NWSL – Round Seventeen Fantasy Preview

Round Sixteen results haven’t been posted yet, but though I easily breached triple digits again, I lost ground on the overall leader. Stephanie McCaffrey was a major bust in a game round where defenses got shredded, with nobody keeping a clean sheet.

This week? Well, there’ll probably be a clean sheet based on the law of averages if nothing else. With nine matches on the docket, expect there to be some astronomical scores this round. But don’t expect a ton of variety in the teams. With high-flying Chicago and Washington having three matches each, expect a steady dose of Christen Press and Crystal Dunn in everyone’s lineup.

There’s not much a reason to not go to the max with Washington and Chicago players. Each has two winnable matches before playing each other in the final match of the round. Of the two gamer teams, I’d suggest tabbing someone from FCKC who have two matches at home against teams they should realistically beat if they’re a playoff team.

3 Games

CHI (@POR, SBFC, WSH)
WSH (@BOS, WNY, @CHI)

GK – It comes down to whether I’m convinced Michelle Dalton or Karina LeBlanc will start all three matches for Chicago. And I’m not. Plop Ashlyn Harris in and thank me later.

DEF – If you can find an update on Arin Gilliland’s injury status that has her ready to play, I’d seriously consider using her this round either with or without Taryn Hemmings. That’s not a sure thing though, so if you’ve got safety in mind, you may just want to roll with Hemmings. The Spirit don’t have great defensive fantasy options, unfortunately. Pick one or two at your leisure. Ali Krieger playing in midfield now is appealing, but she also costs you an allocation slot.

MF – You’re going to use Crystal Dunn, and half of you will captain her. That’s a wise decision of course. The risk averse will probably roll with Christine Nairn and be happy with their decision. Diana Matheson is for the more risky. The Canadian has shown she can still make an impact even coming off major injury, but her minutes are still being limited, so buyer beware. For Chicago, Lori Chalupny back to being a fantasy factor again, and her return has seen Vanessa DiBernardo’s value on the rocks. The injury concerns over DiBernardo also have me bullish on putting her in my lineup this round. Other than Chalupny and DiBernardo though, Chicago’s midfield fantasy options are spotty.

FW – Chicago’s fantasy options up top? Not spotty. Christen Press and Sofia Huerta look like Chicago’s weapons off choice now, and both should be in your lineup this round. Washington plays with Crystal Dunn as a recognized center forward, limiting opportunities elsewhere. Francisca Ordega’s back though and figures to get plenty of play to the end of the season. She’ll be in my lineup.

2 Games

FCKC (WNY, POR)
HOU (SBFC, @SEA)
POR (CHI, @FCKC)
SBFC (@HOU, @CHI)
WNY (@FCKC, @WSH)

GK – Stay away. FCKC might split their games between Katelyn Rowland and Nicole Barnhart, which is hardly appealing for fantasy owners. Houston has one decent matchup, but Erin McLeod is an injury doubt.

DEF – Amy LePeilbet isn’t the worst option in the world in defense with two solid matchups. She’s been a fantasy titan thus far and could easily get a handful of other points in addition to clean sheet points. Houston’s defense continues to be a worry, so I’d stay away from them. The other three teams have a coterie of difficult matchups. Kelley O’Hara for SBFC too. But that’s been a given, right?

MF – Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd are the two big options to fill the non-CHI/WSH slot in my starting lineup. Both cost an allocation though, which might harm plans elsewhere. A sleeper would be Morgan Brian from the Dash if she’s back from her absence.

FW – Amy Rodriguez, Jessica McDonald, Kealia Ohai…all good options if you need a fill-in for the frontline. Jodie Taylor has looked dangerous for Portland since getting back in the lineup, as has Samantha Kerr for SBFC.

1 Game

BOS (WSH)
SEA (HOU)

It’s not just that both of these sides have just a single match but that each of their matchups is difficult. If you want to seriously roll the dice, Kristie Mewis, Kim Little, and Beverly Yanez are the best options. But seriously, don’t do this.

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