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Week 8 MLS Player Picks: The Singularity

All eyes and armbands will be on the backs of LAFC players in week eight. Finding differentiation with two teams on a DGW will be pivotal for managers looking to get ahead.

Carlos Vela - Los Angeles FC - MLS
Carlos Vela takes a shot against FC Cincinnati.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

In light of last week’s game cancellation, the Major League Fantasy Manager game demonstrated how planning the double game week selections can be a boon to fantasy managers. With last week’s exercise having only two teams end up on a DGW, albeit due to very unique circumstances, it serves as a perfect lead-in to week eight. This week, though, presents a new variable. How should managers approach DGWs when the teams, or match-ups, do not present a clear and obvious strategy?

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Los Angeles FC (at VAN; vs SEA)

If Zlatan is the Center of the Universe for the LA Galaxy, then Carlos Vela (FWD, $13.8m) is the Singularity for LAFC. He should be the first player on every manager’s team sheet, and he’s the only possible captain choice this week. After Vela, LAFC still offer plenty of attacking firepower to warrant inclusion. However, any other attacking options are best suited for starting on the bench.

Mark-Anthony Kaye (MID, $9.3m) has has had much written about him in the early parts of the season. He has managed a goal and two assists over his past three games, averaging 9 ppg in that span, 6.8 on the season. The only other midfield asset worth looking at is Eduard Atuesta (MID, $8.7m) with his safe bonus-point floor, but he has little attacking upside. Managers who can afford to should pay the fraction of the million for the upside.

Given how finicky the forward position can be, Latif Blessing’s (FWD, $8.5m) performances warrant consideration at his price. Of Blessing’s 40 points this season, nearly half have come from bonuses. There are very few forwards establishing floors like that in the fantasy game.

Finally, at the back, Tyler Miller (GK, $7.0m) may be the optimal play. Otherwise, having kept three consecutive clean sheets puts Walker Zimmerman (DEF, $9.3m), Steven Beitashour (DEF, $7.2m), or Jordan Harvey (DEF, $6.4m) in play depending on your spending appetite. Fitting them in with the other attacking options available will be the toughest challenge for LAFC defenders.

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Vancouver Whitecaps (vs LAFC, at ORL)

Whitecaps assets make a pretty short list. Max Crepeau (GK, $5.5m) allows you to get away with spending money in more lucrative positions. Buyer beware, as you get what you pay for at that price. Managers who would like to max out the allotted DGW slots could turn to defenders Doneil Henry (DEF, $6.8m) or Ali Adnan (DEF, $5.2m). Further forward, it is hard to get behind any other Vancouver asset. Yordy Reyna (MID, $8.1m) is the only attacker worth taking a flier on.

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Goalkeepers

If your appetite for goalkeepers steers you away from the DGW participants, goalkeeper selections are likely going to come from the discount price bracket. You can mix and match any of the following three in a keeperoo for a run at the vaunted clean sheet: Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls, $5.5m), David Ousted (Chicago, $5.6m) and/or Nick Rimando (Salt Lake, $5.2m) in that order. Luis Robles is a nice fall back option for those who go with Max Crepeau, should he not garner any spectacular results, given the way each team’s matches are scheduled.

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Defenders

You could fill your entire back line with single game entrants. Andreu Fontas (Kansas City, $6.2m) will be the cheapest option in the nearly match-proof SKC defense, as they take on the San Jose Earthquakes.

New York Red Bulls are deeply discounted on the back line when you compare their prices to their preseason expectations. With nary a clean sheet this season, playing New England Revolution is as good a time as any for the Red Bulls to get back on track, especially defensively. The lack of consistency in attack, combined with the stacking of DGW players, could be the perfect storm for the NYRB triple-up in defense. Managers could take any number of the New York stalwarts: Michael Murillo ($7.0m), Aaron Long ($6.6m), and/or Tim Parker ($5.6m).

The listless Colorado Rapids travel to Chicago this week. Taking a chance on the Fire defense could yield some profit. Marcelo ($5.9m) is the better priced defender, but Johan Kappelhof ($6.2m) currently leads the team’s defenders in fantasy production.

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Midfielders

If you’re looking to squeeze a second star into their lineups in week eight, look no further than Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto, $11.5m). The new #10 is averaging a massive 13 ppg. Granted, it’s only three games, but the Spaniard has been every bit the star for a team that was struggling following Giovinco’s departure.

Until 2019, Jonathan dos Santos (Los Angeles Galaxy, $10.0m) was always an unattractive fantasy asset in FMLS. This season, Dos Santos has built a resume around bonus points. He has only a single goal to his name thus far, yet he’s in the top 15 among midfield fantasy scorers. He is taking shots to accompany all his other work, providing just enough upside to warrant more fantasy consideration.

If you have the open position for a New York Red Bulls attacker, Daniel Royer (New York Red Bulls, $7.9m) is coming off a match in which he tallied a goal. Passing on the opportunity to exploit the Revolution defense is not something that will be advocated for every week, but the NYRB penalty taker is as trustworthy an option as New York has at this moment.

Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta, $7.9m), came on and handled all the work for the defending champs in week seven. Perhaps he is the midfielder who will unlock the Atlanta attack, not Pity Martinez. If you can afford him, Julian Gressel (Atlanta United, $9.4m) is the preferred midfield play.

If Marco Fabian (Philadelphia, $8.1m) is healthy, he’s worth considering against Montreal. Just be aware of the risk, and start him on the bench. Elsewhere, Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake, $7.3m) is an interesting differential name. Taking on Cincinnati will provide a match-up RSL should feel they can win, even when you consider being on the road. He has been a proven goal scorer for them in the past, and nobody has stepped up in that department for them early on in the season.

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Forwards

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Los Angeles Galaxy, $12.7m) is the best 90 minute player at the forward position. Ibra is the fourth highest scorer in the game thus far in 2019. A home match versus the Houston Dynamo should not scare managers who can afford his steep cost.

With Vancouver having to travel across country after a midweek game, Dom Dwyer (Orlando City, $9.2m) has a chance to feast on a fatigued team. The attack for Orlando is starting to gain legs, and Dwyer’s work rate will always have him in position to get on the end of a scoring opportunity.

The 2017 MLS Golden Boot winner, Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago Fire, $8.2m), has now scored in two consecutive games. Nikolic is starting to hit form right before his DGW in week nine. But, his match-up this week against Colorado cannot go overlooked.

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To score big, managers will likely need LAFC to take advantage of the midweek match-up, prior to the showdown with the Seattle Sounders. Intestinal fortitude will be tested for each manager who accepts the risks that come with the less than prosperous Vancouver Whitecaps. At least their second game against Orlando could provide a bevy of fantasy scoring opportunities. Be sure to use those bench spots wisely as this week’s schedule spans four different days, providing plenty of opportunity to exercise those switcheroo skills. Good luck in week eight.

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What LAFC players are you building your squad around this week? Are you considering any captain options other than Carlos Vela? Do you have what it takes to roster any Vancouver players? And, what single game participants do you think will have the standout performances in week eight? Please let us know in the comments below!

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