I’m busy with college previews, so the final two rounds of fantasy previews are probably going to be shorter than usual. There’s just one week of double game teams left, this one, meaning putting up a big number this round could be huge if you’re fighting for a title. At the same time, with FC Kansas City and Seattle having nothing to play for with their seeding confirmed, fantasy managers are in quite a pickle with the threat of squad rotation threatening to disrupt their lineup plans. At the very least, you’ll know who FCKC is starting before the roster lock.
You obviously want teams with something to play for at this stage, meaning quite obviously, Portland, Washington, and Chicago. Problem? Only Chicago has a two-game round. And they’re injury list is looking increasingly macabre with no less than eight players afflicted at last count. Portland has a plum tie against Boston but have struggled defensively against the Breakers this year. Washington goes to Seattle without Ashlyn Harris in goal, though how up for this one the Reign will be is anyone’s guess as Laura Harvey continues to rotate.
The other two teams with two games are Boston and Sky Blue FC. Given the latter’s matchups and the former’s offensive awakening as of late, you may well look towards their players for a late season boost in your lineup.
Round Eighteen Team Rankings:
Tough. Really tough. There aren’t any matchups that standout here. If I had faith in SBFC not pulling a switcheroo with one of their matches and putting Cameron in, I might slide their way and grab JILLIAN LOYDEN. NICOLE BARNHART is probably the safe option, and you can always switch in SARA KEANE if she’s rotated in with FCKC’s game being the first one of the round. KARINA LEBLANC looks decent on paper but is also facing two offenses that can score, so I’d be wary. HOPE SOLO is worth considering if she starts, but you better make sure you have a solid option in reserve in case she doesn’t. That she costs an allocation slot will probably scare many away.
STEPH CATLEY + 2 for everyone in all likelihood. Catley’s not likely to get clean sheet points but is good enough offensively that she’ll probably still score positive points. The other defenders in the lineup are tough to pick out. You’d figure SBFC has a decent shot at a clean sheet in at least one match, but their defenders are hard to rely on. CAITLIN FOORD is too foul prone for my tastes, so I’ll probably spring for either LINDSI CUTSHALL or CAMI LEVIN, who both seem likely to play if not produce much outside the chance for a clean sheet. JULIE JOHNSTON is the pick from a depleted Chicago side and is a always a threat on set pieces. The usual suspects of LEIGH ANN ROBINSON, KENDALL FLETCHER, and potentially one of ALI KRIEGER or CRYSTAL DUNN may also figure in your plans. Again, it’s not a great week for good defensive matchups.
This doesn’t exactly become easier with Chicago not having any great producing midfielders for fantasy. I’d wait on lineups against FCKC and perhaps bring in VANESSA DIBERNARDO if she starts. Be wary though, as Rory Dames rotates like a madman in his attack. You probably have to take VERO, though she only plays one match, as that match is against Boston. On the other hand, you definitely need HEATHER O’REILLY, who has been on fire as of late, and probably one of KRISTIE MEWIS or LIANNE SANDERSON. KATY FREELS has cooled down noticeably for SBFC as of late but may be able to work some magic with appealing matchups this round. You’ll know who starts for FCKC against Chicago, and if LAUREN HOLIDAY does, she’s worth at least a thought. As hard as it is to stomach, you might well do without KIM LITTLE this round, as Seattle may choose to rotate her out with the playoffs over the horizon.
Yeah, this one’s simple. CHRISTEN PRESS, ALEX MORGAN, and either NADIA NADIM or KELLEY O’HARA. You could probably get cute and toss in whichever FCKC center-forward starts (or one of the two if both start), whichever of the Seattle attacking hydra starts (good luck rolling the dice on that), JODIE TAYLOR (beware inconsistency), or ABBY WAMBACH (they own SBFC! Except for the last time out.). I’m taking the easy way out.