With the league's 20 teams bifurcated into playing and non-playing groups last week, we had a free go at transfers to restructure our teams. This week, things are back to (almost) normal, with only Columbus Crew SC and Chicago Fire not participating in Week 16 action.
The return to normalcy also means once again being limited to two free transfers, so hopefully you were able to set your team for success during the round 15 window. While I feel good about my team going forward, I had my first major slip since transitioning to the official MLS Fantasy game in Week 8. Vacation plans meant I was traveling in the time frame where lineups become available, so I wasn't aware of Juan Agudelo's omission from the starting lineup. As he was my captain, you can imagine my disappointment when I found he scored a lowly 1 point. I managed a paltry 40 for the week.
With hopefully nowhere to go but up, I'm ready to rebound this week. Looking at the fixtures, things look best for Toronto FC hosting New York City FC, LA Galaxy taking on Philadelphia Union and Portland Timbers welcoming Houston Dynamo to the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Sounders would have looked a lot more attractive hosting the San Jose Earthquakes if not for an injury to Obafemi Martins and the disciplinary issues surrounding Clint Dempsey (though his MLS play shouldn't be officially affected, he could still be handed a spell on the sidelines in Seattle).
Now, onto the recommendations for Week 16 of fantasy action in Major League Soccer, keeping in mind there is a double game week on the horizon for 12(!) teams in round 17.
Chris Konopka - Toronto have what looks to be the best match this weekend against NYC, followed by two home matches against Montreal and DC in week 17. For just $5.2m, Konopka is a steal.
Adam Kwarasey - Portland have been a strong defensive team of late, particularly at home. Kwarasey is inexpensive, is a great shot-stopper, and has a winnable match against goal-shy Houston, not to mention an admittedly tough double week on the horizon away to LA and home against Seattle.
Jorge Villafana - With doubts surrounding the fitness of Alvas Powell (and therefore casting Jack Jewsbury's starting status in shadow as well with the return of Will Johnson), Villafana is the best defender to place your bets on for Portland's potential clean sheet against the Dynamo. Will Bruin has been in good form, but the Timbers should have the quality to keep him at bay.
Omar Gonzalez - After a poor display last time out, Gonzalez and the Galaxy will be hoping for better returns, as will all of us fantasy managers. Los Angeles should have enough quality to see off an injury-ravaged Philly side, then follow up with two winnable matches next round against Portland and San Jose.
Ashtone Morgan - The young fullback played 90 minutes for Canada this week, but given the game was on Tuesday he should be ready to resume starting duties for Toronto this weekend. The cheapest way into the Toronto defense, I like his chances of returning value against New York City this weekend.
Sebastian Giovinco - The player of the season so far, the diminutive Italian has been a larger than life figure for Toronto, and is a near automatic captain pick for the next two weeks. Pick him up, give him the armband and don't look back.
Lamar Neagle - With injuries to Oba Martins and Chad Barrett, along with a potential absence for Dempsey, Neagle will be counted on to lead the Seattle attack. Playing ahead of his listed position makes him an attractive pick this week, and if Barrett is sidelined for longer than expected, the 28 year-old could stand to benefit from an extended run up top.
Diego Valeri - Injuries have kept last season's star performer on the sidelines for Portland, but he looks set to return to the starting lineup this weekend after a 60-minute appearance in the US Open Cup this week, in which he scored a goal. Now could be the ideal time to pick up the Argentine, who has the quality to deliver solid returns no matter the opposition.
Robbie Keane - Another all-star who has seen his play time curtailed by injury, Keane should return to lead the line for the Galaxy against Philadelphia this weekend. With a double game week on the horizon, you should be looking at how to squeeze the Irishman into your squad.
Luke Moore - The veteran striker seems to have supplanted Robbie Findlay in the starting lineup for Toronto, and has delivered 20 points in the last three game weeks, despite not playing the full 90 in any of the aforementioned matches. If he retains his starting spot, he's a great value striker to help you afford a pricier investment elsewhere in your team.
Joao Plata - The Ecuadorian striker has been building up his match fitness since returning from injury for RSL in Week 13, completing the full 90 last time out. The 23 year-old has the potential to break down even the best organized defenses, and he'll need to be on his game against SKC, but looks like a solid option heading into Salt Lake's double against NYC and Columbus in week 17.
I'm planning on bringing in Giovinco for Dempsey this week, but I've yet to decide where my other change(s) will be. Konopka and Morgan are high on my radar, but it remains to be seen if I'll want to take a points hit or try to make do with the two free transfers.
Remember to set your teams ahead of Friday evening's deadline at 9:00 p.m. EDT, and share your thoughts on your team below!