Well, it’s been far too long since my last player suggestions. I’ve gotten a few messages about not posting so I hope the recent return to activity has helped to lift your fantasy spirits. Perhaps in the next 4 years I’ll be able to expand the MLSFB team so that content can continue to be provided even when I get distracted by the World Cup. 🙂
This week we finally see a return to a non early week schedule and the first non double game week in a long time. A quick glance at the teams can leave one scratching their head because a lot of the games look pretty even on paper. That being said, there are a few players that I believe standout. Now onto the picks.
Even with Brazil’s traumatic loss at the World Cup, Cesar will still be around to play for 3rd place. So, we should be able to get at least one more week out of Joe Bendik. He did not have the best two games last week, but I’ve stopped hoping for clean sheets at this point of the season. Toronto is playing Houston and they have the worst away goal scoring record in the league (once every 1.8 games). This is enough to make Bendik my first choice keeper for this round. After Bendik, it gets tight. A lot of the top home defending teams are playing the better away scoring teams. Vancouver’s David Ousted has a good chance for a shutout against Chivas, but again, I’ve stopped hoping for clean sheets.
The big keeper news is that SKC’s Eric Kronberg will miss most of the second part of the season (if not the rest) due to a back injury. Surgery is not needed, but you can expect his price to fall and now could be a good time to jump on the $4.4m Andy Gruenebaum.
As I mentioned above, many of the better home defense are playing the better away scoring teams this round. So once again, the chance of having few clean sheets seems high. That being the case, it might be best for any defensive changes to focus on the DGW in round 19.
For this round, it’s hard to ignore the poor scoring record that Houston has on the road. This makes the Toronto defense appealing. Unfortunately, Nick Hugglund is out due to a red card. Doneil Henry is the logical replacement and he has a nice CBI record. He may not make it to the DGW though so keep that in mind. Two other on form players to keep in mind are Drew Moor and Chad Marshall. Moor is a classic defensive choice by now, and I’m sure many still have him. Marshall has been in and out of my team over this season and is pricy if you just want someone for this round, but SEA v POR is a rivalry that could result in a lot of points.
If you want to factor a bit of next week prep into your transfer plans, then Vancouver’s Johnny Lovern is a great option. He’s had some great recent CBI numbers, has a good looking game against Chivas this round, and has a DGW in round 19. All for under $7.0m and he’s owned by under 2% of managers. Speaking of low ownership, Dan Gargan is still under the 10% mark. His price has risen since his $5.5m days, but he’s still a good value. The RSL game could be a challenge, but it’s one that LA be ready for. If you are looking for another differential pick, and have some cash to throw around, you should consider Victor Bernardez. He got a little play time last week after returning from the World Cup so he could be ready to start against DC. If he does, big CBI numbers could help pad his score.
You can expect a lot of people to have various combinations for Landon Donovan, Marcelo Sarvas, Pedro Morales, and perhaps even Erik Hurtado. These are two of the more desirable teams leading into the DGW and all 4 players have had mentionable performances over the past weeks. Having at least one of these players will help you build a solid midfield this week and from the 4 Pedro has the highest PP90, but it’s the differentials that will make the most impact. The following players are all owned by fewer than 10% of managers and look promising over the next few rounds. Cristian Maidana started slower than many managers hoped, but his season has been improving and I like his chances against Colorado at home. He has a DGW in round 19 so you could expect some price rises. Luis Silva has not had another hat trick game but is still an attractive option. He’s on form and San Jose has lost its last two home games. Silva also has a reasonable price and a high PP90, though the 3 goals inflates that. My final pick is Graham Zusi. I told myself that I was not going to pick any returning USMNT members this week, but Zusi has impressive fitness and I would not be surprised to see him play and could be just what SKC needs to keep up their away winning streak.
This was one of the harder positions to make picks for this round. There are so many quality players to pick from that it was hard to narrow my list down to a reasonable number. Jermaine Defoe is at the top of my list though. I’ve already mentioned the Houston issue multiple times, in addition to that, he’s also on good form and has a great series of games coming up over the next few weeks. Another hard to ignore player is Bradley Wright-Phillips. For me, he’s been one of the most surprising players of the season and I’m sorry to say that he has featured in my team far too few times. Simply put, he’s full of goals and when you take into account that New York has the best home scoring record, the Columbus game will be a good chance for him to shine again before the DGW in round 19. Finally, Jack McInerney rounds out my top three. He’s been doing very well since he came for Montreal and has scored 3 goals in the last 5 games. SKC has won it’s last two away games, so this will not be an easy one for Montreal, but with a new keeper, things could take a few games to get set.
Did I miss any players that should be on this list? Please leave us a comment. You can also send a message to me on Twitter @MLSFantasyBoss, or join the Live Chat in the sidebar. Keep checking back for more updates throughout the week. Good Luck!