After a two-week hiatus, Major League Soccer is back with the 2015 Audi MLS Cup Conference Championships kicking off on Sunday. Both games are nationally televised, so you can sweat your DraftKings contests while watching things play-out on the field!
With just four teams remaining, we’re working with a limited player pool so it’s vital that you avoid any landmines with injured or suspended players. I’ll be posting starting lineups as they are released over on the @MLSFantasy feed today — usually an hour before kickoff. Enjoy the action and best of luck today everyone!
Adam Kwarasey – $4,000 – Portland Timbers – With the Timbers missing so many attacking options, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a gritty, grind-it-out contest in the first leg. Kwarasey has done well at home this season, and will need to put in a strong shift if Portland hope to slay FC Dallas.
Jesse Gonzalez – $3,800 – FC Dallas – There isn’t much difference in GK pricing this week, Steve Clark ($4,200) is the highest priced with Jesse Gonzalez ($3,800) the lowest. I think it should be the other way around and will pocket the savings by taking Gonzalez. Portland is missing their key cog in the midfield (Diego Valeri) and as noted above may opt to take a defensive approach to grind out a result in the first leg.
Others to Consider – Steve Clark (Columbus Crew SC; $4,200), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls; $3,900)
Harrison Afful – $4,400 – Columbus Crew SC – Afful filled the stat sheet last time he was on the field – piling up 18.5 points on 9 crosses, 8 interceptions, 2 tackles won, 2 fouls drawn and 2 shots. Needless to say the speedy Ghanaian benefits nicely from the new DraftKings scoring format.
Waylon Francis – $3,800 – Columbus Crew SC – Waylon Francis has also seen a nice boost in production since the scoring changes took effect. The Costa Rican went for 20 points in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final – contributing 7 crosses, 5 tackles won, 3 interceptions and an assist.
Kemar Lawrence – $3,700 – New York Red Bulls – Lawrence is a strong cash game play as he has a floor hovering around 10. He had 16 points last time out and will continue to warrant consideration, especially with the lack of options at the position now.
Others to Consider – Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers; $4,200), Kelyn Acosta (FC Dallas; $3,600), Jack Jewsbury* (Portland Timbers; $3,000)
*-if he starts
Mauro Diaz – $7,300 – FC Dallas – Piled up 15 crosses en route to 21.5 DraftKings points in leading Dallas past Seattle. Diaz has been in top form and is the top midfielder to pay up for on today’s short slate.
Sacha Kljestan – $7,000 – New York Red Bulls – With Corner Kicks and Free Kicks both counted as a cross on DraftKings now, Kljestan’s upside has seen a nice bump. He tallied 17 points, helped on by 12 crosses, in his last outing. He takes the majority of set pieces and is also on Penalty Kick duty should the Red Bulls be awarded a PK.
Darlington Nagbe – $5,300 – Portland Timbers – The Timbers creative midfielder Diego Valeri is suspended for the first leg due to yellow card accumulation. This gives a revived Nagbe a boost in fantasy upside, as he’ll be tasked with taking on more of an attacking role. The recently capped US Men’s National Team midfielder has an attractive price tag coming in at $2K less than Diaz.
Others to Consider – Lloyd Sam (New York Red Bulls; $6,200), Justin Meram (Columbus Crew SC; $4,900), Jorge Villafana (Portland Timbers; $3,600), Will Johnson* (Portland Timbers; $3,000)
*-if he starts
Kei Kamara – $8,400 – Columbus Crew SC – The imposing striker snapped out out of a month long goal-scoring funk with 2 goals and 30 points in leading the Crew to the Eastern Conference Championship. I fully expect the Crew to push the envelope in the first leg, and they should be looking for Kamara early and often.
Bradley Wright-Phillips – $8,300 – New York Red Bulls – BWP has a goal in three of his last four games. Though Columbus has tightened up somewhat at the back, New York will surely have some chances to score that elusive away goal today. While Kamara is my top forward on the day, Wright-Phillips is a high-upside differential play at the same price point.
Michael Barrios – $5,300 – FC Dallas – Back to the well with Barrios, who fired off 6 shots and had 6 crosses on the way to 17 points last time out. He’s getting points without the goals or assists and comes at a fine price for both cash games and tournaments.
Others to Consider – Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas; $6,900), Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers; $6,700), Federico Higuain (Columbus Crew SC; $6,800 )
Lucas Melano – $4,800 – Portland Timbers – Looks set to fill in for usual left winger Rodney Wallace, who is also sitting out the first leg due to yellow card accumulation. Melano has shown flashes of what he’s capable of this season, and i’m banking the absence of Valeri and Wallace helping Melano put together a productive outing.
Ryan Hollingshead – $2,900 – FC Dallas – While you won’t get the clean sheet bonus (he’s a defender listed as a midfielder), Hollingshead is reaping the rewards of the new DraftKings scoring format – which awards points for Tackles Won and Interceptions. He had 12 interceptions, 7 tackles won and 17 points in helping Dallas advance to the Western Conference Championship.