MLS Fantasy: Important dates, Matt Besler's absence and Nat Borchers' timetable

MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager Experts Jason Saghini and Andrew Wiebe answered the questions you submitted through @MLSFantasy and other fantasy-related articles and blogs on this week's edition of our new fantasy show Starting Lineup (above).

Now, it’s my turn to answer some of the questions they couldn’t get to.

1. Gootman (@gootman2017) asks: WCQ beat my team up and I used my wildcard, any other important international dates I need to plan for? (@MLSFantasy comment)

Great question! There are going to be a number of dates this season that could potentially affect your fantasy team. Most importantly, 2014 World Cup qualifiers, which take place in March, June, September and October. The CONCACAF Gold Cup could also affect your team down the road, but that takes place from July 7 to July 16. We’ll be updating info like this on a regular basis at @MLSFantasy, so follow us there if you aren’t already.

Tip: Bookmark this page. It’s set up to list all of the World Cup qualifying dates, but you can you use the filter at the top to search for other important dates as well.

2. Aaron Pickard (@LilPickle3000) asks: Predictions on Nat Borchers getting play time for Week 4? He looked healthy in the reserve match. (@MLSFantasy comment)

You’re right, Borchers did look relatively healthy in Real Salt Lake’s Reserve League match last Saturday, but it looks like he’s still got another week or two until he sees action with the first team. In last week’s RSL broadcast, the announcers said that he’s still about one to two weeks away and, in their most recent Reserve League game, he only logged 69 minutes. Real Salt Lake are desperately thin at defense this week so there is no question that they could use him. However, I still think it’s a bit of a stretch for us to see him back this week.

Tip: Check out this post for more on info on who’s going to replace all the missing starters for RSL this weekend.

3. RecksthFC (@recksth) I can run a 5-3-2 with Marco Di Vaio and Federico Higuaín up top or a 4-3-3 with Deshorn Brown. Which option? (@MLSFantasy comment)

Jason and Andrew touched on Brown’s Round 4 potential in this week's episode of Starting Lineup (above), but this ultimately depends on who your back five are going to be. If you’re comfortable with all of their matchups, and like the chances of them posting clean sheets then keep the 5-3-2. If you own five defenders from different teams the likelihood of this happening is slim. I’m personally starting Brown up top this week with Higuaín in a 4-4-2, but I’m only using two forwards because Robbie Keane is sitting on my bench.

Tip: If I had Di Vaio, he’d be starting on my team without a doubt. Montreal are No. 1 in the latest MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings and he’s got a pretty decent matchup at home against a suspect New York Red Bulls backline that’s giving up an average of 1.67 goals/game.

4. Old Man Muppet – 203 (@PuzzlesAndSocks) asks: Good replacements for Besler on the backline? (@MLSFantasy comment)

If you don’t want to leave Sporting KC, I would recommend grabbing Aurélien Collin or Seth Sinovic if possible. However, if you’re looking to fill the void with someone from another squad, I think you should take a closer look at the complete list of all 39 MLS players missing action this week due to International duty. In this list, you’ll find two options for replacing every single player that will be gone due to national team call-ups – the teammate that will likely start in their absence and a sub from another team of equal or lesser value.

Tip: If you want to see which defenders are in line to score big this weekend – Click here!

5. Ken Perkins (@kenperkins) asks: Given the number of players that have international duty, what's the strategy here? I have 4 regulars out. (@MLSFantasy comment)

Jason and Andrew gave some insight on this as well in their weekly video (above), but four regulars makes it a little easier for me. Personally, I’d save the Wildcard and take a 4-8 point hit on the extra transfers. However, you’ll want to make sure that the potential replacements have upside. The player(s) you choose to replace them will have to cover at least four points in order for it to be worth the loss so this makes it a little harder. Take Matt Hedges, for example — he’ll likely get you two points for minutes and two points for bonuses every game for a total of four points. So, if he can throw in another bonus point, a clean sheet, or possibly even a goal, the decision will be worth the hit.  

Tip: I have Hedges in my lineup this week. He’s a solid defender to own at the $5.0m range and he has a ton of potential this season. He’s tied for second among all players in CBIs (50) and is the only player at $5.0m that has more than Jeff Parke (41).

NOTE: Join the MLS ExtraTime Radio league ASAP! We’re giving away FREE MLS Live subscriptions after every round. Click “Leagues”---> Join a private league ---> Enter this code: 7953-1611

That does it for Round 4 of Q & A with the Experts. Tweet your questions to @MLSFantasy and continue commenting on our fantasy articles and blogs. And if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, take a look at the brand new Stats section we added to Fantasy Soccer: Manager. It has all the information you need to help you field your Best XI on a weekly basis.