MLS Fantasy 2018 - Round 5 Picks

March 30, 7:05pm EST UPDATE: Clint Irwin (4.5m) gets the start over Alex Bono, our lineup has been adjusted accordingly. Quite a bit of switcheroo savings thanks to TFC’s Friday Night lineup!!

MLS Fantasy is back once again this weekend, but with a slight adjustment: the first match of Round 5 kicks off on a Friday, instead of a Saturday! Mike Petke’s Real Salt Lake takes the trip north of the border to visit Toronto FC for an inter-conference Friday Night showdown, so if you are planning on bringing in players from either club, be sure to do so before 8pm EST!

Naturally, given the Fantasy MLS format this season, we have arranged our lineup in a fashion that it allows us to be pretty flexible and make changes. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty behind that below.

Without further ado, here’s how we’re lined up ahead of tonight’s lineup announcements:

Here's our thinking behind the above picks:

The Starting XI

Our lineup features 8 outfield players with three FC Dallas bye-week plugs. We went pretty top-heavy on the attacking end, with three high-caliber forwards in Alberth Elis (10.5m), Carlos Vela (10.5m), and Josef Martinez (11.0m). Behind them we've got three midfielders in great form as Pipa Higuain (11.6m), Felipe Gutierrez (10.0m), and Vako (10.0m) all have pretty strong home matchups this round.

Defensively, Columbus' Milton Valenzuela (7.0m) and Houston's Adolfo Machado (6.5m) both have a good chance at picking up clean sheets, as they both face out-of-conference opponents that have to travel quite a distance for this weekend's matches. Moreover, both players have decent bonus-point potential, and should see a price increase no matter what fantasy output they have in Round 5 given their fantasy production year-to-date.

The Switcheroos

Our bench is made up of two players from both Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls. Toronto is another team that is at home this week against a non-conference opponent who traveled a considerable amount. Clint Irwin (4.5m) and Auro (4.0m) are both quite cheap, and we have enough money on the bench to swap out the FC Dallas players on Saturday morning in case Toronto ends up giving up some goals at home. We definitely want to keep an eye on the starting lineups here - with Justin Morrow out for Toronto, Auro should start, but we will be ready to change him out in case he is on the bench for this match.

Unlike Toronto, the New York Red Bulls have played very well in both CCL and MLS play this spring. With New York traveling to Mexico this week for their CCL matchup, we expect to see quite a bit of lineup rotation in Round 5. However, unlike other teams, the depth that NY has shown thus far in 2018 means that they still have a good chance at coming away with a result on the road with their '1A' lineup - especially against a struggling Orlando City. Connor Lade (6.0m) and Alex Muyl (6.5m) should feature on Saturday and provide a price increase at a minimum, thanks to their strong early-season performances. Nevertheless, we will monitor the lineups on Saturday afternoon, and adjust accordingly should they not be in the Starting XI.