NWSL – Fantasy Round Seven Preview

The points haven’t been updated yet, but by my rough calculations, I managed to crack the one hundred point barrier again. I figure scoring will be down this round given the lack of clean sheets, but who knows until the final totals are out? As such, my defense and goalkeeper point totals were pretty bad, but I figure that’s the case with most teams this round. The good news is that I should have gotten double digits from all but one of my midfielders and forwards, and even Vicky got me a handful of points.

The next round is an absolute marathon, with games on four straight days and five of six days overall. There’s a little more clarity in who you should be picking though. Portland and Chicago each play two of the bottom three and have been raking in the points, so you should be stuffing as many of their players into your lineup as you feel comfortable with. FC Kansas City’s got a great matchup, Washington’s matchup is not that far behind, and Seattle’s, well, Seattle, so you may want to spring for a player or two from those sides as well. I suspect there’ll be a lot of similar looking lineups this round, so big moves up and down the leaderboard will probably have to wait for another round.

Round Seven – Team Rankings

1. POR (SBFC, @BOS)
2. CHI (@HOU, @SBFC)
3. FCKC (@BOS)
4. WSH (HOU)
5. SEA (WNY)
6. HOU (CHI, @WSH)
7. WNY (@SEA)
8. SBFC (@POR, CHI)
9. BOS (FCKC, POR)

Portland (SBFC, @BOS) – Well, you obviously want as many Portland players as possible given their form and their facing two of the bottom three this round. NADINE ANGERER put up great numbers despite not keeping a clean sheet and will be favored for two wins at the very least, with a big possibility for a shutout or two. For that reason, you probably need a Thorns defender in your lineup too. Which one? Good question. REBECCA MOROS has been playing in midfield more, which would normally be a good thing, but she’s also not guaranteed a starting spot, may not go seventy-five minutes for a clean sheet if she does start, and hasn’t been scoring big points anyway. None of the defenders have really marked themselves out as offensive threats, so really, take your pick of which one you want to put in your lineup this round. In midfield, ALLIE LONG scored again last round and is probably going to be in everyone’s team this round. If you want to take a risk and need to make up ground, you could do far worse than ANGIE KERR, who herself had a nice game against WNY. Up front, it’s really a question of if you want to double up on Portland forwards. JESSICA MCDONALD is pretty much a dead certain play given her scoring form and the opposition. CHRISTINE SINCLAIR? Still not scoring, but she put up a ton of phantom points from SOG. Given the opposition, she might just break her duck this round.

Chicago (@HOU, @SBFC) – The Red Stars? A fantasy powerhouse? Yeah, I didn’t see it coming either, but the matchups are certainly right, with the club in solid form. KARINA LEBLANC has a good chance at some clean sheets and wins but is solidly behind Angerer thanks to her allocation status. In defense, MICHELLE WENINO’s proving to be a soft touch in front of goal, helpful when nobody can keep a clean sheet. JULIE JOHNSTON is also worth a nod if you’re doubling up on Chicago defenders. Choosing attacking players is like playing Russian Roulette with this team though, and I’d beware drawing too many conclusions from this past round’s performance against Boston’s pitiful defense. LORI CHALUPNY would get a nod in midfield from me thanks to her breaking her funk last round and based on her past track record. JEN HOY seems likeliest of sticking in the starting lineup through rotation and has used Boston’s defense to heat up. HAYLEY BROCK is still really green and not assured of a starting spot, while ADRIANA LEON and ZAKIYA BYWATERS may not be assured of more than an hour each match. I’m a lot more comfortable springing for Chicago defenders than attackers, and I wouldn’t be shocked if some of the above are total busts this round.

FC Kansas City (@BOS) – Just one match, but it’s a plum one. The Breakers still have a little offensive punch, and FCKC’s defense has been terrible, so I’m a little skittish about rolling with one of their back four despite this matchup. AMY RODRIGUEZ is nigh-undroppable in her recent form, and you think she doesn’t want to hammer Boston after her previous unhappy experience there? The midfielders most likely to make an impact, LAUREN HOLIDAY and ERIKA TYMRAK, have been a roller coaster ride this season. They were up in last round’s first fixture but most definitely down in the second fixture. You probably don’t want both, but it might not be a bad idea to include one in your team this round given the matchup.

Washington (HOU) – Well, they can’t defend to save their life, but the Dash aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, showing against FCKC regardless. The problem is, if you want to bet on that defense keeping a clean sheet, you’re going to have to use an allocation slot, unless you’re going with TORI HUSTER, who has the least potential for offensive points. The most potential is probably with CRYSTAL DUNN, but I still don’t think it’s enough to warrant an allocation slot. The Spirit attack was wildly erratic over their two games this round. DIANA MATHESON probably would’ve banked big had she started the first game but was instead brought off the bench. She can punish the youthful Dash defense, but there may be better uses of your allocation slots this round. Neither LORI LINDSEY nor CHRISTINE NAIRN seem like consistent enough options to spring for this round. Up top, JODIE TAYLOR was a stud in the club’s win against the Flash. But she reverted to dud status the next time out against SBFC in a very attacking game, and I’d wait for her to prove it again before springing for her in my lineup given her underwhelming returns before this round.

Seattle (WNY) – Talk about conflicted. They’ve been a juggernaut thus far but were fantasy garbage this round outside of KIM LITTLE. They’ve got another matchup that doesn’t look great on paper too, against a Flash side feeling an increasing amount of pressure as they languish in mid-table. Neither SYDNEY LEROUX nor BEVERLY GOEBEL did anything of note against FCKC, and it’s looking more and more like the real meat of the fantasy points is going to continue to come from Little until NAHO and MEGAN RAPINOE both get back into action. JESSICA FISHLOCK had another down game as well, though you have to figure she’ll come good eventually. I’m not counting on the defense for a clean sheet, as WNY may have lost to Portland, but they still managed a fair number of shots on goal in the process. If you do want to gamble on a Seattle clean sheet, you probably want KENDALL FLETCHER, though KIERSTEN DALLSTREAM is an intriguing pick if she plays in an attacking role again. HOPE SOLO still managed a handful of points despite the midweek draw, but there are probably better options this round.

Houston (CHI, @WSH) – The Dash showed some signs of life last week against FCKC, but the road doesn’t get any easier with a tough matchup against a flying Chicago side coming before a trip on the road to Washington. In terms of offense, it looks like your two main point getters for the foreseeable future are going to be KEALIA OHAI and JORDAN JACKSON, both of whom turned in solid outings in the 2-2 draw last round. Both are still rookies though, and given the matchups and other teams’ matchups, you’d be very brave to include either. The other Dash options in attack are all inconsistent or foul/booking prone, so I’d steer clear. Defensively, this squad’s still a disaster, and they have to be praying MEGHAN KLINGENBERG didn’t suffer a serious injury in the Women’s Champions League final. ERIN MCLEOD actually had a very nice points haul this round, but really, that was because she was stopping a flood of shots. Even if you think she can do the same this round, there are safer options.

WNY Flash (@SEA) – Congrats to those who rolled the dice on CARLI LLOYD, as she promptly delivered one of the round’s best point totals. This probably isn’t the week you want to see if that’s the beginning of a trend though, as the Flash have just the one game, and it’s a brutal one. VICKY LOSADA continues to deliver, albeit in drips and drabs and may not be good for more than a handful of points on most nights. ABBY WAMBACH, who had looked good before the Flash’s loss to Portland, should be a fantasy factor most weeks but could be in tough this round against a battling Seattle defense. MCCALL ZERBONI bounded back into fantasy relevance with a solid showing against Portland, but I’d wait a bit to see if she can keep up the offensive production. The defense is getting rolled right now, so I’d stay away for the short-term, especially given the matchup. KELSEY WYS made some big stops against Portland but also a grievous error leading to a goal, and she’ll be under big pressure again against Seattle this round in all likelihood.

Sky Blue FC (@POR, CHI) – SBFC became shockingly relevant in fantasy circles thanks to an all-action 3-3 draw with Washington, but it’s tough to see them repeating the feat given two very hard matchups on paper this round. The big news was KELLEY O’HARA starting up front, with the left-back putting her attacking talents on display in racking up big points. It goes without saying that O’Hara’s a fantasy gem if she keeps playing in the attack while listed as a defender for the next few rounds, and she might just get a start from me if I have a spare allocation spot open. There’s not much else worth considering from the defense given form and matchups. Going forward, the forwards of JONELLE FILIGNO and MAYA HAYES finally showed some signs of life after a season of struggle thus far, though until either shows consistency, I’d stay away. MONICA OCAMPO wasn’t bad against Washington, but she’s not worth the allocation spot given these matchups. KATY FREELS has turned into one of the league’s most consistent point getters who isn’t allocated, but it’s hard to make a case for her being in your team this round.

Boston (FCKC, POR) – Well, the good news is the club gets two matches at home. The bad news is they had two matches at home against Chicago, and home field didn’t exactly help them last week. LISA DE VANNA will be back soon from the Asian Cup, and once she serves her ban, she should be some help for the offense. In theory. In her stead, I’m not sure there’s enough here to warrant a mention on offense, even with FCKC’s porous defense coming to town. HEATHER O’REILLY put up a nice number against Chicago, but do you really want to use an allocation slot on a team this bad on paper right now? LIANNE SANDERSON’s another long shot pick, but I don’t really have much faith in any Breakers given the opposition and their form. If you’re considering any members of their defense? Perhaps this is not the right game for you.

Round Seven – Player Rankings

GK

1. Angerer – POR
2. LeBlanc – CHI
3. Barnhart – FCKC
4. Harris – WSH
5. Solo – SEA

DEF

1. O’Hara – SBFC
2. Wenino – CHI
3. Johnston – CHI
4. Menges – POR
5. Fletcher – SEA

MF

1. Long – POR
2. Chalupny – CHI
3. Holiday – FCKC
4. Little – SEA
5. Kerr – POR

FW

1. McDonald – POR
2. Rodriguez – FCKC
3. Hoy – CHI
4. Sinclair – POR
5. Ocampo – SBFC

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