After an absolutely glorious weekend both on the pitch in Harrison, NJ and within the MLS Fantasy domain, we have a very quick turnaround as Round 11 is absolutely loaded with teams playing twice for a good old fashioned Double Gameweek. We’ve only got a few hours until lineups are announced, so let’s get right to it!
One piece of advice before we dive in to our picks, however: MLS Fantasy managers should check Wednesday night lineups to ensure all of their players are starting. Wednesday night matches can result in some very strange lineups where all starters are rested, and managers will want to make sure their lineups are adjusted accordingly to avoid starting a player who is on the bench (or in a weaker-than-usual lineup), or pick up players that are going up against a team resting their regulars.
Switcheroo Picks - Bench
• GK - Zack Steffen (CLB)
• DEF - Greg van der Weil (TFC)
• DEF - Steve Beitashour (LAFC)
• FWD - Josef Martinez (ATL)
Switcheroo Picks - Starting Lineup
• Jeff Attinella (POR)
• DEF/plug - Roy Miller (POR)
• MID/plug - Eryk Williamson (POR)
So for a round such as this one featuring several teams on double-duty, there is an upside and a downside. The upside is managers can load their entire lineup with players who will play twice in a round, which means you can roughly double your chances at strong fantasy returns. Unfortunately, the downside is that managers are very limited in their ability to actively manage their lineup in the same fashion that one would be able to in other weeks, as players on double-duty will be locked in to lineups on Wednesday night.
Therefore, we are forced to revert to a 2017-esque switcheroo: placing two plugs in your starting lineup, and letting the best two performers from your bench take their spots. Our plugs come from Portland this week, as there are no teams on bye and the Timbers are playing their only match of the week on Sunday. For our bench selections, we’ve gone with Josef Martinez, Greg van der Weil, Steve Beitashour, and Zack Steffen.
We’re confident in Columbus and LAFC’s ability to bring in at least one clean sheet this weekend, so we have decided to split the difference and include two defensive players from each club on to our roster (one on the bench, one locked-in to our lineup). As a goalkeeper, placing Steffen on the bench is a standard switcheroo play. Meanwhile, Beitashour has the highest rotation risk as a fullback, so he will occupy our second defensive bench slot accordingly. Lastly, we wanted some exposure to Toronto’s defense given a juicy home match against Seattle, so we’ve gone with GVDW for the second straight round.
On the attacking end, Josef Martinez has struggled to find the back of the net in recent weeks. However, his potential remains sky-high, and we want to ensure we take advantage if he has a breakout performance. Using him in a switcheroo slot allows us to do exactly that.
Now, granted, there is still some flexibility here: if Martinez, van der Weil, and Beitashour all produce dismal returns, we still have an opportunity on Sunday evening to bring in players to replace our Portland outfield plugs.
Finally, our final Portland plug is goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who finds himself in the opposite scenario from his teammates currently in our starting lineup: if Steffen has a solid round, we will ship out Attinella for a plug who will not play, ensuring Steffen automatically switches in.
• DEF - Laurent Ciman (LAFC)
• DEF - Jonathan Mensah (CLB)
• MID - Ignacio Piatti (MTL)
• MID - Rasmus Schuller (MNU)
• MID - Miguel Almiron (ATL) - Captain
• MID - Michael Bradley (TFC)
• FWD - Carlos Vela (LAFC)
• FWD - Sebastian Giovinco (TFC)
Defensively, we opted to lock in two center-backs, given their inherently lower risk of rotation at their position. LAFC and Columbus have very good opportunities at clean sheets this round, so Laurent Ciman and Jonathan Mensah are our go-to picks here.
In the midfield, we’ve actually opted for two defensive midfielders at the moment. Michael Bradley plays the full 180 minutes pretty much every round his club plays twice, and Rasmus Schuller is a bonus point machine for Minnesota. Bradley also has an opportunity to play further up the pitch with several Toronto defenders reportedly close to a return to full fitness, which improves his attacking prospects. However, we’re also keeping a close eye on the LAFC lineup on Wednesday night – if Benny Feilhaber is in the starting lineup, we may swap him in for Schuller.
Our more attacking-oriented selections this week are Ignacio Piatti, Miguel Almiron, Carlos Vela, and Sebastian Giovinco. These are pretty much no-brainer picks across the board, as all are in fantastic form and have the potential to produce some very strong returns for fantasy managers this week, especially if they play at least 60 minutes in both matches.