Did you score big in Round Three? Three teams this round netted a whopping two hundred points or more thanks to some copious scoring from Seattle and a whole host of double game clubs. Get used to it. With the score of midweek games this season, you’re going to need a whole lot of points to win your group or be in the running for the overall title.
This round though? Probably not so much. While WNY, FCKC, and Sky Blue FC all have two games this round, how many big scoring players in that group can you name? Couple that with bad matchups for WNY, SBFC’s protracted struggles, and international call-ups all around, and you’ve got a recipe for a round where you might be better of focusing on advantageous matchups on Saturday for single game clubs.
Boston – LIANNE SANDERSON ripped Sky Blue FC apart last weekend and won’t leave for England until after Saturday’s match, meaning she should again be a nice option against a flailing SBFC side. I wouldn’t be against betting on HEATHER O’REILLY having a big game either, with the Breakers probably riding a wave of confidence after last week’s success. Yes, JULIE KING and ALYSSA NAEHER scored decently last round, but that had very little to do with the club’s defensive performance, so I’d still stay away until the Breakers can prove they can keep a clean sheet, even against a slumping SBFC side. Lastly, I’d also keep away from LISA DE VANNA, who has been a bust so far with just five points in three games.
Chicago – The only two Red Stars in double digits in points thus far are KARINA LEBLANC and JULIE JOHNSTON…neither of whom will be with the club in their midweek fixture against SBFC. That’s a headache for fantasy owners who may want to take advantage of what could be a knackered SBFC side in their third game in a week. TAYLOR VANCIL could be an astute pick if you fancy the clean sheet. Ditto on the backline with MICHELLE WENINO, who looks like the most consistent defender here until Johnston is moved in the game database. Offensively, good luck. LORI CHALUPNY has been a major disappointment thus far but is too good to be this bad for a whole season. Hoping for the likes of ZAKIYA BYWATERS and JEN HOY to deliver in fantasy this round though sounds very risky.
FC Kansas City – Yeah, you’re only getting AMY RODRIGUEZ for one game, but she’s been one of the league’s best thus far and is facing a very vulnerable defense on Saturday. She’s a legitimate contender for my captain’s armband. Elsewhere, despite a tough matchup on paper on Wednesday, the two games are simply too much to overlook, meaning you really need the likes of LEIGH ANN ROBINSON in your lineup, along with NICOLE BARNHART, if you can live with using an allocation on a goalkeeper. Barnhart’s another solid contender for my captaincy. LAUREN HOLIDAY looks like heating up after a slow start and is worth consideration despite being gone from midweek. ERIKA TYMRAK hasn’t shown much so far, but with two games, the little maestro should be worth a look as well.
Houston – Home advantage but a horrible matchup against an FCKC side seemingly coming out of their early season stupor. Nobody here has cracked double digits save TERESA NOYOLA thanks to her Boston performance, and I’d stay away given her allocation status and the matchup. It’s difficult touting anyone else here either, so I’d stay away.
Portland – ALLIE LONG’s been a fantasy MVP so far and has to be in consideration for everyone considering she’s been taking penalties for the Thorns thus far. But given the aggro between these two teams last season, she’s a big candidate for a booking making her an intriguing pick but one with downside. JESSICA MCDONALD made herself a folk heroine with last round’s late show, but the physical forward also is notoriously inconsistent and has a tough matchup, so I’d be wary. NADINE ANGERER has been great thus far and is a sneaky contender for a clean sheet given how Abby-centric WNY may be in her return. If you’re thinking along those lines, REBECCA MOROS looks like the pick of the Portland backline. CHRISTINE SINCLAIR showed signs of life last round out. Can she do the same this time out? And would you bet an allocated slot on it?
Seattle – The Reign had a scoring bonanza last round with two wins, and they look set for more big points against a Washington side they crushed earlier in the season. In theory, MEGAN RAPINOE’s continued absence should make the selection of the forwards easy, but I’m wary that BEVERLY GOEBEL’s due a rest considering she’s not going to get a break this season in all likelihood, unlike the Reign’s international trio. If she plays, she’s a great option, but I wouldn’t be shocked at her being rotated to the bench given the end of this rapid fire stretch. AKA check your lineups before kickoff! With NAHO set to leave for the Asian Cup, there should be no such worries, and she’s one of this round’s best options. SYDNEY LEROUX hasn’t gelled thus far, and you have to wonder if risking an allocation slot is worth swallowing another disappointing outing. KIM LITTLE has been a bit up and down on the whole but has been huge when she’s up, and I’m probably gambling for a repeat of that this round. JESSICA FISHLOCK also deserves a little consideration despite her disappointing round three. HOPE SOLO has just one game but looks like another good clean sheet bet this round, though I wouldn’t risk burning a captaincy on her with just that one match. You pretty much have to have a Reign defender in your crew this round though, and KENDALL FLETCHER looks like the one to roll with at the moment.
Sky Blue FC – Ye gods. They look like a mess right now, and there’s ONE (!) player averaging over four points a match at the moment. Unsurprisingly, that should mean KATY FREELS should be in your lineup this round with the playmaker having two guaranteed games. The matchups aren’t bad though, and if you want to roll the dice with MONICA OCAMPO up top, I certainly wouldn’t think twice, though she takes up an international slot. If you’re brave enough to pick an SBFC defender, COCO GOODSON and CAITLIN FOORD look like the only two with two guaranteed starts, but neither have been much in fantasy so far. With JILL LOYDEN away on international duty in midweek, BRITTANY CAMERON might be worth a play with an understrength Chicago team coming to town.
Washington – The Spirit are a viable fantasy option in most rounds. This is probably not one of those rounds. The club should be well rested but are still up against it against a Reign side in prime form. DIANA MATHESON is obviously the pick of the bunch on offense, but I’d be wary considering she costs an allocation. CHRISTINE NAIRN has some scoring potential as well but is an injury risk considering she missed out last time despite being listed as probable, which she’s also listed as this round. CRYSTAL DUNN should probably be moved to midfield soon in the game, meaning this may be one of the last times to take advantage of her position listing as a defender. Still, given the low odds of a clean sheet and Washington playing just one game, even I might steer clear.
WNY Flash – There’s little evidence on the Flash so far, a situation not made better in the least by the club welcoming back ABBY WAMBACH. The Flash have two home games making Wambach an appealing option on paper, but she’s also coming back from a serious injury, one that could limit her potential as an aerial threat. I’m very much on the fence about including her, especially considering her fading international form. What her return does for the stock of VICKY is a big question as well, as the Spaniard was a dynamo in round one but fell back to Earth against Chicago. I’m more inclined to run with her as a midfield option this round though. With CARLI LLOYD suspended, who here fills the playmaker role? I suspect the Flash will try to shoehorn new signing SONIA BERMUDEZ in here somehow, but it’s mighty risky including her on your team until her role is clear and she proves herself. Defensively, BRITTANY TAYLOR is pretty much a must have thanks to her offensive point potential, though I’d avoid doubling up on Flash defenders given the team’s matchups. With two games, LYDIA WILLIAMS is an option in goal but probably only if you don’t have an allocation to use on a keeper.
NWSL Fantasy Round Four Team Rankings
1. Barnhart – FCKC
2. Solo – SEA
3. Williams – WNY
4. Vancil – CHI
5. Cameron – SBFC
1. Robinson – FCKC
2. Taylor – WNY
3. Fletcher or Barnes – SEA
4. Kallman – FCKC
5. Wenino – CHI
1. Little – SEA
2. Holiday – FCKC
3. Sanderson – BOS
4. Freels – SBFC
5. Tymrak – FCKC
1. Rodriguez – FCKC
2. Naho – SEA
3. Goebel – SEA
4. Ocampo – SBFC
5. Leroux – SEA