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MLS Fantasy Player Picks Week 32: Fundamental

Without having to fuss with double game week teams, week 32 presents managers with a return to the fundamentals of MLS fantasy.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes defenders chase Vancouver Whitecaps’ midfielder Alphonso Davies on the ball
Alphonso Davies dribbles past two San Jose Earthquakes players.
Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Week 32 presents a pretty standard slate for fantasy purposes. Major League Soccer presents us with a rare opportunity for some Monday night football. With no tricks or quirks in the schedule, and with no need to fuss with double game week teams, week 32 is straightforward: Make your picks and call your shots. Just remember to sort your lineup in accordance with the schedule, to maximize your ‘switcheroo’ options across the multiple kickoff windows. All in all, this week goes back to testing a manager’s fundamental skills of fantasy MLS.

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Goalkeepers

For the first time in a few rounds, the week 32 kickoffs are sprawled out over multiple windows and days, leaving plenty of ‘keeperoo’ options for us to consider. My favorite early-window option is Brad Guzan (Atlanta United, $6.4m), at home against the New England Revolution. From the early evening kickoffs, Andre Blake (Phildelphia Union, $8.2m) and Jesse Gonzalez (F.C. Dallas, $4.9m) have the best clean sheet prospects. If you can stomach the price, the trusty Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls, $9.4m) draws the San Jose Earthquakes on the Road. D.C. United’s recent form has given me faith in Bill Hamid (D.C. United, $8.1m), at home versus the Chicago Fire. And, finally, when the Seattle Sounders play at home, Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders, $8.0m) warrants a look.

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Defenders

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (Atlanta United, $8.7m)

Pirez is a familiar name in this space. Facing New England at home gives Atlanta some of the highest overall fantasy point potential of any team this week. LGP’s ability to influence all facets of the Atlanta game plan makes him a sound fantasy option. Just keep your fingers crossed that he does not go in for one his famous red card tackles, which he has not done for some time.

Reggie Cannon (F.C. Dallas, $7.7m)

For all the reasons the F.C. Dallas goalkeeper is appealing, Dallas defenders are too. Having kept clean sheets in two of their last three games, and nine overall for the season, Cannon provides nice value for his match-up with Orlando City S.C. Plus, the ineptitude of Oralndo’s defense provides some tantalizing attacking upside for the young flanking defender.

Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls, $7.8m)

New York Red Bulls were able to blank Atlanta United at home last week. Their trip west to San Jose is far less daunting. Lawrence comes in as the cheapest option on one of the best back lines in the league, with the added bonus of attacking upside.

Kim Kee-Hee (Seattle Sounders, $8.1m)

At this point, Kee-Hee and Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders, $9.3m) are interchangeable. It is getting harder to pass on the discount that the South Korean international offers for what has been nearly identical production. With the Sounders at home this week, a share of their back line is a must-have.

Frédéric Brilliant (D.C. United, $5.5m)

Brilliant is a nice cheap way into the D.C. United back line. His past two starts have been his first since week 22. In those games, he has amassed seventeen points, eight of them bonus points. Combining clean sheet potential with a bonus point monster like Brilliant,is a recipe for fantasy gold.

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Midfielders

Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders, $14.3m)

Just go look at last week’s fantasy stats. He has the same potential again this week against an equally leaky defense.

Luciano Acosta (D.C. United, $12.0m)

Much like Nico above, what else is there to say about Lucho? He is the conductor in the D.C. United attack. He is scoring and providing goals at will, totalling nine goals and sixteen assists up to this point in the season.

Darwin Quintero (Minnesota United, $14.0m)

The unheralded Loons talisman is on quite a run of form. The sneaky superstar has scored or assisted in all but one game since the fall fantasy season started. He has reached the blistering heights that he did at the end of the spring season, having scored six goals and supplied six assists in as many matches. And, the fixtures from here on out favor the Colombian and the United attack.

Kaku (New York Red Bulls, $7.6m)

Kaku’s goal against Toronto looked to be the spark for a nice stretch run. And, on the surface, it does not look like that, given his points haul from last week. But, when you factor in the strength of the opponent, the absence of BWP, and the penalty miss, there is plenty of optimism in Kaku’s recent form. If he is able to convert the penalty, there is a completely different narrative. I look for Kaku to return to his playmaking ways against a weak Earthquakes side this weekend.

Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps, $9.1m)

This is my long shot call this week. Davies’ form has not been great since returning to the starting lineup in week 25. He has only scored once a provided a single assist in that time. However, Toronto F.C. cannot keep the ball out of the net. Toronto’s recent attacking form will require Vancouver to score some goals to stay in the match. I like the young Canadian’s chances to get on the scoresheet this week, firmly nailed to one of my bench positions though.

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Forwards

Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto F.C., $14.0m)

The door to the playoffs has not been slammed shut completely, yet. But, Toronto will need maximum points to keep their slim hopes alive. Vancouver have the second worst defensive record in the league, and Giovinco is the all-everything man on the pitch.

Wayne Rooney (D.C. United, $12.3m)

Quite possibly the best signing in MLS this season. His pairing with Acosta has been lethal since his arrival. I would prefer Lucho to Rooney if funds are a concern, but you would be hard pressed to find a forward in better form with an equally tasty matchup.

Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls, $10.4m)

Coming off his one game suspension, BWP looks poised to find the back of the net against a listless San Jose defense. He has managed to pour in five goals plus three assists in eight fall fantasy season matches.

Raul Ruidiaz (Seattle Sounders, $10.2m)

After his performance last week, the Peruvian has scored six goals in eight games during the fall fantasy season. I like his odds of finding the score sheet again, at home, versus a Houston Dynamo team coming off a week in which they played two games.

Maxi Urruti (F.C. Dallas, $8.8m)

F.C. Dallas has drawn the leagues leakiest defense in week 32. Nailing down the Dallas goal scorers from week to week is difficult. But, Urruti’s recent move to the number-ten spot on the field has yielded very positive results for Dallas. This has led to offensive production for Urruti, tallying one goal and five assists in five games.

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A full, sprawling, slate of games this weekend offers plenty of opportunity for fantasy production. There are plenty of superstars and mid-tier players to take advantage of, which cannot be said of every week, recently. With few standout options, there should be room for plenty of differentiation and big moves up the rankings.

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How do you plan to put the ‘fun’ in fundamental this week? Are you sticking with the slew of proven stars? Or, are you going to go off the grid to secure premium fantasy points? Let us know in the comments below!

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