NWSL – Round Fifteen Fantasy Preview

Sometimes it’s better to eat some risk than to play it all the way safe.

It’s contrary logic for someone that’s near the top of the overall leaderboard, but it’s a strategy that might have saved my season last round. After a lot of hemming and hawing over who my captain should be, I settled on tabbing Christen Press, the no-brainer pick if she played both matches, instead of Beverly Yanez, the “safe” option. I looked like an idiot for much of the round, as Press didn’t play in the first match for Chicago and didn’t start in the second.

As it turns out, Press’ cameo against Boston mid-week featured a game-winning goal, while Yanez did little over two matches. It could’ve easily gone wrong, but it didn’t for me. And I suspect for many others thinking along the same wavelength. Intuition will get you a long way in fantasy, but a little luck like this certainly helps as well.

Onto Round Fifteen…

First of all, it’s another round packed with double gamers. Specifically, Portland, Houston, and Western New York all have a pair of games this round. There are plenty of Flash and Dash players worth investing into. Portland? Eh, not so much. But while I’m wary of stuffing my lineup with a lot of Thorns, you’ll still probably want to keep single-gamers to a minimum unless you’re going high risk.

GK

Double Gamers – I’m immediately staying away from Portland, as there’s no telling what Paul Riley will do, with splitting games between Betos and Angerer a real possibility. That means it’s probably between Erin McLeod and Chantel Jones for your fantasy services. I’d argue Jones has the better matchups, with both at home and a game against struggling Portland. But McLeod’s probably the better keeper but takes up an allocation slot. It’s a coin flip in my eyes, with what you do probably predicated by your strategy elsewhere in your team.

Single Gamers – Haley Kopmeyer’s a strong option for a single game keeper with the Reign hosting a moribund Portland side. There’s too much volatility with the other matchups in my mind to give a long look to anyone else.

DEF

Double Gamers – Jaelene Hinkle from the Flash and Steph Catley from the Thorns are the automatics, with both amongst the most attacking full-backs in the league. Catley’s coming back from an injury though, meaning I’m not sure she’ll go the full ninety for both matches. Houston’s a tougher call. Camilla’s been a solid fantasy scorer thus far but with a small sample size. Meghan Klingenberg is the allocated option, but you know how I feel about using allocated defenders…

Single Gamers – Arin Gilliland’s value is quickly catching up to Taryn Hemmings’ in fantasy, but against Washington, I can’t really recommend either. Obviously, stay far, far away from the SBFC-BOS matchup considering the defenses involved. Again, Seattle’s defenders are probably the best bet for those chasing a single game clean sheet. With Kendall Fletcher over her concussion, she’s again a top option here.

MF

Double Gamers – This one’s pretty easy if you’re just running four midfielders. Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian from Houston, Sam Mewis from WNY, and Allie Long from Portland. I’m guessing there’ll be a little debate on the last one though. Some may plump for Tobin Heath, but the winger has never really been a big producer through fantasy, so I suspect you might be better able to use an allocation spot elsewhere.

Single Gamers – Crystal Dunn’s in everyone’s team, and even against Chicago, you’d be nuts to take her out. I’ll be interested to see if Vanessa DiBernardo’s value drops any with Lori Chalupny back in the fold for Chicago, though I’m tipping neither this round. Kristie Mewis and Katy Freels could be big scorers this round against struggling defenses, but there’s just too much upside elsewhere for my taste. Likewise, Lauren Holiday’s often a big scorer but facing a tricky matchup on the road. Kim Little and Jessica Fishlock have the best matchup at home against Portland, but going with them over some of the double gamers is a big risk.

FW

Double Gamers – This one’s a lot less cut and dry. Obviously, there are going to be a lot of teams featuring Michelle Heyman after her debut, and there are probably going to be more than a few teams choosing her as their captain. But beware a small sample size. Lynn Williams is also doing a fine job in fantasy despite an uneven goal total. Those wanting a little differential compared to everyone jumping on the Heyman bandwagon may want to give her a shot. You definitely need one of either Kealia Ohai and Jessica McDonald in your team. I wouldn’t be against using both either, though it depends on how you feel about Portland. The Thorns may still be without Jodie Taylor, and I’m not sure Christine Sinclair’s going to be able to go ninety minutes twice in a week. She’s the top option for them though if you believe the Thorns can turn it around this week.

Single Gamers – The usual suspects from the USWNT, i.e. Christen Press, Amy Rodriguez, and Megan Rapinoe are all worth a play if you like, though I’m wary given the multitude of two-gamers this round. There’s every chance that the likes of Kyah Simon, Nadia Nadim, and Stephanie McCaffrey could go off in the basement battle between Boston and Sky Blue FC too. But either way you slice it, I wouldn’t have more than one one-game forward in my lineup this round, and then, only running with three forwards.

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