MLS Fantasy Gameweek 8 Preview

MLS
Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) dribbles the ball under pressure from Orlando City midfielder Martín Ojeda (11) and Orlando City defender Rafael Santos (3) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Welcome to my first article revolving around one of my favorite ways to waste time – MLS Fantasy. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with the differences between MLS and other fantasy games, but if you’re completely new to this – please feel free to hit me up for some basic rules/guidelines that’ll make you a more competitive manager, as well as some tips on where to get more content/info covering MLS Fantasy.

Let’s cut the chit-chat and get straight to it – my player targets for Week 8 of MLS Fantasy action.

MLS
Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) dribbles the ball under pressure from Orlando City midfielder Martín Ojeda (11) and Orlando City defender Rafael Santos (3) during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

How’d I do last week?

Last week was not good for me. Just 65 points for a week rank of 2,474(Yikes) and my biggest red arrow of the season, bringing my overall rank to 969 overall. I have huge hopes of finishing inside the top 300 for the first time this season, but that goal might be quickly fleeting if I don’t get back on track soon.

Burki and Laborda hit for me defensively, but I got really unlucky with Nouhou coming out injured. Driussi, Gauld, and Bouanga were great picks, but I missed Riqui Puig, Atuesta, and Joeveljic in El Trafico. My biggest blunder of the week was captaining Cucho Hernandez, who got a straight red card.

MLS, Union
Seattle Sounders defender Nouhou Tolo, right, and Los Angeles FC midfielder Timothy Tillman, left, fight for a ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

MLS Schedule, Byes, Double Game Weeks

First and Foremost – some housekeeping – No teams are on a Double Game Week this weekend, and Nashville is the only team on a Bye, so target players from Nashville for your Keeperoos, Switcheroos and Autoroos

Here’s the schedule for the weekend ahead:

SATURDAY

  • Portland Timbers vs LAFC – 4:45 pm
  • Cf Montreal Vs FC Cincinnati – 7:30 pm
  • Charlotte FC vs Toronto FC – 7:30 pm
  • DC United vs Orland City SC – 7:30 pm
  • NYCFC vs New England Revolution – 7:30 pm
  • New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire – 7:30 pm
  • Sporting Kansas City vs Inter Miami – 8:30 pm
  • FC Dallas vs Seattle Sounders – 8:30 pm
  • Minnesota United vs Houston Dynamo – 8:30 pm
  • Real Salt Lake vs Columbus Crew – 9:30 pm
  • Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy – 10:30 pm
  • San Jose Earthquakes vs Colorado Rapids – 10:30 pm

SUNDAY

  • Atlanta United vs Philadelphia Union – 2:30 pm
  • St Louis City SC vs Austin FC – 4:45 pm
MLS
Referee Scott Bowman, left, shows a yellow card to Toronto FC defender Kevin Long (5) while Atlanta United forward Tyler Wolff (28) looks on during first-half MLS soccer match action in Toronto, Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)

MLS Goalkeeper Picks

  1. Alex Bono – $7m – VS ORL
  2. Kristijan Kahlina – $6.9m – VS TOR
  3. Carlos Coronel – $6m – VS CHI
  4. Matt Freese – $5.8m – VS NE

There aren’t a ton of good GK picks this week as a lot of the better defensive teams are on the road. I wouldn’t spend too much time – or money – trying to Clean Sheet hunt point this weekend from your goalkeeper.

Pick a cheap option on Saturday, throw him on your bench, and put Roman Burki in your Starting XI. If the goalkeeper on your bench hits, change Burki to Nashville’s cheapest GK and the points on your bench will automatically sub in. If the keeper on your bench doesn’t perform well, then you’ve got a second shot with Burki on Sunday.

