2017 Fantasy Primer – Portland Timbers


2016 Review

Portland disappointed their fans in 2016. They failed to reach the playoffs after winning MLS Cup the year before. They were the fourth best team in the league at home. However, they couldn’t manage a win away, earning just 6 points out of a possible 51. There were a couple quality options for fantasy from Portland and they’ll be looking to improve their performances this year.

Roster changes

The big move was bringing in DP winger, Sebastian Blanco.  They also brought in holding midfielder David Guzman and will likely shift Darlington Nagbe to the wing. The center back slated to replace the retired Nat Borchers was lost to injury for the season, and that position remains an area of need.

Portland Timbers expected line-up at time of writing


Those question marks at the center back position are large. Assume a signing will be made to bring in a starter.

Tactical summary

Portland Timbers’ style of play is just about as average as you can get in MLS. They’ve deviated greatly from Porter’s start at the club when they were a team that valued possession much more. Now they counter attack more frequently and play more direct. They still utilize overlapping fullbacks, but they play through the middle more than every team but Toronto and chance creation flows through Diego Valeri heavily. Defensively, they rely a lot on the individual athleticism and ability of Diego Chara and the outside backs. The addition of Guzman might solidify their defense further up the field as it will free Chara up to take more chances.

2017 Expectations

The Timbers’ attack looks very dangerous. Valeri is a fantasy stud, producing ridiculous amounts of bonus points. Fanendo Adi averages better than half a goal per game and will hope Blanco shoulders some of that load. Liam Ridgewell is a year older and doesn’t have a partner in central defense, which is worrying. Every year Nagbe gets priced too high for his production, and this year is no different. He simply doesn’t have the style of game to warrant his inclusion in fantasy and should be avoided. The Timbers should be playoff contenders and their attack might pull them into trophy contention.

About Andrew Crollard

Andrew has worked as both an economist/data analyst and as a university and youth soccer coach. Naturally, marrying soccer and data together is a perfect fit.

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