MLS Rivalry Week concludes with a pair of nationally televised matches on Sunday. Cross-river rivals New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls square off in the first game (ESPN, 5:00PM EST) with the Portland Timbers hosting Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders (Fox Sports 1, 7:00PM EST) to round out Soccer Sunday. As we saw yesterday, player rotation is inevitable with the congested MLS schedule. Keep an eye on starting lineups as they are released and adjust your fantasy lineup as necessary. As always, I will be posting starting lineups on Twitter (@FantasySoccerFC) as they become available – usually an hour before kickoff. Here are the players I am targeting for today’s slate:
Adam Kwarasey – $5,100 – Portland Timbers – After being rocked for five goals in a midweek loss at Los Angeles, i’m looking for Portland to bounce back with a strong showing at home. The Timbers have four straight Clean Sheet wins at home, and are facing a depleted Seattle Sounders attack that has been shutout in consecutive outings.
Stefan Frei – $4,500 – Seattle Sounders – While he’s the cheapest GK available, Frei leads the available starting GKs with 11.8 FPPG. He faces a tall task today on the road, but if the Sounders are to earn a result it will likely be due to a big performance from the league leader in both Clean Sheets and saves.
Others to Consider – Josh Saunders (New York City FC; $4,900), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls; $4,700)
Alvas Powell – $4,500 – Portland Timbers – The options are thin at the Defender slot today, so I am targeting players with a good shot at picking up clean sheet points. Powell is good for a couple of crosses each game, and I like the Timbers D against a struggling Sounders attack.
Norberto Paparatto – $2,800 – Portland Timbers – With usual starting defender Liam Ridgewell picking up a red card in midweek action, I expect Paparatto to slide into the starting lineup. The bargain bin defender is averaging 7 FPPG in two starts this season.
Tyrone Mears – $5,500 – Seattle Sounders – Defensive bonus points aside, Mears carries the most upside of all defenders on today’s short slate. He’s a key part of the Sounder attack as they rely on him to swing crosses in from the wings. Mears was given a rest midweek, but I expect him to be back at it again in tonight’s big rivalry match.
Others to Consider – RJ Allen (New York City FC; $3,700), Chris Duvall (New York Red Bulls; $4,800), Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers; $4,100)
Marco Pappa – $6,500 – Seattle Sounders – With Dempsey and Martins both out, Pappa is having to do most of the heavy lifting for the Seattle attack. The Guatemalan playmaker is averaging 12 points per game over his last three – even though he’s failed to score or assist in those games. Considering his low price, consistent floor and high upside – Pappa is my top midfield target on the day.
Diego Valeri – $6,800 – Portland Timbers – The MLS All-Star midfielder is fully fit after recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last year. Valeri pulls the strings in the Timbers attack, contributing 11 goals and 14 assists in limited playing time last season. The Argentine collected 11 points midweek just through shots (5), crosses (5) and fouls drawn (1) alone.
Felipe Martins – $5,500 – New York Red Bulls – Felipe has been a reliable source of fantasy points through crosses, shots and fouls drawn. He consistently posts near double-digit points game in and game out, and his price will open up funds to pay up for the superstars at Forward.
Others to Consider – Lloyd Sam (New York Red Bulls; $7,400), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC; $7,200), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; $6,700), Rodney Wallace (Portland Timbers; $5,700)
David Villa – $10,500 – New York City FC – The former World Cup winner has four goals in his last four games, seeing him average nearly 25 Fantasy Points Per Game over that span. I’m targeting the NYCFC hit man to feed off the Yankee Stadium energy en route to another big day.
Bradley Wright-Phillips – $10,300 – New York Red Bulls – BWP is mired in a six-game goal scoring drought but faces the team he last scored against (twice) in NYCFC today. Wright-Phillips had his way with the expansion side last time these teams met, and will look to get back on track at Yankee Stadium this evening.
Others to Consider – Maximiliano Urruti (Portland Timbers; $6,300), Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers; $7,700), Gaston Fernandez (Portland Timbers; $4,800), Adam Nemec (New York City FC; $4,300)
Lamar Neagle – $6,200 – Seattle Sounders – Leading scorers Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins are set to miss out again, and Chad Barrett questionable, so Neagle will likely continue to feature at Forward for the Sounders. He’s been disappointing over his last two, but has 20+ fantasy point upside when he gets going.
Mike Grella – $5,300 – New York Red Bulls – With defenses shifting their focus to shutting down Wright-Phillips, the former Duke University standout is seeing his fair share of chances. Grella has two goals in his last three games, posting double-digit fantasy numbers in those two.