Reid, Mike and Blayne take a break from all of the World Cup action to sit down and get back to breaking down Round 17 of the MLS Fantasy Season. They start out with a quick review of the few takeaways from the short Round 16 slate of games and try to make sense of both Piatti and D.C. United going forward. After that, they identify their most promising games and top targets for Round 17. Everything kicks off on Saturday, so be sure to take a break from the World Cup to listen to this episode before you set your Round 17 lineup.
Last week all of our MLS action was packed into one day and my, what a busy day it was! Road success was the theme of Week 16, as half of the games ended in a draw or a victory for the visiting sides.
This week, we’re back to a more normal schedule. But several road teams still have the opportunity for continued success. This makes them ideal switcheroo and transferoo options, but don’t go overboard.
Double-game week teams: None
Let it Ride: Many fantasy managers were heartbroken last week when the New York Red Bulls’ clean sheet was broken in the closing minutes. Still, the Red Bulls currently sit as the second-best home defense in the league and I think that again makes Luis Robles ($6.7) the top ‘keeper for Round 17. It’s true that FC Dallas (6 pm ET | UniMás — Full TV & streaming info) have found their scoring form again, but the Red Bulls rotated personnel in their U.S. Open Cup match last week and should prove to be a tough defense to crack.
Keeperoo Option: If second-best home defense is not your style, consider New York City FC’s Sean Johnson ($7.0) who currently holds the No. 1 spot. Johnson has earned an impressive five clean sheets this season and has only allowed three goals over his seven home games. The chance for a sixth clean sheet looks good as he’ll face a Toronto FC (5 pm ET | TSN — Full TV & streaming info) team who are struggling for offensive consistency.
Off the Bench: The recent offensive success enjoyed by Vancouver (5 pm ET | TSN — Full TV & streaming info) was enough discourage me from picking up Philadelphia’s ‘keeper, Andre Blake. However, defender Keegan Rosenberry ($9.4) is a different story. A strong defender with the ability to generate bonus points and get forward into the attack is exactly the kind of player who could frustrate the Whitecaps. Just start him on your bench in case things go south.
By the Numbers: If you want to add a defender from the home team with the best chance for a clean sheet, then look to Los Angeles Football Club. Yes they are missing some offensive pieces, but the return of Laurent Ciman ($9.8) will help to bolster their defense. This is bad news for Columbus Crew SC (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info), who have failed to score in five of their seven away games.
New Management: Orlando City recently shook things up by firing head coach Jason Kreis and were rewarded with a dramatic win in the Open Cup. If you take this as the start of good things to come, then consider picking up Sacha Kljestan ($8.6). He’s been the most reliable midfielder for the Lions and his passing ability could be just the edge he needs to run up the score against a Montreal (7:30 pm ET | TVAS — Full TV & streaming info) team who concede about two goals per game on the road.
Consistent Differential: While the odds may be stacked against Montreal this week, Orlando is hardly a 2018 MLS powerhouse and that makes several Impact players great differential options this week. While it was a tough decision, my favorite is Saphir Taïder ($9.8) thanks to his consistent generation of bonus points from passes and crosses.
Injury Watch: Last week it only took Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez ($10.7) 30 minutes to extend his goalscoring streak to four consecutive games, though he had to leave that match early due to a possible broken nose. Martinez’s strong home scoring form is clear and the Five Stripes will get chances against the average Portland (4:30 pm ET | FOX — Full TV & streaming info) away defense. However, it may be best to use a placeholder player and wait for the lineup to see if Martinez will start.
Red vs Blue: One of the hardest decisions this week may be which New York forward to pick: David Villa ($12.2) or Bradley Wright-Phillips ($11.3)? Each is the point man for elite attacks, are reasonably priced and have promising matches in this round. You could go the easy way and pick both, but if you have to limit yourself to one, it is Villa’s ability to rack up bonus points from shots that ultimately gives him the advantage for me.
WHICH PLAYERS are you considering for Round 17?
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