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MLS Fantasy with Sounder at Heart: Double Game Week tips and advice

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 marks the first big milestone in MLS Fantasy: the first Double Game Week of the year. DGW's are often the springboard to huge fantasy success. If you can take advantage of these weeks, your team will fly up the standings. Ignore them at your peril. Over the next three weeks there are 6 teams with DGWs: Vancouver and Columbus this week, NYCFC and Philadelphia week 7 and NYRB and Colorado week 8 (week 8 is an oddity as the Colorado at NYRB game is actually the Wednesday after the rest of the week's games) 9 (I guess they're fixing it).

First of all, make sure you get your transfers in before 7:00pm PST tomorrow, Wednesday night, as all transfers are locked at that time.

When it comes to DGWs, the first thing to keep in mind is that the players on DGWs have the potential of scoring essentially double points. Just look at these numbers from Travis Luscombe. DGWs are no guarantee, but you'll be far better off if you can work them in strategically. Vancouver faces a tough Columbus defense and then has to travel to SJ, where a result is all but guaranteed. I think Vancouver will do well enough, but don't be surprised if they fall a bit flat. Vancouver is definitely the better bet than Columbus, as the Crew will be without Federico Higuain ($10.1M) in Vancouver and then have to travel all the way across the country back to New England.

Vancouver and Columbus

For this week's DGW, your best bets are David Ousted (5.5); Kendall Waston (8.7), Sam Adekugbe (6.1); Pedro Morales (11.3), Russell Teibert (7.6), Ethan Finlay (8.1), Justin Meram (7.6); Octavio Rivero (8.6) or Kekuta Manneh (7.1).

Ousted has scored 8, 7, 5 and 7 over the past four games, including two road shutouts. He is extremely likely to be this week's Dream Team GK. Waston is the CB rock and will score plenty of bonus points even if they don't get shutouts. Kah is a nice budget option, but I've heard rumours that there will be a bit of CB rotation with Rodriguez during the double week. Use Kah at your own peril. Adekugbe is probably a better budget option as he's scoring similarly to Beitashour while costing 1.5 less.

Moving to the midfield, Porales is the creator and is highly likely to be involved in any Vancouver goals. If you want to roll the dice on him as one of your big money players, he'll be a great Captain option. I expect a large number of the top teams to captain Porales this week. Teibert is probably the better budget midfield option, as he's more likely to be involved in the attack than anyone else. Mezquida would be a great risky play, but I'm unconvinced he'll play significant minutes both games. It's possible, but risky.

Looking at Columbus, my sole recommendation for this week is Finlay. I don't think you can rely on their defense in these two games, and Higuain is out for Vancouver. Finlay had a Big Chance Created in weeks 1 and 2, an assist week 2 and 4 Key Passes in week 4. He is vital to Columbus's offense, and is most likely to be involved if they are to score anything in either game. The other midfield attacker to use from Columbus is Justin Meram. He's only played one game so far this year after missing Columbus's week 1 game due to suspension and missing their week 4 game to play as Iraq's #10/CAM. But in his one game so far this year (Columbus has already stupidly had 2 bye weeks), he took 7 shots, scoring one, against Toronto. Don't be surprised when Meram follows up on his hot start.

At forward, the best option is Rivero, who has been ultra consistent, scoring a goal in 4 of 5 games. I'm not as convinced that he'll continue to top the goals scored chart, but if you want consistency, he's the guy to own. At greater than 30% ownership, you'll be in good company with Rivero. If you want to get cute, you could try Manneh, who has been playing pretty well and just scored a goal last week, plus he's 1.5 cheaper than Rivero. I'm rolling the dice on Manneh this week. Kamara is the only viable option in Columbus, but I don't think he's nearly reliable enough to spend the 8.0 on.

