.7
Steve Clark gets my pick this week for his price as much as his schedule and ability. He doesn’t have the most points of this week’s two-game goalkeeper choices but the Crew are going up against two of the bottom three Eastern Conference teams. Both Montreal and Philadelphia aren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard while the Columbus defense is showing that they’re more than capable of keeping an offense away from the penalty box. Steve Clark also has one Save of the Week for his week 11 acrobatics. He isn’t the flashiest and he isn’t my pick most weeks but I think this week is his time to shine.
Cesar ‘Turtle’ Gutierrez covers Fantasy MLS for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk