Aaron Long - New York Red Bulls - Fantasy

Fantasy: Look for some unexpected point-earners in Round 31

Reid and Mike are the only two hosts not on a bye this week so they get together to breakdown everything that happened from Round 30 and preview Round 31, the last DGW and bye round of the season. They touch on the standout fantasy players from last week, the interesting celebrations, and some important breaking news that could change the playoff landscape. They also both like to talk, so they give an in depth look at each game for Round 31 and cover all the players who will be missing due to call-ups.


The final rounds of a MLS Fantasy season are always hard to predict. Round 30 started out with a bang with multiple games ending with three or more goals, but everything slowed down as coaches took stock and planned for what was needed for their playoff hopes. Still, chances looked good for a 200-point round but in the end, several manages were just a few points short. The fantasy player who came closest was Mat Napi, manager of KING BALING FC, who earned an impressive 188 points. Congrats!

Now it’s time to turn our attention to the last double-game week and bye round of the season. I know that at first glance it does not look like much, but with several teams missing players due to call-ups, there is great opportunity for differential players and unexpected fantasy point gains. Below is my list of some of my favorite players for Round 31.

Goalkeepers

By the Numbers: Even with limited double-game week options, the stats say that going with a DGW keeper is your best bet for points. You have two options this week, and even with two away games, Sporting Kansas City’s Tim Melia ($5.8) tops my list. With only 13 goals allowed over 14 away games, SKC has the best away defense in the league and their game against a depleted Houston (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE) next Wednesday is a great opportunity for a clean sheet.

Defenders

Back in Action: If you want a defender who is the backbone for his team’s defense, then consider Aaron Long ($5.6). He missed a couple of games starting in Round 28 but played a full 90 in New York’s second game last week. If the Red Bulls hope to beat the Whitecaps (5 pm ET, TSN1 in Canada, UniMás and Facebook.com in the US) on Saturday and secure a playoff spot, Long will be a key player and high fantasy score could follow.

Stand-in: If you’re wondering who will fill in for Matt Besler ($7.4) while he’s on US national team duty, my money is on Erik Palmer-Brown ($4.5). He’s filled in for Besler during the last four games he has missed and has done a good job at earning bonus points. Just keep a backup as we won’t see SKC’s starting lineup against Minnesota (8 pm ET, MLS LIVE) until Saturday.

Midfielders

Value Form: Let’s not mince words, the Red Bulls need to win this game. If you’ve lost faith in their big-name players and are ready to take a risk on a young player on a run of form, then consider Tyler Adams ($5.1). He was pulled in to replace Dax McCarty at the start of the year, but has seen some recent success playing out on the wing, scoring a goal and earning an assist over his last two games. Vancouver will be missing a key defender this week and that may give Adams room for some offensive heroics.

Captain Watch: With so many unknowns this round, many fantasy managers may be looking for a player with a consistent point floor to fall back on. I believe that player is Minnesota’s Ibson ($7.0). His defensive position has resulted in consistently returning 5-6+ per round for fantasy managers and he even finds himself in the right place to get an assist every now and then. Double digits are very likely for his this week and he should also be on your captain short list.

Forwards

Roll the Dice: If you really want to take a risk on a player this round then consider Maximiliano Urruti ($9.2). He’s not scored since Round 25 but with Mauro Diaz back in the picture, he may be able to find his scoring form again. Dallas also beat Colorado (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE) a week ago and this time the Rapids will be without their starting 'keeper in Tim Howard because of World Cup qualifying.

Slow and Steady: With so many players gone this week, it’s likely that several teams will play conservatively and wait for the counter. I believe that will be Sporting Kansas City’s strategy this week and that Diego Rubio ($7.1) has a great chance to get some quick points. He’s not likely to play a full 180 minutes, but with three goals and one assist over his last three games, he has a great shot for more during this DGW.

WHICH PLAYERS are you considering for Round 31?

FOR MORE fantasy advice, be sure to check out the articles and charts posted at MLSFantasyBoss.com.

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