Fantasy Forecast: Who to start and sit in Week 29
With all the (worthwhile) fanfare surrounding Mr. Dwayne De Rosario’s exploits in the nation’s capital, Philadelphia’s Sébastien Le Toux has been putting together quite a run of his own. How does seven goals in the last seven games sound? The Union play twice this week, at home against defensively-challenged D.C. United and on the road against Chivas USA. The seemingly indefatigable Le Toux makes a solid play as the race for the playoffs heats up.
Sporting KC, Columbus, Real Salt Lake, Chicago, Philadelphia, and D.C. United all play twice this week. Seattle, LA, Colorado, FC Dallas and Toronto FC have midweek Champions League games again this week.
Let’s get to the picks!
Zac MacMath, G, Philadelphia Union: Don’t look now, but the Philly rookie has posted two shutouts in his past three outings. Sure, the Philly defense is doing the heavy lifting (MacMath has only made one save in each shutout) but does it matter? With usual starter Faryd Mondragón still out with a fractured finger, the job stays with MacMath, who has only conceded one goal in the past three matches.
Carlos Valdés, D, Philadelphia Union: The Forecast is taking a gamble on Valdés, for many of the same reasons listed above. The more offensive-minded Sheanon Williams makes another solid choice from the Philly back line, as does Danny Califf. Simply put, the Forecast is putting its chips behind Philly to continue the strong results against D.C. and Chivas USA.
Omar Gonzalez, D, LA Galaxy: It’s simple — the Galaxy have three consecutive shutouts in league play. Like many of you, the Forecast plugged Gonzalez in during Week 1 and has let him do his thing. Even with a tough matchup against RSL, the Galaxy are always a good bet for shutouts.
Kyle Beckerman, M, Real Salt Lake: Beckerman is getting home MVP buzz out of his home state. Certainly, his willingness to do the dirty work makes Real Salt Lake tick. He’s added the ability to get forward at choice times to contribute on the score sheet. The Forecast has a hunch he’ll be the one to step up in the massive LA-RSL clash this weekend.
Robbie Rogers, M, Columbus Crew: The return of Emilio Rentería may give the Crew an offensive balance they’ve been missing since Eddie Gaven was lost on August 5. Simply put, the Crew need Rogers to make an impact in the team’s two matches against Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United. With targets like Andrés Mendoza and Rentería up front, Rogers has plenty of places to aim his crosses.
Sébastien Le Toux, F, Philadelphia Union: For all the reasons mentioned above, Le Toux makes a good start. He’s as hot as anyone right now — keep using him until he cools off. In addition to the goals and assists, Le Toux has been a spark plug for Philly’s offense, having notched 23 shots over that eight-match span.
Álvaro Saborío, F, Real Salt Lake: Another player somewhat overshadowed by De Rosario, Saborío has notched four goals in his last five MLS appearances. With RSL likely motivated after a crushing 4-1 loss to D.C. United, look for the Lakers to extract their revenge, with Saborío being the weapon of choice against Chicago and LA.
Matt Reis, G, New England Revolution: I’m sure very few of you are using the New England backstop, but he faces a Seattle team that’s been handling adversity very well recently. Even at home, there are better options than Reis, who looked shaky against Chicago.
Jalil Anibaba, D, Chicago Fire: The Fire backline has given up two goals apiece to San Jose, Chivas USA, and New England. How do you think they’ll do on the road against Real Salt Lake and Houston? The Forecast has its doubts — you should too.
Sebastián Grazzini, M, Chicago Fire: The 30-year-old Argentine has a goal and two assists in his last 70 minutes of work, but left after 25 minutes against New England with a hamstring injury. Frank Klopas will likely keep him out of both fixtures this week and has said he hopes Grazzini will be ready for the Oct. 4 US Open Cup final vs. Seattle Sounders FC.
Eric Hassli, F, Vancouver Whitecaps: The Frenchman just hasn’t been himself lately. Hassli's goal well has seemingly dried out — he hasn't scored since notching a double in an Aug. 7 win at Chicago — and recently admitted to the media it's been a difficult stretch that has him frustrated. Wait until Hassli gets it going again before relying on him in a fantasy setting.
Ante Jazic answered the Forecast’s call with an assist and a shutout against Toronto FC. So did D.C.’s Andy Najar, breaking out of his recent slump with a goal and two assists in two matches last week. New York's Frank Rost got his clean sheet against Portland, while teammate Dane Richards notched a goal in the same game. The only bust was LA's Robbie Keane, who followed up his goal and an assist vs. Vancouver by sitting out vs. Columbus.
Andrew Winner writes about Fantasy Soccer for MLSsoccer.com.