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MLS Fantasy with Sounder at Heart: Last minute advice and a look ahead

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Bobby Burling bouncing balls banks bonuses
Bobby Burling bouncing balls banks bonuses
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 is fast approaching, and with the late arrival of this article, I thought it would be valuable to give everyone some quick last minute advice on who might save your bacon this week if you still are sitting on last minute transfers. Make sure to get them in by 12:00pm Pacific!

The most obvious advice is to sign in now and check to make sure your team is all set to go. If you set up your team earlier in the week, there may be some injures or international absences you had no idea were in the pipeline. MLS has generally been good with keeping the player cards on the website updated.

I think the biggest surprise this week is a bruised foot Axel Sjoberg picked up during training. He's currently questionable for Colorado's game at 5:30pm tonight. I'd strongly advise having a backup plan if you have him and you can swing it. You can leave him in your starting lineup, and, as long as you don't fuss with anything, he'll automatically switch out with someone on your bench if he doesn't go. Keep in mind you always need at least three defenders; if he is one of your starting three, only a defender can replace him.

Now, on to some specific player advice for now and looking forward. Last minute advice last minute, possibly desperate, transfers, and forward looking advice to help you plan your next moves as you watch this weekend's games.

Keepers

Last minute: Clint Irwin ($5.1M). Priced pretty cheaply barely more than 5.0, Irwin is the closest thing to a sure fire bet to get a clean sheet this week. The Dynamo have taken the second least amount of shots of anyone in the league (Sounders are worst, sadface) and that's with playing a game more than 8 other teams. They also happen to be missing almost all of their midfield and a key defender. Brad Davis is going to have to try and do it all himself, and he looks three steps slower this year. If Sjoberg is healthy enough to go, he and Burling should provide great set piece defense, negating one of Davis's biggest strengths. It's tough projecting anything in this league, much less a road shutout, but I expect the Houston-Colorado affair to be another very low scoring match.

Looking ahead: David Ousted (5.5). He's got three home games in a row and a Double Game Week in week 6. I don't think he gets a shutout against the Timbers (though I'd enjoy seeing one), but he'll probably get some bonus points. If Vancouver can keep it mostly tidy this week, you can probably ride Ousted to plenty of success the next 3-6 weeks.

Defenders

Last minute: Bobby Burling (4.8). Starting in week 1, Burling racked up 8 CBIs in 66 minutes until he was red carded. That card led to a price drop, and with O'Neill on the US U-23's and Moor still injured, Burling is all but guaranteed a start. He's only 0.1 more expensive than Sjoberg right now so he's a great fill in if you just need a guy this week. Did I mention Colorado hasn't given up a goal yet?

Looking ahead: Jason Hernandez (6.6). Hernandez is right near the top of the CBI chart, and that's with two games out of three on the road. He's at home this week against a very active SKC team, on bye in week 5, away to Philly in week 6, then has a DGW with both at home in week 7. NYC's small field should keep him around the top of the CBI charts, so he should be a good asset even when NYC doesn't get the shutout.

Midfielders

Last minute: Andrew Jacobson (6.0). This isn't a sexy pick, but Jacobson has played every minute of NYC's season so far. As a d-mid, he's not going to score too many goals, but he does do a solid job of playing a full 90 and racking up CBIs and Recoveries. If you just need some cheap points, look no further.

Sebastian Le Toux (8.9). Seba has yet to notch a goal or assist this year, but knowing him, they are coming. What better way to open your account than against Chicago's ugly defense? If you have a bit more to spend, I'm a believer that the Frenchman will have a great week.

Looking ahead: Justin Meram (7.6). He's not playing this week as he's off with the Iraqi National Team, but strongly consider buying in once Meram returns in week 6 to a DGW (as he has a bye week 5). Playing 90 minutes in week 2, Meram had a goal and racked up 9 points. Meram was one of the best fantasy players last year when he played, averaging 6 points per 90. If he locks down a starting role, he can be one of the best fantasy values in the game with the team Columbus has assembled.

All of New England's midfield: They haven't gotten it going yet, but as evidenced last year, New England can be deadly. If they can figure out how to make it work, Diego Fagundez (7.0), Kelyn Rowe (8.5) and Lee Nguyen (11.0) could all be well worth their price tags. It doesn't really pay much to be early on this trend, but I'd keep an eye on them, especially once Jermaine Jones (10.0) is back. They obviously have the talent, it just needs to click.

Forwards

Last minute: Olmes Garcia (6.5). RSL doesn't really have any other options at forward, and he's at home facing a depleted Toronto team. You do the math.

Looking ForwardKhiry Shelton (5.5). Continuing to eat into Nemec's minutes, Shelton inches closer to earning his first career MLS start. He has consistently looked far more dangerous than Nemec, especially in Kreis's system, and Nemec's playing time has gone down each game. Both men are out this weekend with Slovakia (Nemec) and the U.S. U-23's, but it will be an interesting battle when they both return. I'm not sure I'd bet money on it, but it'd come as no surprise to me if Shelton starts at least one game during NYC's DGW in week 7. He might be a worthwhile pickup before then.

Dominic Dwyer (10.3): Dwyer has yet to score this year, and dropped a zero in week 2 with a PK miss. Not looking good for him yet. But he scored 22 goals last year and SKC has taken the most shots in the league so far. Dwyer will get his. I'm not convinced he's more valuable than David Villa, but he's definitely one to watch.

Good luck everyone this weekend. My team was a little disappointing last week, having barely more than average points. I believe in my guys though and am looking forward to a fun week 4.