NWSL – Round Eight Fantasy Preview

Round seven was a bad round for me. It was my worst scoring round by far, as my decision to go with Kelsey Wys in goal for a second straight round proved to be a rather foolish one, with the Spirit netminder delivering a whopping -7.00 points after the club’s defensive shellacking at the hands of the Flash. Also bad? My defensive picks (3.50 points combined) and the decision to start Genoveva Anonma and Nadia Nadim, who combined for a total of zero points. While Crystal Dunn being my captain saved me, I also left Sam Mewis and Jessica McDonald on the bench. All things considered, I somehow am still at #4 overall, though I won’t be for too much longer with another round like this.

Considering there’s been little rhyme or reason as to the results of the past few weeks (other than being influenced by the absence of internationals headed to the WWC), it makes for a very difficult environment for picking players. Who would’ve thought that Houston would be the only club to keep a clean sheet? Who would’ve thought that Portland couldn’t score against the Dash defense? There aren’t really any standout fixtures on this week’s docket either. The “top” teams are on the road for the most part, while the one top team at home, Seattle, faces an in-form Chicago side. It may, again, be a case of betting on talent rather than matchup and hoping to come out on top.

Reminder! This is the last week of segment two of the AWK Eliminator League. Teams below the Top 75 that haven’t won a round will be eliminated.

GK

Barnhart (FCKC) – On the road and against a decent offense, but is behind a good backline and should at least stay out of the negatives at the very least.

Dalton (CHI) – Numbers through three starts are absurd. 12.17 points per match! Asking her to do that again this round may be a bit much considering the opposition though.

Kopmeyer (SEA) – At home but against the league leaders, so there’s some real risk here, especially with Chicago in scorching form.

Kranich (BOS) – Improving defense and a matchup against a sputtering FCKC offense make her a solid option.

Betos (POR) – Will probably have to make more than one save against Spirit’s offense, but hard to totally trust considering Thorns’ scoring woes.

Henninger (HOU) – Worked out just fine last round, but it won’t be the same way all the time if her defense keeps allowing so many shots. Facing an SBFC side short on scoring power though.

Cameron (SBFC) – At least she’s putting up points. But until SBFC shows some consistency defensively, she’s not a great option.

Wys (WSH) – Followed up a big display with a real clunker. Thorns offense not scoring, but do you trust Spirit defense?

DEF

Robinson (FCKC) – A top option, as always.

Averbuch (FCKC) – A very intriguing pick now as she appears to be taking free kicks and already has six (!) shots on goal. Fouls are always a concern, but a nice pick if you’re willing to swallow a little risk.

Hemmings (CHI) – It turns out she, not Arin Gilliland, has been the best points producer for the Red Stars’ defense thus far. Tough matchup but worth consideration.

Fletcher (SEA) – A good bet if you fancy the Reign to deal Chicago their first loss of the season.

Gilliland (CHI) – Not quite producing as expected, but Red Stars’ D still doing a good job, so don’t be afraid of using her.

King (BOS) – Fouls always a worry, but if you think that Boston’s defense has improved for good, she’s worth a look.

Church (WSH) – Spirit D not to be trusted, but if you want to live dangerously, she’s the pick.

Menges/Williamson (POR) – Surefire starters, but neither has offered up much scoring potential thus far, and the matchup isn’t great.

Cross (HOU) – For the clean sheet bonus, as she, and everyone else on the Houston defense, hasn’t shown much oomph offensively.

Grubka (SBFC) – The best of some not too particularly great options for SBFC.

MF

Dunn (WSH) – Averaging 10.5 points. Has basically turned into a must play round-by-round. Should find a few opportunities at least against Thorns.

Nairn (WSH) – Been a solid producer for the Spirit and is a solid alternative to Dunn if you don’t feel like rolling with the MVP candidate.

Little (SEA) – Has been disappointing this season, but club will lean heavily on her with Fishlock banned.

Freels (SBFC) – Like death and taxes, Freels almost always puts up points on the board, even if she seldom breaks out with massive games. Don’t expect that to change against the Dash.

DiBernardo (CHI) – Just under six points a game thus far and faces a Reign side without Fishlock, though Seattle may also set up more defensively as a result.

Long (POR) – Two bad rounds in a row. Is Ayo submarining her fantasy value? Opportunities to rack up points against Spirit defense but is harder to trust now until she gets back scoring.

Shim (POR) – Decent return last round, and you have to wonder if she’s not becoming the better option than Long at this point.

Axon (HOU) – A decent sleeper pick considering SBFC is missing Killion in midfield again, though there probably are better options.

Colaprico (CHI) – Not bad thus far but a bit foul prone, which is a slight worry.

Winters (SEA) – Will likely take on more offensive duties with Fishlock gone, so she’s a sneaky sleeper pick, even with the matchup.

Tymrak (FCKC) – When will she turn it around? Will she turn it around? Patience is probably running thin with fantasy owners.

Mewis (BOS) – Mildly disappointing last time out with just 5.00 points and has a difficult matchup against Buczkowski this round.

FW

Huerta (CHI) – Well, all she does is score. 11+ points per game right now makes her almost matchup proof.

Yanez (SEA) – In weeks like this, put your money on quality, and that’s what Yanez has been thus far. Matchup’s tough, but she should still put up at least a handful of points.

Anonma (POR) – Uh oh. Is it time to wonder if Anonma isn’t the second coming of Lisa De Vanna? She was awful in what should’ve been a great matchup on paper. If she can’t deliver the goods against a pliable Washington defense, it might be time to write her off.

Nadim (SBFC) – She’s been poor for most of the season but is facing a defense that has been giving up shots like crazy. Risky, but there’s not much out there this round.

McDonald (HOU) – Not much other than goals, but she delivers those with regularity.

Ohai (HOU) – Better at assists, winning fouls than McDonald and gaining momentum as season rolls forward.

McCaffrey (BOS) – Scoring at a decent clip for fantasy but facing an FCKC defense that hasn’t bent much thus far in 2015.

Groom (FCKC) – Looks like FCKC’s best offensive threat at the moment but is a foul machine and already has three bookings. Risky for sure but not without upside.

Hagen (FCKC) – Can’t hit the broad side of a barn at the moment but beneficiary of club’s lack of center forward depth.

Hoy (CHI) – The forgotten woman of the offense, though the increasing attention on Huerta could open up opportunities.

Mathias (SEA) – The contrarian’s pick for the Reign attack. With the matchup though, she’s a big risk.

Del Rio (WSH) – Spirit have basically zero options at forward at the moment, so she’ll get opportunities, but until she starts producing more, I’d stay away.

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