NWSL – Fantasy Preview – Round Ten

For a person who left 48.50 points on the bench last round, I didn’t fare too horribly when all was said and done, doing enough to move up six places in the overall standings. I gambled big on Sky Blue FC and lost, with their defense getting cut apart and the offense not doing much of anything. Speaking of offense, it wasn’t exactly the best feeling in the world to have started Lisa De Vanna and Sydney Leroux (combined points: 4.50) and see Abby Wambach rack up the points from my bench.

Obviously, the story this round is everyone who’s missing on international duty from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Wales. Unlike a few rounds ago, there are no bye weeks, and complicating matters, Chicago and Western New York play in mid-week as well.

While I’d normally advocate loading up with double gamers, I’m hesitant this round. The Red Star defense has generally looked a lot more solid since Sonja Fuss joined up, though the German conceded the penalty that put Chicago behind the eight-ball early against FC Kansas City. The offense? Still a disaster area for the most part. Inka Grings hasn’t exactly set the league on fire in three games, and there’s very little else other than Lori Chalupny, with Zakiya Bywaters still injured. They have two tough matchups this round too, against a FC Kansas City squad on the road that just eased past them and at home against a WNY side with a lot of confidence. Considering Rory Dames showed no hesitation in rotating his squad mid-week, there’s also the danger that minutes are going to get spread out. Good for maintaining energy levels, bad for fantasy owners.

WNY has two great matchups, but I’m wary about trusting them too much. The defense looks to have favorable opponents, but they’ve leaked goals for much of the season. That’s not going to stop me from captaining AD Franch though. Famous last words? It’s difficult to know where the offense is going to come from without Abby Wambach, Samantha Kerr, and Carli Lloyd though. Neither McCall Zerboni nor Adriana have shown a whole lot for much of the season, meaning the likes of Jodi-Ann Robinson, Laura Heyboer, Veronica Perez, and Victoria DiMartino could all get their chances…want to make a guess from that bunch?

Round Ten Team Rankings:

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

GK

Franch (WNY) – Two very winnable matchups behind a rearguard that finally kept a clean sheet. Should be good for at least one this round.

LeBlanc (POR) – Surprising omission from Canada squad not going to bother fantasy owners, especially given this matchup.

Henninger (FCKC) – Misfiring Red Stars made it pretty easy on her and is certainly worth a look with same matchup this round.

Vancil (CHI) – Back to Earth last round after some great performances before. Two games, but not any easy matchups and has to deal with Red Stars’ potential fatigue following murderous stretch of games.

Cameron (SBFC) – Atypically poor week last time out but has been great on the whole this year. Better matchups out there though this round.

Harris (WSH) – Only been average fantasy-wise this year and has a reasonably tough matchup. Should be healthy again after long break.

Phillips (BOS) – Risk of rotation with Santiago there, as is potential of being usurped by Naeher at drop of a hat. Given club history against SBFC and terrible fantasy season so far, I wouldn’t bother.

Kopmeyer/Betos (SEA) – OK, Portland’s offense has been anemic without Morgan and Sinclair. But there’s not much indication as to which of Seattle’s backups are going to start, and even so, do you trust the defense in front of them?

DEF

Robinson (FCKC) – A no-brainer at this point.

Dougherty (POR) – Premier fantasy defender with premier matchup, so use her with confidence.

Taylor (WNY) – Good matchups and starting to come around offensively, so feel free to use her.

Goodson (SBFC) – Output’s gone down a bit lately but still a threat on set pieces and pretty much guaranteed to go the full ninety.

Johnson (SBFC) – Seems the steadier of the two full-backs for SBFC but be careful as she got torched by WNY last round.

Foord (SBFC) – Has most upside of any SBFC defender but be wary of fouls, as she’s racked them up this season.

Sahlen (WNY) – Surprisingly viable now from a fantasy standpoint. Use her if you want to double down on Flash defense.

Fuss (CHI) – Clean sheet vs Boston, conceded penalty vs FC Kansas City. Still the best option by far if you’re hunting a clean sheet in this double week for Red Stars.

Avant (POR) – Played on the left last time Buehler was gone and could be worth a play here against a weak offense.

Marshall (POR) – Feel like doubling up on Thorns defenders? Marshall’s an option but could be called up on to play in middle without Buehler.

Whitehill (BOS) – Not sure I’d take chances with Breakers defense seeing how they were throttled by this bunch a few weeks back, but Whitehill’s best option by far.

Quon (CHI) – Beware squad rotation, but probably has most upside of any Red Star defender.

Mathias/Kelly/Williams (FCKC) – Mathias is probably the riskiest option, given penchant for fouls but also least likely to be rotated. Chicago can’t score, so if you feel like doubling up, it wouldn’t be the worst move.

Santacaterina (CHI) – Surprisingly spry when in the lineup lately and could be worth it if you’re thinking way outside the box.

Barnes (SEA) – As always, if you’re crazy enough to spring for a Reign defender, it should be Barnes.

MF

Chalupny (CHI) – Dames drew the ire of fantasy owners everywhere with squad rotation, not starting Chalupny against FCKC. Strong game against Boston, and Red Stars getting desperate for keeping playoff hopes alive, so play with confidence.

Tymrak (FCKC) – Safe to say the secret’s out. FCKC’s little maestro hard to bottle up and did well given her shot these past two games.

Loyd (FCKC) – Money if she plays, a potential fantasy nightmare if she doesn’t. Make sure to have a Plan B on your bench just in case.

Sanderson (BOS) – Not as appealing without Leroux, O’Reilly to pass to, but still potentially gaps in young SBFC defense.

Zerboni (WNY) – Been more miss than hit this season but club needs players to step up given absences.

Lytle (SBFC) – Goose egg last round but has shown scoring touch in past appearances, so could be worth a shot.

Washington (POR) – I’m wary. Seems to be falling out of favor, but good matchup. Just have a good backup plan on the bench just in case.

Nairn (SEA) – Shoots like crazy, meaning she’s a phantom point machine. Derby could be more blood and thunder than anything though, so be wary.

Perez (WNY) – Deep, deep sleeper, but she could get a look on offense with so many options missing. Has not impressed thus far though.

Robinson (WNY) – Ever mercurial and not guaranteed to start, but Flash might need her scoring pop this round.

Ochs (WSH) – Might get moved back to midfield with Pohlers arriving, which might be a good thing since she’s not been as effective up top. Better plays available this week in any event.

Lindsey (WSH) – Her show to run with Matheson away but doesn’t have consistency from forwards to work with.

Wetzel (POR) – Harder and harder to keep her out of lineup. Seems like least volatile option but not as much upside as Washington

Freels (SBFC) – Probably going to play second fiddle to Lytle in midfield this round but still a dark horse this round.

Farrelly (FCKC) – Value goes way up if Loyd doesn’t play but there are probably better options available.

Noyola (SEA) – Has been a spark, and using allocated slots shouldn’t be a worry this round, so use her if you think she can take advantage of lethargic Portland midfield.

Buczkowski (FCKC) – Seemingly more active offensively as of late, but hard to justify over Tymrak and Loyd.

Mautz (CHI) – Hard to recommend given inconsistency in usage, but who on this team can score?

FW

Jones (FCKC) – Ripped Chicago apart mid-week, and there’s no reason to think she can’t do the same here.

De Vanna (SBFC) – Flatlined against the Flash, but Boston’s defense could be a perfect tonic after she crushed them a few weeks ago.

Adams (SBFC) – Also had a bad game against WNY. Not as productive as De Vanna, but could be worth a shot if you don’t fancy the Australian this round.

Adriana (WNY) – Yeah, she’s been generally not very good so far, but she’s also been third or fourth option in attack. Two good matchups, and club will likely be counting on her to come up big.

Schoepfer (BOS) – Did precious little against Chicago last round but has been good for most of season, so worth a shot if you don’t fancy SBFC’s rearguard.

Henderson (FCKC) – Finally got extended minutes against Chicago and looked good but might be secondary option up top next to Jones.

Foxhoven (POR) – Seems much better off the bench than as a starter. Matchup seems fine, but will she get any service?

McCarty (WSH) – Likely leading the line by herself one more time until Pohlers’ international clearance comes in. Potential against sometimes shaky Flash defense but hasn’t been consistent.

Simon (BOS) – Struggling to be consistent but has looked decent when given time, and she figures to get plenty of it against SBFC.

Heyboer (WNY) – Adriana will probably get a lot of looks, but Michigan State alum could be in for major minutes with Wambach and Kerr gone.

Taylor (SEA) – Only forward option you should consider for Reign, but even so, hasn’t shown a great deal of consistency so far.

Grings (CHI) – Already smells like a bust. Just one shot on goal (and that from a dead ball situation) in three games on a team already dealing with lack of firepower.

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