Good morning and happy matchday to all of the MLS Fantasy managers out there! Round 6 kicks off on a Friday night once again as the Montreal Impact travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Revolution. The first match of the weekend kicks off at 7:30pm EST, and there are quite a few intriguing options in this one!
Lineups will be announced at 6:30pm EST, so be sure to check back in afterwards as our picks may change as a result. Nevertheless, the below lineup should be very close to what our final lineup will look like:
The Switcheroo Options
For the first time this season, our bench options are entirely made up of players who will be participating in the first match of the weekend. Given that we've left $2.0m in the bank, we have enough flexibility to make moves in case most (if not all) of our bench options end up producing goose eggs on Friday night.
• Matt Turner and Andrew Farrell are our defensive picks for the Revolution. As a home team playing on a difficult pitch, they actually have a decent chance at turning out a clean sheet this round. Depending on the lineup, we may end up switching Farrell out with another New England defender - we'll be sure to let you know if we do!
• Montreal defender Victor Cabrera is our second defensive bench switcheroo pick. We typically avoid defenders on the road, but Cabrera has been an absolute bonus point menace so far this season. He also serves as an indirect hedge for New England forward Cristian Penilla, who occupies our final bench slot. The 26-year-old Ecuadorian has been the top attacking threat for the Revolution by far - if he doesn't manage to find the scoresheet, that means that there's a good chance Cabrera earns a clean sheet on Friday night.
• However, the way we see it, the best case scenario for tonight would be a 1-0 or 2-0 victory for New England, where Penilla is involved in any New England goal-scoring activities, yet Cabrera still manages to put up a 4-to-6 point performance driven solely on the basis of bonus points.
Lastly, here's a breakdown of the moves we will make as a result of tonight's match:
• If Penilla scores, we remove Jacori Hayes from our starting lineup and put in a bye-week player in his place. This ensures Penilla will automatically sub to take his place in the final XI.
• If New England holds Montreal to a clean sheet, we will replace Jimmy Maurer with a bye-week player to ensure Turner auto-switches into the GK slot. We would also leave Marc Burch in the XI, so that Farrell is guaranteed to take his place.
• If Montreal holds New England to a clean sheet and Penilla puts up very low scores, we will likely leave Hayes in the starting lineup and keep Joseph Scally in the XI, so Cabrera takes his place via the auto-switch.
• If both Farrell and Cabrera put up sub-par scores, no big deal - we just transfer Burch and Scally out on Saturday morning and replace them with low-cost players on clubs with a decent shot at a clean sheet, such as Philadelphia, Orlando City SC or FC Dallas.
Locked and Loaded
This weekend, the majority of our locked-in players are pretty much the "Who's Who" of Major League Soccer:
• Atlanta's Dynamic Duo of Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron are featured alongside LA FC's Carlos Vela; we're expecting a very high-scoring affair down in Atlanta this weekend, and we could see monster returns from each of these players on Saturday.
• Mauro Diaz and Sacha Kljestan are also expected to have strong outings this weekend. Both players are the primary creative forces for their respective clubs, and are facing two of the Western Conference's weakest teams. Sounds like a recipe for quite a few bonus points this weekend, and hopefully some activity on the scorecard as well.
Finally, we round out the lineup with some very strong budget options:
• In a fantasy season where the top defenders are already pricing well over 7.0m, Keegan Rosenberry is a great back-line option this weekend. San Jose has looked hapless on the road this season, and the weather appears to be holding up, which means he may be able to offer some potential on the attacking end as well. Additionally, if our Friday night defenders don't pan out, we may actually load up on another Philly defender or two on Saturday.
• Jacori Hayes is a very solid hedge for a weak Cristian Penilla outing - he should be able to soak up some bonus points out of the holding midfield at a minimum against a Colorado attack that has not looked great on the road this season.