MLS Targets: March 12th

Opening day of MLS saw record breaking goal totals, which in turn led to some big fantasy points on DraftKings! Saturday’s seven game slate kicks off at 3:00 PM EST, with several more enticing matchups on deck. Even though it’s early in the season, there are already injuries and suspensions to consider when building your lineups. I’ll be posting starting lineups on Twitter (@DraftKicks) as they are released, usually an hour before each match starts, to help you make sure your players are active.  

Let’s take a look at the top targets at each position for Saturday:

Saturday’s Contests

MLS $4K Golden Boot – $27 Entry Fee

MLS $3K Striker – $3 Entry Fee

Goalkeeper

Steve Clark $4,300Columbus Crew SC – Despite a 2-1 loss to Portland in a rematch of the 2015 MLS Cup, Clark did well to keep the Crew in the game. He ended on eight DraftKings points through six saves and should have an easier time at home against a Philadelphia Union attack that was held scoreless in their season opener at Dallas.

Evan Bush – $3,900Montreal Impact – Bush played a big role in Montreal’s surprise 3-2 win at Vancouver, coming up with eight saves en route to a 17-point DraftKings performance. Next up is a Red Bulls squad that is full of attacking weapons, but came up empty handed in their home opener against Toronto FC. Bush has a decent floor, regardless of if he concedes a goal or two, based on the amount of shots he’s forced to deal with each game. 

Others to Consider – Bobby Shuttleworth (New England Revolution; $4,200), Tim Melia (Sporting KC; $4,100), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; $4,000)

Defender

Chris Tierney$4,700New England Revolution – The highest priced defender on the board put up an acceptable 10 points in the season opener. The Revs have a favourable home matchup against a D.C. United team that knocked them out of the 2015 MLS Playoffs. It might be a stretch to count on Tierney to whip in 16 crosses as he did in that 2-1 loss, but he’s more than capable against a shaky United defense. 

Waylon Francis – $4,000Columbus Crew SC – Usually Harrison Afful features in this spot but I feel as though Crew teammate Waylon Francis offers similar upside at a slight discount compared to Afful. The pair of Crew wing backs combined for 10 crosses in the opener, with six of those coming off the boot of Francis. I expect them to put up similar numbers, or better, sending balls in for big man Kei Kamara against a vulnerable Philadelphia Union side.

Kemar Lawrence – $3,900New York Red Bulls – The Jamaican international also logged six crosses in the season opener and is another player that you can count on to consistently hit double-digit points based on his involvement in the attack. He’s constantly seeking out target man Bradley Wright-Phillips and is in a good spot going up against an Impact D that gave up two goals to defenders on Sunday.

Others to Consider – Taylor Kemp (D.C. United; $4,300), Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew; $4,200), Ambroise Oyongo (Montreal Impact; $3,200)

Midfielder

Federico Higuain – $6,400Columbus Crew SC – The Argentine scored a sensational bicycle kick goal  on opening day – an early reminder of just how dynamic the midfielder can be. He’s got a safe floor based on his set piece involvement and a high ceiling given his goal upside. Aside from the goal, Higuain rattled off seven shots in the opener. After seeing Mauro Diaz rip the Union apart to the tune of 25 DraftKings points, all signs point to a strong game from Higuain.

Mauro Diaz$6,900FC Dallas – Diaz picked up where he left off in 2015, with a pair of assists to go along with a slew of other stats en route to a 25-point day in Dallas’ opening day victory. FCD saw Fabian Castillo succumb to injury in the first game, so Diaz will continue to be a top midfield option as the focal point of their attack. He collects stats across the board and is facing a Dynamo squad that just gave up three goals to start the season. 

Cristian Maidana – $5,200Houston Dynamo – Maidana got off to a great start with his new team, scoring a goal and adding 12 crosses for a 26-point tally on DraftKings. I generally steer clear of players facing FC Dallas, but Maidana gets a pass due to the monopoly he has on set pieces with Brad Davis in KC now. He’s a strong cash game play with double-digit upside from set pieces alone.

Others to Consider – Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders; $7,100), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact; $6,000), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake; $6,600)

Forwards

Kei Kamara$9,400Columbus Crew SC – By now it might be obvious that I like the Crew SC’s fantasy potential against the Union. Kamara is the highest priced player at any position by over $1000, but there is enough value on the board to fit him into your lineup. The imposing striker came away empty handed in the season opener, but has a good chance to open his 2016 account against a Union defense that is already shorthanded to start the season. He has 10 point upside through his shot volume alone, and if he’s able to connect for a goal, Special K could easily pay off his steep price tag.

Robbie Keane$8,100LA Galaxy – Keane wasted no time in doing what he does best, scoring a goal in the Galaxy’s 4-1 home opener vs. D.C. United. The overhauled Colorado Rapids team didn’t look bad in a 1-0 loss at San Jose, and at home I’m expecting them to give Los Angeles a good game. Regardless, Robbie Keane is a fantasy threat with hat trick upside any time he takes the field. If this game turns into a back-and-forth affair, the Irishman is sure to be involved.

Charlie Davies $5,100New England Revolution – After talking a big game in the offseason, “Chuck D” backed it up with a goal in the Revolution’s 3-3 draw at Houston. D.C. United has shown early on that they are exploitable in the back which leads me to believe Davies will have several opportunities to capitalise. He is the pesky forward that gets himself in the right spot at the right time and is able to create opportunities for himself. I’d be hesitant to use him in cash games, but he has nice GPP upside for just $5,100. 

Others to Consider – Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls; $8,000), Dominic Dwyer (Sporting KC; $6,700), Joao Plata (Real Salt Lake; $5,000)

Utility Appeal

Shkelzen Gashi – $5,000Colorado Rapids – Gashi was disappointing in his MLS debut, finishing at six DK points in just 67 minutes of action. I’m not giving up on the big offseason addition just yet and anticipate a breakout game very soon. The Galaxy seem like a tough matchup on paper but their defense has looked rough at times both in preseason and in the 4-1 win versus United. At $5K I’m willing to go back to the well with Gashi as it’s just a matter of time before the goals start flowing.

Mike Magee – $3,500LA Galaxy – Magee went off for 34 points in just 45 minutes of action after subbing into the match at halftime. His exploits earned him the MLS Player of the Week, and he could be set to start on Saturday with Gio Dos Santos ruled out with an injury. At $3,500 the former MLS MVP is certainly worthy of consideration.