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MLS Fantasy: Must-Haves and When-Haves

Hope you captained me in Fantasy!
Hope you captained me in Fantasy!
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

This is the most difficult stretch of the fantasy calendar. After this week, there are three DGWs followed by a week with an absurd number of teams on byes.

I considered going through the lineups of each team like I have been, but there's not much point. Unless you have a wildcard, you're not going to have the transfers to pick up the smaller guys. That is, with these many DGWs, you're not going to be able to do much more than pick up the big name/big producer guys from the DGW teams and give them a chance to shine. So let's go over the Must-Haves from each week and When to Have Them.


Giovinco: Wait, he doesn't have a DGW until 11, right? Doesn't matter. Giovinco has 4 home games and with DGWs worth about 1.5 of a SGW, the math is simple: Giovinco is about 1.5 the value of every other player. Ok, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but Giovinco has 75 points whereas the next closest is 67 is Villa, who has one extra game on Giovinco and a ton more home games to date. That changes as Giovinco arrives home for his next four matches. He's must have ASAP.

Jermaine Jones: He's only played 3 games, but his three scores are 15, 7, and 6. I wouldn't expect that pace to continue, especially if Powers and Pappa comes back but at $8.2 Jones has shown he has a very high ceiling. Beware though that Jones will leave after GW11 to join camp Jurgen. Jones is one of the few who have a DGW in 10 with a home match this week, so he's a solid buy now.

Diego Valeri: He's tied with Patti for top midfielder overall despite having a red card and one less match. In GW 10, he has a home match against NYCFC (who you may have heard have a terrible road defense so far this year). A road trip against Vancouver normally doesn't seem ideal, but Vancouver actually has one of the highest xGs against this year, so I would pick him up this week if you dropped him for his suspension.

Fenando Adi: His chemistry with Valeri is obvious and they're generating tons of chances. He's only behind a lot of the other forwards in fantasy because his PKs have been poor. Still, he's a must have. If you're getting him, I think he's safe to pick up this week.

Mauro Diaz: Diaz was a top player before his injury, but he looked rusty last week in putting up 3 points over 60 minutes. His potential is off the charts, but it's hard to say right now how much his injury will affect his fantasy production even putting aside the question of how much rest he'll get during the DGW to nurse the injury. I'm holding off on Diaz until I see what happens this week.

David Accam: He's coming off an injury and has a bye this week. When he was playing though, the Chicago offense went through him, generating a very high xG+xA of 1.256 over an expected 96 minute match. He is however a very high rotation risk as Chicago has two DGWs back to back.You're obviously not buying him this week.

CJ Sapong: On a bye this week, but with 52 points despite a 8.2 price point, he's a must for GW 10.

The rest: I'd put Maidana in here, but he didn't start last match and I'm starting to think Owen Coyle is the new Pablo when it comes to weird lineup choices. Wenger at 7.1 is a good option if you need a really cheap midfielder though.  You probably have heard enough about Sporting KC players. I think you're fine to keep them in if you want to, but with the rotation and their struggles none of them are must haves. I'm leaving out defenders and keepers, because they're really poor this year. Get cheap defenders and hope for clean sheets.


Again, Giovinco. GET HIM.

Sacha Kljestan: His xG numbers finally caught up to his actual production with numbers of 15 and 14 the past two weeks and he's looking the part of the top fantasy mid we expected in preseason. He'll face an Orlando team that's given up the most xG all year followed by meeting SKC on the second game of their DGW. He's a good option to get as soon as this week, although prioritize Valeri over him.

Bradley Wright-Philips-same as Sacha, but because there are fewer forward slots I think I'm holding off on BWP until GW 11.

David Villa: A number of fantasy managers complain that he's too hot and cold due to his tendency to score in braces. I'm fine with it. He's been one of the top producers, but he's also been at home most of the season. If you don't have him, I wouldn't pick him up this week with trips to DC and Portland in his future. I'd wait until GW 11.

Tommy McNamara: He's being put in more of a forward role, and in fantasy midfielders who are actually playing as forwards are great, especially at $7.3 which can free up some cash to use towards a monster forward line of Sacha/Villa/Giovinco. Like with Villa, I'm waiting on him until 11 but grab him sooner if you need to free up some cash.


We talked about Sapong earlier and he's worth keeping around for this DGW too if you grab him in 12

Kaka-Although he's back on the injury list, when he plays he takes PKs and scores more than 7 points. He should be go to go this weekend, and with only two teams in a DGW, he's going to be a must have. With the glut of midfielders above though, I'd wait until 12 to grab him.

Cyle Larin-he's cooled off considerably since his hot start. His goals numbers are almost 2 goals higher than his xG, which isn't a good sign. You can probably pass on Larin altogether, since Orlando has a bye in 13 but if you want him for the potential wait until 12.


I've listed a lot of names, but with so many teams, you're not going to be able to play them all. Do your research and figure out who you need to have. Then figure out what transfers you need to do this week to set up best for 10-12. This game week isn't going to be as lucrative as these next few weeks, so take a hit this week, and feel free to take another hit in both 10 and 11 to bring in those extra guys. You're going to have to be very aggressive as there's simply too many very good players with DGWs to not field a squad of mostly DGW players.

Also, I've started a new twitter account @MLSInjuryNews that's designed to have all the injury news in one twitter account. Obviously I don't have access to the secret stuff, but if a beat writer tweets it, this account will have it so that should help managers know the best information possible about the status of the players. Feel free to also ask me any questions @MikeDatTiger and I can give you personalized advice.

Good luck!