Fantasy Forecast: Who to start and to sit in Week 27
The playoff standings don’t lie, and this week’s table shows some surprising truths. First among them: The New York Red Bulls need to find a way to start winning games, lest they be left at home when the dancing starts. Columbus and Houston play twice this week, including a head-to-head match-up on Wednesday night. Seattle, LA, Colorado, FC Dallas and Toronto FC have midweek Champions League games. Let’s get to the picks!
Tally Hall, GK, Houston: Setting aside the 3-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, Dominic Kinnear’s team has been competitive in recent weeks. Facing Columbus on the road will be a tough ask for the 26-year-old backstop, but a home matchup against San Jose looks a little better. Bottom line, of the two teams playing twice this week, the Forecast is leaning toward the Dynamo.
Sean Franklin, D, LA Galaxy: You keep scoring, you keep making the Forecast. Franklin provided the crucial pass in LA’s 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids. With the Whitecaps coming up at home, expect the good times to keep rolling for Franklin, who boasts two goals and three assists in his past four appearances across all competitions.
Andrew Hainault, D, Houston Dynamo: With the Dynamo getting the double-dip this weekend, the steady Hainault makes a good play. Although yet to record a goal or assist, the 25-year-old defender has stabilized Houston’s back line with 26 starts this season. Columbus and San Jose boast decent offenses, but both are also prone to the occasional power failure now and again.
Jack Jewsbury, M, Portland Timbers: With the Timbers clawing to keep their place in the playoff standings, this weekend’s home match will be crucial. Jewsbury’s gone quiet of late, but he’s always a threat to get on the score sheet with his set pieces.
Landon Donovan, M, LA Galaxy: It’s been a tough year for expansion teams’ defenses, with Portland (41 goals allowed) and Vancouver (43 goals allowed) two of the league’s four most accommodating back lines. That kind of porosity will allow LD to feast against Vancouver this weekend. The last time these two teams met, Donovan walked away with two goals and an assist in a 4-0 win.
Rajko Lekic, F, New England Revolution: As noted above, the Timbers haven’t fared much better than the Whitecaps in keeping the ball out of the net. As fate would have it, neither have the Revolution, who have given up 43 goals to opponents. From a fantasy standpoint, that’s excellent news as we all love high-scoring shootouts. Lekic showed signs of life in New England’s wild 4-4 draw against Philadelphia, recording a goal (his fifth of the season) and an assist (his first).
Andrés Mendoza, F, Columbus: Two goals and assist in his last three matches? The mercurial Peruvian may be on the cusp of another heater. His six goals in six games across May and June established him as a streaky player. If you find yourself needing to make up ground in a hurry, the Forecast recommends Mendoza as a high-upside play.
Frank Rost, G, New York Red Bulls: Just a ton of red flags here. First, the obvious: Rost is questionable to play this weekend. Second, he accused his teammates of playing “girly football” at practice this week. Third, New York are missing both their starting fullbacks. In the words of Arthur, King of the Britons: Run away! Run away!
Sebastián Miranda, D, Columbus Crew: Even with two matches this week — and favorable ones at that — the Forecast can’t, in good conscience, recommend a defense that’s given up 10 (!) goals in the past two matches. Use Miranda, Chad Marshall or the rest of the Crew defenders at your own peril — they could help you gain some ground, but they could just as likely saddle you with negative points.
Jeff Larentowicz, M, Colorado Rapids: The line out of Commerce City is that Conor Casey’s absence is beginning to take its toll on the Rapids. Coming off a disappointing 4-1 loss to Santos Laguna, stay away from Colorado until the side begins to regain its confidence.
Charlie Davies, F, D.C. United: It’s not often a reigning MLS Player of the Week finds himself on the sit list, but it’s not yet known how damaging Chris Pontius’ broken leg will be for the United offense. Pontius assisted on all three of Davies’ goals, which makes the forecast take a wait-and-see approach to Davies' future production.
Franklin and Benny Feilhaber headlined a strong week of picks for the Forecast. Each found themselves on the score sheet while Franklin added the clean sheet in LA’s 1-0 victory over Colorado. Seattle’s Mauro Rosales broke the hearts of Sounders and fantasy owners alike by missing from the penalty spot, while Ramiro Corrales (1 G, clean sheet) thumbed his nose at the Forecast’s “Sit 'em” designation.
Andrew Winner writes about Fantasy Soccer for MLSsoccer.com.