MLS Fantasy Manager week 16 does not have double point opportunities but it will be an interesting round after the league had midweek U.S. Open Cup matches. Many young players and reserves had a chance to impress while battle hardened veterans took time to nurse their wounds. Some key players are returning from international duty while others are just about to leave. So, keep an eye on your roster for the little red “i” or dreaded gray box and check the injury report to see who is available.

TOP FORWARD PICKS

Photo: Eric Christian Smith, Freelance
Photo: Eric Christian Smith, Freelance

Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo, $8.4

Will Bruin is the most underrated starting forward in Major League Soccer that’s not a bad thing. His fantasy output is as good as players priced $2-$3 higher than him, he has six goals in the last five matches, and he isn’t going to miss any games for international duty making him a great permanent addition. Bruin is the usual starting choice at forward for Houston Dynamo and is guaranteed to make a substitute appearance if he doesn’t start. He is a great option to pair with a high-priced/high output forward since his current price is so much lower than most of the leading forward points leaders. Houston Dynamo travel to Portland this week to face the Timbers for the second time this season. Houston thumped Portland 3-1 a month ago behind a Will Bruin brace and I doubt Portland will be able to stop him this time either.

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Luke Moore, Toronto F.C., $6.7

Luke Moore has been impressive in his past three starts for Toronto in place of the injured Jozy Altidore. He’s only scored one goal in the past three games but had three assists in each of his starts. His output may have something to do with the impressive midfield he has behind him but that doesn’t mean his points count any less. He’s taking full advantage of the opportunity he’s had placed in front of him. Toronto welcomes underwhelming New York City F.C. to BMO field this round and the Toronto attack will tear the weak N.Y.C.F.C. defense apart which means more big points for Moore.

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Gyasi Zardes, $9.6, Los Angeles Galaxy

Zardes recently returned from a positive two-game stint with the U.S. Men’s national team. He’s on the provisional Gold Cup roster but is available at home against an embarrassed Philadelphia Union that was eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup by Rochester Rhinos. Zardes plays best when paired with a strong striker and it just so happens that Robbie Keane ($11.0) looks to return to the starting line-up this weekend along-side him. Zardes will pick up points with goals and/or assists against a weak Union defense that doesn’t stand a chance against two of the best strikers the league has to offer.

TOP MIDFIELD PICKS

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Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley, Toronto F.C., $12.1/$10.2

Sebastian Giovinco is shredding defenses to make himself an early candidate for MLS MVP. Toronto may have two other big name signings in Michael Bradley  and Jozy Altidore (injured) but they’ve both been absent due to call-ups and injuries so their output has not been near as amazing. Adding Bradley is not a bad idea because of his price especially after two amazing games for the U.S. Men’s national team. His form will definitely carry over to league play as he gains more of an understanding of those around him. The midfield match-up with N.Y.C.F.C. is almost as lopsided as the defense/midfield match-up between the two teams. Giovinco is going to light up the score board unless N.Y.C.F.C. can learn to click and communicate on the road. His price is high but if you can afford him, this is the week to buy him. Bradley will be called up for more international duty this summer so getting him on the roster is a stop-gap until the national teams pictures are clearer in a couple of weeks.

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Benny Feilhaber, Sporting Kansas City, $10.1

Can I pick Benny Feilhaber again? It seems like I pick him every other week but he’s playing so well at moment that it’s hard to ignore him. I won’t get in to why he’s so good, I’ve already done that a few times already, but I will say that it’s a great week to add him because of the struggling opponent. Real Salt Lake have been consistently strong for years but have slipped in form this season. Sporting Kansas City haven’t been as strong at forward this year but Feilhaber has made up for Dom Dwyer’s lack of scoring presence. It also helps that he’s going nowhere this summer since Jurgen Klinsmann ignored him for his roster yet again.

TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS

 

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Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City, $9.4

It’s hard to make good pick for defense this week without choosing a defender in a national team picture of some sort. Besler is a great pick because, even though he is on the provisional Gold Cup roster, he has a better chance of being added late or released early for the tournament. His abilities in the air and passing from the back are going to come in to play this week against a Real Salt Lake team that likes to play physical. He’s one of Feilhaber’s favorite set-piece targets and always picks up defending bonuses thanks to his clearances. Real Salt Lake is struggling on offense which means a better chance to pick up a clean sheet.

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles Galaxy, $9.9

Gonzalez is less of an additional choice to Besler and more of a possible alternative because of their prices. His play is almost identical to Besler’s which is why they are usually paired together in national team games. He’s more of a target on set pieces than Besler but doesn’t play the ball out of the back nearly as well. Gonzalez gets a nod this week more because of his opponent than his abilities and form (both of which have amazed). Philadelphia is slowly improving as the season rolls on but even the best teams have a hard time playing in LA. If Philadelphia gets foul-happy, Gonzalez will pick up a goal on top of a probable clean sheet bonus.

Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Marshall, Seattle Sounders, $8.9

Seattle Sounders were beaten at home once this season by San José and I doubt Chad Marshall will let three goals happen again. Marshall may not gain anything from those around him being on international duty of some sort but it means he won’t lack for playing time. San José is a tough opponent, a tougher opponent than many of this week’s defensive stars are facing, but Marshall leads a much stronger defense than San Jose’s attack. I doubt he will pick up any goals or assists but he is going to gain huge points on defensive bonuses.

GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Melia, Sporting Kansas City, $4.9

Tim Melia wasn’t supposed to be Kansas City’s number one goalkeeper this season but he is unbeaten in seven starts with five clean sheets since taking over the job. Not only is he a great shot stopper but he has an amazing relationship with his back line which means less goals. Rio Tinto Stadium is tough for most opponents but Real Salt Lake are not playing well anywhere. If Melia and the Kansas City defense can keep things under control without any mistakes then they’ll come away with a clean sheet.

 

 

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