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Week 17 MLS Fantasy Player Picks

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It's one of the biggest weeks of the season, with more than half the teams in the league featuring twice. Making sure you've got a full team of double gamers will be key to climbing the rankings.

"Jorales" is the man for RSL. Is he a lock for your team?
"Jorales" is the man for RSL. Is he a lock for your team?
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Another low-scoring round in Week 16 ensured my 48 points was enough for a slight jump up the fantasy standings, but after two sub-50 point weeks on the bounce, I'm ready for a big score. Thankfully, with 12 teams playing twice in round 17, there's plenty of potential for players to help me--and the rest of fantasy managers--push for triple digits.

The teams playing twice this week are as follows:

A quick run-through of the schedule reveals two home matches for Philadelphia and Toronto, while LA, RSL, Portland and Columbus also have fairly promising fixtures for investment in their players. Here's the run down of my recommendations for Week 17:

Goalkeepers

Jaime Penedo - The LA Galaxy don't have the benefit of both matches at home, but they also don't have to leave the west coast this week. Both of their opponents have struggled to score multiple goals in matches, so "San Penedo" looks a strong bet for solid returns.

Nick Rimando - A call-up to the USMNT for next month's Gold Cup means Salt Lake will be without their star goalkeeper in the near future, but he's a good bet this week for RSL as he should face a number of shots. If his defense can help keep a clean sheet in one or both matches, he could be set for big numbers this week.

Brian Sylvestre - Since breaking into the starting lineup for the Union, Sylvestre has helped what had been a stuttering Philadelphia defense to 3 vital clean sheets. He's dirt-cheap at $4.4m, so if you're looking to free up funds to bring in a big hitter this week, you could do much worse than to bring him in to your team.

Defenders

Omar Gonzalez - Until he stops delivering the goods, it's safe to assume the Galaxy defender will be in my recommendations. With a double this week, he's a near must-have and a potential candidate for the armband.

Laurent Ciman - This guy has been an absolute beast for fantasy, regardless of results for Montreal. The Impact haven't been particularly strong on the road this season, but the Belgian defender is capable of delivering big points either way.

Justin Morrow - Toronto were disappointing against NYC last week, but I like their chances to bounce back after a harsh early penalty set them on the wrong track in round 16. Two home matches make Toronto a strong bet this week, and Morrow is a consistent 90-minute performer in defense.

Alvas Powell - After doubts over his fitness last week ended up being a false alarm, Powell is a strong option ahead of the Timbers' matches against LA and Seattle. Both matches will be hotly contested with all three teams performing well in the West, so clean sheets may be hard to come by, but Powell is another defender capable of delivering the bonus points. Be aware that he will be departing for Gold Cup duty with Jamaica, though, so don't bank on a long-term investment here.

Chris Tierney - London Woodberry has been my go-to recommendation from New England lately, but with the youngster being withdrawn before the 60-minute mark last time out, alongside poor fantasy returns in the last couple weeks, he's not looking like anything more than a potential bench option at the moment. Tierney, on the other hand, has been rounding into form and contributing from set pieces and open play with dangerous crosses. He could be a nice differential pick in defense this week.

Midfielders

Sebastian Giovinco - After hyping him so strongly last week, I'm a bit hesitant to put Giovinco back atop my midfield recommendations this week, but he's yet to produce back-to-back 2-point games this season and the double home matches make it too difficult not to. Potential captain yet again. Let's hope he delivers more than the default number of points across the two matches.

Javier Morales - If you can manage a midfield with Giovinco and Morales without sacrificing too heavily this week, you've managed to set yourself up very well for success this round. The influential midfielder is involved in so much of what RSL does from an attacking standpoint, and you can bet on that continuing this game week.

Cristian Maidana - It's no coincidence that Philadelphia's uptick in form has coincided with Maidana's return from injury. The Argentine has been key to the Union's ability to control midfield play and transition from defense to attack. As a result, he's racked up the bonus points for both attacking and defending contributions. Two home matches make him an attractive alternative to Giovinco/Morales if you can't manage to squeeze both in.

Ethan Finlay - The Crew wide man brings a lot of energy and impetus to the attacking third and links up very well with Kamara and Higuain to create goals. Columbus can put themselves back into a position of strength in the East with a pair of wins, and Finlay will be a key component in that happening this week.

Will Johnson - The Timbers captain recently made his return from a long injury layoff and is back to full fitness ahead of a crucial double week for Portland. More likely to play extended minutes in both games than Diego Valeri, Johnson is a good bet in midfield if you're feeling good about the Timbers continuing their strong league form.

Forwards

Kei Kamara - The league's leading scorer is due a goal after three consecutive weeks without adding to his 10-goal haul. The Crew have two winnable matches, and Kamara should be central to their chances of success alongside Finlay.

CJ Sapong - Despite conceding five goals and never looking like being in the game against the Galaxy, the Union did get on the score sheet thanks to Sapong last week. With Fernando Aristeguieta and Sebastian Le Toux on the sidelines, Sapong has taken his chance at striker and could keep the spot even when the injured duo return to fitness. A good cheap option at striker this week.

Robbie Keane - The Irishman somehow managed not to get on the score sheet in the aforementioned 5-1 drubbing of Philadelphia, but he did look like he was getting back to his best form, and should have scored at least once. I like his chances to get back to scoring ways this weekend.

Bradley Wright-Phillips - What a nightmare for BWP in round 16! After having not one but two PKs saved by David Ousted, the Red Bulls striker will be eager to redeem himself. The best strikers are able to shake off bad misses, and Wright-Phillips should be able to recover to help his faltering side get back to winning ways this week. A cheeky play, but one that could provide a big rankings boost if it comes off.

Who are you considering for your team this week? I've got a full starting 11 of double gamers before making changes, but I'm strongly considering switching Piatti & Agudelo to Morales & Sapong.

Be sure to make your changes before Wednesday's 7 p.m. EDT deadline, and as always, best of luck!