Round 16 player picks: Back to normal

After a crazy stretch of DGWs and bye weeks, we’re finally back to normal — each team only has one game this round while no teams are on a bye.  It’ll be a nice little break from all the insanity we’ve had to go through.

Although we might see some rested players after the first pass in US Open Cup play this week, many teams opted to rest their big players to get ready for action following the international break.  That being said, let’s look at some top picks for round 16 ahead of the deadline which is Saturday at 1:00PM ET.


David Ousted – Vancouver Whitecaps – $5.4m

Total points: 48 (3 last match)
Clean sheets: 3
Saves: 26
Points per game: 4.0
Points per minute: 0.047 (@1012mins)
Current form: 5.0
Defending bonus: 13
Selected by: 3.4% (trending 0.1%)
Round 16 projection: 5

I had a hard time picking one goalkeeper this round, because I’m not sure I like anyone for a lock as a shutout.  Ousted ended up on top for me, because the Whitecaps are in good form recently, winning four of their last six, with two clean sheets in that stretch.  As long as Dallas doesn’t knock in six goals at BC Place, which I’m not convinced they’ll even win this game, Ousted should be a lock for at least a good 4-5 points even without a clean sheet.  He’s good for at least one defending bonus per game, and if he can knock down a bunch of saves, he’ll rack up a couple more points as well.

Add a possible clean sheet on top of that and you’re looking at anywhere from 8-10, which would be stellar from a keeper this week.

Round 16 match-up: FC Dallas (H)

Other notable options

If you want to keep it limited to keepers who are playing at home, Andre Blake ($5.8m) is also a good choice, as the Union hosts the Red Bulls this weekend.  Blake has consistently earned five or more points in his last six games, which is nothing to scoff at.  Another option might be budget pick Matt Lampson ($4.7m), although how the fire will perform at Gillette Stadium is really up in the air.  He’s racked up 37 points in his last four rounds as Chicago has found themselves in decent form as of late.



Kendall Waston – Vancouver Whitecaps – $6.0m

Total points: 70 (16 last round)
Clean sheets: 2
Goals: 2
Assists: 1
Points per game: 5.8
Points per minute: 0.065 (@1080mins)
Current form: 9.0
Attacking bonus: 1
Defending bonus: 25
Selected by: 2.3% (trending 0.9%)
Round 16 projection: 9

Yeah, I’m going with another Whitecap to round out my defensive picks.  Waston got his first and only two goals in round 14 as Vancouver downed Atlanta 3-1.  Whether they get a clean sheet or not, and whether he scores any goals or not (he probably won’t), he’s bound to get you some defensive bonus points, as he’s racked up 25 this season so far — enough to put him in the top 10 defending bonus point scorers in the league.  Just FYI, that’s about 2.08 bonus points per 90 minutes played, which is pretty impressive through 12 games.

He’s a little on the pricey side at $6m, but could be worth it if Dallas continues to struggle with their scoring — excluding that 6-2 RSL beatdown (everyone gets a pass against RSL right?), the Hoops have only scored twice in their last five.  The last time they scored multiple goals before the 6-2 win, was back on May 6th in round 10 when they won 3-0 against — surprise, surprise — RSL.  So, when faced with a team that actually has a decent defense, Dallas seems to struggle to find the back of the net lately.

Round 16 match-up: FC Dallas (H)

Carl Robinson announced that Waston will be out for a couple weeks after picking up an injury in international play.  Consider one of the other following defenders in his place.

Other notable options

Another fun pick against a weak defense would be Zarek Valentin ($4.7m) — he’s on the road against the Rapids, is super cheap, and has scored 29 points over his last three matches.  Given his price tag, it’s kind of a no-brainer for me, even though Colorado has won three straight at home.  If you like defenders at home, look to Maxime Chanot ($6.5m).  He’s got a hefty price tag attached to him, but NYC is at home against Seattle where they’re unbeaten in their last three.  Chanot also has 27 defensive bonus points — slightly higher than Waston — and even though NYC didn’t register any clean sheets in round 14’s DGW, he still managed to rack up 15 points thanks to five defensive BP’s, one goal, and two points for his high pass completion rate.



