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MLS Fantasy GW 26: Plotting the Course

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The most important decision this week has nothing to do with this week but rather which week you'll use your second half wildcard. There are two options really: GW 28 and GW 31. Both of those weeks have a bunch of DGWs and you'll want to be able to take advantage of both. You want to make a decision now because that will affect your transfers in this week. If you're wildcarding in 28, you only need to look at the matchups for the next two weeks as well as not worrying about stashing some of the 28 players (we'll talk about that in a second). If you're waiting until 31, then you need to take a longer look at the fixtures coming up.

  • Why to Wildcard in 28: There are 4 DGW teams, 3 of whom have byes the week before. There are solid fantasy options on all three of those teams, which are Montreal, Real Salt Lake, and Orlando [the other DGW team is rotation happy Los Angeles]. You can maybe stash one or two players on your bench in 27 but unless you wildcard you'll have to sacrifice points in either 27 or 28. It's not a bad idea to load up on Orlando and Montreal players anyway as they're part of the massive DGW in 31 as well. A wildcard in 28 lets you take advantage of 27 and 28, while the extra transfer gives you plenty of time to prepare for 31 as well.
  • Why to Wildcard in 31: That stuff about sacrificing in 27 or 28 above? Also true for 31 and 32, except worse. 32 has only 6 teams playing, but two of them are on a  DGW. While some of the DGW teams in 31 have a match in 32 (Chicago, SJ, and Seattle), a lot of the good teams don't (Toronto, Orlando). Wildcarding in 31 gives you an extra transfer to pivot into the weirdness that is 32 as well as allowing you the freedom to stash some cheap Houston/Colorado players to take advantage of that DGW as well.
  • Rebuttal for 28: Take a look at that week 32: Chicago, Houston, Columbus, Colorado, San Jose and Seattle. Currently, that's 5 out of 6 teams below the red line, and only Seattle looks capable of making a serious playoff push. 32 is going to be these teams 3rd or 4th last game, at which point they'll likely be officially eliminated from the playoffs and doing things like "developing younger players" and "not giving a ****." Even if they are at full strength, outside of the Seattle Lodeiros, Accam, and sometimes the Crew those teams are really bad offensively, meaning your best bet are defenders and keepers anyway, which are fairly to stash. While getting an extra transfer might help fill out the roster, it's not going to be a huge difference. If you have to sacrifice 27/28 or 32, you pick 32 every time.
  • Rebuttal for 31: You're probably right, but guess what. Most people have come to that conclusion. Look, I need to gain ranks and I'm not going to do that following the crowd. If the herd zigs, I need to zag. It also allows to me to be a lot looser in my transfers for 28 through 30 because I don't have to plan for either 31 and 32, and I think that will allow me to pick up some points that managers who wildcard in 28 have to leave on the board while preparing for 31/32.
  • Conclusion: My recommendation is 28 based on how worthless 32 is going to be. That said, if I was way down in the ranks and looking to make a different play, I'd consider Wildcarding in 31.

Ok, let's look at the picks

Keepers

Diop ($4.0) looked shaky, so I wouldn't be surprised if he lost the job back to Kennedy if Rowe remains out. Philly's next two are home v. SKC and away at Chicago which are good matchups for Blake ($4.9). A longer view for Blake isn't as rosy, with home at MTl followed by 3 straight road games, so if you are holding out until 31. You may also want to take a look at Seitz ($4.9),  who has @Hou and home to Portland.

Defenders:

Get Rosenberry ($5.8) who has exploded since Bedoya arrived. After that, it's the usual suspects of Sjoberg, Steres, Campbell. I don't know if I've mentioned Hairston ($5.5), but he's a defender in the game that is more of a forward that has scored a few times while benefiting from CS bonuses. Note that Colorado has 3 matches on the road coming up and 4 out of the next 5 on the road so defensive production may go down.

Midfielders:

The Red Bulls face the Revolution at home. The Revs has a cross country match v SJ on Wednesday, and their defense is terrible, so Sacha is a must have. It feels weird not recommending Valeri, but Valeri has been moved to the wing out of the center the past few matches and it's really affected his production such that he's no longer a must have. If Valeri is moved back to the center, then he'll be back in the picture. Diaz has also hit a slump, scoring only 2 points the last two matches. You'd be better off with Accam ($9.4) who has scored 6, 13, and 8 in his last three matches and has a pretty decent schedule coming up.

Forwards

The Revs and Lions are awful defenses, so outside the "Get Giovinco" advice we'll start with the New York teams. David Villa ($12.4) and BWP (11.6) look poised for big matches this week, and their next week of fixtures (Home to DC for the Mighty Pigeons, @ struggling Vancouver for the Jersey Boys) is good too. If you have Larin, I'd keep him since he seems to have made a career scoring against the New York teams.

Remember, transfers happen again TODAY so make sure you have your transfers made before rosters lock. Good luck!