Fantasy Fixes is a new column on MLSsoccer.com. It will appear on the morning of the first match of the week. Remember, in MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager, you can make adjustments to your roster up until 15 minutes before the scheduled kick off of the matchday. This week, that means 7:15 pm ET, just before the start of the D.C. United-FC Dallas match on NBC Sports Network.
Looking at the first few weeks of the season, it’s clear that defenders earn most of their points from clean sheets, except of course for the occasional goal or assist. Right now Vancouver defenders are a hot item because they’ve yet to be scored on by their opposition.
Here are five defenders worthy of a last-minute pick up in Week 4.
Marc Burch, $4.7m, Seattle Sounders $VALUE PICK$
Over the last two weeks Burch has averaged 6.5 points. He logged an assist (+3) and a BCC* bonus (+1) vs Toronto, which helped him notch 7 points, despite the fact that Seattle didn't hold on to the clean sheet. He’s played a full 90 minutes in both games while averaging 5.0 CBIs** and 5.0 Recoveries per game. Those numbers should not go unnoticed because 6 in each category gets you a point. The Earthquakes looked strong last week, but Seattle have shutout potential every time they host a game at Century Link Field.
Todd Dunivant, $7.5m, LA Galaxy
The price for this defender is a bit on the high side, but everything here points to an LA thrashing: playing at home, two weeks rest, and no midweek CCL game. Dunivant is averaging 4.0 points/game, which is a bit low, but it’s actually the best of any player on the Galaxy backline. He’s also been credited with two BCC bonuses (+2), something only two other MLS players have done this season. If you have the money, I’d consider spending it, because this matchup couldn’t scream “clean sheet" any louder.
Chris Schuler, $6.5m, Real Salt Lake (IN MY LINEUP)
Last week’s loss went about as bad as it could for Schuler. He was carded (-1) and had his goal called back after RSL started a set piece to soon (-5). I personally think it was a fluke game and look for him to respond vs Portland. Throw out last week’s stats and Schuler’s CBI average is 13.0/game. The Timbers can pour it on at home, so even without a clean sheet he could be in for strong showing. Don’t forget, he’s a legitimate target on both corners and set pieces as well.
Young-Pyo Lee, $6.5m, Vancouver Whitecaps
Prediction: Philadelphia will get on the board at home vs Vancouver and end the Whitecaps' run of three consecutive clean sheets. But you can’t deny the fact that Lee is playing in fine form. He’s averaging 7.3 points per week, which makes him the 2nd most valuable fullback in MLS. His CBIs are a little low at 3.3/game, but he’s averaging 9.0 recoveries/game in the same stretch. If you have a Houston defender on a bye, Lee has to be on your radar.
New York Red Bulls Defenders ($6.5m - $7.0m)
Last week Wilman Conde made his presence known. He’s an intimidator in the back and anytime you face a struggling expansion team at home, a clean sheet is within reason. Having said that, be wary of picking up players on a team that’s full of constant controversy. If you have the guts, this move could pay dividends.
* BCC – Big Chance Created
** CBI – Clearances, Blocks, Interceptions (combined total)