MLS Fantasy Manager week 23
MLS Fantasy Manager week 23 brings back a shot at double the points with midweek matches. Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City S.C., and Toronto F.C. give fantasy managers a shot at doubling their points haul while F.C. Dallas and New England Revolution are on bye. Every player should have returned from international duty by now with some of the league’s new big name signings still on the way so check your roster for injuries to make sure you will get the most out of your players this weekend
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls, $11.3
Bradley Wright-Phillips gets another pick this week because he’s finally finding his stroke and has two matches this week, one against an opponent he loves to score on. New York Red Bulls have also recently signed his talented, older brother, Shaun. The two have already connected with each other for a goal this past weekend while also playing off of each other to earn a penalty kick in the same match. Red Bulls play in Montreal for their Wednesday match then back at home against rivals New York City F.C.. Bradley Wright-Phillips may not start both games, the Montreal game having the higher possibility of reduced minutes, but he’ll play in each and will light up the scoreboard against N.Y.C.F.C.. He could very well score goals in each game but has a higher chance of doing so in the second match.
Cyle Larin, Orlando City S.C., $6.2
Cyle Larin is having an amazing rookie year that has him on pace to set the rookie scoring record. He started out slow while having troubles adjusting to the league and those around him but has come back from the Gold Cup with a new fire inside as he has scored five goals in the last two games. Orlando City has two rough games this weekend against teams that like to score but don’t defend very well and both love to let in late goals. Larin’s speed and stamina will be a problem for either team this week so he will have plenty of chances to continue his hot run especially in the games’ later minutes. He will also be worth his amazingly low prize if he can keep his head in the game and avoid any bookings.
Dominic Oduro, Montreal Impact, $7.0
The best way to describe Dominic Oduro is frustrating. If he isn’t frustrating opponents with his speed and ability to beat all defenders then he is frustrating his own fans and team with his inability to consistently finish. He won’t have too many more chances up top now that Montreal has signed Didier Drogba but he has at least another game or two before Drogba is ready. He works best with another striker so I think Drogba will actually help him when he does arrive. Until then, Montreal has two games against conference foes in the playoff hunt. Oduro’s speed and tenacity are going to get him two starts this week since Montreal just traded away Jack McInerney. Oduro was amazing last week and I think has one more great week in him. If he’s going to be used sparingly the rest of the season, he’s going to make that decision difficult this weekend with his play. He’ll look better on Wednesday against New York Red Bulls than he will against D.C. United so look for most of his positive play to come midweek with a breakneck performance on the weekend.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact, $10.4
I throw around “most underrated player” a lot but I don’t understand how more people aren’t talking about the amazing year Ignacio Piatti is having. He’s putting up monster fantasy numbers on a team that constantly punches above its weight. He’d be getting so much more press and even better points on a bigger name club because he’s keeping Montreal in the playoff hunt almost by himself. The rest of his team can play horribly and he can still have an amazing game. He brought Yankee Stadium to its knees this past weekend and he’s going to do the same to both Red Bulls and D.C. United this week. Montreal may not get both wins but he will continue his outstanding form this weekend. He finds a way to have great games against the most difficult opponents and that won’t change with both must-win games at home.
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto F.C., $12.6
Sebastian Giovinco is the best player in the league this year. He will lift the MVP trophy at season’s end. That’s not an opinion, it’s just a fact that hasn’t been proven yet. Road games have a way of eating up even the best teams and Toronto gets two in-form teams at home this week. Giovinco matches up better with Orlando’s offensively minded midfield than he does with Sporting Kansas City’s roughneck roster. Look for Wednesday’s game to be high scoring with most of the offense contributed by Giovinco and then for the weekend’s game to be lower scoring but with Giovinco providing what little offense there will be.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls, $7.5
New York Red Bulls may have made the best signing of the transfer window when they inked Shaun Wright-Phillips. He took less money than he was offered from some overseas clubs to play with his younger brother, Bradley, in New York and it’s already paying off for both players and the club. Shaun Wright-Phillips had an assist and earned a penalty in his début but also changed the face of the attack when he entered the game. They were a completely different team with him and his brother leading the attack. Shaun will see the field more than he did last week during both matches now that he is in better match shape. If New York wants to keep winning, they’ll keep the Wright-Phillips’s on the field at all costs.
TOP DEFENDER PICKS
Laurent Ciman, Montreal Impact, $7.9
Laurent Ciman is making yet another appearance on my pick list because he just keeps playing his ass off. He’s still going to put up big numbers this weekend even if the games will be high scoring because he finds a way to contribute to the attack while being integral to the defense. He makes almost as many contributions to the attack with his passes as he does with his clearances. He’s going to have a good weekend with his clearances and defending bonuses if his opponent’s attacks are going to be as strong as I think they are. If a clean sheet does happen, it’s more likely going to be against D.C. United than New York but I won’t be surprised if the opposite happens.
Liam Ridgewell, Portland Timbers, $8.3
I don’t usually go with players only playing once in a week when others have multiple games but Portland hosting Chicago is just too juicy to pass up. Chicago was able to get a surprise win this past weekend but going in to Providence Park is much different from playing at home. Portland has turned that place into a fortress and Liam Ridgewell is one of the main reasons their defense is almost unbreakable at home. This game will be low scoring and a clean sheet is probable with how well the Portland defense clicks with each other under Ridgewell’s commanding presence in the back.
DaMarcus Beasley, Houston Dynamo, $7.0
DaMarcus Beasley is a legend who found a new life when he moved into the defense and Houston have been smart not to ask him to leave it again. Houston hosts San José this weekend and this game is going to get ugly with a capital “ugh.” Both teams hate each other because of their history (Houston Dynamo were once the old San José Earthquakes) and both teams are fighting to get above the red line into a playoff spot. It’s going to be the transition from defenders to attackers that wins this game and Beasley is one of the best outside backs in the league now. He’ll not only get a few defending bonuses for cleaning up any attacks with his high pressing style but will also get an attacking bonus or two with some crosses and well placed passes. Don’t be surprised to see this game end 0-0.
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls, $5.5
Luis Robles has two shots at earning a clean sheet this week. His first game will be the more difficult of the two in Montreal but New York has one of the better road records in the league so don’t be surprised for him to still have a great game even without a clean sheet. The second game of the week for Red Bulls has them welcoming in their crosstown rivals and these games are quickly turning into heated affairs. This game has a higher possibility of becoming a clean sheet but will most likely see Robles come away with a ton of saves and a defending bonus to make up for letting in, at the most, one goal. His points total between the two games will be just as good as those playing single games but has a better shot at doubling their totals. He’s a low risk pick this week and, sometimes, that’s what a roster needs.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk