DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday MLS Cheat Sheet
DraftKings Fantasy Soccer: Saturday MLS Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.

If inter-conference matches are your thing, this is a slate for you. Three teams travel across the country, including the superior New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids. We'll have to recalibrate our comfort levels in considering the road players for both of those matches, and a surging Portland Timbers team in Frisco, Texas.

MATCHES (EDT)

7:00 p.m: Vancouver Whitecaps v. New York Red Bulls
7:30 p.m: New England Revolution v. Colorado Rapids
8:30 p.m: Chicago Fire v. Philadelphia Union
9:00 p.m: FC Dallas v. Portland Timbers
10:30 p.m: Los Angeles Galaxy v. Columbus Crew

ODDS REPORT

EXPECTED CORNER TAKERS

Vancouver Whitecaps: Cristian Techera
New York Red Bulls: Sean Davis, Felipe Martins
New England Revolution: Chris Tierney
Colorado Rapids: Dillon Powers, Marc Burch
Chicago Fire: John Goossens
Philadelphia Union: Tranquillo Barnetta
FC Dallas: Mauro Diaz
Portland Timbers: Diego Valeri, Jack Jewsbury
Los Angeles Galaxy: Giovani Dos Santos
Columbus Crew: Federico Higuain, Mohammed Saeid

PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

GOALKEEPER

John McCarthy, PHI at CHI ($4,000): Nobody is going to mistake McCarthy's performances in goal with those of Andre Blake (international duty), but he still presents a good value as the Eastern Conference contenders visit the Eastern Conference dumpster fire in Chicago. In fairness, the Fire have been playing better than most casual MLS fans realize, with 12 goals in six matches. The problem is that their formerly stout defense has allowed 15 goals in the same span. The Fire can't get both right at the same time. Following a 6-2 shellacking in D.C. and now without David Accam (international duty), I can't imagine that Chicago give Philadelphia a run for their money. The Union still have their eyes set on the top spot in the East, and McCarthy had some quality minutes in net for the Union last season.

Zac MacMath, COL at NER ($3,800): MacMath is another beneficiary of international duty, as he'll be the Rapids' starting goalkeeper with Tim Howard away. From his time starting earlier this season, MacMath still holds the league's top goals allowed per match mark. The Rapids are in a bit of a slump, but this team has always been focused on defense first, and New England will be missing Kei Kamara (international duty). The Revs were already poor with Kamara and may struggle even further without his large presence and boundless energy up top. If Howard had never entered the picture, MacMath's price would be upwards of $5,000 this week; instead, we can get him at a significant discount.

DEFENDER

Chris Tierney, NER v. COL ($6,400): While I seem to be the least excited to roster Tierney on a weekly basis this season, there's no denying his fantasy potential. With corner kick and set piece duty on tap for Tierney, and a visit from a struggling Rapids side, he makes for the top play among expensive defenders. If your roster construction lends itself to this price range in the back, the New England left back's ceiling dwarfs that of next-best options such as Keegan Rosenberry and Ashley Cole. Since the calendar hit July, Tierney has averaged 12 crosses per match at home. He hasn't quite shown the goal scoring or assisting upside that we've seen when he's at his best, and it's less likely to come against Colorado than some of the weaker teams he's played recently, but we're still getting a rare high-floor from a defender should we choose to invest in Tierney's golden left foot.

Robbie Rogers, LAG v. CLB ($4,800): I'm not certain what to think of Rogers' 11 crosses last week. In his three prior home matches, he had three. I do know that I've seen his attacking upside in the past and that the Galaxy fullbacks are in a nice position to activate against a really weakened Columbus Crew. Columbus are on the road and without the following starters: Justin Meram, Tony Tchani, Will Trapp and Harrison Afful. All four of those absences weaken an already shaky Columbus defense in some way. It also means the Crew will have to scale back their attack to compensate. I think Rogers offers intriguing upside given the matchup, and with a clean sheet well within the realm of possibility, it's unlikely that he doesn't at least meet his $4,800 value.

Justin Bilyeu, NYR at VAN ($2,700): It's been rare to find a viable sub-$3,000 fullback this season, but this might be a slate where we get one. The Red Bulls are slated to start either Sal Zizzo or Bilyeu at left back, and I'm hoping it's the latter. Zizzo has been pretty poor in recent matches, so I'm betting on manager Jesse Marsch throwing out the promising youngster. In just over a full matches worth of minutes (mostly on the road), Bilyeu has five crosses, four interceptions and two shots. It's a small sample that we can't take much from, but it shows that he is more than capable of garnering a handful of fantasy points. While he's not certain to start, we will know before rosters lock and should be able to pivot to other potential cheap starters. Keep your eye on Alphonso Davies ($2,800) in the same match and even consider having a backup plan that includes Aurelien Collin ($3,300), Jeff Larentowicz ($3,500) or Chad Barson ($3,000).

