MLS Fantasy Manager week 18 brings with it varying obstacles for all fantasy managers to deal with. Multiple clubs saw midweek Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action and many international players have now left their rosters for the 2015 Gold Cup. This is a great time to make changes that could turn your fantasy season around or to free up cap space to go after players who aren’t going anywhere during this regional tournament.

TOP FORWARD PICKS

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Photo: Eric Christian Smith, Freelance

Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo, $8.4

Will Bruin is having an inconsistent season thus far. He’s never been a top-tier MLS striker but he’s definitely had better years. His current points total is more reflective of Houston’s form than his own as they have not played well thus far. He’s still managed some big games here and there which is why he gets my pick this week. Houston Dynamo are better at home than on the road which helps considering their opponent, Chicago Fire, have not had a road win this season. This is the type of game Bruin shines and he’ll need to if he is going to help Houston turn their fortunes around. Look for him to tally big points with possibly both goals and assists.

(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers, $9.7

Fanendo Adi is another player who isn’t consistently lighting up the scoreboard this season but who is still having a solid year thanks to big games. Portland has run roughshod over their opponents lately with five wins in their last six games. Adi helped demolish Seattle Sounders last weekend with two goals and an amazing performance at home. Portland welcomes another conference opponent this week when San José comes to town. San José will also be missing a star like Seattle was but they’re still going to have the core of the team that’s only three points behind Portland. San José’s defense is strong with Clarence Goodson anchoring the back line but Portland is unstoppable at Providence Park this season. I don’t foresee a high scoring game like last week but I think Adi will find a way to get at least one goal this round.

 Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Robbie Keane, Los Angeles Galaxy, $11.2

Robbie Keane is back and already in amazing form. Believe it or not, I had him penciled in last week then changed my mind—bad idea because he went to town on Portland’s defense last Wednesday night. Robbie Keane is the best forward in the league when he is healthy and capable of being the best even when he isn’t at 100 percent. I doubt he will repeat last week’s performance but if he starts then he is more than capable of it against a Toronto F.C. team that will be missing two of its stars and plays with a defense that likes to fall asleep near the end of matches. He is a gamble when you consider he gets called up for international duty but this week he is worth it.

TOP MIDFIELD PICKS

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Juninho, Los Angeles Galaxy, $8.8

Juninho is another player making a repeat appearance this week due to current form and weakness of opponent. There isn’t much for me to go in to with this pick. He’s been stellar in the last three games and even though they haven’t been the strongest opponents, this week’s adversary is even weaker. LA is coming off a tough loss to San José but even that wasn’t a bad game for Juninho. Toronto F.C. is missing Michael Bradley and their midfield is nowhere near as tough or dynamic without him. Giovinco is a worthy midfield opponent but he’s an attacker and won’t be able to handle Juninho. Win or lose, Juninho will have another solid outing this weekend.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers, $8.5

Many fans and experts will say Nagbe has been a disappointment since his breakout year a couple of seasons ago but I disagree. He isn’t tallying goals or assists but he’s contributing big in other ways to make up for it. His contributions aren’t the type that show up as fantasy points but they still find ways to give him solid, consistent numbers. He turned a corner with an amazing game last weekend and I think it’s the shot in the arm he needs to start racking up those goals and assists he’s been missing. The San José midfield is tough but Providence Park has become a fortress and they won’t be able to do much to contain Nagbe or his teammates this week. Looks for him to pick up attacking and defensive bonuses with a strong possibility for a clean sheet.

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Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact, $9.9

Ignacio Piatti makes his second appearance on my list this week because he’s another player who keeps finding ways to gain points even when his team isn’t playing well. Piatti had two good games last week with a goal against Philadelphia on the weekend. Montreal welcomes struggling New York City F.C. to town this round that still feels like an incomplete squad whose midfield still isn’t clicking—and one that definitely can’t without Mix Diskerud. Montreal is only one place above N.Y.C.F.C in the standings but that has more to do with the amount of games Montreal has yet to play than their record. Piatti is going to burn their midfield and defense for big points by the end of the match.

TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS

Rich Lam / Getty Images

Jorge Villafana, Portland Timbers, $6.3

Jorge Villafana had a tough outing last week against Los Angeles but that was a bad night for everyone on the field that night for Portland. Villafana has had an amazing season with minimal sub par outings. Villafana is an outside back so he contributes to the attack when necessary which means the possibility for attacking bonuses. He is more than an attacking defender and is playing  lights-out defense against most opponents. San José still has some attacking firepower but they’re missing their star forward due to international duty. This game will be rough but Villafana’s fantasy output will benefit from it.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Clarence Goodson, San Jose Earthquakes, $8.1

I know having opposing defenders is counterproductive but it’s possible for a center back to have a great game and still lose or draw. Clarence Goodson is one of the best set-piece targets in the league today as well as the best center back who didn’t receive a U.S. national team call-up to the Gold Cup. His play has been of the highest quality all season, he’s highly capable both defending and attacking bonuses every game, and his size means he can clear any pass that comes flying in to the box. Portland will tally a couple of goals this game but Goodson will put in some hard work for big numbers.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/The Salt Lake Tribune, Trent Nelson

Steven Beitashour, Vancouver Whitecaps, $7.3

Steven Beitashour is quietly having a very good season for Western conference leaders Vancouver. Beitashour is another outside back who finds multiple ways to contribute to both the attack and defense. He doesn’t get the attention for his defense that Kendall Waston or Pa-Modou Kah get but he starts in the back with them for a reason. Vancouver is on the road this weekend against stingy Colorado Rapids who can’t seem to muster any goals themselves especially against a big, fast defense like the Whitecaps. This will be a low-scoring game for both teams and a 0-0 draw isn’t out of the question. Beitashour will do more than his share in earning whatever low score happens and will probably contribute to any attack that happens.

GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK

 

Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

David Ousted, Vancouver Whitecaps, $5.7

This is a no-brainer for me this week even with Vancouver on the road. Ousted is one of two goalkeepers to reach 100 points so far this season, the other is Stefan Frei who will be playing league leaders D.C. United this weekend. Ousted has also been playing better the past month while Seattle has struggled with injuries and suspensions. Colorado just isn’t scoring goals this season and they’re not going to solve that issue against the Vancouver defense with Ousted behind it.

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

https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/a4.jpg?fit=1024%2C772&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/a4.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Cesar GutierrezAnalysisFantasyMLSRecent PostsSoccerAdi,Beitashour,Bruin,Dynamo,Earthquakes,Galaxy,Goodson,Houston Dynamo,HoustonDynamo,impact,impact de montreal,impactdemontreal,Juninho,Keane,la galaxy,LAGalaxy,Los Angeles Galaxy,LosAngelesGalaxy,montreal impact,Nagbi,Ousted,piatti,Portland Timbers,PortlandTimbers,PTFC,Quakes,San Jose Earthquakes,SanJoseEarthquakes,Timbers,Vancouver,Vancouver Whitecaps,VancouverWhitecaps,VillafanaMLS Fantasy Manager week 18 brings with it varying obstacles for all fantasy managers to deal with. Multiple clubs saw midweek Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action and many international players have now left their rosters for the 2015 Gold Cup. This is a great time to make changes...Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?