MLS Fantasy Manager week 26
MLS Fantasy Manager week 26 brings with it another MLS Rivalry week with plenty of hot-blooded match-ups to enjoy. There are also a couple of shots at doubling up on points with some midweek action to whet the appetite for the weekend. It will a great week for fantasy managers and soccer fans.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls, $11.2
Bradley Wright-Phillips has yet to reach his goal-scoring pace from last year and is still managing to have a solid season. I’ve said a ton of great things about him over the season and picked him a few times because he is an amazing game changer. Bradley Wright-Phillips gets two chances to light up opponents this week as New York Red Bulls face off against league whipping boys Chicago Fire and then their heated rival D.C. United. The game against Chicago is on the road but that shouldn’t stop the Red Bull attack from getting Wright-Phillips plenty of chances to put the ball in the back of net. The rivalry match against D.C. will be a tougher time but it will be at Red Bull Arena where New York loves to score. Adding B.W.P. to your roster and captaining him this week is a great idea.
Robbie Keane, Los Angeles Galaxy, $12.1
Robbie Keane is an unstoppable force on his way to another MVP season. Los Angeles and Keane are another level since the arrivals Sebastian Lletget, Steven Gerard, and Giovani Dos Santos. All three look amazing because of Keane’s work rate. Their passing and heads-up play are feeding his fantasy points to the point of embarrassment of other squads. Los Angeles travels north to San José for another California Clasico. Los Angeles have had a tough year on the road but that’s changed with the team heating up at the right time. The California Clasico also tends to be a high scoring match no matter which stadium it is played and this one will be no different—an eight or nine goal match isn’t out of the question.
Chris Wondolowski, San José Earthquakes, $11.1
If the California Clasico will be such a high scoring match then someone has to tally the goals for San José. A healthy Chris Wondolowski is the best candidate for the goal scoring job. The Earthquakes’ offense has clicked lately and that won’t stop against their most hated opponents. The San José attack is fueled by their midfield and wings with Wondolowski as their target for all crosses and long balls. This plan is unbeatable when it works but it can expose the team to counterattacks. Luckily, for everyone who will watch this game, it will be a fast-paced and high scoring battle.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls, $9.7
Sacha Kljestan is playing his playing his ass off for New York Red Bulls as of late. The entire Red Bulls midfield have been posting amazing fantasy numbers but Kljestan is the star every crucial play is going through. He is going to do more than help his team with his opportunities against D.C. and Chicago, he’s going to catch the eye of Jurgen Klinsmann. He’s going to pick up both defending and attacking bonuses on top of probable assists and possible goals.
Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo, $10.2
Brad Davis would be having a much better year if the rest of his teammates would step up to his quality of play. Houston plays away to Colorado Rapids, always a tough match even if Colorado is having a hard time scoring, but that doesn’t mean Davis can’t have a good game. Houston is much more likely to have a better game at home against Vancouver and Davis surely will. If Houston can find a way to nail Colorado to the wall in the first half then Davis will come away with an attacking bonus on top of assists. The Vancouver match will be a much more open affair with both teams stepping up their offensive game and Davis benefiting from having to get back and defend.
Dillon Powers, Colorado Rapids, $7.7
Dillon Powers has the unenviable task of playing for one of the worst Colorado squads in recent memory. He hasn’t been their only stand-out player this season but he has been the most consistent. Powers has been able to piece together a decent year even without the support of the rest of his team. Powers lines up against two strong conference opponents at home this week at a time when clubs are making a final push for the playoffs. It’s going to take a miracle for Colorado to get in to that picture but that doesn’t mean they can’t pull of some decent matches along the way. They’re a much tougher squad at home than on the road and even if they don’t win it doesn’t mean that Powers can’t have good games. His play is getting better and better as European leagues have come calling and he’s going to keep impressing this weekend by almost willing his team to positive results even if the standings won’t show it.
TOP DEFENSE PICKS
Matt Miazga, New York Red Bulls, $6.0
Matt Miazga is having the kind of breakout year that catches the eyes and drops the jaws of anyone watching. His improvement over this season is astounding even with all the natural talent, size, and ability he already has. It isn’t very often that a 20-year-old cements a starting central role for a top-tier team. Miazga isn’t contributing to the attack as much as other defenders in the league but he is making up for it with great defensive performances and clean sheets. A clean sheet is not going to come easy this week on the road in Chicago but it’s much more doable than at home to D.C. United. He’s going to pick up bonuses if he can keep from getting carded because both teams are going to throw massive numbers at him, he will definitely be up for the challenge.
Aurélien Collin, Orlando City S.C., $8.4
Aurélien Collin and the Orlando City S.C. defense are going to benefit from having to play a Chicago Fire team that had a midweek match against a tough opponent. Collin has always been a force to be reckoned with so it won’t be a surprise that he is going to pound the Fire attack into submission. He plays physical, tough, and with a decent passing ability. Chicago will be tired and desperate for points in this game so I won’t be surprised to see them try to play a counter-attacking style or even a long ball style of play which will be to Collin’s benefit. Even if they try to play from the wings, it won’t do much because Collin is great at clearing any ball that flies in from the outside. Collin is going to rack up major defending points if he can avoid a card.
Zach Loyd, F.C. Dallas, $7.7
Zach Loyd has had a rough month. F.C. Dallas was untouchable through the month of July but hit a snag when August brought more road matches and higher quality opponents. The tough month is coming to an end and F.C. Dallas usually ends months like this with a decent result. It also helps that they are playing Real Salt Lake in Frisco, Texas. Real Salt Lake have a rough history of playing in Texas with losses upon losses in The Lone Star State. Dallas haven’t been playing horribly, either, they’ve just been missing that spark in the midfield from the injured Mauro Diaz. Loyd and Dallas will have a better match this weekend with a probable clean sheet against a team that has improved but will hit their normal Texas-sized speed bump.
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls, $5.7
There isn’t much more for me to say about Luis Robles that I haven’t said in previous articles or that doesn’t show up in his stats. He’s got two shots at a clean sheet this weekend, one of them against a laughingstock of a squad in the Chicago Fire. He’s going to make a lot of saves this week especially against D.C. United and if he can help keep that score respectable then those bonuses will make up for not shutting out his opponents. He’s come up big all season, I see no reason for that to change this week when he has double the chances.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk