The second leg of each series is sure to produce fireworks, as only four teams will be left standing after Sunday’s conference semifinals. There are several injury concerns that will surely affect starting lineups, so as always I will be posting starting lineups (usually an hour before each game) on Twitter (@DraftKicks) to help you navigate the nine-hour span of Major League Soccer action.
Luis Robles – $5,100 – New York Red Bulls – Robles and the Red Bulls lost for the first time in 20 games last Sunday but will look to bounce back at home in the second leg. The Impact have been the surprise of the playoffs, but their attack didn’t look overly threatening in a 1-0 win in the first leg. Look for the league-leader in clean sheets to get back on track against Montreal, who he held scoreless and posted 16 points against the last time they visited the Red Bull Arena.
Tim Howard – $4,500 – Colorado Rapids – The Rapids are in a must-win spot after losing 1-0 to the LA Galaxy in the first leg. A return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park could see a reversal of fortunes, as Colorado went unbeaten in their home confines over the course of the regular season with 11 wins and six draws. With another chess match likely to ensue, Howard will play an integral part if the Rapids are to advance to the next round.
Others to Consider – Chris Seitz (FC Dallas; $4,800), Eirik Johansen (New York City FC; $4,400), Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders; $3,400)
Kemar Lawrence – $4,200 – New York Red Bulls – After contributing four assists last season, Lawrence has been a bit of a bust with no attacking contributions to show for in 2016. Despite the downturn in production, “Taxi” is back on the radar taking into consideration his low salary and recent production. While he’s not posting flashy numbers, a combined four crosses, three tackles won and four interceptions for 15 DK points over his last two games puts Lawrence back on the map in a must-win game.
Maynor Figueroa – $3,900 – FC Dallas – With so many stars to pay up for on Sunday, we’re going to need to squeeze a few value plays in to free up funds. Enter Figueroa, who has averaged nine fantasy points per game over his last three outings through a cluster of peripheral stats. He’s taken two shots and swung in two crosses in each of his last two appearances, and with FC Dallas playing catchup he’s in a good spot to continue to produce.
Others to Consider – Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC; $6,300), Eric Miller (Colorado Rapids; $4,500), Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; $5,000)
Sacha Kljestan – $10,500 – New York Red Bulls – Kljestan was kept in check throughout last Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Montreal. Now, with their backs against the wall, we can expect him to get back to doing what he did to earn an MVP nomination. He racked up a league-leading 20 assists over the course of the regular season, and if the Red Bulls are to turn this series it around, Kljestan is sure to be involved.
Shkelzen Gashi – $9,600 – Colorado Rapids – Gashi is a good alternative to Kljestan and comes at nearly $1K less if you can’t quite squeeze the above. He has a combined six shots and 19 crosses spread over his last three games, and with the Rapids chasing a 1-0 deficit versus the LA Galaxy they’ll look to their leading scorer to provide the goods once more.
Others to Consider – Alex Muyl (New York Red Bulls; $5,600), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids; $4,700), Daniel Royer (New York Red Bulls; $4,300)
David Villa – $12,000 – New York City FC – Villa was a non-factor in the first-leg of the series, but expect him to come out all guns blazing on Sunday with NYC down 2-0. Even with last Sunday’s six-point dud the Spaniard is averaging over 23 FPPG and has six goals in his last five games. While Sebastian Giovinco is always in play, Villa is positioned to attack relentlessly and could put up a comparable fantasy total at a saving of over $2,000.
Bradley Wright-Phillips – $11,800 – New York Red Bulls – Wright-Phillips found chances hard to come by last weekend, and he has just two shots and seven total points in his last two games versus Montreal. Generally, this is cause for concern, but with the Red Bulls looking to reverse a 1-0 deficit, I’m banking on the 2016 Golden Boot winner to open his MLS Cup Playoffs account today. For similar reasons to Villa above, Wright-Phillips is a viable GPP alternative to Giovinco.
Others to Consider – Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC; $14,300), Maxi Urruti (FC Dallas; $7,000), Mike Grella (New York Red Bulls; $5,300)
Mauro Rosales – $4,400 – FC Dallas – With key cog Mauro Diaz done for the season, FC Dallas have seen their attack come to a screeching halt. They’re still searching for answers but there are rumblings that Rosales could be tasked with pulling the strings on Sunday. Rosales was lively in 17 minutes of action off the bench last Sunday, putting in five crosses and finishing on six fantasy points in limited minutes. A three-goal deficit seems insurmountable, but we can expect the Supporters’ Shield winners to go down swinging. If given the start, Rosales jumps out as a good value play as the ringleader of an attack that is desperate for someone to create.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is MONEYMACHiNE) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.