MLS Fantasy Manager week 22
MLS Fantasy Manager week 22 gets things back to normal with all players returned from the Gold Cup and the All-Star game. Every team is playing this weekend so there is a chance to pick stars from every roster.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City, $10.5
Dom Dwyer is still having a mediocre season compared to the past couple of years. There is still time for him to recover from his slump with just under half the season to go. This weekend at home against Houston Dynamo would be the perfect time for him to jump-start his scoring motor. Dwyer loves to score against Houston as he has done so the past three times he has played against them. Sporting Kansas City also brings a 13-game home unbeaten streak into this match-up that ended 4-4 in April during league play and with a S.K.C. 3-1 victory during U.S. Open Cup play. It’s will be a high scoring affair with Dwyer netting at least one.
Gyasi Zardes, Los Angeles Galaxy, $9.8
Gyasi Zardes is returning from Gold Cup action this weekend after appearing in the MLS All-Star Game against Tottenham Hotspur. Zardes had moments of brilliance with the U.S. that proved he is well on his way to becoming one of their key players. His speed and brilliant passing were missed by Los Angeles who are still having problems winning on the road. That could change this weekend when they travel to Colorado who still sit at the bottom of the conference table. Colorado is the best shot that Los Angeles has at ending their road woes with Zardes being a main factor in the scoring. Now that Zardes won’t have to drop back as much into the midfield with the addition Gerard, he’ll have more chances to run at defenders to create chances for Robbie Keane. Zardes may not just score but pick up assists, too.
Fabian Espindola, D.C. United, $10.3
Fabian Espindola looks ready to heat up with the addition of former teammate Alvaro Saborio. They both had amazing games last weekend against Philadelphia, each player contributing to the come-from-behind victory. D.C. United play Saborio’s and Espindola’s former team, Real Salt Lake, this weekend which will give them both motivation to have big games. Espindola had issues at the start of the season with injuries but finally looks to be at full health with a giant chip on his shoulder. Espindola has the most knowledge of both teams and will use that to his advantage to help D.C. stay in the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders F.C., $11.8
Clint Dempsey looks like he’s finally ready to return to the game day roster for Seattle after a seven game absence. Dempsey served a three game suspension for his antics in a U.S. Open Cup match before leaving on national team duty in June. Dempsey was brilliant during the Gold Cup and on Wednesday night during the MLS All-Star game where he played a role in both MLS squad goals. There is no doubt that he will bring this amazing form back to the Sounders squad who have greatly needed him with all the other issues plaguing the team during their downward spiral this summer. They’re still very much in the Supporters’ Shield race and they will find their great form again this weekend starting with Dempsey going to town on Vancouver in a Cascadia Cup match.
Victor Ulloa, F.C. Dallas, $6.5
Victor Ulloa is one of the many big surprises this season for F.C. Dallas and the league. Ulloa is one of many F.C.D. Homegrown players (players developed by their clubs from youth) who are having breakout years for the current league leaders. Victor Ulloa plays deep in the midfield as the key link between the defense and the attack. He is consistent with his points, rarely earning less than four, with the occasional big game. Those big games are getting more frequent with his link-up play. First place F.C. Dallas travel to last place Chicago this weekend to play the Brimstone Cup match against their oldest rival. Ulloa’s speed and tenacity will easily keep the Fire attack in check, great for defending bonuses, while he will also find ways to work throughballs to Diaz and Castillo for big attacking points.
Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls $9.3
It is not an exaggeration to say that Sacha Kljestan is the most important part of the Red Bulls’ attack. He is their lynchpin in the center of the midfield, keeping the attacking flow moving with his intelligent play and brilliant ball movement. New York is on the road this week against inconsistent Philadelphia who can’t seem to figure out how to hold on to their points. Kljestan and the New York attack are more physical than the Union’s which means they’ll win more balls with their play. The central part of the field will open up for Kljestan to get his passes to his forwards or for him to score the goals himself.
TOP DEFENDER PICKS
Drew Moor, Colorado Rapids, $7.0
Drew Moor just had one of the best feel-good stories of the year last week when he was selected to the All-Star squad after coming back from a season missed due to injury. He’s always been a defensive juggernaut for any team he has played for and this year is no different when he is on the field. He’s been a rock for the Colorado defense as one of the main reasons their goal differential is only -1, impressive for a last place team. Colorado welcomes league powerhouse L.A. Galaxy to town this weekend and I don’t foresee this game going particularly well for either squad. It won’t be a shutout but Moor will have another standout game with his defending bonuses if they don’t manage to keep a clean sheet.
Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City, $9.6
Matt Besler is having an amazing year and shows up as one of my picks again because of his consistent play. Houston’s attack was bolstered recently with the arrival of off-season acquisition Erick “Cubo” Torres but he still has yet to gel with his new team. Houston looked amazing last week against Los Angeles at home but going on the road to Sporting Park is a whole different monster that’s almost impossible to tame at their current form. Matt Besler is a key target on set pieces while also being their best weapon in the air against crosses and other passes. He dwarfs much of the Houston defense and can overpower their attack. If he doesn’t pick up a goal then he will definitely pick up defending bonuses and probably a clean sheet.
Matt Miazga, New York Red Bulls, $5.8
Matt Miazga is another young U.S. National Team star who is having a breakout year. I’ve picked him before but it has been a couple of months since I’ve done so. He gets a nod this week because he’s just gotten better and better as the year has continued becoming one of his team’s best defenders. Philadelphia’s attack is about to be bolstered by Summer transfer window acquisitions but I would be surprised if any of them will be ready to go this weekend. Even if they are, they won’t have time to adjust to their new team and Miazga will benefit from it. I don’t foresee him picking up another goal but he will get multiple defending bonuses on top of a probable clean sheet.
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
Tim Melia, Sporting Kansas City, $5.0
Tim Melia has continued to impress this season after starting the season as a back-up goalkeeper. He had a rough game against Real Salt Lake last week but that was because of a freak yellow card. He’s going to bounce back this week at home against a Houston Dynamo attack that will find trouble dealing with the strong S.K.C. defense that will stunt their creativity. Melia will have no problem stopping multiple shots even if Houston does find a way through for shots on goal.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MyFantasySportsTalk, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk