NWSL – Fantasy Round Eleven Preview

Crazily enough, I survived the international call-up round with 81.50 points despite the daft move of captaining Taylor Vancil. I’m up to #159 overall with hopes of moving further up the ladder now that things are settling down on the roster front. It helps, of course, to hit on five of your seven midfielders/forwards, though I would’ve been towards the top of the overall week leaderboard had I played Haley Kopmeyer and Brittany Taylor from my bench.

This round is more straightforward, with players back from international duty, though some of the players may be rotation risks, especially those coming back from injury (Alex Morgan) or from Europe (Kim Little & Jess Fishlock). The Morgan situation is bound to cause a headache or two though, with Portland this round’s best pick with two matches. There’s probably a reasonable argument for loading up on the top six of the rankings below, though I still expect a lot of Portland players on rosters this round.

Round Eleven Team Rankings

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

Portland – They’re quite obviously the top pick for this round as one of just two teams with two games, but there’s still much unsettled here. NADINE ANGERER would be a no-brainer for your goalkeeper and potentially captain if she weren’t suspended for the Thorns’ first match of the round. As it stands, MICHELLE BETOS will play that match, but I think Angerer has the better matchup against SBFC later in the week. I’m averse to captaining keepers with one match though, so I’d look elsewhere to distribute the armband. Like to VERO, perhaps? After an atypically poor debut, the Spaniard netted 15.50 points last week. She’s probably going to hit more than she misses the rest of the way and shouldn’t be a rotation risk having not been on international duty last week. Everyone else? Good luck figuring it out. With so many players returning from injury and international duty, there’s a very real risk that Paul Riley might limit minutes this round. Defensively, it’s a choice between STEPH CATLEY and NIKKI MARSHALL, though I might advise against both given the sometimes shaky Portland defense’s performances earlier this year. Attackers (other than Vero)? Prepare to roll the dice. The Thorns need to win and win a lot to climb up the ladder, so I’d expect all the stars to get big minutes. Just how big though? Given the matchups, I’m tempted to roll with both CHRISTINE SINCLAIR and ALEX MORGAN, though the latter may be limited a bit more than fantasy owners would like considering her recent return from injury. She showed she’s in scoring form against France in midweek though, so I suspect she’ll pop up with at least one goal. For those wanting to burn an allocation elsewhere, JESSICA MCDONALD might be a nice dark horse pick after a monster game last round. I don’t have much of a clue as to how the midfield will shake out besides Vero starting. It hasn’t exactly been a unit of consistency, so I’d steer clear, for a round at least.

FC Kansas City – Those who gambled on ERIKA TYMRAK last round hit it big with a pretty strong performance. How she’ll fare with LAUREN HOLIDAY and AMY RODRIGUEZ back in the fold is up for debate, though she certainly has a decent matchup against a struggling Chicago side. Speaking of Rodriguez, she’s averaging twelve points a match thus far. She’s undroppable at this point until she proves otherwise, though I’m wondering if she might see her production slip if the club tries to integrate SARAH HAGEN into the starting lineup. Holiday’s been incredibly hit or miss thus far, but she’s got a chance to produce this round given the matchup. The other attacking threats for FCKC are probably without the consistency to be trustworthy at this point. NICOLE BARNHART’s an average pick in goal, as Christen Press may well be given license to shoot and shoot often for the slumping Red Stars. It may be safer to roll with an FCKC defender instead, with KASSEY KALLMAN and LEIGH ANN ROBINSON the preferable options right now.

Seattle – The machine rumbles on, even when a lot of the top components are away on international duty. This isn’t the easiest matchup though, as the Reign get a desperate Flash side on the road, with the Rochester side clawing for their playoff lives. MEGAN RAPINOE is still listed as questionable, so don’t chance it. NAHO’s been the steadiest producer, though BEVERLY GOEBEL had her best game in ages and also should be considered. SYDNEY LEROUX probably isn’t worth it given her allocated status but might be worth the risk if you can stomach it. KIM LITTLE is normally a no-brainer but is coming off European WWC qualifiers, though the Reign playing on Sunday instead of Saturday helps. Given her scoring record thus far though, it’s tough to drop her from your lineup. KEELIN WINTERS netted against Boston, but with Little and JESS FISHLOCK back, I find it hard to believe she’ll get as many scoring chances. Defensively, KENDALL FLETCHER remains the top option here by some margin. ELLI REED and LAUREN BARNES are in contention if you want to use two Reign defenders this round. With HOPE SOLO in jail for the weekend (seriously, is that the weirdest sentence, or what?), HALEY KOPMEYER will continue in goal. She might be a decent pick given her unallocated status, but truthfully, the matchup is unpredictable, with better options likely available.

Sky Blue FC – Well, they’ve got two games this round, but I’m not sure there are many more reasons to tip them for a place in your lineup. MAYA HAYES was able to break her duck with a goal last time out, but where she figures in the lineup with the club’s allocated players back is anybody’s guess. I wouldn’t bother, even with two matches. Seemingly, the two top options are KELLEY O’HARA and MONICA OCAMPO. Ocampo seems to thrive when managers least expect it, but she’s coming back from injury and played just half an hour the past round. O’Hara’s been the club’s best player from a fantasy perspective but still has just two goals to her name, though the opposing defenses this round aren’t the most stout. KATY FREELS is probably the surest thing when all is said and done, averaging a shade under six points a match. There’s little chance of a round leading performance, but she’s a good shout for double digits with two matches. Japan’s NANASE KIRYU is a sleeper after her form has increased in recent rounds. The club’s still a nightmare defensively, with no clue as to who’s going to be lining up for them in the two matches. CHRISTIE RAMPONE’s the only real sure thing but not worth an allocation, while CAITLIN FOORD’s probably next in line for whatever it’s worth. Given the juggling act in goal, I’m staying away, though JILL LOYDEN’s probably got the best shot of starting two matches.

Washington – Well, the offense didn’t exactly inspire much confidence against Portland last time out. While it’s true that the club was missing DIANA MATHESON, the continued inconsistency of the attack (and the club on the whole) has got to be driving managers crazy. JODIE TAYLOR is turning into a massive boom or bust play and was definitely a bust last time out, netting just two points. She may be better on home soil, but unless you’ve exhausted your allocations, I’m skittish about using her this round against a club that shut her down last time out. Matheson’s the second leading scorer on the club from a fantasy perspective, but given the matchup, you may want to look elsewhere in using your allocation slots. CHRISTINE NAIRN didn’t do much last time out, but she may be a decent play for anyone looking to fill non-allocated slots. The club recently acquired LISA DE VANNA, but she’s been horrible with Boston thus far and should probably be avoided until she shows she can rack up points with regularity here. Defensively, I’m not sure Washington has the horses to stop a Portland offense approaching full strength. Given the additions of ALEX SINGER and NIKI CROSS, there’s also no telling who, other than ALI KRIEGER in all likelihood, is going to be on the backline. ASHLYN HARRIS has been a decent bringer of points this season but probably should be avoided this round.

Boston – If ever there was a week to believe in the Breakers, it might be this one, with the league’s basement club facing off against a slumping SBFC side, even on the road. SBFC’s defense has largely been abysmal this season, though you wonder if Boston’s got the kind of consistency on offense to take advantage. The midweek defeat to Seattle was a scattershot showing offensively, with six players putting shots on goal, though reserve ASHLEY GROVE was the only one with more than one. It’s a headache and a half to try to make heads or tails of the best options here offensively, but HEATHER O’REILLY (allocated) and LIANNE SANDERSON (not) are still the safest options (in a manner of speaking). Defensively, I’d still advise against rolling with such a frail unit, though JULIE KING has at least shown an ability to get the odd shot on goal. If you fancy Boston shutting down SBFC, then perhaps ALYSSA NAEHER in goal might be a savvier play, though she’ll also cost you an allocated slot.

WNY Flash – The Flash handled Chicago with relative ease and will be hoping to drive a stake into the Reign’s unbeaten streak in Rochester. It’s not going to be easy without ABBY WAMBACH and, potentially, CARLI LLOYD through injury. That means the offense will probably be running through SAMANTHA KERR. It wasn’t exactly a detriment against Chicago, though Seattle’s defense may not be so forgiving. The Aussie is a real form player though, and she’s been sparking to life as of late and could be a risky but potentially genius play. ADRIANA and JASMYNE SPENCER both started against Chicago. Neither really did much to inspire confidence though and are speculative plays at best here. VICKY’s the top option in midfield with Lloyd an injury doubt, though the Spaniard’s probably not going to deliver a big number. BRITTANY TAYLOR’s odds of picking up clean sheet points may not be great given the opposing offense, but her game winning goal against Chicago showed just how dangerous she can be offensively. This may not be the best showcase for her talents though. LYDIA WILLIAMS may be busy and may not cost you an allocation slot…but that’s not necessarily a vote of confidence given the opposition.

Chicago – Go heavy or captain a defender from the Red Stars? Odds are you lived through a pretty miserable round then, as no defender or keeper from Chicago netted more than half a point despite the team playing two matches! Some are suggesting that the club is beginning to buckle under the weight of a tougher schedule, and a road trip to streaking FC Kansas City isn’t going to make things easier. JEN HOY’s return was decent last time out, but it remains to be seen if Rory Dames rates her highly enough to team her with CHRISTEN PRESS in the frontline. Press didn’t exactly set the world on fire in her NWSL debut but figures to catch fire sooner or later. Still, the matchup isn’t great, and Press played extensively against France, so I’d steer clear this round. It’s hard to predict who else is going to feature in the Chicago attack (other than LORI CHALUPNY). ZAKIYA BYWATERS has been in form, while EMILY VAN EGMOND has looked lively since joining. Throw in VANESSA DIBERNARDO (also a good bet to start), ALYSSA MAUTZ, and ADRIANA LEON up top…and it’s really hard to figure out who to go with if you tip Chicago to get back on the winning track. I’d roll the dice with Press, followed by Bywaters and Hoy if thought the Red Stars would find joy against FCKC. I don’t. Defensively, I have doubts as to whether Chicago will be able to shut FCKC down for ninety minutes. If you feel differently, you may want to spring for MICHELLE WENINO or JULIE JOHNSTON in your defense. KARINA LEBLANC may be too much of a risk in goal given her allocation status though.

Round Eleven Player Rankings

GK

1. Angerer – POR
2. Betos – POR
3. Barnhart – FCKC
4. Loyden – SBFC
5. Kopmeyer – SEA

DEF

1. Catley – POR
2. Robinson – FCKC
3. Fletcher – SEA
4. Taylor – WNY
5. Marshall – POR

MF

1. Vero – POR
2. Sanderson – BOS
3. Holiday – FCKC
4. Little – SEA
5. Freels – SBFC

FW

1. Sinclair – POR
2. Morgan – POR
3. A-Rod – FCKC
4. Naho – SEA
5. O’Hara – SBFC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *