Axel Sjoberg - Colorado Rapids - closeup
Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports

Fantasy Boss: How to close out the season in the strongest fashion

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the last fantasy round of 2016.

It’s been a season full of ups and downs, byes and DGWs, and a lot of great soccer. Last round was also one full of many points, but after the last whistle blew, it was François Carabin, manager of Carbs and Protein, who earned the high score of 116 points and a gift card to the MLS Store.

Almost 300 managers earned at least 100 points in round 33, so don’t fall into the trap that there is not much to play for on Sunday. Several teams are battling for playoff spots, we have a Supporters’ Shield still up for grabs, and the Golden Boot race is separated by just one goal. I expect many teams to bring their “A” game and the players below will have a great shot at coming away with points.

Don’t forget, if you still need to feed your fantasy addiction, sign-up for the MLS Cup Playoff Bracket Challenge. It’s fun, it’s easy, and there are several great prizes to win.

Keeper

The Returner: Many times we look for the best defensive record to find our ideal keeper matchup, but if you’d like to pick based on who is facing the weakest offense, then consider Clint Irwin (TOR $5.5). He started the season strong but has not earned a clean sheet since returning from a long break due to injury. However, Chicago (4:00 pm ET; TSN4, MLS Live) offer him a chance to end strong as they have only scored one away goal in their last three games.

Defenders

Proven Record: With the Supporters’ Shield still up for grabs, it’s no surprise that Colorado rested a few players last week but I expect everyone to be back for this big match against Houston (4:00 pm ET; MLS Live). The Rapids still have the best home defensive record by far, so why not load up. Axel Sjoberg (COL $6.3), Eric Miller (COL $4.9), and Marc Burch (COL $5.6) are all affordable and likely to play. So if you’re happy with your offense, why not get them all?

Offensive Pick: If you’d rather mix up your defense, then Joevin Jones (SEA $6.7) is an excellent choice. He’s been earning points on both sides of the field and will be facing an RSL (4:00 pm ET; ESPN, MLS Live) team who’s offense has only scored one goal in its last five games. This is a must-win game for Seattle so nothing will be held back.

Midfielders

Under Owned: While not as explosive as in 2015, Benny Feilhaber (SKC $11.9) has still been a good source of points, but never highly owned. In his last five games he’s earned five assists and will be a key player if SKC wants to keep their playoff chances alive when they host San Jose (4:00 pm ET; MLS Live).

Rising Form: If you’d rather go with a budget option, then you have to look at Lloyd Sam (DC $9.9). He’s scored two goals and earned three assists over his last four games and was key to helping D.C. secure a playoff spot. D.C. only averages one goal per game on the road, but Sam has a good shot as Orlando (4:00 pm ET; MLS Live) has the second-worst home defensive record.

Forwards

Coin Flip: One of the biggest questions many managers may face this round is which Toronto forward do they want? Sebastian Giovinco (TOR $13.9) is just back from injury and has been a powerful point earner over the last two seasons, but Jozy Altidore (TOR $9.9) is on a great run of form with a goal or an assist in 10 of his last 13 games. If you don’t have either, then get Giovinco, but if you already have Altidore, just hold him.

Differential: If you’d like to take a little risk in this last round, then consider Giovani dos Santos (LA $12.1). He only has one assist in three games, but with Keane out injured, he could end the regular season with a big game against Dallas (4:00 pm ET; FS1, MLS Live).

These are the players who I think will help you finish the season strong. Who are you targeting? 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.