It’s an early game week for MLS Fantasy Soccer in week 6 – make sure you’ve made your picks by game time at 6:30 Mountain time this evening. This week is the first big double game week of the season, with Colorado, Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Portland, San Jose, and Sporting KC all playing twice this week.
This past week was another pretty interesting set of games, in particular with Orlando dropping points (making RSL the last unbeaten team) and D.C. hammering Vancouver at RFK stadium. This week’s top Fantasy points came from D.C.’s [and former RSL] forward Fabian Espindola, putting two goals and bonuses for shots and fouls, and KC’s Tim Melia as he put in a stellar performance in goal with a 2-0 shutout on the Red Bulls. Thanks to the smackdown by D.C., a number of their players, including Alvaro Saborio, were top fantasy players for the week. It was a bit of a surprising performance by United and hopefully RSL can recreate the lopsided scoreline for Vancouver this coming week. Montreal also bounced back with a solid 2-0 home win over 2015 MLS Cup participant Columbus, fueled by a number of players not named Piatti – just to make this week’s picking a bit more complicated.
RSL had a great win this past weekend over Colorado, with Joao Plata putting in yet another awesome performance with his game-winning goal. Plata’s excellent consistency this season has him as the top forward in the league for fantasy points – ahead of Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco and second only to Ignacio Piatti in overall points. If he has another good week, he could be top of the pile very soon. His total of 10 points against Colorado keeps him as the top point-earner for RSL. In addition to his goal, he earned both attacking and defending bonuses – pretty unusual for a forward to get both. He’s earned into double digits twice this season and his lowest total for the season is 7 points. I’d love for him to keep this pace up – it’d have huge benefits for RSL and anyone that picks him up. Sadly, I still hadn’t done that this week, figuring Colorado would gang him up on him. Interestingly, Colorado chose instead to swarm Martinez every time he touched the ball. While Plata did see some extra attention, his quick pace enabled him to beat goalie Zac McMath and two defenders to the misplayed clearance. Given Vancouver’s horrible defensive performance this past week – if they similarly lose focus against RSL, then Plata and RSL’s other forwards might be quite successful this weekend and decent bets for fantasy points.
Plata wasn’t the only solid fantasy performance for the week. RSL’s first shutout for the season meant bonus points for Nick Rimando and all the defenders – putting all of them right behind Plata for fantasy point totals. Nick got the team’s second highest weekly total at 9 points, due to his added saves and a defending bonus from some great shot stops. Personally I think Maund should’ve gotten an extra bonus for his Beltran-like ‘trout save’ during the match, as well as been in contention for MLS Save of the Week. Unfortunately we’ll just have to give him recognition, since he didn’t get either. The midfield and forwards all ended up with modest scores, with Sunny getting the top spot amongst them, continuing his consistent performances for the year. Unfortunately for Yura – the combination of the incorrect offsides and the resulting yellow card from the tiff with McMath meant he finished with one point, instead of the eight or nine points he should’ve earned on the week. Perhaps this next weekend will be his breakout performance of the year.
For season totals, Joao Plata continues to be the runaway winner. He’s now all the way up to over 18% ownership by fantasy managers – the only RSL player in double digits on that metric and fourth overall for league forwards. He also has more fantasy points than the next two RSL players put together. Solid performances and the first team shutout shuffled the season totals below Plata, with defenders starting to creep up the list. In particular, Aaron Maund is looking like a starter on the field now – time to drop the ‘good backup’ phrase from your descriptions of him. He is now second for RSL season fantasy points, overtaking Sunny this past week. Rimando also bumped up the list to fourth position, with a total of 21 points. He’s not the best goalkeeper pick in the league, tied for 15th spot among goalkeepers – but RSL’s improvement in form and first clean sheet might mean some better week’s are ahead.
From a points per $ perspective, Plata is still great, but several other players are sitting above 3 points/$: Aaron Maund, Sunny Obayan, Nick Rimando and Justin Glad. This means they are all pretty good choices for your fantasy team. Top players like Plata tend to be in the 4-5 points/$ range, but due to their typically higher prices, getting some solid team players helps your average out. Looking at a points/game perspective, most of the top players in RSL’s list should give you 5-7 points per game. The exception is Justin Glad – when he’s played, he’s earned good points, but that doesn’t happen every week. He’s a good bench choice. Likewise Olave could be a good bench choice – he’s earning an average of 7.5 points/game, but he’s only played 3 games out of 5.
For this weekend – I would expect most of the ‘regular’ starters to get the nod again. The main question will be Morales and Wingert. This week’s MLS injury report (http://www.mlssoccer.com/injuries) still lists Javi as probable, but incorrectly says he didn’t play last Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allen or Mulholland start again to avoid risk with Javier, but Javi being the true competitor he is will make it tough to have him start on the bench. If he does start, don’t be surprised if one of those two substitute for Javi late in the match. Wingert left the Colorado match early, perhaps as a preventative measure or two get a bit more speed into the game. Vancouver has quite a few quick forwards, so the question will be whether Cassar goes for a better defensive mindset with Wingert or more speed in Phillips. If you just want some sure points – stick with Beltran or Maund, who have been consistently starting and getting decent points every week. Overall your best bets – certainly Plata, but potentially Martinez and Movsisyan this week assuming the Whitecaps are still reeling from their D.C. loss.
Clearly last week I was wrong to pick Orlando as a good bet for players – I really meant Montreal…yeah, that’s the ticket. This week any of the double game teams would be good bets for players. Portland is playing two home games – so they may have a theoretical edge with their great home crowd. However, they’ve not quite hit their form yet. The New York Red Bulls are playing away at San Jose on Wednesday and Colorado this weekend. Given their weak performances this year, I don’t think I’d bet on them until Bradley Wright Phillips gets rid of his scoring funk. The rest of the double game teams play one home and one away game. Of those, Colorado and KC have shown the most consistency. I think KC has a bit better odds of picking up good results, since they’ll play Colorado at home, then go a short trip down to Dallas this Sunday. Dallas gets to play Portland on a long away trip – decent odds for a result, but Portland to Dallas flights are good deal longer than KC to Dallas, especially given the mid-week road game effect.
So for this week – Melia from Sporting KC might be the best bet for goalie choices with a double game week, one of which is against low-scoring Colorado. You might risk picking McMath due to Colorado’s good defensive showing this season, but the rest are a bit questionable with respect to shutouts. In the back, again Colorado players and Sporting KC players are probably good bets – particularly Nuno Coelho or Axel Sjoberg if you’re looking for a budget pick. At midfield, Ignacio Piatti is the top midfielder in the league for fantasy points due to his consistent attacking performances this year. Portland’s Diego Valeri seems to be a good pick with a double week – but sometimes he’s only played one of those two games, so Michael Barrios might be the sleeper pick of the week given recent form. Up front, Giovinco continued his good scoring pace this past weekend, but Max Urruti is a good bet with a double game and his past experience playing on Portland’s bouncy turf field. Aside from him, Will Bruin may be able to take advantage of LA’s shaky defense, as might CJ Sapong with the away game versus Seattle. If you’re looking for a sleeper pick at forward – perhaps this week Dom Dwyer keeps in the groove after notching a goal last week. Keep in mind, you need to pick early this week – get your transfer in and lineup set before the KC – Colorado game kicks off Wednesday evening. Good luck everyone for week 6!