MIDFIELDER

Mauro Diaz, FCD v. POR ($9,600): Diaz scored 19 points in Houston last week and his price decreased for a home fixture against a poor Portland defense? I'll take advantage of that! While Diego Valeri is a tempting pivot in tournament play (higher price, less owned, better scorer), Diaz is safer given locked-in set piece duty, while Valeri has lost some corner kicks to Jack Jewsbury. Many thought Dallas would desperately miss Fabian Castillo, but their attack still looks dangerous, in large part to one of the league's greatest playmakers. This is a week when rostering two top midfielders makes a lot of sense to me, and while I prefer my next pick's upside to that of Diaz, I'd put my money on Mauro in cash games.

Giovani dos Santos, LAG v. CLB ($9,300): While discussing Rogers, we went over the slew of absences for Columbus. Before beating New England 2-0 on the road, Columbus had allowed three goals to the home team in their prior four away matches. That was with a full-fledged defensive lineup. This trip to Los Angeles will be tougher. For his part, dos Santos has been heating up offensively, looking both more comfortable and more effective in the attack. With Gyasi Zardes and potentially Robbie Keane out of the lineup, dos Santos will be leaned on heavily by the team that oddsmakers think will score the second-most goals on the night. I'm not usually a fan of providing two top priced picks, but I couldn't leave out either of Diaz and dos Santos this week. That should tell you where to go with your midfield.

John Goossens, CHI v. PHI ($4,900): Even the former value plays are expensive in the midfield this week, so I unfortunately can't offer a sure-fire starter for less than $4,000 before seeing some lineups. What I can do is find all of the Sean Davis' ($5,000) bandwagoners and convince them to buy Goossens instead. Sure, Davis has a one-goal, two-assist, 29-point outing in recent memory and might fill some of Sacha Kljestan's large shoes alongside Felipe Martins. However, he's just not a natural attacking player. His well-rounded and energetic style is much more valuable to the real-life Red Bulls than to our fantasy teams. Alternatively, Goossens is playing at home for a Chicago side that have scored at least two goals in four straight. Yes, I recommended his opponent's goalkeeper, and he won't have Accam by his side, but Goossens is a reliable source of attacking points for a home team that will lean on him like Los Angeles will on dos Santos. Without much left to play for this season, Chicago owe their home crowd some goals rather than a 0-0 bore, and I expect Goossens to be aggressive in the attack against a Philadelphia Union side without Alejandro Bedoya (international duty).

FORWARD

Maximiliano Urruti, FCD v. POR ($7,100): Fortunately, for those following the stacked midfield approach, many of the most expensive forwards aren't in action this weekend. With Kamara, Accam and Shkelzen Gashi on international duty and Keane questionable as he returns from the final match of his legendary Ireland career, we're left with Bradley Wright-Phillips, Ola Kamara and Fanendo Adi. All are fine choices, particularly BWP, but I'm leaning towards some cheaper alternatives. Urruti is one my favorites, given the aforementioned weak Portland defense and him being the beneficiary of Diaz's brilliance. While he's a bit overpriced for my tastes, goal-dependent forward that he is, he's a tempting tournament play. As an added bonus, this is a revenge game for the former Portland Timber! A Diaz-Urruti combination could very well be a winning strategy on this smaller-than-usual slate of matches, but also consider teammate Michael Barrios for $5,600.

Juan Agudelo, NER v. COL ($5,100): With Kamara away, Agudelo gets what feels like his 10th chance of the past few seasons to show he deserves full-time starting minutes. The talent is there, and the production hasn't been poor, but he has yet to win over manager Jay Heaps. New England make a strong case for being the worst team in the league, and Lee Nguyen makes a strong case for most underwhelming star in the league this season, but I think this is a match that the Revolution could win. Colorado are without Gashi, Jermaine Jones (knee), Mekeil Williams (international duty), Marco Pappa (international duty) and perhaps Marlon Hairston (lower body). New England, meanwhile, need to ramp up their level of play with the U.S. Open Cup final looming in a few weeks. If they can string together a few wins, the playoffs are not out of reach either. Agudelo won't even glimpse any cash game lineups I make, but I'm eager to throw him into a tournament lineup and see if my Rapids doubt is justified.

Omer Damari, NYR at VAN ($4,400): Two fantastic cheap forward plays are present this week: Damari and FC Dallas' Getterson. While Getterson is both cheaper and playing at home, I'm more intrigued by Damari. The recent loanee is a Designated Player for the Red Bulls and seems like a great complement to Bradley Wright-Phillips. Both are lauded for their fantastic hold-up play, and where BWP may provide a little more energy, Damari might be the better finisher. Jesse Marsch should be salivating to see what having two strikers that fit the Red Bulls' system can produce. Vancouver are missing three players along the back line due to the international matches (Kendall Waston, David Edgar and Marcel de Jong), and this matchup represents a prime opportunity for New York to fight for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Again, we'll get to see the lineup for New York before contests lock, and if Damari is in, he'll find a spot in plenty of my lineups.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. JD Bazzo plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: OfficerBo, Yahoo: DeNirosDinero.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JD Bazzo
JD is a contributing soccer writer at RotoWire and was a finalist for the 2017 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year award. JD has been writing for RotoWire since 2015. He is a proud Pittsburgh native, purveyor of fantasy sports, and likely the first Penn State Basketball fan you've ever met.
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