Mauro Manotas - Houston Dynamo - closeup
Erik Williams/USA Today Sports

Fantasy Boss: How to handle a round with just four games

I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is that this is the last bye round of the 2016 season. The bad news is that 14 teams are going to be on a bye so the player pool will be limited. If you’ve been planning for this, you’re likely just two or three transfers away from having a full 11, if not, you’ll be facing some tough decisions. Like previous rounds with many byes, I don’t think having a full 11 is required as many point totals are likely to be low. If you do want a full team, then I recommend focusing your minus-four hits on defenders as they are likely to see the best point this week.

Regardless of where you fall, here’s my list of players who I think will help you get the most at the limited pool of players available for Round 32.

Keeper

Surprise Option: One of the biggest surprises of the week in that Tim Howard ($6.6 COL) was not called into the USMNT. This means that he will be available for Colorado’s double-game week starting with Houston (8:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE) on Saturday. Howard has also been on excellent form, earning three clean sheets over his last four games, and this gives the Rapids the best shot at two clean sheets during this round.

Defenders

With most teams missing key players from their offenses, it’s the defenders who have the best shot at shining in Round 32 so this could be the week to start five in your lineup. The obvious choice is to go with Colorado and Houston so you can load up on players with the chances for DGW points. From the Rapids, stick with Axel Sjoberg ($6.3), Marc Burch ($5.6) and Marlon Hairston ($5.7). From the Dynamo, it’s Raul Rodriguez ($8.3) and Jalil Anibaba ($5.8) who offer the best value.

If you’d rather take a chance on a single-game week player, then Nicolai Naess ($7.9 CLB) should be on your list. Since joining Crew SC he’s earned two assists and with a promising away match against Chicago (8:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE) he could get another. If budget is driving your pick, then consider Joevin Jones ($6.7 SEA) who has also shows offensive potential but it just as likely to benefit from a 0-0 draw against Houston (10:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE) on Wednesday.

Midfielders

Top Dog: If you are interested in adding one of the best midfielders still available after the call-ups, then take a look at Justin Meram ($9.0 CLB). Over his last four games, Meram has scored one goal and earned two assists. He’s one of the most in-form players Columbus has, and is sure to be a key offensive target when they take on the Fire.   

Back in Action: After serving his yellow card suspension, Micheal Azira ($5.3 COL) is again available for the Rapids and just in time for any fantasy manager who is looking for a player who earns consistent points. Even with a few poor results and missed games, Azira is still averaging four-to-five points per game and that will add up nicely during the DGW.

Differential Pick: If you’d like to roll the dice on an under-owned player who is on rising form, then Boniek Garcia ($7.6 HOU) is your man. Houston has been struggling to find a reliable goal scorer this season but over his last 5 games, Garcia has earned four assists and has been racking up a few offensive bonus points at the same time. This makes him one of the DGW players with the best potential for offensive points and he's only owned by 4.3 percent of fantasy owners.

Forwards

If you are in need of a pure offensive player for this round, you’re going to have few choices. The best is Ola Kamara ($9.1 CLB) who will be motivated to break his two-game dry spell against a struggling Chicago. As for the DGW teams, your best value will come from Houston’s Mauro Manotas ($6.1 HOU) who earned a hat trick just two rounds ago but the more consistent player has been Shkelzen Gashi ($9.7 COL) who’s scored a couple of goals since returning to the lineup three game ago.

These are the players who I think are worth considering for Round 32, who are you looking at? Post your thoughts in the comments below and if you are interested in more charts and tips, check out the latest posts over at MLS Fantasy Boss and advice from the other MLS Fantasy Experts.