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MLS Player Picks Week 34: Adieu DGW

We look to double-up one last time in the season’s last double game week.

MLS - D.C. United - Wayne Rooney shoots the ball
Wayne Rooney takes a shot against F.C. Dallas.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The penultimate week of the fantasy season presents managers with the final double game week (DGW) adventure of the season. Spanning seven teams, the DGW participants: Orlando, Seattle, D.C. United, Toronto F.C., Vancouver, Kansas City, and Salt Lake. Managers can build strong lineups from front to back. These are my favorite picks for week 34:

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Goalkeepers

For a small slate, the start times for the games are rather spread out, allowing for some goalkeeper scheming. Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders, $7.5m) stands out as the best candidate in the early window. You could then pair him with either Tim Melia (Kansas City, $8.8m) or Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake, $6.7m). If we set one clean sheet as the standard we are looking for, all three of these keepers’ best opportunity would come in the first game. If you wanted to chase two clean sheets, I believe Melia has the best potential for that. However, you would then need to find room for the highest priced goalkeeper of the DGW teams plus some backup. You cannot go wrong pairing any two of these three keepers, but Frei is my favorite of the bunch.

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Forwards

Wayne Rooney (D.C. United, $13.3m)

From the crop of forwards up for selection, none can make a stronger case than Mr. Rooney. Although he blanked last week, Toronto F.C. have kept only three clean sheets all season. D.C. United are still fighting for a playoff spot, having moved into the final spot in the Eastern Conference last week. Rooney has managed five goals and an assist over his last five games.

Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto F.C., $14.5m)

Based on pedigree, Giovinco could easily be considered the best player on the slate. However, Toronto F.C. are officially out of postseason contention, leaving questions about their on-field ambitions for the remainder of this season. Despite a down year, Gio has still poured in twelve goals and fourteen assists. That is a safe enough floor for me have him in my lineup, even at a risky forward position.

Dom Dwyer (Orlando City, $7.6m)

After the two heavyweights above, my third forward selection is slightly problematic. With the overlap of the International break, the higher quality third strikers are not present. That leaves Dwyer as an appealing name. I know that Orlando has not scored in five games, but the Sounders are traveling cross-country for a midweek game. The price for Dwyer, and his twelve goals, is more appealing than the option below.

Kei Kamara (Vancouver Whitecaps, $11.5m)

Kei has outperformed Dwyer in goals, assists, and fantasy points this season. However, with the difficult nature of Kamara’s fixtures, I would rather not see $11.5m register four points. Both of Vancouver’s opponents have something to play for, not to mention that Los Angeles F.C. and Sporting Kansas City have 22 clean sheets between them. He is the third best fantasy striker on this week’s slate, but his price and the difficulty of his fixtures see him left out of my team. You could surely make a case for having him in yours, though.

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Midfielders

Luciano Acosta (D.C. United, $13.0m)

If I mention Wayne Rooney, I am contractually obligated to mention Acosta, for the same reasons given above. His latest run of five games include two goals and six assists, plus a bag full of bonus points.

Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders, $10.0m)

Nicolas Lodeiro is away on international duty, leaving a vacuum of opportunity in the Sounders’ midfield. The first look for managers should be to Roldan against the league’s worst defense in his first matchup. He as been among the goals in his last two appearances, having scored ten and thirteen points in those games, respectively. The thirteen point showing coming against the Houston Dynamo side they will be playing over the weekend.

Victor Rodriguez (Seattle Sounders, $6.2m)

Similarly, Victor Rodriguez has a prime opportunity to produce. The only concern here is that Lodeiro’s eventual roster could see some rotation in the midfield, and the injury concerns that come with Rodriguez make him a candidate for reduced minutes. His three goals over the last two games are hard to ignore. He is a worthy of a bench role, having plenty of upside should he start both games in week 34.

Johnny Russell (Sporting Kansas City, $8.8m)

Chad C. Smith, of The Blue Testament, reports that Russel will be available for the Vancouver match on Wednesday. Russell has proven to be pivotal in the KC attack this season, producing nine goals / assists. As the team leader in goals, he will be the focal point in a match-up with the Whitecaps, one of seven teams to concede 60+ goals this season. With key play-makers missing through international duty, the offensive burden will fall squarely on the shoulders of Johnny Russell. Should he not start, Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City, $5.8m) makes for an easy swap ahead of kickoff.

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Defenders

Sporting Kansas City

Having games against Vancouver and F.C. Dallas, ‘Vermes’ Army has the best chance at securing two clean sheets, in my opinion. With Sporting lacking any true forward options, the ability to stack two defenders becomes easier, if you can manage the budget to do so. Any of the starting four will do this week: Graham Zusi ($10.5m), Ike Opara ($11.4m), Matt Besler ($10.2m), or Seth Sinovic ($8.1m).

Seattle Sounders

To a slightly lesser degree, I like the defending options for Seattle this week. However, with the bountiful fantasy options all over the pitch, there are fewer spots available for the defenders, due to the four player limit, per team. However, Chad Marshall ($9.0m) and Kim Kee-Hee ($7.9m) are two perennial favorites of mine, and the only two Sounders players that I trust. Plus, he can save you some money versus any of the SKC assets. I was only able to find a spot for one in my squad, due to a midfield double-up of Sounders players.

Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake, $6.7m)

As a fallback option, Real Salt Lake’s clean sheet potential versus New England is worth some exposure. Should Sporting KC or Seattle fail to register a clean sheet, the Thursday game for RSL could be an option to recoup some points. All of the Salt Lake defenders come in at budget-friendly price points. Herrera stands out for his bonus point production, leaving us a safe floor should the defense not blank New England.

As we bid farewell to DGWs for 2018, we are offered one more chance to cash in. Week 34 can be the catalyst for the final push up the overall rankings.

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Who are you looking at to capitalize during our last DGW rendezvous? What selections are you queuing up for week 34’s double dip? Let us know in the comment section below!

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