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Week 10 MLS Player Picks: Defensive Double

The quality of the teams included in week ten’s double game week will ask the question of whether there are any attacking players suited for fantasy selection.

Marco Fabian - Philadelphia Union - MLS
Marco Fabian takes a penalty against FC Dallas.
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Following a massive double game week, the MLS Fantasy schedule rolls into double digits. Week ten offers two teams on a twinbill. The most pressing question for managers to ponder will be the number of players to take from the DGW participants. The weekly fantasy returns for both the Philadelphia Union and Cincinnati have been easily disregarded this season. However, the advantageous match-ups combined with the amount of money most managers have at their disposal this season, open up some buying opportunities for fantasy points that are not present most weeks, plus a healthy accompaniment of risk.

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Philadelphia Union (vs CIN; vs NE)

Two games at home against two week opponents make Union players the most desirable this week. Atop that list is Marco Fabian (MID, $8.1m), who is listed as questionable on MLSSoccer.com injury report with an ankle sprain. Fabian’s inclusion in the first match would lead all attacking players for selection this week. If managers are keen to include attacking options from the #DOOP collective, Haris Medunjanin (MID, $8.8m) holds down the center of the park with a modest collection of defensive bonus points plus a small hint of attacking upside.

For this DGW, the highest levels of confidence and value fall on the defensive half of the field. Matthew Ralph, of Brotherly Game, reports that Andre Blake (GK, $6.2m) will be out at least another week, opening the door for Matt Freese (GK, $4.0m). A $4.0m goalkeeper on a double game week is a fantasy manager’s dream, with a real opportunity for two clean sheets.

Otherwise, defenders will be the best ingres to this week’s Philadelphia lineup. The recurring stalwarts of Jack Elliott (DEF, $7.2m), Aaron Trusty (DEF, $6.3m), and Raymon Gaddis (DEF, $6.3m), are the preferred options given their reliability and the prospect that they start both games.

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FC Cincinnati (@ PHI; @ SJ)

For the debutantes from Ohio, fantasy prospects are not nearly as lustrous as for their Wednesday night opponents. Given the unreliability of Philadelphia’s attack, hunting for a possible clean sheet is worth a defensive flyer. Kendall Waston (DEF, $6.8m) is sitting on the cusp of yellow card suspension, making it nearly impossible to include him. For that reason, Nick Hagglund (DEF, $6.3m) and Mathieu Deplagne (DEF, $5.8m) become the safer fantasy plays from the bench.

With injuries and an overall lack of production, the Cincinnati attack offers little to no confidence. The one player worth a chance is Kenny Saief (MID, $7.5m), who is averaging five points per game since his arrival, although his recent performances have underwhelming.

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Goalkeepers

The opportunity to spend a measly $8.0m total on goalkeepers is hard to pass up, but should the results from Matt Freese (Philadelphia, $4.0m) be less than desirable, or should he only make one start, the schedule offers some late-game opportunities to recover some fantasy points.

Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City, $6.3m) will lead the ranks of alternatives, as KC welcomes a struggling Atlanta United side to Children’s Mercy Park. The hottest team in MLS, Los Angeles FC, plays at home once again, putting Tyler Miller (Los Angeles FC, $6.6m) in the conversation, although his price is the highest of all the single-game options. If value is more of a concern, Daniel Vega (San Jose Earthquakes, $5.5m) registers the lowest cost among the post-Philadelphia game schedule, coming off a clean sheet in his second gw-9 performance.

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Defenders

As discussed above, with the best dgw offerings coming from the rear guard, the need for single-game defenders will be minimal. With the Philadelphia Union having kept three clean sheets this season, managers should confidently place those players in the starting lineup. The Cincinnati players should all be started on the bench as switcheroo options.

First on the list of possible fallback options is last week’s high scorer, Shea Salinas (San Jose Earthquakes, $5.9m). Managers will have the ability to have all the DGW scores in by the time Salinas takes the field Saturday night. His deployment in the midfield for the Earthquakes offers the most attacking potential of any defender at his price.

