MLS Fantasy is back early this week, which means that we’re back a little bit earlier this week with our Parsing the Percentages series. Last week, our selections of New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew SC paid off very handsomely for fantasy owners, as both clubs cruised to very convincing home victories in Round 4.
For Round 5, we have chosen Toronto FC and Sporting KC as our two selections for Round 5’s edition of PTP. Oddsmakers and FiveThirtyEight give each of these clubs very strong odds at an outright victory this coming weekend. As such, we recommend allocating MLS Fantasy funds towards their players – we break down which specific players we favor below.
Two other squads that FiveThirtyEight strongly favors, but are much slimmer favorites on the betting sites, are Columbus (59%) home against Vancouver, and Seattle (60%) home against Montreal. Both clubs face opponents from different conferences that are traveling quite a ways to play this weekend, so you may want to pepper in a player or two from those squads as well.
Toronto FC (vs. Real Salt Lake)
FiveThirtyEight: 68% Chance to Win
OddsShark: Toronto FC Win -220
OddsPortal: Toronto FC Win -217
The defending MLS Cup Champions have been underwhelming in MLS play so far in 2018, to say the least. That being said, the oddsmakers appear to be favoring them this week, despite their upcoming CCL matchup on Tuesday. Nevertheless, as the lone team playing on Friday evening, Toronto makes for some intriguing switcheroo options in Round 5.
When Toronto FC comes up in any discussion, the name which instantly comes to mind is none other than Sebastian Giovinco (10m). Despite two straight price drops, he should be considered for a switcheroo at a minimum when considering both his price and potential. Seba was one of the top scorers coming into 2018, and his unique ability to almost score at will should be on full display against a Real Salt Lake back line which has surrendered 6 goals this year.
We also believe Michael Bradley (9.0m) should be able to provide a considerable amount of fantasy production in this match. At a minimum, he provides a solid bonus point floor, especially for managers who opt for higher-upside players elsewhere in the midfield.
Additionally, it appears that Justin Morrow will be unavailable on Friday night, which means that Auro (4.0m) will likely break into the Starting XI on Friday. Given that he can't go lower than 4.0m, he is a fantastic budget switcheroo option for any Fantasy MLS squad this weekend if he starts against RSL.
Sporting KC (vs. DC United)
FiveThirtyEight: 59% Chance to Win
OddsShark: Sporting KC Win -220
OddsPortal: Sporting KC Win -217
GUTI GANG GUTI GANG GUTI GANG GUTI GANG! Felipe Gutierrez (9.7m) has taken MLS Fantasy by storm this season, accumulating 40 points over the first four rounds, with 12 of them coming from bonus points alone. Against a struggling DC United club, he should be a locked-in starter in Round 5, with Captaincy potential.
Johnny Russell (8.9m) could also be a fun play here. At a minimum, he should be due for a Price Increase given his prior performance - definitely consider the 27-year old in a switcheroo slot if the funds can be spared.
On the defensive end, despite a lack of SKC clean sheets in 2018, Graham Zusi (7.0m) has been a bonus point machine on both ends of the pitch. At a minimum, he offers a nice floor with a good chance at a price increase in a very solid matchup.
Thanks to SKC's inability to keep a clean sheet thus far, Tim Melia (4.4m) is a cheap switcheroo option this weekend in a very favorable matchup. SKC's defensive personnel remain virtually unchanged from 2017's best defense, so it's only a matter of time before they compose themselves. Melia is all but assured to drop in price a bit more, no matter this week's result. Nevertheless, he can't drop below 4.0m, and we're willing to risk it for a good chance at a clean sheet in Round 5.