MLS Fantasy Manager week 17
MLS Fantasy Manager week 17 brings back double-dip action for 12 teams this round. The rosters for Gold Cup 2015 are being announced as the tournament nears which means you now know who needs to stay and leave on your rosters in the coming tournament weeks. Now’s the time to add those healthy stars that missed out on the call-ups to help get you the big points this week.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls, $11.1
Bradley Wright-Phillips is having a rough season to put it nicely. He missed two penalties in his last game and has lacked confidence in the box. He’s not a streaky forward so his form is worrying but this week should be the week that gives him a shot in the arm. Red Bulls started out the season in amazing form but have been on the skids since April with their only league win since coming against New York City F.C.. Now is the perfect time for everyone on that squad to step up and come away with at least one positive result this week. Wright-Phillips will play hard and come away with big points because of it.
Maximiliano Urruti, Portland Timbers, $8.7
Portland Timbers have been on a tear recently with four straight wins. Portland tends to strike by committee with a strong rotation of forwards at their disposal. Lately, Urruti has been their forward in best form which means he is getting the most minutes. Portland is not beyond resting their players but I doubt they’ll sit Urruti for major minutes in his current form. He could pull 30 mins one night and 60-90 another but still make an impact which I’m sure he will in his role. Portland is away to Los Angeles on Wednesday night which, I’m betting, will be the game he sees less minutes in. Sunday night ends against heated rivals Seattle Sounders F.C. (who are missing stars due to injury or suspension) and I’m sure he’ll jump on the chance to make a big impact in that one.
Fabian Espindola, DC United, $10.4
Fabian Espindola has returned and it is a beautiful thing. Espindola is arguably one of the most valuable players of the past six years and his numbers soar when he is healthy. His price is possibly the lowest it has ever been due to his injuries this season which means it’s a great time to pick him up relatively cheap for a player of his caliber. Espindola has been on fire since returning to the line-up for league leaders DC United and that form will continue against two tough conference opponents. There is a strong possibility he could also see some missed minutes because of the heavy schedule but he won’t miss more than an hour in either game. Whatever time he does get will make an impact and rack up the points.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew SC, $8.5
Ethan Finlay is an integral part to the Columbus attack this season. Kamara is the one scoring but Finlay is one of the best players getting the ball to him. He’s an attacking player who tends to move out toward the wing more so he picks up attacking bonuses with his passes but isn’t beyond a defensive bonus when the team needs it. Columbus is at home to New England, who has had a rough couple of months after a great start, then plays away to Real Salt Lake who is never an easy road opponent. Columbus loves to score, so win or lose, Finlay will pick up more than two points each game.
Dax McCarty, New York Red Bulls, $8.1
Dax McCarty has been consistent for New York Red Bulls all season. He hasn’t picked up a ton of major points in a given week but he has picked up more than the minimum most of the season. He is not prone to yellow cards but he plays hard which means getting back to cover on defense for bonuses while still contributing to the attack. McCarty is also still picking up points during his team’s rough patch and that’s going to continue this week. They can’t afford to not play him both games which means he should pick up points for two full games so he’ll have every opportunity to score a goal or gain assists.
Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake, $11.5
Javier Morales is another star who has been on fire the past few weeks. He spent some time away due to injury but has come back strong to help out a Real Salt Lake side that has underperformed this season. He may not have been the main focus of the RSL attack in recent weeks but he’s starting to make himself the man who the attack goes through. Salt Lake’s issues have been with their forwards, not their midfield, so don’t expect his form to dip even against the tough opponents. He’ll still pick up points on the attack and probably while getting back to defend.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Portland Timber Defense
I don’t like to make these blanket picks often but the Portland Timber defense is almost impenetrable during their four game winning streak. Alvas Powell ($7.2), Liam Ridgewell ($8.7), Jorge Villafana ($6.4) and a rested Nat Borchers ($8.2) have all been stoning offenses while picking up bonuses for clean sheets, defending, and attacking contributions. Borchers and Ridgewell anchor the center, expelling any ball that makes its way in to the box, while Powell and Villafana help move the ball up the field on the outside of the back line. Portland is on a four game winning streak where the defense has been the key to all the victories. When they aren’t stopping the other teams, they’re pushing forward to move the ball in to space to find their rough nose midfield and forwards. It isn’t always smart to play an entire team’s defense plus it’s not a wildcard week so only two transfers can be made but using one of those picks to shore up your back line this round isn’t the worst idea. If you want to go for strictly defensive points, go with Borchers or Ridgewell, if you want to gamble on the possibility of attacking bonuses then go with Powell or Villafana.
Laurent Ciman, Montreal Impact, $7.8
What Larent Ciman has done for the Montreal Impact defense is immeasurable. It’s hard to put a number or value to the leadership and poise he brings to the field but it’s been showing in his weekly fantasy numbers. Montreal has been on a tear since they returned to a regular league schedule and their defense has been a big reason they keep climbing in the standings. They all contribute to their attack as much as they stop the opposing attack. Ciman is one of the central defenders but the attack starts with him with brilliant passes out of the back. Montreal has two tough road games but I doubt, in their current form, that will make much of a difference. They won’t pick up two clean sheets but one isn’t out of the question on the road to either a struggling Toronto F.C. or an inconsistent Philadelphia Union.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
Adam Kwarasey, Portland Timbers, $5.7
Adam Kwarasey gets my pick this week not just for his shot stopping ability but his defensive understanding as well. He works amazingly well with his back line to keep shots from even getting to him. He isn’t afraid to come off his line to get a ball for defensive bonuses and he is a rock when it comes to shot blocking. Portland has two tough opponents in LA and Seattle but LA are at that point in their season where they have yet to hit their stride and Seattle is will be key starters when they travel to Providence Park. Don’t be surprised if he picks up another clean sheet or two this week.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MFST. For more MLS news and rumors, follow him on Twitter @namcopunk or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/namcopunk