This article is part of our DraftKings Fantasy Soccer series.
Saturday's short three-game slate comes about during an international break, as many countries play important World Cup qualifiers, which means some of the six teams in action will be missing key pieces. While this opens up a few value plays, it may be the stars who are still with their club teams who can make the difference. Let's dive in:
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The Revs come in as the only team in Major League Soccer without a point, though the weather caused them to miss out on a home match against Orlando City two weeks ago that likely would have aided in that regard. Despite that, they come in as the biggest favorites on the slate as they host a Minnesota side that's allowed as astonishing 13 goals in three games. Additionally, Minnesota will be missing a number of key pieces, including two of their best attacking players in Kevin Molino and Johan Venegas thanks to international obligations, and they'll be rolling out backup keeper Bobby Shuttleworth, who was so good for the Revs last season that they traded him.
Lee Nguyen ($7,000): Remember that time you said you wouldn't even roster Nguyen on a four-game slate with the Revs 90 percent favorites to win? Well, good news, this is only a three-game slate, so you don't have to go back on your word. Nguyen has been an incredibly frustrating fantasy producer for over a year, but this is the right spot for him to produce. He'll likely be on most, if not all, set pieces, and he's facing arguably the worst defense in Major League Soccer at home. Forget about the 23 times he's burned you and roll the dice.
Kei Kamara ($6,500): If you're going to roll the dice with Nguyen, surely you have enough stomach to pair him with Kamara, who has made Nguyen look like Diego Valeri in terms of fantasy consistency. After scoring 22 goals during the 2015 season for the Crew, Kamara has been quite pedestrian. However, he's taken seven shots, with three on goal, in his two games this season, and, like Nguyen, will face the worst defense in Major League Soccer.
Juan Agudelo ($6,300): There isn't much of a discount from Kamara, but Agudelo makes for a solid alternative now that he's playing in the no. 10 role. He's clearly still feeling his way around the position, but if the Revs are able to score on Minnesota like their three previous opponents, Agudelo should get at least a piece of the action.
Mohammed Saied ($5,500): Minnesota has been pretty poor this season, but they haven't been shut out yet. They'll be missing a number of their best attacking pieces, but Saeid could be on all set pieces, giving him a decent floor. He was an unused sub last week against Colorado, but he was excellent the match before, finishing with 23 fantasy points against Atlanta despite no goal or assist (nine crosses and seven fouls drawn certainly helped) and losing 6-1. If you're looking for goal upside from the Loons, Christian Ramirez ($4,600) is your man, as he's scored twice in their first three games.
The Red Bulls will be without star midfielder Sacha Kljestan (did I really just call him a 'star?'), but they still have plenty of firepower against an RSL side that will be without their best scorer, Joao Plata, their no. 10 and set-piece taker, Albert Rusnak, and their starting goalkeeper, Nick Rimando, among others. Unsurprisingly, the Red Bulls are heavy favorites.
Felipe ($4,800): We discussed Felipe at length during this week's fantasy MLS podcast, specifically how he's been a decent fantasy producer early this season but really steps up when Kljestan is out because he usually takes over on free kicks. His price on DraftKings is a steal if he grabs that role again, especially against a heavily depleted RSL.
Kemar Lawrence ($4,900): Lawrence missed last weekend's match due to a personal issue, but he returned to training Thursday and should move back into the starting XI. Lawrence isn't a high-volume crosser, but he definitely gets involved in the attack and is more reliable than Sal Zizzo, who is actually $300 more. If Lawrence does not start, Justin Bilyeu ($4,500) is a fine replacement.
Daniel Royer ($6,000):Bradley Wright-Phillips has the best goal upside of any Red Bull, but paying $10,600 sure does limit what you can spend elsewhere. Royer took six shots and sent in four crosses in his first two games before basically getting shut out last weekend at Seattle, but he still has decent goal upside for a heavy favorite. Frederik Gulbrandsen ($5,200) is another option to start in the attack for the Red Bulls, though Royer is definitely the safer of the two.
The Timbers have started the season out very well, winning each of their first three matches and scoring 10 goals in that span. However, nine of those 10 came at home, including six against Minnesota. Traveling to Columbus will be their toughest test, though it's arguably not THAT bad. The Crew are coming off a solid 2-0 win at D.C. United last week, but they scored just once in each of their two opening games. In terms of absences for international play, neither side is greatly affected, at least in terms of fantasy producers.
Justin Meram ($7,000): Out of nowhere, Meram is now classified as a forward, which provides a decent floor option for a position that's usually very goal dependent. Meram has taken at least one shot and sent in multiple crosses in all three games this season, and he picked up an assist in each of the first two. Ola Kamara ($8,300) has the best goal upside for the Crew, and he's found the back of the net in each of his last two, but he provides very little if the Timbers keep him from scoring.
Sebastian Blanco ($6,500): Blanco's role on set pieces has made him a very solid fantasy option this season, as he's sent in 26 crosses in three games, including 13 last week against Houston. The only problem Blanco has had (or at least a problem for fantasy owners) is that Diego Valeri ($10,400) has been scoring like he's peak Sebastian Giovinco, bagging four goals and assisting two others through three matches. It's unfair to call Valeri goal-dependent, but Blanco is significantly more valuable on a per-dollar basis if the Crew don't allow Valeri to score again.
Alvas Powell ($4,800): The pricier defensive options leave plenty to be desired, but Powell will be able to move up in the attack comfortably, and he'll be doing so against some kind of fill-in left-back for the Crew. He's been a steady crosser early this season, including seven last week against Houston, and he's scored eight, seven and eight fantasy points in each of the first three games, respectively. Those numbers don't jump off the page, but the slate is devoid of true double-digit scorers among defenders.
Jake Gleeson ($4,600): Each of the three favorites on the slate have goalkeepers priced at least $5,000, but Gleeson likely has the highest upside among the away teams, as the Timbers are playing very well and are unlikely to get blasted by the Crew (unlike Minnesota and RSL). The Crew also have a number of players who like to shoot, so the save upside should be there even if he doesn't get the win and/or clean sheet.