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MLS Fantasy: Taking on the Red Line Challenge

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

This week MLS announced a contest for managers who want to join the game this week. Top manager who joins this week after the end of the season wins a $200 general or MLS store gift card. That's a great opportunity if you've been thinking about playing but just haven't jumped in yet. Have a friend who isn't sure about jumping in? Well, here's a guide for who to pick up.

The best thing about starting now is that you have a wildcard still to use. The clear time to use that is week 32 so you can concentrate on the big DGWs in 31 while also taking advantage of 32. So you only need to think about this week, 30, and 31.

Keepers

I wrote down Irwin (5.7) at the beginning of the week, but there's some concern that Bono might have won the starting job from him so until that's settled I'd go with Bingham (6.2). Bingham gets NE at home after a disappointing midweek stomping in Dallas and has a DGW coming up. I'd say Howard might have a better shot at a clean sheet, but you only have $120M and Howard is a little pricey.

For backup keeper, you have the transfers to not worry about needing a backup keeper. Put in Tarbell ($3.9) and use the money elsewhere.

Defenders

The defenders I'd recommend for the Red Line guys are the same names we've heard about before: Campbell (5.1), Glad (4.9), Sjoberg (6.1) and Camara (6.3). That only gives you two DGW guys in 31, but most of the other good fantasy defenders in the DGW in 31 are pricey so I'd wait to bring them until later. Red liners should use Guillen (4.0) to fill out the roster.

Alternates: Steres (5.5) is worth considering because of the price, but I left him off here because he has some tough road games coming up that make it unlikely he'll get Clean sheets.

Midfielders

Here's the meat. Let's start off with Piatti (11.5) who also gets New England with a DGW in 31. Kaka (11.8) also has a great matchup against Columbus at home this week, with a DGW, and Columbus managed to give up 3 goals to the Whitecaps so I think Kaka can produce. I'm also looking on the opposite side of that matchup at Meram (8.8). A low point total in his last match but he's at a great price and you're not getting that potential for 8.8 anywhere else. You could go with Accam (9.3) for a little more, but while Accam has a higher ceiling he's too inconsistent at my taste especially with a lot of road games coming up. To round out your roster, go with Lodeiro (12.1). Dempsey being out hurts him, but its conceivable Dempsey returns and Lodeiro's been putting up numbers anyway. You'll need a scrub, so Acosta at 4.0 (or anyone else at that price) works.

Forwards

A lot of good options here. My top three are these:

Drogba (11.7)-He also gets New England. That's a great matchup (as I said before). Downside is while he technically has a DGW in 31, the second game is on artificial turf in Orlando, so plan on transferring him out before 31.

Altidore (9.5)-That price is a steal for the form he's in and he's at home until the bye in 32.

De Leeuw (9.0)-Speaking of steals for the price, De Leeuw has caught on as he's adjusted to his new club and has 3 goals in the last three games with scores of 8, 13, and 8. Chicago's schedule isn't great but not a bad idea to jump on that kind of form.

Alternates: Mullins (6.6)-he hasn't scored last two matches but he's still creating chances and is incredibly cheap with a DGW in 31. If you want to spend more somewhere else, then Mullins will let you do that. Ola Kamara (8.7)-his goal scoring hasn't been as prolific as it was to start his career but his xG remains at 14.44 with only 11 actually scored so he's been a great producer. With Orlando and New England on the cards, he's a good option. Finally, the Canadian Messi Wondolowski, Cyle Larin (9.6) was in great form before the LA game, and I think that's a write off. Columbus should be a golden opportunity to score points.

Let's recap so you can see how this works all together.

Bingham (SJ)-(6.2)

Tarbell (SJ)-(3.9)

Campbell (CHI)-(5.1)

Glad (RSL)-(4.9)

Sjoberg (COL)-(6.1)

Camara (MTL)-(6.3)

Guillen (FCD)-(4.0)

Piatti (MTL)-(11.5)

Kaka (ORL)-(11.8)

Lodeiro (SEA)-(12.1)

Merman (CLB)-(8.8)

Acosta (DC)-(4.0)

De Leeuw (CHI)-(9.0)

Altidore (TOR)-(9.5)

Drogba (MTL)-(11.7)

Mansarary (SEA)-(4.5)

Total Budget: 118.9. $1.1 Left in the bank.

As you can see even going cheap with most of the forwards we're still close to the 120 budget new players have. Still that's plenty of room to navigate for now.

So I hope this gives you the confidence to try out the game if you've been holding back till now. As always, feel free to ask me anything on twitter (@MikeDatTiger). Good luck!