Elsewhere, Ali Adnan (Vancouver Whitecaps, $6.2m) against the Colorado Rapids offers plenty of fantasy scoring potential.

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Midfielders

When looking at the attacking limitations of both DGW teams, the week-to-week fantasy standouts will be front and center once again. As fantasy budgets begin to swell and the friendly prices of the Philadelphia and Cincinnati assets shift it forward on the pitch, the ability to carry multiple superstars is now a boon for all the managers who have properly managed the growth of the budget to this point.

It is a road game, but Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto, $12.5m) has been the spark to reignite the Reds after a sluggish start to 2019. Pozuelo has registered four goals and five assists in only five games. Against maligned Orlando, he leads the pack of midfielders for inclusion and captaincy consideration.

An abominable red card severely hampered the ability of Nico Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders, $11.3m) to fully reach the anticipatory heights fantasy managers had prior to his DGW in week nine. His 7.33 point average ranks third among the midfielders. An inconsistent Minnesota United defense will once again allow Lodeiro to anchor fantasy rosters.

The flag for Jonathan dos Santos (Los Angeles Galaxy, $10.9m) still flies high at Never Manage Alone. He led all scorers across midfield in week nine; granted he benefited from two games. There were, however, ten teams on DGWs last week. He is averaging nine points over his last four games, with only a single goal contribution, which was a solitary assist. He is becoming one of the most consistent fantasy assets in 2019.

In the same $10.0m price bracket is the new midfield engine for LAFC, Mark-Anthony Kaye (Los Angeles FC, $10.3m). A Chicago Fire squad that is incapable of keeping opposing teams from scoring will be foder for the incisive passing and running of the upstart Canadian. Since his return from knee surgery, Kaye has already accumulated two goals and five assists. Playing provider for the MLS goal-scoring leader is a prime position for future fantasy production.

When looking down into the newly converged middle and discount pricing tiers, Jake Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes, $6.3m) was the 2nd week nine standout for the Quakes after Shea Salinas. His overall combination of defensive play and attacking impetus makes for an intriguing value play against a fatigued FC Cincinnati side.

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Forwards

Like midfield, the forward position will be dominated by 90 minute cameos. Leading that charge is Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC, $14.8m). He leads all players in fantasy production by almost 40 points. 40 POINTS! He is the clear cut captain selection this week. Leave him out of your squad at your peril.

If managers want a second premium forward over a more robust midfield, the matchup for Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Los Angeles Galaxy, $13.0m) has plenty of optimism as New York Red Bulls continue to sputter in 2019. He has managed more goals than games since his return from injury in week five, netting seven in six.

Krisztian Nemeth (Kansas City, $8.4m) will lead the line against another of the 2019 surprise strugglers Atlanta United. While the defense has struggled in recent weeks, Nemeth has continued his fine form, bagging a brace last week. In total, he now has six tallies on the season.

The hardest working man in MLS, Dom Dwyer (Orlando, $8.4m), will take on a putrid Toronto defense at home. Despite the recent attacking domination, the defense has not been able to find the same footing, opening the door for Dwyer to exploit their defensive fragility.

At the bottom of the cost tiers is another Quake, Danny Hoesen (San Jose, $6.9m). The revitalization appears real, and the defensive quality they faced in week nine allows for an opportunity for Hoesen to redeem himself. A well traveled Cincinnati squad will be an optimal opponent for Hoesen to regain his form.

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The single game performances will once again carry the weight of the fantasy week, but the hidden value among the DGW participants will allow managers to create premium attacking lineups from the bounty of funds at their disposal. Good luck in week ten!

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How are you planning to include DGW players in your lineup this week? If you are maxing out your roster spots on DGW players, which attackers (if any) do you have the most confidence in? And, finally, how are you planning to bolster your strategy with the smorgasbord of affordable stars? Please let us know in the comments below!

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