Welcome to the Gameweek #162 preview! 

I’m going to develop this weekly team build article a bit. I’ll now add a general preview at the top highlighting teams with particularly good (or particularly bad) form and fixtures for the gameweek ahead. 

This should help those who do not have the exact cards in the team builds. As my “Selection Headaches!” article showed last week – there are many ways to build a strong team each week and we will all be picking from different selections. 

In the end it’s about making the best of what we have, rather than tearing up our galleries to make them look like the ideal line up for just one week!

And the second change I will trial is giving prices in the more stable $ since Eth is now fluctuating madly once more.

Note that projected line ups are sourced from the excellent Rotowire who are often right but they aren’t mind readers and things do change last minute. I also do my own searching of local news but since I am doing this preview a day earlier than usual – do pay attention to the lineups as the deadline gets closer. 

Week #161 Preview

The picks of the round for me if looking to stack players (2 to 5 players from one team you are backing heavily) are Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy and Orlando vs Cincinnatti. 

Cincinatti have a target painted on them as per my gameweek #160 match report. They’ve been awful and were lucky to get away with their 2-2 versus Nashville in the opener. And Orlando have looked a danger going forward and also solid defensively.

Similarly, Galaxy may have looked good in attack but they have been shipping goals and the Sounders are dangerous. I’d be keen to stack Seattle forwards, maybe not so much defenders. 

Nashville have played high possession stuff and this might pair well with Miami who have been sitting back, could be good for baselines. And the Miami defence is leaky – good for Nashville attackers potentially. 

Minnesota have a favourable tie versus Austin who may be overperforming low expectations but can still be got at. I wouldn’t back Minnesota’s defence though.

Columbus Crew missed last weekend but were free scoring in the CONCACAF Champions League midweek, they look a strong source of attacking points.

I would back the San Jose Earthquakes defence against D.C United who have looked largely toothless and were fortunate to put 2 past NYFC. But having been burned before I am reluctant to put attackers versus D.C who are stubborn and awkward.

NYFC have a tougher week than last but could be played if needed versus Philadelphia who beat Atlanta 3-0 midweek but that scoreline is flattering. They actually gave away a lot of chances. 

NY Red Bulls might have a better week against the leaky Chicago Fire. They could provide some value options in attack. But the Fire have looked dangerous too so I’d be backing attackers not defenders in this match up.

LAFC look tough to back given the continued uncertainty of starts for Vela and Rossi. Houston aren’t an easy game.

Kansas have a decent fixture versus Salt Lake and I’d back them in attack and defence. 

In general I’m liking Atlanta and New England who face each other but am reluctant to go for either as they may cancel each other out. Atlanta unlucky to ship 3 to Philly midweek.

Toronto
have a bye and will not feature this week.

Premium Team

This is premium so has a large $10,000 budget (it was 4 ETH last week – feels more real in $ doesn’t it!?) Whilst the budget is generous to permit premium choices, there is no sense spending more than we need to and I will still be considering efficiency. I expect to be coming in well under this budget most weeks.

D.C look toothless, the weakest side for Expected Goals so far. So we can go for the opposing keeper Marcinkowski in the premium side. As a younger keeper he is a touch more expensive than most at £1,475. 

But it’s hard to set keepers apart and really this could also be Room, Gallese, or Pulskamp who all have decent match ups. Marcinkowski does have tougher fixtures to come in the next 6 so I wouldn’t get him just for this week – but some people do like having a younger keeper in general and if so he’s a decent one. 

I’ll retain the excellent Lovitz who was in the premium side last week too scoring 78. Could have been more – his assist potential is strong. And he is up against Miami – whilst Miami may score they may give up the ball as they have in both games so far. This could result in good baselines for Nashville assets. And Lovitz has a decent chance of assisting too. $550. 

I won’t include him but I’d also expect Lovitz’ team mate Zimmerman to profit here though he is more expensive and I think less capable of peak scores – people do love their high averages as they come out well on data tools and perhaps because of Eth grinding – but if we want to win cards we need those big peaks. If there is a game where Zimmerman would do well though this is one of them. 

Zelarayan from Columbus Crew looks strong, scoring and assisting midweek in the CONCACAF CL. Good player who has dropped since pre-season, looks value now at $975 and this could be a good week for him.  

We go for Seattle with
Ruidiaz who just has to go in up front with that spicy fixture versus Galaxy. He’s the Captain. $1,575. 

