MLS Fantasy: Team-by-team breakdown for Week 6, including injuries, projected starters and sleepers
If you haven't done so already, don't forget to make transfers and set your starting lineup for MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager before 8:15 pm ET tonight! You can find all the injury news, projected lineups and sleeper options you'll need to make informed choices below.
WEEK 6 FANTASY PRIMER
Tons of uncertainty here: Patrick Nyarko ($8.9m), Alex ($6.4m) and Dilly Duka ($6.1m) were all slapped with “Questionable” tags this week. Nyarko is the only player among the three worth owning right now, but there are several other options at his asking price who you should consider using instead. Stay away from this trio until Chicago find their form.
Logan Pause ($5.1m) was in the gameday 18 last week and could be in line for some minutes against New York. Arne Friedrich ($4.8m) is also very close to returning, and the Fire’s bye week might have given him just enough time to get his feet ready for action this weekend.
Kevin Harbottle ($6.4m, right) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained left knee. With Pablo Mastroeni ($5.5m) still recovering from hamstring and quad strains, expect the Rapids midfield to look a little something like this: Nick LaBrocca ($5.5m), Hendry Thomas ($6.0m), Dillon Powers ($5.5m) and Tony Cascio ($6.1m).
Chris Klute ($4.4m) and Shane O’Neill ($5.0m) will likely get their second consecutive starts this weekend against Real Salt Lake. O’Neill could be a full-time starter for Oscar Pareja since Diego Calderón finds himself on the shelf for perhaps the rest of the season.
Edson Buddle ($7.8m) is healthy and should get the start alongside rookie Deshorn Brown ($6.1m). Danny Mwanga ($7.1m) will likely remain a second-half substitute for the time being.
Midfielder Tony Tchani ($5.7m) has gotten a few minutes here and there in each of the Crew’s first four matches, but could see a break in action because of right adductor inflammation. The only other question worth asking: Does Federico Higuaín ($9.6m) wear the captain’s armband for your team this week?
Dwayne De Rosario ($9.4m) has a right adductor strain and is officially listed as “Out” for Friday night's game against Sporting KC. Marcelo Saragosa ($5.4m) could get the nod alongside Perry Kitchen ($5.9m), but it really depends on Ben Olsen’s game plan.
Kyle Porter ($4.8m) subbed on for Nick DeLeon ($7.6m) against the Columbus Crew on March 23, but we could see Olsen switch it up and go with Marcos Sánchez ($7.0m) instead. Sánchez went the full 90 minutes for Panama in their past three FIFA World Cup qualifiers, contributing an assist in the team's 2-2 draw with Costa Rica on Feb. 6. If he gets the nod, this would be his second start of the season. His first came in a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake on March 9.
Jair Benítez ($5.0m) is listed as “Questionable” with a hamstring strain and could be at risk for missing Saturday's game against Toronto FC. Benítez was seen limping off in the 89th minute against the New England Revolution last weekend, when he was taken off for Bobby Warshaw ($4.1m). If Benítez can’t go, Michel ($5.3m) will likely take his position at left back and Je-Vaughn Watson ($6.5m) or Warshaw would assume the starting role in central midfielder alongside Andrew Jacobson ($5.9m).
Will Bruin ($8.7m, right) exited last week's game against San Jose in the 83rd minute with a hamstring injury. He’s officially listed as “Out” this weekend as a result. Cam Weaver ($5.2m) will likely fill in for the time being, but Dominic Kinnear does have another option at his disposal.
If Weaver starts, Kinnear could bring in Brian Ching ($7.3m) at some point in the second half. However, if Omar Cummings ($8.3m) is deemed fit enough to go, we could see the former Colorado Rapids striker make his first appearance for the Dynamo this season.
New York Red Bulls
Thierry Henry ($10.3m), Fabián Espíndola ($8.7m) and Tim Cahill ($8.0m) all have questionable tags this week. Henry subbed on for Cahill last week and looked active and motivated, exploding past defenders with passion and intensity. He could be in line for a monster game this week against the Chicago Fire, barring any setbacks of course. Cahill battled through injuries to play last week, but according to the latest report, he should be ready come Saturday.
Espíndola is the most questionable of the three. He’s been working on his own separate from the team this week and will likely be a game-time decision. If both he and Henry aren't ready to go, expect Péguy Luyindula ($7.5m) to get the call up top for the third week in a row.
The Union reported zero injuries this week. While this is normally a good thing, it could a few player's fantasy value. Conor Casey ($7.9m) subbed on for Sébastien Le Toux ($8.5m) in the 61st minute last weekend. If this continues, it could seriously affect Le Toux’s value going forward. At the same time, it could also be Jack McInerney ($8.0m) who losses minutes. This is a situation worth monitoring closely if you’re a Philadelphia owner.
Head coach John Hackworth hinted that Michael Farfan ($7.8m) could be carrying a slight knock heading into Saturday’s game against the Columbus Crew. If this is the case, we could get our first look at the Union’s new Designated Player, Kléberson ($7.5m).
Ben Zemanski ($4.5m) has earned the starting job at right fullback, but it doesn’t help much from a fantasy perspective because he’s listed as a midfielder. On the other hand, David Horst ($4.7m, right) got his first minutes of the season at center back, and even though Portland have yet to record a clean sheet, Horst managed to tally five points in 90 minutes played. How, you ask? Horst logged 21 CBIs and seven recoveries.
Real Salt Lake
Nat Borchers ($5.3m) has been back in the starting lineup for the past two games, but he’s not a CBI specialist like teammate Chris Schuler ($5.7m). Borchers needs a clean sheet to be worth a transfer at this point. Having said that, this week against Colorado is as good a time as any to get those points, especially with all the injuries the Rapids are battling at the moment.
Robbie Findley ($7.3m) is "Out" and Joao Plata ($7.0m) is likely out as well, even though he's currently listed as "Questionable" with a hamstring strain. Expect rookie Devon Sandoval ($5.5m) to get the start up top alongside veteran Álvaro Saborío ($10.1m), but his knee swelling does still have him listed as "Questionable".
Javier Morales ($8.2m) saw his first action of the 2013 MLS season last weekend and should see an increased role against the Rapids. While he likely won’t play the full 90 minutes, he’s not far off from doing so. Want to know how dangerous he is? Last week’s stats read like this: three crosses (+1 point), two key passes, one BCF (-1 point) and four recoveries – all in just 28 minutes. Expect his $8.2m asking price to climb quickly when he returns for good.
San Jose Earthquakes
Word out of San Jose is that Steven Lenhart ($8.2m) is ready to go. Alan Gordon ($7.2m) saw 22 minutes of action in last week’s match against the Houston Dynamo, but it’s a stretch to see him playing much more than a half at this point. According to head coach Frank Yallop, Lenhart probably wants to play 90-95 minutes, but chances are he gets 45 max. It’s possible that Gordon starts the game and Lenhart subs on for him at some point in the second half, but ultimately it all depends on their current fitness levels.
Sporting Kansas City
The only uncertainty for SKC this week is C.J. Sapong ($8.7m, right), who’s been listed as “Questionable” after suffering a back injury in last week’s match against the Montreal Impact. After a lengthy delay, it looked as if Sapong’s day was over. He was stretchered off, but came back on a few minutes later to finish the game. Sapong practiced this week, which should help his case to retain his starting spot over teammate Bobby Convey ($7.2m).
Terry Dunfield ($5.8m) is “Out” with a left knee sprain so Jonathan Osorio ($5.5m), who subbed on for Dunfield last weekend, could be in line for his first start of the season. However, don’t be surprised if head coach Ryan Nelson decides to field a more offensive lineup, and as a result, gives sophomore standout Luis Silva ($7.1m) his first start of the season.
Stefan Frei ($4.9m) was in the gameday 18 last week, but there’s no guarantee he'll replace Joe Bendik ($4.6m) anytime soon.
Kenny Miller ($8.0m) is "Questionable" with a hamstring strain so his quest to be inserted back into the Starting XI could be delayed. Camilo Sanvezzo ($7.6m) and Erik Hurtado ($5.4m) are the first available subs.