MLS Fantasy Manager week 24 has no double points chances but plenty of shots at high scoring games. Teams are now fighting for their playoff lives so every goal counts. This week gives many teams the opportunity to leap-frog their opponents in the standings and those games have the best shot at fantasy points.

TOP FORWARD PICKS

Derik Hamilton/USA Today Sports

C.J. Sapong, Philadelphia Union, $7.0

C.J. Sapong is back on my list because he is doing his best to have a good year despite his club’s record. He’s been quiet the past couple of games but still is on course for an impressive year even with Philadelphia’s middling-to-bad run of play. He always finds a way to threaten a chance on goal through physical play and a more intelligent style than he had in previous seasons. Philadelphia plays at home against last place Chicago, who are only a point behind the Union, this week and it’s a must win for either team with time running out for a playoff push. Philadelphia and Chicago have been no matter where they play but aren’t nearly as bad at home as they are on the road. I expect Philadelphia to find a way to come out on top while hosting Chicago this week and Sapong will be one of the key factors in the scoreline. His slump is going to end with the help of his improved midfield and he could earn some assist and attacking bonuses, too.

 Scot Tucker/SFBay
Scot Tucker/SFBay

Quincy Amarikwa, San José Earthquakes, $7.0

Quincy Amarikwa is practically a new player since his trade to San José and it shows as his fantasy numbers have improved. Amarikwa has always potential shine as a great MLS forward but was having a rough time trying to score for a team that’s been bad all season. He’s scored in three of his last four games for the Earthquakes with a brace in one of them. The Earthquakes are still in the playoff hunt as they fight to catch up with floundering Seattle. The Earthquakes are at home to Colorado Rapids this weekend who still can’t figure out how to stop other teams from outscoring them. Amarikwa and his tenacity match up well against the slow Colorado defense so another brace isn’t out of the question. If he doesn’t get multiple goals, he will get assists and is definitely picking up an attacking bonus.

 (Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)
(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Joao Plata, Real Salt Lake, $9.7

Joao Plata is coming off a week of rest for Real Salt Lake and returns at an important time for his team as they try to climb the playoff standings. Plata has appeared on my list before because he possibly has the best footwork in the league. His skill on the ball is unmatched by almost everyone in the league (Giovinco is the only one who comes close). Plata’s lack of size and quick feet match up perfectly against the towering Portland Timbers defense. The only defender with enough speed to catch him is Villafana but he doesn’t have the footwork or vision to keep Plata in check. Real Salt Lake have underperformed this year but they’re always toughest at home towards the end of the season. Look for Plata to outpace and mesmerize this weekend for plenty of attacking bonuses.

TOP MIDFIELDER PICKS

(Nick Wass/AP)
(Nick Wass/AP)

Chris Rolfe, D.C. United, $9.5

Chris Rolfe and the D.C. United midfield are going to become a mainstay on this list as the season heads to its end. D.C. is still on top of the table in the race for the Supporters’ Shield and their solid midfield is one of the main reasons why. They don’t have the most popular signings or the biggest stars but they have the all-around best roster in the league and Chris Rolfe is right in the middle of it. United play at Yankee Stadium on Thursday against New York City F.C. and it should be a high scoring game for at least one team. City’s defense is abysmal so they do their damnedest to outscore the other team to create enough of a cushion so their opponent has to press as well. This means the D.C. midfield will have plenty chances to push the ball forward on the counter attack. It also doesn’t help that the City midfield still haven’t figured each other out either. I’m not predicting a slaughter because of the talent City has but the D.C. midfield will be in charge.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Fabian Castillo, F.C. Dallas, $10.7

I love watching Fabian Castillo play. He’s fast, exciting, skilled, and is only getting better and better with every game. It’s no surprise he makes the list again. F.C. Dallas host the star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy this weekend and it’s going to be a knock-down-drag-out-fight as both teams make a push for the Supporters’ Shield and one of the top two playoff seeds. Castillo will be the fastest player on the field and L.A.’s outside backs and midfielders are going to have a hell of a time trying to contain him. Dallas is a counter-attacking team who takes advantage of their pace and as the game goes along their home field advantage will come in to play with the heat. Any goal that Dallas scores this weekend is going to come through or from Castillo.

PSP photographer Paul Rudderow
PSP photographer Paul Rudderow

Cristian Maidana, Philadelphia Union, $9.3

Cristian Maidana makes another appearance on my list this week because he is having a monster year. It’s hard to believe his team is so close to the bottom of the league from how he has played but he can’t do everything. Maidana and Philadelphia can only get better with the addition of Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta. Barnetta had a rough couple games to start his MLS career but he’s going t be more of a factor against Chicago. He’s going to help Maidana push forward and play more of an attacking role which means more attacking bonuses for Maidana. Maidana will pick up goals and assists this weekend against a now outmatched Chicago.

TOP DEFENDER PICKS

Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press
Pa-Modou Kah, Vancouver Whitecaps, $7.0

I don’t usually pick defenders from visiting teams but Pa-Modou Kah is in amazing form so it’s hard to deny him a nod this week. He has three goals in his last two games and, while I doubt that form will continue (I’m not calling it a fluke, just isn’t a common thing), he’s going to keep contributing to the attack with his ability to play the ball out of the back. He’s a great passer with stellar footwork who can push the ball forward to the right players to lead to a goal. Vancouver is also on top of the league and I expect them to stay there with a positive, hard-fought road result. Even 0-0 is a great result in Kansas City but I don’t foresee this happening. It’s still going to be a low scoring affair but Kah will find a way to pick up enough bonuses to offset the lack of a clean sheet.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrone Mears, Seattle Sounders F.C., $7.0

There’s no way around it, Seattle has sucked this summer. They had an amazing start but lost multiple starters to international competitions and injuries in June. The Sounders still have yet to recover from their woes even with their stars slowly returning. One of their constants during this time has been the outstanding play of Tyrone Mears. The Sounders defense has done everything they can to make up for the shortcomings of their stunted attack. Seattle has some more stars returning and just signed a few big names (Roman Torres, Nelson Valdez, and Andreas Ivanschitz) so they’re going to start their recovery this weekend. Some of these names could step in for significant minutes and Mears is going to benefit. He’s had to focus so much on playing defense that he’s been unable to get forward and help the attack but now that some of the weight has been lifted off his shoulders, he’s going to factor in more. Orlando City S.C. doesn’t travel well and have had road woes this season—Mears is going to keep those woes coming, a clean sheet isn’t out of the question.

 

Image credit: Maddie Meyer
Image credit: Maddie Meyer

Chris Tierney, New England Revolution, $7.3

“Inconsistent” is the best way to describe New England Revolution this season. Much of it comes from Jermaine Jones missing most of the summer with an injury. Jones has made his return and that means there will be better movement and understanding between the midfield and defense. Chris Tierney has been on fire the past few games with a combined 18 points in three performances. That form will continue against the mediocre Houston Dynamo attack. Unless Houston can find a way to click, Tierney is going to help stone them for a clean sheet this weekend.

GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

David Bingham, San José Earthquakes, $5.5

David Bingham has been solid this season for a San José team that just can’t make that next necessary step to lock down a playoff spot. His amazing shot stopping ability makes up for his shakiness in other areas. The Earthquakes host the lowest goal scoring team in the league this weekend, Colorado Rapids. Colorado has the ability to score but they’re horrible on the road—well, they’re horrible everywhere but especially on the road and that’s not going to change this weekend. Bingham has the most likely shot at a clean sheet this weekend and I expect him to make it.

Cesar Gutirrez covers MLS for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk

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