And we can also go for Beric who was unlucky to hit the post twice last week. Chicago might be ropey at the back but they are dangerous going forward and NYRB can be got at. $1,425. 

Equally, this could be Zardes at Columbus Crew to stack with Zelarayan. Zardes has been unlucky to score so poorly this season, he’s been looking dangerous in the opening MLS game and also the midweek CONCACAF CL.

$6,000 total give or take a few bucks. Which is well under budget. Lots of premiums have tough games or are questionable starters this week. But also, sometimes money can’t really buy you much more for just a single game week.

Mid-Price Team

The budget here was 2 ETH last week so I will use $5,000 now. This is the closest to what I’d really do in reality, I’m not working on a Premium budget myself – I like to work harder and win on a smaller budget than the team above because A) I’m not a millionaire and B) the less we spend the more return on investment when we win.

Orlando’s Gallese a solid pick between the sticks in general but especially this week as we target Cinny’s weak attack. $1,285. 

Valenzuela at Columbus Crew was impressive in midweek in the CONCACAF CL, scoring 1 but he actually had 2 very good chances. Generally produces a solid baseline anyway and Montreal is a decent fixture. $425.

Leal
is retained from the mid-price team last week. I’ve been a big fan since the pre-season preview and he’s had glowing reviews in all my match reports and team builds since. He looks in great form and the fixture is favourable so it makes little sense to drop him. People are finding out about his quality so he isn’t as cheap as he was but he remains value in my view. $750. 

 

We can go for Nani here for $700. But damn has his price shot up since I included him in my opening day budget team. People are so short sighted it hurts sometimes. Nani captains this side.

I wanted to double up on Orlando with Mueller who looks dangerous but he is not down to start. Instead we’ll promote Lod from the budget side last week after he put in a great performance – he looks consistent and has risen deservedly in price. Has a good fixture again, so no reason to drop him. Still decent value at $510.

As per my match report, both Nani and Mueller (if he starts) have looked in fine form and now is the time to back them versus Cinny who have looked so poor. Cinny can always surprise us but what can we do except back the most likely outcomes when the odds are good?

$3,650 and well under budget for this team. Despite being significantly cheaper, I don’t think there is a huge gulf in quality this week between the premium and mid-price teams at all and I’d give both a strong chance. 

Budget Team

Let’s scrimp and try to land under $2,500 (1 ETH last week). I’ve been (possibly rightly) told off for calling this sort of team budget. What I’m talking about is a budget side that has a serious chance of competing for enough cards to be worth it. It’s all relative.

This is where it gets really tough. Mainly because the GK is just going to wipe out our budget. 

In goal there really aren’t many value options that are likely to keep starting – they are cheap for a reason. Pulskamp is viable but you’d probably need to also own Melia for when he comes back.

You can also go for Cinny’s Tyton hoping that he can make enough saves to compensate for them being constantly dunked on. But he’s a questionable starter this week with a minor injury. It’s an option to get a warm body between the sticks but paying this much for a mediocre keeper is so depressing.

What I’ll do here is go for Willis at Nashville, irony of ironies. He was the most expensive MLS keeper going into pre-season but high expectations were not met and he is now available for $1,275. Actually pretty good relatively speaking given he is still probably in one of the best defences in the league who have just been unfortunate to concede 4 in the opening 2.

They don’t have a great fixture this week, but it’s likely that Willis improves and could bounce back in price later, which is another way to win. 

That ain’t cheap though and we’ve now used over half our budget on a keeper. Fantastic. Please fix this Sorare!

We’ll have to look for strong value now and Arreaga at Seattle can help us out. Strong baseline for a CB, and if he pops up with a cheeky headed goal it won’t be entirely surprising. $195. 

And we can go for Mukhtar who has a good fixture with Nashville, and as I said in my gameweek #160 match report, there isn’t too much difference in quality between him and Leal, it’s just Leal has got more obvious results. He’s the captain. $365. 

I’d have liked to stretch to Lod at Minnesota again who did really well for my budget team last week. And he has another decent fixture. But now that he has performed he’s into the mid-price team. That’s what happens. $510 though which would take us just over budget. 

So instead, we’ll get Yimmi Chara from the Portland Timbers for $360. He may have blanked so far this season but he had chances himself and created some in both games. Plus he had a hatrick this month in the CONCACAF CL. A better player than most think at that price. 

Bruin, with that fixture, picks himself at $275. There are question marks over rotation with Montero but Montero probably doesn’t start due to recovering from injury and is more likely to come on from the bench.

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