(As always, Fantasy NWSL is free to play with great prizes for weekly winners, at nwslfl.com)
It’s been a bit harrowing these opening weeks in fantasy as we’ve tried to figure out what stats are going to be kept and getting a feel for lineups and matchups. Last week was exceptionally tough, with just two games and four teams after the cancellation of Boston and FC Kansas City’s match. It’s full steam ahead this week though, with all eight teams in action and our first double week for WNY and Sky Blue FC.
As a general rule, you’ll probably want to stack your club with as many double gamers as possible, and my rankings below reflect that. Still, you’ll need at least five single gamers to fill out your lineup, with at least one slotting into your starting lineup. The best of the single gamers are probably in midfield for this week, though you could certainly make a case for some players up front.
Let’s just hope for some goals and a clean sheet or two, so the week’s winner can have a total above a paltry sixty-five points…
Ranking the teams for fantasy purposes:
1. WNY Flash
2. Sky Blue FC
3. FC Kansas City
Franch (WNY) – Has looked very, very good in two games thus far despite little in the way of offensive support. Two games at home against beatable opposition is definitely a plus, but you might be a little skittish about where the goals are going to come from if she’s to get win points.
Cameron (SBFC) – Obviously not going to put up numbers in the twenties like she did in club’s first game but still a solid option with two decent matchups in round three. Back-to-back road games not ideal, but has a solid defense in front of her and is a decent bet for at least one clean sheet.
Johnson (SBFC) – Must have defender of the week after her round one performance from an advanced position in the formation. No guarantee she doesn’t shift back to left-back, and if crosses aren’t counted, her value goes down, but still should be a good bet for some offensive points.
Foord (SBFC) – Another relative no-brainer given her attacking tendencies. Johnson stole the show in round one, but Foord may be the better option in the long-term this year.
Reynolds (WNY) – Not too crazy about WNY’s full-back options, but she’s a double gamer, should be a good bet to start both games, and doesn’t seem to be as much of a yellow card magnet as Brittany Taylor. More likely to pick up clean sheet points than offensive ones but don’t count the latter out.
Taylor (WNY) – The best natural attacking defender for WNY and got forward some against Washington but also shackled to center-back spot and seems vulnerable to yellow cards. Might be worth a shot, but I’m wary after two less than encouraging fantasy weeks.
Goodson (SBFC) – Big mauler had an up and down first week and is more of a player to watch than bona fide starter for fantasy but has potential as a set-piece target.
Rampone (SBFC) – Great defender but not a great fantasy producer. Not going to come off unless injured, making her a good bet for clean sheet points but not likely to score heavily offensively, meaning she’s a marginal option.
Johnson (WNY)/Sahlen (WNY) – Double gamers and likely starters, but there are better options above.
Perez (WNY) – A flop last week but needs to carry more of the offensive burden without Wambach. Not a great double game group of midfielders, but she’s probably the best option to score points.
Freels (Frierson) (SBFC) – SBFC could be dominant in central midfield zone against Washington and Western New York, meaning Freels could rack up some assists in round three. Best SBFC option by far.
Zerboni (WNY) – Has been needed in more of a defensive role in first few games as team has gelled. Another possibly in line for more of an offensive role without Wambach but hasn’t been great in fantasy thus far. Could have a breakout game against defensively shaky Boston side but still be wary.
Bock (SBFC)/Schmidt (SBFC)/Yokers (WNY) – Defensive midfielders don’t make great fantasy options. Bock and Schmidt can have their moments, but given some of the single game options and even some of the double gamers above, you should probably look elsewhere.
Adriana (WNY) – Will likely be the focus of the offense without Wambach for at least one game. Was #5 overall last week despite not scoring, which certainly bodes well for this week if the club can get her the ball. Too good to go too long without goals, and more balanced offensive outlook without Wambach could ultimately make her a star this fantasy week.
De Vanna (SBFC) – Was a string of AD Franch saves away from a stunning season debut a few weeks ago. Will she be the focus of the offense again, or will O’Hara return to the frontline to steal away scoring opportunities? De Vanna owners will certainly be hoping for the former.
Kerr (WNY) – Wouldn’t have put up much of anything without that late goal but showed flashes of tremendous talent in 1-1 draw. Breakers a nightmare at left-back, so Kerr should have room to cause havoc, but beware youthful inconsistency.
O’Hara (SBFC) – A no-brainer and potential captain if she plays up front. If she stays at left-back? Not so much. If you don’t have faith in De Vanna, the USWNT left-back might be worth a roll of the dice this round.
