Week 10 is in the books, which means we are almost a third done with the season. Hopefully you guys and gals have all been having fun so far. We're entering a four week stretch leading up to the first free wild card for everyone, so keep in mind that you can reset everything in week 15. Also keep in mind the international dates during weeks 14 and 15 -- it might not be the smartest to load up on Team America for these weeks.
DC United or Bust
If you aren't planning on loading up on DCU players, you're just being foolish. DCU have only lost one game this season, on the road to New York back in March. Most importantly for our purposes though, DC has seven league games over the next four weeks. For those of you not counting at home, that's three DGWs for DCU leading up to the week 15 wildcard. I fully expect the best teams over the next four weeks to be stocked with three or four DCU players. Mine certainly will be.
Of course, the big question then is which three or four to target?
Bobby Boswell (9.3), Sean Franklin (8.2) and Perry Kitchen (7.6) are locks for playing time -- each has played every minute of the season so far for DC, both scoring the fourth-most amongst defenders by total score and points per game. Personally, of these three Franklin is the one to get. He's scored the exact same as Boswell, and that 1.1 difference can pay dividends at other positions. Of course, if you want to spend the cash you can grab Boswell too. Kitchen is a low floor, (usually) low ceiling kind of guy. He'll get minutes, but don't expect more than 3 points a game. There are much better options.
Bill Hamid (6.4) is obviously the keeper of choice and will certainly play every match... until he gets called up to the USMNT. Lots of teams have DGWs in week 14, so there are some great options for you that week. Play Hamid with confidence in the meantime.
Fabian Espindola (10.2) is the next obvious choice, but only if he's healthy. He has a quad injury that could keep him sidelined for an unspecified amount of time. I think there's a good chance he'll play at least the Philly game later this week, so he's probably worth a pick up in most cases. But there's definitely risk, and it's possible he doesn't play in all four games in weeks 13 and 14 to protect the injury.
Chris Rolfe (8.9) and Chris Pontius (7.2) have both started every game in the midfield, with Rolfe getting more points while Pontius gets more minutes. Rolfe has been really good, but it's definitely possible his 32-year-old legs get a bit of rest during the DGWs. There's some risk here, but I think folks will find value if they invest.
Davy Arnaud (6.5) and Nick Deleon (6.4) have a lot of starts this season but haven't been particularly great. The price point is low, and they're both pretty involved, so you can speculate a bit here, but I'd stay away.
Luis Silva (8.5) and Jairo Arrieta (6.5) are your high-risk, high-reward options. Silva lit the field on fire last year for DC, but so far has only been a sub for their last six games. But there's a possibility Silva returns as a starter these next weeks, in which case he might be worth his 8.5 price tag and then some. Not for the faint of heart. Arrieta is Espindola's direct replacement, so if Espindola is injured or rested, Arrieta should get plenty of minutes. Don't expect the Moon though.
Finally, there's the Defenseese Knot. Steve Birnbaum (7.5), Taylor Kemp (7.5), Chris Korb (5.6) and Kofi Opare (5.1) all are decent options, but there's a lot of uncertainty over which two start. Birnbaum will be the starter once healthy, so Opare is a good option but for a limited amount of time. Korb started the season while Kemp was injured, Kemp returned for awhile, but now Korb is starting again. I don't think anything is certain amongst these four, but if you're able to predict it correctly, you'll be in the money.
Personally, I'm going with Hamid (for now), Franklin, and Rolfe, though I am waiting to see who gets the start against Orlando. I'll pick up Silva (instead of Rolfe) and Espindola if they start Wednesday night.
Best of the Rest
Looking at this week specifically, Orlando gets the benefit of the DGW. You can probably roll with Kaka (11.3), but he's boom or bust. The last three weeks he's scored 6 points total. Brek Shea (7.8) is probably being moved up to the midfield with Molino out, so he's a reasonable option. Rafael Ramos (5.2) is sometimes really good, especially for the price, and Cyle Larin (5.7) should get a lot of minutes at forward with Orlando's numerous injuries. Orlando hasn't been playing all that well lately, so you're plenty forgiven if you don't find much to like.
Sporting Kansas City has four home games over this stretch as well as a DGW. You've probably heard of Benny Feilhaber (9.7), who is still a steal at that price. Tim Melia (4.7) seems to have taken over at GK, so is probably a great penny-pinching option. Jalil Anibaba (6.5) has emerged as the best value in defense. Dom Dwyer (10.6) hasn't recreated his 2014 form yet, but he does have two goals in the past three games. Of course, two of SKC's five games are against the Sounders, so if you don't like rooting against the Rave Green, invest elsewhere.
Matt Polster (4.7) counts as a defender, but has locked down a central midfield position in Chicago. His designation is a mixed bag, as he gets punished for the defenses mistakes but gets to earn clean sheets. A Polster, Axel Sjoberg (4.7) and London Woodberry (4.9) back line is actually not too bad a squad.
Mauro Diaz (9.5) has been burning the opposition since returning from injury. He's had 8, 13, and 11 point games. Those are Dempsey numbers and his price is 2.3 less. Dallas has only one home game and no DGWs leading up to the week 15 WC, but Diaz is so good it probably doesn't even matter.
Jordan Allen (5.2) has been pretty darn good for RSL this season, and also counts as a defender. Once he's back from international duty, he's well worth an add.
Charlie Davies (8.9) is on a four-game goal-scoring streak. He's got three home games in the next three weeks and a DGW next week. If you want to ride the hot hand, Davies is hotter than almost anyone else.
Hopefully this gives you plenty of options for your week and some food for thought towards weeks ahead. Get those DCU guys and don't get left behind. Good luck.