Through five weeks of Major League Soccer action, fantasy managers have benefited from sprawling schedules each weekend. The schedule layout over the first month+ allowed cunning managers to reactively maneuver through the rolling lineup lock to maximize scoring returns. In week six, the intuition, gumption, and guile of every manager will be put to the test, as the recently expansive Saturday slates get squeezed. For the weekend as a whole, I see only five roster lock windows. The single games on Friday and Sunday make two windows, with the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake having a window to themselves, as the late kickoff on Saturday night. That leaves sixteen teams sharing two remaining kickoff times. The most crowded window will be between 7:00 and 8:00 pm EDT with five kickoffs.
With few switcheroo and fallback options, managers will have to call their shots. For this week’s selections, I am ordering by kickoff window. Here they are:
David Bingham (Los Angeles Galaxy, $5.0m) is the most appealing of the Friday night keepers. Vancouver has managed only four goals this season. For $5.0m, this will be the best shot at a clean sheet among the early games.
Dominant against NYCFC last week, Toronto looks to be reverting to the form of two seasons ago. Alex Bono (Toronto, $6.0m) will look to keep the momentum going against a Chicago Fire team who seem to find goals in a fortuitous manner. If Toronto dominate like last week, the pressure could be off the back line.
Stefan Frei (Seattle, $7.5m) at home is a no-brainer, against Real Salt Lake.
And, for those missing the keeperoo, Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City, $7.1m) makes a great last gasp goalkeeping option for the week.
For Vancouver, Doneil Henry ($6.3m) has been the main man in defense. With the number of crosses expected to be launched toward Zlatan, Henry will be primed to collect a healthy number of bonus points, providing plenty of value regardless of the clean sheet outcome.
Early-season sensation Gaston Sauro (Columbus Crew, $6.5m) has the optimal match-up against a New England side that managers will continue to lean on for clean sheet opportunities.
With plenty of fantasy options on the Sounders squad, I am happy to take Kim Kee-Hee (Seattle, $6.5m), as he still commands the least amount of capital for a Seattle defender.
Sporting KC were not happy to concede a late goal to Montreal last Saturday. I would expect the defense to put in a full shift this week to prove last weekend’s concession was a fluke. Sticking with the defensive script, Andreu Fontas (Kansas City, $5.8m) is the cheapest way into the KC back line. He was sitting on a monster game last week before the clean sheet was wiped out. Fanendo Adi will be missing for Cincinnati, which can only be considered helpful in the clean sheet chase.
Romain Alessandrini (Los Angeles Galaxy, $9.7m) is back for the LA Galaxy, but fading him for this week seems like the prudent plan. From Friday’s match, the two most interesting midfielders both play for the Whitecaps. Hwang In-Beom (Vancouver, $8.3m) had a mini-breakout in week two. Despite not having a huge point haul since, In-Beom looks the most like a catalyst for the Whitecaps attack. Second is Lass Bangoura (Vancouver, $6.5m). The pacy winger already has a goal this season. If he gets the start, he has the skills to exploit a Galaxy back line that has not looked as resilient as anticipated.
Would you believe me if I told you that Alexander Ring (New York City FC, $9.5m) is the highest scoring midfielder for NYCFC? He has two goals from twelve shots in 2019. That attack rate, plus the ability to rack up the defensive bonus in Yankee Stadium gives him tantalizing upside against an Impact squad that just surrendered seven goals.
Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto, $10.5m) introduced himself quite well to MLS on his debut. His 20 point performance was enough to win the confidence of this analyst. Toronto have all the necessary pieces surrounding the Spaniard to make him a key fantasy contributor from this point forward. Giving him the armband in week six should be a consideration for all managers selecting him.
Following his suspension, Marco Fabian (Philadelphia, $9.0m) looked great in a rain-soaked match against Cincinnati. The worry will always be his lack of a safe floor in the fantasy game, but being the primary set piece and penalty taker adds to his appeal. His early role has been much more as forward than a midfielder, also helping his fantasy value.
Nico Lodeiro (Seattle, $11.9m) is mentioned every week. His match-up warrants the armband, with some of the other top options facing stronger MLS opposition.
By virtue of playing in the bambox in the Bronx, Alexandru Mitrita (New York City FC, $9.8m) averages seven shots per home game. With that many attempts, it would seem likely that more goal returns should soon follow. NYCFC will want to prove that last week’s shambolic effort was a one-off performance.
Jozy Altidore (Toronto, $10.1m) is healthy, once again, so it is worth mentioning his name. The new triad of Altidore, Pozuelo, and Michael Bradley will likely be the source of fantasy scoring for Toronto, now that Giovinco is gone.
There is plenty of discussion about Orlando’s viability as a whole, but with three veterans leading their attack, Dom Dwyer (Orlando, $9.9m) is the man ending up on the ends of their chances. Dwyer has already scored three goals this season, one in every start he has made for the team.
Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders, $9.2m) is the Sounders forward to own. He looks way more influential than Raul Ruidiaz, and costs nearly $2.0m less.
Finally, Krisztian Nemeth (Kansas City, $7.2m) is coming off of a hattrick against Montreal. While that height is not expected again this weekend, Nemeth has been the talismanic forward KC have sought for quite some time. Currently averaging a goal per game, his torrid form looks likely to continue versus the newest MLS debutants.
Week six will require managers to call their shots during the compact kickoff windows, particularly on Saturday. The autoroo could make for a sly tactic while trying to decide which players are most likely to emerge from the prime time Saturday window. Attention will quickly turn to week seven, the first double game-week of 2019. We will talk about that later. Until then, good luck in week six!
Are you going to roll with a switcheroo, or the autoroo in week six? What players, not discussed above, do you think will stand out in the Saturday prime time kickoff window? What early- and late-game players are you hoping to build around while filling out your roster? Please let us know in the comments below!