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MLS Fantasy Boss: Helping you survive an unpredictable July

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July is one of my favorite times of year for MLS Fantasy Soccer. The transfer window is open, the Gold Cup gives bit players a time to shine, and the LA Galaxy decide that it’s finally time to start playing for keeps. OK, so maybe I lied about that last one, but everything else is true. While some might find it stressful to have to deal with so many unknowns, I see opportunity. Here is my list of several players who I think can help you get ahead during the July slump.

Keepers

Clean Sheet Chance: With Stefan Frei out injured, many managers are going to be forced to find a new keeper so why not look for one with a chance at a clean sheet? Fortunately you don’t have to go any further than the first game of the round. San Jose hosts Houston on Friday night (11 pm ET; UniMás/UDN) who have only been able score one goal in their last four away games. This gives David Bingham (SJ, $5.4m) a great shot at adding another clean sheet notch to his belt.

Budget Pick: If you’d rather find a keeper who is easy on your budget, then grab the Philadelphia Union's Brian Sylvestre. At $4.4 million, he’s currently the cheapest starting keeper in the game and since becoming Philadelphia’s number one man in Round 11, he’s earned four clean sheets. His schedule over the next few round is tough, but this pick is all about saving money.

Defenders

Home Differential: If you’re looking for a defensive player to set you apart from the pack, consider Sean St. Ledger (ORL, $7.8m). Orlando City SC is currently enjoying a five game home unbeaten streak including shutouts in their last two games. With only 0.2% ownership, St. Ledger will definitely help daring managers move up the ranks if Orlando keeps seeing similar results.

Replacement: Seattle has been struggling since it lost several key players to the Gold Cup, but their easing schedule could mean that it’s safe to invest in their defense once again. One player to keep an eye on over the next three rounds is Dylan Remick (SEA, $6.0m). He’s not a guy who’s going to earn you a lot of bonus points, but you can expect consistent minutes at a price that’s very easy on your budget.

Long Shot: If you need a new budget defender, a Chicago Fire player could be just who you’re looking for. I know they play Seattle, but without Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, the Fire have their best chance at a clean sheet than they have seen in a long time. So who do you go with? Out of all their options, Eric Gehrig (CHI, $5.0m) is my favorite due to his high CBI numbers.

Midfielders

Must Have: If you only make one change to your team this round then it needs to be adding Columbus Crew SC's Ethan Finlay (CLB, $8.9m). Over the past eight rounds, Finlay has failed to earn a goal or assist in only two of them. This is exactly the kind of consistency you should be looking for in a long term fantasy player, and it’s only icing on the cake that he has a double game week against Chicago in Round 20. 

Mr. Fantasy: Sporting Kansas City are back from their bye week so it’s no surprise that Benny Feilhaber (SKC, $10.3m) is this round’s most transferred in player. He has the most points in the game, is on great form, and Vancouver will be missing several key players when they host SKC (9 pm ET: TSN1/MLS LIVE). The only question left to ask yourself is can you afford not to have him?

Forwards

On Form: After a slow start,  David Villa (NYC, $10.9m) is finally starting to pay off for those managers who stuck with him, and with the absence of Gold Cup players, this success could not have come at a better time. With five goals and one assist over the past four rounds, Villa is the player to pick if you’re looking to ride a wave of success.

Reliable Points: Since coming back from his Round 16 bye, Kei Kamara (CLB, $9.5m) has been on a scoring streak with a goal or assist in each of his last three games. But the big question is can he keep it up against a Montreal team that tends to play better when at home. I think yes and if you agree, you should pick him up at least through his DGW in Round 20.

Value Pick: If you are looking for a value forward for a three man front line, then consider getting Anatole Abang (NY, $5.6m). He’s not a guy who you can count on to play for 90 minutes, but with three goals and an assist over his last five games, it’s likely he’ll keep seeing significant play time.

These are my top picks for Round 19. How do they compare to who you have your eye on? Post your thoughts below or stop by MLS Fantasy Boss to check out my other charts and resources and discuss your picks with other managers.