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MLS Fantasy: Staying True to the Fourth

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The nation celebrates its Independence Day this weekend, but fantasy managers have to wait a little longer for their freedom: unlimited transfers is in Week 19. Standing between managers is Week 18, a Valley Forge of a week filled with byes for many of the teams that will have or just had DGWs.

After this week, you'll have only 4 transfers to fill out a full squad for 18. What this means is that you have to make sure that when you set your lineups this week, you have only 4 or less players that are off in 18. So you have to "Stay true to the fourth" and stay committed to a plan that allows you to use only 4 transfers to field a starting XI in Week 18. [Did I force that to make a connection to the holiday? Yes, yes I did. Get over it. Our forefathers fought for the right to freely make awful wordplay]

This week is a DGW, which makes it tempting to go very strong on this week's DGW teams, New England and our own beloved NYCFC. But both of those teams are off in 18, making it hard to load up now without paying a heavy price later.

Moreover, this week has all the fixings of a weird week. Most MLS teams played midweek, with some playing strong lineups (Including Dallas, which put injury prone Mauro Diaz on the field for 120 minutes, making him a rotation risk) and  some not. Some teams went 120 minutes. You also have the holiday schedule, meaning the rare Monday MLS. You also have the best defense in the league changing its goalkeeper (Colorado, bringing in Timmy Howard). Finally, the DGW game doesn't happen until next Wednesday, and its at New England whose turf is a frequent excuse for rotations (although they've installed brand new turf there that will be ready for next Wednesday. We'll see if it's any better soon).

It's going to make predicting things very hard. That's why I'm recommending soft pedaling this week. You probably have David Villa, and he's only one of two must-haves. Lee Nguyen is the other one. Nguyen hasn't scored less than 3 points since Week 4 and has 4 double digit games in his last 7. That's fairly consistent production and against a tired NYCFC at home, he needs to be on your team. Earlier in the week I'd have recommended subbing out Valeri for Nguyen if you need the cash due to Valeri being on the road at Colorado, but you may want to do the swap for Diaz instead due to the 120 minutes Diaz logged midweek.

There's really no one else in New England I'd recommend. NE isn't sure who its keepers is, their defense is porous and expensive, and their forwards inconsistent. With the bye in 18, you're not reliably getting you're money's worth outside of Nguyen.

NYCFC is a different story. Saunders is ok, but R.J Allen ($5.4) and Jack Harrison ($5.3) have been among the best budget options in the game. Lampard is also a strong option based on his hot form of the moment, although I worry about NYC rotating him at New England to ensure the oft-injured star stays in the lineup.If you have Nguyen already or have 3 FTs this week, I can see the case for picking up one of those guys as long as you have the transfers to get them out before Week 18.

Enjoy the fireworks on and off the field, and good luck!