NWSL – Fantasy Preview – Round Seven

So, how’d everyone do? It seems like it was another high scoring week, and I missed out on the top ten for the round by a point but moved up to #52 on the season.

This might be the most docile round of the season, with no bye weeks, no double weeks, and no international call-ups to worry about. Enjoy it while it lasts. It’s the last round without a double game team until mid-July, and the flurry of international friendlies are going to make or break a lot of teams over the next month.

Complicating matters are the imminent returns of a handful of players, as well as the additions of others to the game. Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe should be returning from France sometime within the month, while Boston got a big boost when it was announced that Alyssa Naeher was headed back stateside this week. In Chicago, Inka Grings will likely make her Red Stars debut next week, along with Sonja Fuss in defense. Carli Lloyd returned from injury a few rounds back, while injury returns for Hope Solo and Jillian Loyden should happen within the next month.

That’s not to say the injury bug isn’t striking elsewhere, as FC Kansas City sweats on the health of Becky Sauerbrunn and Lauren Sesselmann, while Chicago now has to deal with the loss of Leslie Osborne and the potential loss of Erin McLeod. Seattle’s a walking disaster area with Eli Reed and Kate Deines injured and Jenny Ruiz suspended for the derby against Portland.

You’ll probably want to stock up with WNY and Portland players this week. It’s much more of a crapshoot beyond those two clubs. Boston has had their moments, but they’ve also put together some fantasy duds against Washington and looked out of form against FC Kansas City last round. FCKC and Sky Blue FC meet up in the week’s money match, and it would take a brave soul to back either team decisively in that one for fantasy purposes.

Round Seven Fantasy Team Rankings

1. WNY
2. POR
3. BOS
4. FCKC
5. SBFC
6. WSH
7. SEA
8. CHI

GK

Franch – Red Stars struggling to ignite, so despite leaky defense, still likely this week’s best GK option thanks to non-allocated status.

LeBlanc – Reign largely pitiful on offense so far but could be walking into a snake pit in a derby match on the road.

Phillips – Back in goal according to some reports, though her job may be in jeopardy with Naeher’s imminent return. Decent matchup here.

Cameron – Has been fantasy gold so far but threat of Loyden always there and gets a tough matchup on road.

Barnhart – Great this year but could be playing behind patchwork defense against red hot SBFC, so I’d avoid.

Harris/Jones – Watch the injury report for news, but matchup’s not great anyway with other games this round, so I’d stay away.

Kopmeyer – Didn’t look bad and stopped a penalty against SBFC and derby’s a derby, but still tough matchup behind a ramshackle defense.

DF

Dougherty – Pretty much a must have at this point given her form, opponent.

Marshall – Booking killed her fantasy total last week, but still a great option against Reign.

Robinson – Not a great matchup given opponent and backline injuries, but has been money thus far.

Johnson – Will definitely be room to counterattack against aggressive full-backs, so don’t hesitate to use her if you’re confident.

Goodson – Could be a sneaky set piece target against a hobbling backline.

Foord – See above with Johnson, though the Australian doesn’t seem as consistent.

Krieger – Breakers weaker defending the left side of the pitch, and if you’re going to use an allocation on a defender, it should probably be Krieger.

Taylor – Flash defense has leaked goals but good matchup, and she doesn’t cost an allocation, so might be worth a shot.

Buehler – Steady as ever and seems a great option if you want to use an allocation on a defender.

Williamson – Playing well, but low fantasy scorer despite great matchup.

Rampone – Been a good scorer thus far but tough matchup and allocated status make her a marginal pick.

Whitehill – Always a threat off long free kicks and has probably been club’s most reliable defender.

Sauerbrunn – Hopeful for an injury return, but not ideal matchup against squad with blazing pace, so I’d stay away.

MF

Sinclair – In scoring form and great matchup, so, duh, play her.

Cheney – Seems to be close to undroppable status but SBFC defense still tough.

Lloyd – Bombs away. Had six points in twenty-six minutes on season debut and faces a depleted Chicago midfield. Might not go the full ninety, but looks worth a play anyway.

O’Reilly – Was a dud last week, but up against weaker side of Washington defense, so definitely worth a look.

Chalupny – Hasn’t been great since first game explosion, but Flash softer defending in midfield than attacking, so she’s got a shot.

Matheson – Rare misfire last week but figures to get back on the ball sooner rather than later, so don’t hesitate to play her if you want to.

Schmidt – Hard arguing against keeping her out of lineup in current form despite tough matchup.

Mewis – Came to life last week after tepid fantasy start but has tough matchup this week.

Sanderson – In great form but struggling strikeforce hurts her value.

Fishlock – Made a name for herself in clubs’ first meeting, and certainly has a shot here.

Washington – Did little last week, but Seattle defense a disaster, so she might be a nice non-allocated pick.

Nairn – Loves to shoot, making her a great phantom point accruer but matchup isn’t the best.

Ochs – Still playing up front, but production not really there at the moment.

Loyd – Seems to make things happen when she’s on pitch but not guaranteed to start, so watch injury report.

Farrelly – Decent value if she’s used in advanced midfield position but didn’t net a point in withdrawn role last round, so watch injury report.

Lindsey – Probably not consistent enough to warrant a play, especially with allocated status.

Zerboni – Done little in fantasy thus far, but Lloyd’s presence could open up space for her.

Bywaters – One good game, lots of nondescript ones. Needs to show more consistency before being a reliable option.

Lohman – Decent matchup but probably not enough here to be a consistent play.

Noyola – Showing sparks but hard to trust with coaches putting her out on wing in ill-advised tactical decision.

Lytle – Might she be rewarded for her two goals with a start? Brutal matchup at any rate, so I’d stay away.

FW

Morgan – Only one round not in double digits and facing a threadbare Seattle backline, so use her with impunity.

Wambach – Could be in line for a massive game against a woeful Chicago defense, but be careful, as Red Stars more vulnerable to pace in defense, meaning Kerr could steal some points.

Kerr – Pace + lead footed Chicago defense = potential carnage. A great enabler option up top if you need her.

De Vanna – A godsend up front thanks to her non-allocated status. Keeps scoring and has a potentially good matchup against shuffled FCKC defense, so don’t hesitate in using her if you need allocations elsewhere.

Cuellar – Got back in the saddle last week with an impressive showing against Boston but comes up against lockdown artist Rampone this week, so tread carefully.

O’Hara – Finally! Was a big time producer last week and has the potential to exploit inexperienced Mathias on the flank if she’s used as an attacker. That’s an ‘if’ though, as she might be needed in defense to shut down the FCKC attack.

Leroux – Has driven fantasy owners bonkers with two horrible weeks after her hat trick against Chicago. One of those weeks was against Washington, so I’d be dubious about using her.

Schoepfer – Has also fallen off a cliff after a breakout round four but doesn’t use an allocation but still very risky here.

Adams – Solid contributor, but no reason why you’d pick her over De Vanna if the Aussie is healthy.

McCarty – Scored on them in round one, but far better and more consistent options this week.

Adriana – Third banana in Flash attack might now be fourth in line with Lloyd back, so stay away for now.

Taylor – Followed up a goal in round five with nada in round six. Tough matchup, so I’d stay away.

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