Miguel Almiron – Atlanta United FC – $9.6m

Total points: 91 (1 last round)
Goals: 7
Assists: 4
Points per game: 6.5
Points per minute: 0.082 (@1110mins)
Current form: 8.8
Attacking bonus: 4
Defending bonus: 10
Selected by: 21.6% (trending -0.8%)
Round 16 projection: 9

Almiron tops my list of midfielders this week, edging out Diego Valeri for me only because Atlanta is at home against Columbus.  I know he didn’t perform that well last week, but to be fair he only came in near the end of the game to bring on some extra firepower along with Josef Martinez who finally made his return.  Columbus just got knocked out of the US Open Cup, and has given up nine goals in their last four MLS outings, winning only one of those games.  With Martinez back, Almiron has plenty of options up front to feed the ball to, so it’s possible we could see ATL run rampant on Crew SC this weekend.

Remember — Almiron just notched himself a hat trick four weeks ago in Atlanta’s 4-1 rout of Houston, so we know when given a weak defense he can work his magic.  He’s not much of a differential or budget pick, but if he plays like his usual self, he’s sure to give your team a boost.

Round 16 match-up: Columbus Crew SC (H)

Other notable options

As I mentioned before, Diego Valeri ($10.7m) is another great option as the Timbers head on the road to face the Colorado Rapids.  Valeri’s scored 25 points in his last two matches combined, and seems to be back to his normal self that we saw at the beginning of the season.  If you want to stick with players at home, Diego Fagundez ($7.8m) is another great choice who won’t break your bank.  He’s in great form lately (8.0) as he’s scored over 10 points in three of his last four rounds, totaling 46 points in that stretch.  New England plays host to Chicago this round.  Although SKC hasn’t been quite as dominant the last few games like they were for the first stretch of the season, Gerso Fernandes ($8.3m) has still seemed to perform well, scoring 15 points in his last two matches combined, as well as tallying 21 points in round 12’s DGW, thanks to a hat trick against Seattle. As far as midfielders go, he’s relatively cheap, although SKC will be going on the road to San Jose this week, which seems like another game that could go either way.




David Villa – New York City FC – $11.1m

Total points: 107 (14 last round)
Goals: 8
Assists: 6
Points per game: 7.6
Points per minute: 0.090 (@1187mins)
Current form: 7.6
Attacking bonus: 9
Selected by: 31.9% (trending 6.1%)
Round 16 projection: 6

Big name, big price tag.  Villa really needs no explanation, except that he’s been hot and cold all season long.  He may not be consistent (scoring 14, 2, 16, 4, and 12 in his last five rounds), but when he goes big, he goes BIG.  I like his chances at home against Seattle this week, as the Sounders have lost their last three road matches, being outscored 10-1 by their opponents.  In fact, Seattle has only won one game on the road this season, a 3-0 win against LA all the way back in April for round eight.

He’s the second-highest selected player in the game for a reason (outdone only by Valeri at 34.4%), as he’s scored double digits on four different occasions this season.  In fact, he’s only scored less than five points in two rounds when he plays a full game.  If you can afford him, pick him up.

Round 16 match-up: Seattle Sounders (H)

Other notable options

As always, Nemanja Nikolic ($10.3m) is a solid choice, though he comes at a big price as well.  Chicago is on the road to New England this week, so who knows how well he’ll perform.  In the theme of our picks and staying with home players, one could always look to Fredy Montero ($9.0m) as he’ll be going at an FC Dallas defense.  While I can’t fully condone a Montero choice, he hasn’t done too terrible in recent weeks, scoring 17 points in his last three matches.  If you’re looking for a budget pick and are feeling somewhat brave, you could take a chance on RSL youngster Brooks Lennon ($5.1m) who’s fresh off a great performance in the U-20 World Cup, and while RSL is easily the worst team in the league at this point, they should be somewhat revitalized with all their players coming back from int’l duty and injury, and will also be going against a sloppy Minnesota defense.  Lennon only has one goal in MLS play, but he’s a sure starter and should absolutely be getting some great looks at goal.

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