Union, MLS
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

MLS Defender Picks

PREMIUM

  1. Brooks Lennon – $8.9m – VS PHL
  2. Julian Gressel – $7.5m – @ SKC
  3. Adilson Malanda – $6.5m – VS TOR
  4. Alex Roldan – $6.8m – @ DAL
  5. Emeka Eneli – $6.3m – VS CLB
  6. Aaron Herrera – $7.9m – VS ORL
  7. Sean Nealis – $6.3 – VS CHI
  8. Tomas Totland – $6.2m – VS ATX

BUDGET

  1. Andres Reyes – $5.7m – VS CHI
  2. Kevin O’Toole – $5.8m – VS NE
  3. Noah Cobb – $4.9m – VS PHL
  4. Christoper McVey – $5.9m – VS ORL
  5. Cody Baker – $4.7m – @ DAL
  6. Anthony Markanich – $4.9m – VS ATX

Much like GK picks, a lot of the better defenses are on the road this week. Bonus points amongst Defenders are harder to come by in 2024 since MLS integrated its newest stat provider, and Clean sheets have been hard to come by for many this season. Somehow – I’ve been pretty damn good at hunting clean sheets this season, and it’s my midfielders/forwards I’ve been having trouble locking in.

That being said, this week feels like a crap shoot for me. My Favorites from the early games are Malanda from Charlotte against a bad Toronto team and one of the Nealis brothers for Red Bull – budget-dependent. I’m also considering Markanich from St Louis as a cheap option from the Sunday games, and I’ve currently got Brooks Lennon in my starting XI with his attacking potential and Atlanta’s strong defensive form at home this season.

MLS, union
AUSTIN, TX – AUGUST 26: Austin FC forward Sebastián Driussi (7) is grabbed by Los Angeles FC defender Jesús Murillo (3) during the MLS match between Austin FC and LAFC on August 26, 2022 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX. (Photo by David Buono/Icon Sportswire)

MLS Midfielder Picks

PREMIUM

  1. Lewis Morgan – $9.7m – VS CHI
  2. Santi Rodriguez – $9.5m – VS NE
  3. Ryan Gauld – $8.9m – VS LA
  4. Evander – $10.5m – VS LAFC
  5. Cristian Espinoza – $10m – VS COL
  6. Luciano Acosta – $12m – @ MTL

BUDGET

  1. Erik Thommy – $8m – VS MIA
  2. Quinn Sullivan – $7.8 – @ ATL
  3. Amine Bassi – $8.2m – @ MIN
  4. Djordje Mihailovic – $7.4m – @ COL
  5. Jared Stroud – $8.4m – VS ORL
  6. Sebastian Driussi – $8.4m – @ STL

As I said above, I’ve dropped a lot of points in my midfield picks this season so far, which is frustrating considering how many good picks are available. I’m spending a lot of money on my midfield this week and hoping that I finally hit big. Evander, Ryan Gauld, Santi Rodriguez, and Cristian Espinoza are my favorites right now, with the addition of either Lewis Morgan or Emil Forsberg.

Union, MLS
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

MLS Forward Picks

PREMIUM

  1. Cristian Arango – $11.2m – VS CLB
  2. Denis Bouanga – $10.9m – @ LAFC
  3. Christian Benteke – $10.5m – VS ORL
  4. Matias Coccaro – $9.4m – VS CIN
  5. Dante Vanzeir – $9.5m – VS CHI
  6. Brian White – $9.1m – VS LA

BUDGET

  1. Julian Carranza – $9m – @ ATL
  2. Willy Agada – $7.6m – VS MIA
  3. Fafa Picault – $8m – VS LA
  4. Joao Klauss – $8.3 – VS ATX
  5. Raul Ruidiaz – $8.4m – @ DAL

I think we all wish we could have more than 3 forward spots, just so many good options week in and week out, and I could genuinely slide 6-7 of these names right into my lineup if the game allowed.

Benteke at home against Orlando and Arango against a tired and traveled CLB seem like the 2 best options for me, but Brian White/Fafa Picault, Joao Klauss, and Matias Coccaro seem like decent picks of guys playing at home this weekend. I’ve got Dante Vanzeir in my lineup right now because he seems to be in the middle of all of Red Bull’s goals early this season, notching 1 goal and 6 assists in 5 games.

Union, MLS
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Best MLS Bets

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Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell