NWSL – Fantasy Round Three Preview

Don’t doubt the power of the double gamers.

I broke one of my own philosophical rules last week, avoiding Washington players for the most part, and paid the price with another disappointing round. I think I’ve learned my lesson, and with four teams with two games this round, won’t be short on choices for chances to pick up big points. I’ve split things up this week into single-gamers and double-gamers. First the few single-gamers you should have on your radar:

SINGLE-GAMERS

Washington – Chicago’s not the toughest opponent on paper, even on the road, but the Spirit are probably running on fumes with this being game #3 in eight days. With just one game this round and plenty of two-game options, I’d avoid everyone but CRYSTAL DUNN, who should be in everyone’s lineup for the next few rounds until she is switched to midfield in the game database. DIANA MATHESON is red hot with 13.5 PPM through three matches, but her allocation status probably makes her an unaffordable luxury this round.

Portland – The Thorns have hardly looked like world beaters so far, and there’s little evidence of an overnight revolution, even with home advantage against a slumping FC Kansas City side. CHRISTINE SINCLAIR is the only allocated player of note, but with just 1.25 PPM through two matches, it’s tough justifying her selection with just one game this round. With Amy Rodriguez in form, I’d avoid anybody in Portland’s defense, though ALLIE LONG is on penalty duty and is a decent pick at 15.5 PPM so far.

Boston – It goes without saying that anyone on the defense should be avoided, while even ALYSSA NAEHER has lost value thanks to her allocated status. LISA DE VANNA has failed to inspire in one start and one reserve appearance and comes up against a formidable defense. HEATHER O’REILLY is your best bet here, but given the bulk of available two-gamers this round, I’d still be wary about using an allocation on a single-gamer.

Houston – The Dash have a prayer of a chance catching Seattle on short rest, but there’s not much in the club’s defensive form that should have you optimistic. Last week’s star, TERESA NOYOLA, runs into a midfield brick wall this weekend of Fishlock and Winters, and Randy Waldrum may again start with Dominique Richardson to shield the backline. There’s little consistency in the rest of the attack, so I’d probably steer clear of Dash players this round.

DOUBLE-GAMERS

Seattle – How many owners were screwed when MEGAN RAPINOE was left out in the Reign’s win over Washington midweek? It only illustrates the danger that some of the fixture backlog this season is going to cause down the line. The matchups are too good to ignore though, meaning Rapinoe, along with fellow forward SYDNEY LEROUX are top allocated options this time out. BEVERLY GOEBEL has also been effective thus far but may be an option for rotation having played much of the first two games, with NAHO a potential option to take a starting spot in one or both games this round. In midfield, KIM LITTLE crushed many owners with a no-show in round two, while JESSICA FISHLOCK continued to impress. I suspect Little will have more big games this season, but Fishlock will be the consistent option. Defensively, KENDALL FLETCHER scored against Washington but probably isn’t going to be a consistent offensive option, while LAUREN BARNES is another solid option. ELLI REED has the most offensive upside of the back four but also is prone to fouls and bookings. Regardless, you need at least one on your team this round. HOPE SOLO is the #1 option in goal this round. I don’t like using allocations on keepers, but she’s a no-brainer this round.

Chicago – KARINA LEBLANC makes for a tantalizing option against a road weary Washington team, though the matchup at FC Kansas City midweek isn’t the best. Unfortunately, the Red Stars’ best defender counts in the game as a midfielder right now, so I’m not sure JULIE JOHNSTON represents the best value despite her set piece potential. If you’re chasing clean sheet points, MICHELLE WENINO, seems like the best option given RACHEL QUON’s allocated status. The Red Stars didn’t show too many sparks on the attack last week, with LORI CHALUPNY in particular struggling. I wouldn’t count on that being a continuing trend though, and the all-action midfielder should be one of this round’s top picks. JEN HOY and VANESSA DIBERNARDO are also decent options for the club this round. ADRIANA LEON and ZAKIYA BYWATERS both played a half last round out, so I’d avoid both for the moment until one establishes themselves as a starter.

FC Kansas City – AMY RODRIGUEZ is the only FCKC player with more than six points this season so far, and I don’t see her slowing down soon with the offense running through her right now. LAUREN HOLIDAY and ERIKA TYMRAK have both been big disappointments thus far but have two games this round to turn it around. I wonder if Tymrak’s not the better option here so allocations can be used elsewhere. You almost have to use one of your slots on an FCKC defender given their two game status. I’d still spring for LEIGH ANN ROBINSON, though she’s done nothing so far, even with NIKKI PHILLIPS and KASSEY KALLMAN having netted small points thus far.

Sky Blue FC – Might this be SBFC’s breakout round with a reeling Boston side before a Seattle side going on the road for their third game in eight days? The problem for fantasy owners is figuring out where the points are going to come from. CHRISTIE RAMPONE netted last time out, but that’s probably going to be the exception more than the rule. KELLEY O’HARA’s shown brief glimmers of life thus far but costs an allocation spot. As does JILL LOYDEN in goal, but she’s a brave option if you think Seattle will be knackered in mid-week. CAITLIN FOORD’s been pants thus far, but she’s also playing in an advanced role, so she deserves some consideration. Also in the “generally abysmal” department thus far has been MAYA HAYES, who must be testing Jim Gabarra’s patience with zero shots on goal in two starts. KATY FREELS is pulling the strings in midfield and is probably the safest option from SBFC, though SOPHIE SCHMIDT is a contender to break out of her slump this round. COCO GOODSON and KENDALL JOHNSON are also both contenders for clean sheet points here.

NWSL Fantasy Round Three Team Rankings

1. Seattle
2. Chicago
3. Sky Blue FC
4. FC Kansas City
5. Portland
6. Washington
7. Boston
8. Houston

GK

1. Solo (SEA)
2. LeBlanc (CHI)
3. Barnhart (FCKC)
4. Loyden (SBFC)
5. Angerer (POR)

DEF

1. Dunn (WSH)
2. Barnes (SEA)
3. Fletcher (SEA)
4. K. Johnson (SBFC)
5. Robinson (FCKC)

MF

1. Fishlock (SEA)
2. Little (SEA)
3. Chalupny (CHI)
4. Freels (SBFC)
5. Tymrak (FCKC)

FW

1. Rodriguez (FCKC)
2. Rapinoe (SEA)
3. Leroux (SEA)
4. Naho (SEA)
5. Goebel (SEA)

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