Adams (SBFC) – Better options available despite her double game status. I wouldn’t even take her over O’Hara, even if she’s at left-back for both games.
Wambach (WNY) – Definitely out for Saturday and status up in the air for Wednesday. Stay away.
Barnhart (FCKC) – Yeah, I know Seattle’s scored in both games so far, but their offense has looked dreadful for the most part, with FCKC well equipped to shut down their greatest strength. Only problem is she may not be called upon to make too many saves to boost that point total.
LeBlanc (POR) – Was pretty much a bust in round two despite having a great matchup. May actually face some shots on goal in this one and has decent shot at clean sheet against temperamental Chicago offense.
Harris (WSH) – Defense seems good enough to not see her shelled and not good enough to ensure she faces a steady diet of shots on goal. Hard seeing her outscoring double gamers unless she can corral a clean sheet and make some saves though.
Krieger (WSH) – Best attacking full-back of the single gamers but likely to run into a brick wall of O’Hara and Johnson down the flank. Decent clean sheet shot against potentially spotty SBFC offense though.
Dougherty (POR) – Was golden with set piece goal against Reign. Good attacking option and decent shot at clean sheet points, even on the road.
Marshall (POR) – Better attacker than Dougherty despite last week’s points total. Have to believe offense coming sooner or later, and Red Star defense is forgiving.
Robinson (FCKC) – Good tactic is to get it wide against Seattle, meaning Robinson should have a steady stream of chances to barrel forward. Not the most productive of attackers though but has good shot at clean sheet.
Quon (CHI) – If crosses aren’t counted, her value dips a good bit. Tough matchup against team with dangerous wide players makes her a risky pick.
Sauerbrunn (FCKC) – Not going to get you much offensively, but she’s not coming off unless hell freezes over, so she’s the safest FCKC bet for clean sheet points.
Chalupny (CHI) – Come on. She was simply majestic in round one and will be counted upon to provide the offensive spark against the Thorns again. Likely to be ganged up on but a good bet to win five fouls at the very least.
O’Reilly (BOS) – Reynolds solid but unspectacular opponent at left-back, and HAO is steady and deadly on the wing, so she’s got a shot at a decent fantasy day.
Matheson (WSH) – Tough matchup against Bock and Schmidt, but she’s taking penalties, with offense seeming to run through her. She’s a fair bet to continue last week’s production.
Mewis (FCKC) – Looked dangerous and feisty in debut against soft-ish Portland midfield but likely to get kicked in the air a lot by Seattle central midfield trio. Things could open up if club scores early, but could be in line for a letdown after promising first game.
Farrelly (FCKC) – Should be back in lineup after international clearance snafu in opening week. Role remains undefined, so you might want to take a wait and see approach.
Fishlock (SEA) – Bad matchup means she’s more likely to rack up negative points due to fouls and cards than positive points for offense.
Nairn (SEA) – Only value is if she’s deployed up front again. Cameron’s arrival lessens the odds of that, so only consider if you’re desperate.
Morgan (POR) – Sinclair playing deeper could equal more chances for Morgan going forward. Red Star defense not great despite opening week display, so she might be worth a go if you don’t fancy the double gamers.
Leroux (BOS) – Flash defense more formidable than you might expect but vulnerable to pace as shown by De Vanna performance in round one. Favorable matchup for HAO on wing means she could have great service.
Sinclair (POR) – Might be needed again to keep Boxx’s influence in check in midfield. Dominated center of park against Seattle but took on more of a creator role, meaning her scoring opportunities went down. Situation is worth monitoring, but she’s still a decent single-gamer option.
Cuellar (FCKC) – Blazing pace gives her advantage over lead-footed Zurrer, but likely to run afoul of physical Deines. Likely to be a war in central midfield, meaning she may suffer from lack of service.
Ochs (WSH) – Impressive early on this season, and SBFC clearly more vulnerable down the right. Could be room to counterattack down flank if Foord gets careless tracking back.
Simon (BOS) – One of many fighting for points behind Leroux. Decent matchup but much better options available this weekend.
Masar (CHI) – If any Red Star forward’s going to net points, it’s probably going to be Masar. Portland defense has shown vulnerabilities, but points not a given by any means.
McCarty (WSH) – Flopped in round two after a fine debut. Doesn’t seem too comfortable leading line by herself and has two tough center-back opponents in canny Rampone and bruising Goodson.
Loyd (FCKC) – Plum matchup but may lose out to Farrelly in lineup. Probably worth avoiding until she’s shown to be a consistent starter.