For MLS Fantasy managers, week nine is the big one. The first allocation of double-game weeks have played a supporting role, albeit integral, to the fantasy showcase put on by every manager. While these performances have garnered the appropriate amounts of attention, their overall impact has been supplemental to the overall strategic foundation for many teams, given the limited player pools. This week, the DGW takes its rightful place, center-stage, as the headlining role.
With ten teams on a twinbill, there are plenty of options to round out an entire squad of 180-minute performers. These teams range from Major League Soccer’s hottest to its fantasy afterthoughts. Because of this, fantasy budgets will be able to accomodate an entire gamut of DGW potential. Fantasy managers will also be tasked with deciphering between some of 2019’s brightest fantasy stars. And now, for your week nine feature presentation, MLS Fantasy player picks:
Given the state of the attacking player pool, any bag-of-bones standing between the pipes will do. The best overall selections, thankfully, come from the $6.0-$7.0m price bracket. When looking at the price of Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders, $7.7m) and the state of the San Jose Earthquakes’ defense there is no inclination to waste valuable cash on the prospect of a keeperoo.
In the price bracket above, Sean Johnson (New York City FC, $6.8m) has the best opportunity for success. With two games at home, against teams who have not proven an ability to consistently put away chances, NYCFC are the leaders in the clubhouse for prospective fantasy points. With two of their three clean sheets coming at home, the prospect of two clean sheets, and commensurate save points, are well within the realm of possibility this week.
If you are not inclined to spend an NYCFC roster spot on the goalkeeper, Evan Bush (Montreal, $6.4m) gets the New England Revolution and a fatigued Chicago Fire squad. He ranks fifth in fantasy scoring among goalkeepers, for a team whose hallmark remains as a compact defense.
While the outlook for David Bingham (Los Angeles Galaxy, $6.5m) is positive, accepting him as the third Galaxy player on your squad could be problematic given the star power available. However, his clean sheet potential should not be overlooked if you are under the LA Galaxy player limit.
If you want to truly adopt the bag-of-bones theory, Cody Cropper (New England, $4.8m) leads the line as the cheapest option.
Cheap at the back remains the mantra in a week full of blue-chip talent. However, if managers have room in the budget, defenders present the greatest opportunity for differentiation.
Strategy at this position is constrained on two fronts: available player positions and budget, complicating this position more than any other in week nine. Players from the Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders are likely out of contention due to the limitations of roster spots. On the other end, going near the Chicago Fire, Minnesota United, New England Revolution, and San Jose Earthquake, defenders offer little to no upside as fantasy assets. This list leaves four other, quality, sources for fantasy output.
With two games at home, either of the New York City FC center backs make for the top defensive plays. Maxime Chanot (New York City FC, $7.6m) and Alexander Callens (New York City FC, $7.3m) are likely to anchor the defense in their pair of favorable matchups. If the extra cost matters that much, Anton Tinnerholm (New York City FC, $7.1m) leads the list other options, given his 2019 performances.
The second most favorable team matchup appears to be the Montreal Impact. After putting up a pair of blanks in their last DGW display, their week nine opponents do not equal the challenges they faced two weeks ago. Zakaria Diallo (Montreal Impact, $7.1m) is the standout performer among all the Impact defenders.
As with the Galaxy goalkeeper, finding a place for a defender could be challenging for some managers. Jorgen Skjelvik (Los Angeles Galaxy, $6.4m) is the lowest cost among the defensive regulars.
On the periphery, Edgar Castillo (New England, $5.6m) is interesting when you factor in his defensive and attacking bonus point potential. In San Jose, Shea Salinas (San Jose, $5.4m) has been lining up in midfield, which has its own appeal with the way the Earthquakes’ attack has looked in recent weeks. Chicago’s schedule would allow for a chance to be taken on one of their defenders, Marcelo (Chicago, $5.6m) is the optimal flier with his minimal cost.
The center of the park is stacked with gigantic fantasy names. With so many possibilities, only touching on the best premium assets will do this week, with the amount of time that has been devoted to them in this space this season. There are three names, in particular, that stand out.
It would be impossible to headline the position with anyone other than Nico Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders, $11.5m). The matchups do not warrant armband consideration this week, but there is no midfielder more deserving of consideration than the Uruguayan. Continuing down the premium players, in ranked order, Jonathan dos Santos (Los Angeles Galaxy, $10.4m), following his stellar outing last week. Finally, Saphir Taider (Montreal Impact, $10.8m), whose recent performances have fallen precipitously from his early season start, makes the list as a key contributor given the nature of his week nine opponents.
Going down a tier brings in the key differentiators among the DGW ranks. Of the mid-tier priced midfielders, the favorite is Alexander Ring (New York City FC, $8.9m). Two games at home means the potential of his new attacking returns can compound the usual defensive performances that managers have come to expect.
Junior Moreno (DC United, $8.0m) has been a consistent accumulator of bonus points to start 2019. He has not contributed any attacking returns since since week three, but with the road form United have shown in recent seasons, his defensive accumulation can buoy a team through a double game week.
Columbus Crew have been under the radar, despite holding down fourth place in the eastern conference. In that span, there has been a changing of the guard in the Crew midfield. It is Pedro Santos (Columbus, $8.6m) who has assumed the playmaking role. In his last four home starts, Santos is averaging eight points.
For this discounts in midfield there is only one name, the emerging James Sands (New York City FC, $6.6m).
The forward position has DGW players for every taste this week. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Los Angeles Galaxy, $13.2m) is the likely to be the most selected forward this week. Being the second highest scoring forward, he should register as the most popular captain as well. In fact, Zlatan’s ppg average is nearly a full point higher than Carlos Vela’s.
Darwin Quintero (Minnesota, $12.4m) is the only Loon that gets consideration in a shallow DGW player pool. Coming off of a two goal performance last weekend, his stout opponents will limit some of the appeal. However, Quintero has a habit of making memorable appearances in home matches, and this week he gets two.
Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago, $8.7m) and Danny Hoesen (San Jose Earthquakes, $6.2m) round out the best lower priced options for DGW forwards. Not only are these two fairly cheap, but they are two of the hottest forwards in MLS right now. Each is averaging a goal per game over his last three matches. Nikolic is preferred to Hoesen, given the matchups. The price will be a major differentiator.
And, most managers could do worse than Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders, $7.9m), but he is an autoroo candidate at best.
The greatest issue to be resolved by managers in the completion of their teams will be the way they sort out their premium players. And, in a linked way, the issue is how managers spread the wealth among the midfield and forward positions, mapping out the autoroo, and bench players, to mitigate the risk of the lower priced players.
What premium players are you stacking in your attack? What are the key factors you are using to determine your budget allocation among midfielders and forwards? What other value players have piqued your interest for a jam-packed week nine? What ‘roos have you set up? Please talk to us in the comments!