MLS Fantasy Manager week 34
MLS Fantasy Manager week 34 brings the season to an exciting close. The Eastern Conference has one playoff spot up for grabs between New England Revolution and Orlando City S.C.. The Western Conference has three spots to fight for between four squads. The Supporters’ Shield race will come down to the final match with F.C. Dallas and New York Red Bulls each playing for the win to secure the league’s best record. There’s nothing left to lose for these stars who have to give everything to stay in the hunt for the MLS Cup.
TOP FORWARD PICKS
Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders F.C., $12.3
Obafemi Martins had an injury marred season where he spent almost half the year benched with one ailment or another. Martins somehow managed to cobble together a respectable year despite his lack of playing time. It’s hard to believe but, thanks to a midseason slump, there is a possibility that Seattle could miss the playoffs. I don’t foresee this happening because Martins will come through big this Sunday with his best game all season. Seattle plays Real Salt Lake, who have already been eliminated from playoff contention, and their defense won’t be able to handle a team so determined to make the playoffs.
Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact, $10.8
Drogba is unstoppable as Montreal head into the playoffs after a late season surge. The Impact close the season out against Canadian rivals Toronto F.C.. Both teams have decent defenses but their offenses are what helped them reach the post season. I think this will be a high scoring match and Drogba is the main goal scorer for Montreal. I won’t be surprised if Drogba records a brace or even a hat trick to close out the season in what is sure to be a scorcher of a match.
Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers, $9.9
Portland Timbers achieved most of their success this season thanks to a strong defense. They didn’t score nearly as many goals as other teams but many of the goals they happened to come by were scored by Fanendo Adi. It’s strange to say it but Adi will be one of the keys to their success in the playoffs. He’s not a great goal scorer but he’s been good enough. Portland hasn’t officially clinched a playoff spot and a win is the surest way for them be above the red line after Sunday night. Portland can’t win without Adi coming up big this weekend against Colorado—he will. He’ll pick up bonuses and assists even if he doesn’t score but he’s going to tally at least one goal, probably two.
TOP MIDFIELD PICKS
Mauro Diaz, F.C. Dallas, $10.5
F.C. Dallas has to win to have any hope of winning the Supporters’ Shield Sunday night. They’re even on points with New York Red Bulls but have a worse goal differential so they have to score lots of goals to even have a shot at this year’s best record. Mauro Diaz is their best creator and the offense will flow through him this weekend. He’s going to pick up attacking bonuses, that’s for sure, but he will also pick up both goals and assists. He has a lot of help in the midfield and his forwards are finally starting to click. F.C. Dallas is determined to have their best season ever and that hinges on his performance this weekend—Diaz will not let them down.
Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls, $10.7
Sacha Kljestan would be in the argument for MVP if Sebastian Giovinco didn’t have the best season in league history. His offensive output is why New York Red Bulls have the best shot to win the Supporters’ Shield Sunday night. New York has always had a hard time winning in Chicago but this game is different and more meaningful than any of the previous matches. Kjlestan won’t need to have the game of his life this weekend but he needs to come through and he will with his usual amazing output.
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto F.C., $13.6
I have nothing left to say about Giovinco because he’s had the best season in league history. The match against Montreal this weekend will be high scoring, full of little defense and much offense. Giovinco already has this season’s Golden Boot thanks to owning the tie breaker of more assists but he’s going to win it outright with some goals this match. He’s impossible to leave off any roster this final week.
TOP DEFENSIVE PICKS
Bobby Boswell, D.C. United, $9.8
D.C. United quietly had one of their best seasons this year. They won’t own the best record but they came close with an inexpensive roster that didn’t have any standout superstars. It can be argued that they’re the most well-rounded squad going into the playoffs. Bobby Boswell is the main reason the D.C. defense was as great is it was all year. He’s one of the league’s best defenders in recent history and had one of his best seasons this year. D.C. has to win if they want a first round bye and they go on the road to Columbus to finish out the season. Luckily, Kei Kamara is suspended so that’s one less worry for Boswell and the defense. D.C. will come away with the second seed in the East if they can keep the rest of the Columbus attack in check. Boswell will pick up plenty of clearances for defending bonuses and a probable clean sheet.
Andrew Farrell, New England Revolution, $8.3
It’s going to take a ton of misfortune for New England to miss out on the playoffs. They’d have to lose while Orlando City S.C. win on the road in Philadelphia and make up the goal differential. I don’t see this happening and Andrew Farrell is one of the reasons why. Farrell has kept his team in the game with his defensive work many times this season. He must have another amazing match this weekend against offensively stacked New York City F.C. to make sure Orlando has no chance of passing them. Farrell will pick up plenty of defending bonuses the way N.Y.C.F.C. attacks because he’s going to make plenty of clearances and stops, even if they do put one in the back of the net. There’s a good chance that the Revolution defense and midfield can keep N.Y.C.F.C. completely in check and that means a clean sheet bonus on top of the defending bonuses.
Kendall Waston, Vancouver Whitecaps, $9.0
Kendall Waston should be in the conversation for Defender of the Year. He’s one of the reasons why Vancouver has only 36 goals scored against them going into the last weekend. Vancouver is fighting for a first round bye this Sunday when they play the already eliminated Houston Dynamo. The only way they have a shot is if they win and Los Angeles drop points. Houston doesn’t have a great attack and is even worse on the road so don’t expect them to do much. They’re going to do even less when Waston has an amazing game. He has a better shot at a clean sheet than defending bonuses but that will be enough.
GOALKEEPER PICK OF THE WEEK
David Ousted, Vancouver Whitecaps, $5.9
David Ousted won’t win Goalkeeper of the Year but he’s in the argument. He’s been amazing all season in net for Vancouver helping them to one of the best goals against ratings this year. The Dynamo have almost nothing left in their attack and nothing left to play for but pride so I don’t expect them to come at Vancouver with much. Ousted will easily stop whatever they do throw at him and maybe pick up a defending bonus if he has to come out and clean up any messes. He has the best shot at a clean sheet out of any one this weekend.
Cesar Gutierrez covers MLS for MyFantasySportsTalk, you can follow him on Twitter @namcopunk