Looking Ahead

For week 6, NYCFC is the team to use. If you get in now, you get them away against Philly and their new GK and then at home for two games against Philly again and Portland during the DGW. David Villa (10.2) should be rested and healthy, so he's the best obvious choice. Jason Hernandez (6.6) is a fairly cheap CB who should serve you well. Ned Grabavoy (7.6) is a nice budget-ish option in the center. Mix (9.1) would otherwise be a great option, but he'll likely miss the home match against Philly to play with the U.S. against Mexico midweek. You could try Adam Nemec (7.4), but I wouldn't recommend it. Khiry Shelton (5.5) and Patrick Mullins (6.5) will likely see minutes, but how many is a big question. We could potentially see one of them start over the struggling Nemec on the road against Philly, and if so, they could be a great buy for the DGW.

The only guy on Philly really worth owning right now is Fernando Aristeguieta (7.7), though with Mbolhi out, John McCarthy (4.5) could be a nice budget GK backup if he does earn the job. Also, keep an eye on when Cristian Maidana (8.5) returns to health. If he's back, he should be worth the price especially for the DGW.

As covered in depth before, Colorado has a decent and affordable defense, but there's a big lack of reliable guys. Axel Sjoberg (4.7) is worth holding on to, though Drew Moor's (7.0) return should solidify them even further in the back. They just need to figure out how to at least threaten on offense (Dillon Powers (7.4) somehow only has 8 points through 4 games), and they should be at least a middle-of-the-road team through the rest of 2015.

The New York Red Bulls are another team that have somehow only played 3 games so far. They'll make up for it though, as their next bye isn't until week 15. Bradley Wright-Phillips (10.9) is off to another hot start, snagging a goal and assist in each of his last two games, with some additional Key Passes and Big Chances Created to boot. He might not be the absolute best use of that 11 million, but you could certainly do worse. Dax McCarty (8.1) sets the tempo in the midfield, being involved in the attack and netting a ridiculous number of defensive bonus points. He might not have the highest ceiling, but he has a very high floor. In the defense, Matt Miazga (5.5) has stepped in admirably during Ronald Zubar's (7.5) absence. If Zubar remains out, or Miazga retains the starting spot, he's a huge bargain.

Best of the Rest

  • Colorado's poor offense is unlikely to do any better against Dallas, so grab Dallas's defense if you have the transfers
  • Luis Silva (8.5) returned to score a goal late last week. I expect him to be a huge part in returning DCU to the top few teams of the East once he's healthy. Well worth the price when healthy.
  • The Dynamo should get a great boost from Montreal playing midweek in CCL. If you can grab them, play them with confidence. Nathan Sturgis (5.6) has quietly scored as many points as Brad Davis (9.5). Keep an eye on him as a nice former Sounder/budget play.
  • RSL and SKC meet, with the two highest scoring mids facing off. Both Javier Morales (11.1) and Benny Feilhaber (9.4) should be worth their price tags the rest of the year, regardless of matchup. Feilhaber had 4 bonus points last week! Also, Ike Opara (7.3) is tied for the highest score in fantasy, but has tough matchups in the next 4 out of 5 weeks. You can probably keep starting him, but there are likely better short-term options out there. For the future, look to pick him up in week 11 against Colorado ahead of SKC's week 12 DGW.
  • Not much to say about PDX v. ORL. Kaka (11.3) is great, the rest of ORL is a crapshoot. Cyle Larin (5.5) is probably a decent budget play, but there's been a lot of rotation in their F spot for various reasons. Portland actually has some decent scorers on defense with Nat Borchers (7.9) and Liam Ridgewell (8.3), but they are a little expensive. Darlington Nagbe (8.5) will be good if he ever turns it on, but I'm not holding my breath. Fanendo Adi (9.3) is the guy to own, if you can stand owning a Timber.
  • LAG v. SEA should be a firecracker, but I really have no idea who you should play. Obviously Clint Demspey (11.3), Obafemi Martins (11.3) and Robbie Keane (11.1) are dangerous every week but this game could really go either way. If you really wanted to gamble, you could snag Cristian Roldan (5.0) for his potentially replacing Pineda, but there are probably better uses of your transfers.

Good luck everyone this week, and remember to make your transfers before tomorrow night.

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