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Fantasy Soccer: MLS Week 2

Is it time to hop on the Benteke hype train?

Last Updated
5 min read

One week down in MLS and we're off to a fun year of fantasy. Messi believers were rewarded, while those looking to capitalize on RSL's double-game week were left a little disappointed (besides Arango). Charlotte's young defenders came up very big, Benteke started his DC campaign with emphasis, and Portland gave Zack Steffen a very rude welcome back to the league. Congrats to the early winners... and to the early losers, lessons learned and time to move forward!

Week 2 DGWs: None
Week 2 Byes: ATL

Champions Cup Teams

Though week 2 does not have any DGWs to capitalize upon, there are seven teams in the Concacaf Champions Cup that are likely starting to find themselves on tired legs early in the season. ORL, PHI, HOU, STL, CIN, NSH, and NE will be playing their fourth game in two weeks, though St. Louis is the only team that had to travel midweek (to Houston, and the only team that lost). These are teams I am looking to target if their opponent has a good matchup against them.

Three players I like from these games (besides Messi - he's good, I hear):

The first two are Emil Forsberg (RBNY MID $8.5M) and Luciano Acosta (CIN MID $9.4M). Neither scored a goal or had an assist (because duh, 0-0 draws) but MLS's fantasy game registered them with absurd "key passes" totals of 13 and 14, respectively, for 3 bonus points in that category alone. Acosta only played 16 minutes midweek for CIN so he should be good to go against Chicago. RBNY is on the road at Houston, but I would expect Forsberg to have another strong outing. These are the kind of players that don't need to score to have big fantasy outputs, and will likely be among the league leaders at the end of the season. Start them with confidence.

The third is a total wild card - I'm speculating that the Rapids will have a bounce-back game so I'm running Moise Bombito (COL DEF $4.4M) in a switcheroo* defense slot. With Hany Mukhtar and Sam Surridge injured, Nashville does not have an MLS-quality attack. And after playing three games in the prior week and a half, I would not be surprised if Nashville sends out a weakened lineup against Colorado on the road. I think Colorado is not as bad as they seemed against Portland (and Portland not as good as they seemed) and will have a reasonable time against Nashville. I am going with Bombito as he is a cheap starter and had two bonus points for his accurate and high-volume passing numbers. Maybe I get burned and Colorado is that bad (especially if Mukhtar and/or Surridge return), but at $4.4M it is a low-risk, high-reward prospect.

*I am starting an ATL player on bye in my 3-man defense, so the highest scoring defender on my bench will automatically swap into the lineup.

One player I don't like is Fabian Herbers (CHI MID $5.5M). Herbers scored a goal and had an assist, with bonuses for passes and key passes, so he is a steal at $5.5M (and especially at $5.0M last week). But Chicago signed Kellyn Acosta two weeks ago to start in that midfield spot. Though Shaqiri came off to make way for Acosta against Philly, I don't expect Herbers to be starting over Shaqiri for the time being. It may be that Gaston Gimenez is the odd man out, and Herbers starts next to Acosta for the time being, but if you want to run with Herbers make sure to keep an eye on Chicago's lineups.

Best of the Rest

Of the rest of the games, the two biggest mismatches, on paper at least, are Dallas hosting Montreal and Seattle hosting Austin. I am not confident in Montreal's ability to score, so I think the Dallas defense is a good buy. Sam Junqua (DAL DEF $4.6M) is probably the best value, while Nkosi Tafari (DAL DEF $6.2M) is probable to score the most via bonus points, so he likely has a higher floor. Asier Illarramendi (DAL MID $8.0M) had a great game against San Jose and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of the same. If 20-year-old Dante Sealy (DAL FWD $5.0M) is starting, he's likely a huge value considering his three bonus points (2 from key passes, 1 from shots on goal) on top of his 94th minute stoppage-time winner. Otherwise, you can roll the dice on new DP signing Petar Musa if he takes Sealy's place this week for an intriguing differential play.

And of course, I'd like to think nearly everyone reading this hopes (and expects?) Seattle will do well. Especially at home, and especially against a team that will seemingly struggle all year long. Austin was the only home team to lose last week (Will Bruin had an idea why), though Seattle will be dealing with lots of injuries and absences. I'm still starting three Sounders with confidence. I think Andrew Thomas (SEA GK $4.9M) is too good of a value to pass up, considering the circumstances. Jackson Ragen (SEA DEF $6.1M) is your best bet in defense, especially with Nathan unavailable (in Brazil as he takes steps to get his green card), but you could speculate on Alex Roldan (SEA DEF $5.6M) having a bounce-back game after scoring zero last week, to capitalize on team value increases. My other picks are Pedro de la Vega (SEA MID $8.3M), who I expect to start and immediately take the reins of the offense, and Cristian Roldan (SEA MID $7.3M), who is another bounce-back candidate after losing a bit of value last week and is a virtual guarantee to go 90 minutes.

Quick Hits

Pay attention to players who earn bonus points. Goals, assists or clean sheets are hard to predict this early in the season, while bonus points are more consistent.

Christian Benteke had a crazy game against New England, and I think he'll be up for it in Portland. I'm jumping on the hype train.

It is very silly that there are players that have actually played minutes who still aren't available for fantasy selection (I know of Musovski for Seattle and Crooks in RSL).

NWSL Fantasy

For fellow sickos who like to indulge in multiple fantasy sports leagues at the same time, we will have an official Ride of the Valkyries league over at ShePlays for their 2024 NWSL fantasy league. They have not launched it yet, but I would expect it to go up in the next week or so. You can sign up for an account now and take a look at last year's rules and scoring. This year's will have some tweaks, but I understand it will largely be the same.

The main difference in the ShePlays league from MLS Fantasy is that you have limited transfers. You can make one free change per week and take a 5-point deduction for the week if you want/need to make more. This makes long-term planning much more important, as you are giving your team the same deduction as a red card for each extra transfer made in a week.

I'm excited to play and would love to see a lot of you over there as well. I'll have a dedicated post about it when it launches. In the meantime, good luck in MLS Week 2!