2024 Round 1 DiffeRANCHals

Every week, I’m going to go over my suggestions from last week, and determine if they were a good or bad pick based on position and points. To describe in detail the ranking system, here is the metric: bust = 4 or fewer points (or not starting/on the bench), average = 5-6 points, good = 7-8 points, great = 9+ points. Players not available for selection I am disregarding and not counting as a positive or negative in the article.

DGW Scoring: Bust = 6 or fewer, Average = 7-9, Good = 10-12, Great = 13+


2023 Full Season Results: 20 Great, 16 Good, 19 Average, 51 Bust

2024 Full Season Results: 0 Great, 0 Good, 0 Average, 0 Bust

Hello and welcome to the 3rd season of the article. For anybody who doesn’t know what this article is, we provide picks suggested to you based on players who are not the normal “chalky” picks of the round. This season is special because I have brought on board two helpers for picks during the entire season. I would like to give a warm welcome to Matt (aka Tinkerman) and Brandon (aka Brandon?) for stepping up to help out this season!

As always, the first game week will feature a full 11 players that we are considering differentials. Future weeks will only include 6 players (2 for each position). After watching some preseason games and observing playstyles, this is a great place to hear input on some of the new players as well! Let’s get underway.

Miki Yamane, $6.0m (Defender – LA Galaxy)

LA Galaxy vs. Miami screams lots of goals and over the two years Kawa Frontale won the J.League, Yamane had 24 goal involvements. In other words, if Galaxy is clicking you can expect Yamane to be as well. He’ll be playing on the right side where Gabriel Pec will be cutting in on. There could be plenty of chances for Yamane to add to this high scoring matchup.

– Matt

Nick Hagglund, $6.0m (Defender – Cincinnati)

Are you like me? Wanting someone on the Cincinnati defense but can’t figure out who? Nick Hagglund is your cheap way into their defense. I will also give a shout out to Ian Murphy, priced at $5.5m for this position. Cincy starts the season by hosting a Toronto team who lost most of their weapons in the offseason. With Matt Miazga suspended for the first 2 games of the season, I fully expect Nick Hagglund to slide into his position. Hagglund tends to win a lot of aerial duels, which is where I am hoping to find bonus points.


Omar Campos, $5.5m (Defender – LAFC)

Campos is coming in to fill Palacios’ place in the LAFC lineup. While he didn’t have the best offensive stats in Liga MX, Campos is expected to push forward and, if Alex Roldan is out injured for the Sounders, will be attacking a young backup in Cody Baker. The Sounders will already have to deal with Denis Bouagna on that side. Campos should find himself in good positions on Saturday and, with quality attacking pieces around him going at an injury stricken Sounders backline, could easily get some attacking returns. 

– Matt

Jon Gallagher, $6.0m (Defender – Austin)

Jon Gallagher and Austin will be looking to get their season off to a good start as they host a Minnesota side that will look to attack through Joseph Rosales on their left flank, opposite Gallagher. Although defensive bonus points are much more limited with the new scoring changes, combined with the fact that Minnesota winger Bongi Hlongwane is also still away from the team finalizing work on his green card, Gallagher (or Žan Kolmanič, also $6.0m) will likely have more than a few opportunities to be involved in the attacking third via bonus points for crosses and with assists, especially having also put up several high scores early on last season.


Dominik Yankov, $7.5m (Midfielder – Montreal)

Dominik Yankov is one of those “shot in the dark” players that I am wanting to test the waters on. Given that Yankov is playing as the #10 with pieces around him that look dangerous, should they gain chemistry on the field. With Montreal to an Orlando team without Schlegel, maybe Yankov can snag an assist or two.


Cole Bassett, $7.5m (Midfielder – Colorado)

Cole Bassett contributed six goals from a deeper #10/advanced #8 position for the Rapids last season, finding the back of the net from all sorts of situations — including a backheel flick off a corner. With Colorado having added more attacking help in the way of Djordje Mihailovic while freeing Bassett of defensive responsibilities with the addition of Lamine Diack on loan from Nantes, the side have been firing in goal after goal in preseason — something that could very well continue against a new-look Portland defense coached by Phil Neville, also new to the team, now at the helm.


Erik Thommy, $7.5m (Midfielder – SKC)

Thommy is an interesting player, considering his lack of minutes in the playoffs last season. He has been a pivotal signing for SKC, producing 8 goals and 14 assists across 42 starts. With SKC playing against an injured Houston side to start the year, I fully expect Thommy to increase his numbers if he starts.


Diego Fagundez, $7.5m (Midfielder – LA Galaxy)

As noted above, there should be plenty of goals in this matchup. On top of that Inter Miami gave up the most goals from dead ball situations last season. As one of the primary set piece takers for the Galaxy, Fagundez should be sending in plenty of crosses and creating plenty of chances off set pieces that Miami have been struggling to defend. 

– Matt

Christian Benteke, $8.0m (Forward – DC)

For the first time in recent memory, aerial duels will factor into the calculations for attacking bonus points, with three (3) aerial duels won equating to one (1) bonus point. Forwards are set to benefit greatly from this change, none more so than DC’s Christian Benteke. Benteke was in a class of his own in this category, winning 66.2% of his 364 attempted aerial duels, good for 7.77 wins per 90 — or in other words, just over two bonus points per game — combined with a chance to score against a Revolution side who showed some defensive frailties at the end of last season after Caleb Porter took charge.


Rafael Navarro, $8.0m (Forward – Colorado)

Last season, the Portland Timbers had the second most goals allowed in the Western Conference and the third most goals allowed at home. This is something I’m expecting an improved Rapids attack to take advantage of and Navarro should have some solid opportunities to get his name on the scoresheet. Plus, based on preseason, Navarro seems to be Colorado’s main penalty taker. 

– Matt

Sam Adeniran, $6.5m (Forward – St Louis)

Big Sam is a player that has shown most of his potential at the USL level of play. He came up through the Sounders Academy (Tacoma Defiance), then spent time on loan at San Antonio FC before being traded to St Louis CITY. While at San Antonio, Sam had his best season, making 23 appearances with 12 goals. Last year he scored 7 goals in 14 appearances. He is supposed to be playing alongside Klauss this season, where I fully expect him to continue his strong goal-scoring form (especially against a tired RSL side).


About Tyler Norman

Moderator of MLS Fantasy Boss Discord, new contributing writer for mlsfantasyboss.com. Soccer and fantasy sports enthusiast.

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