MLS Fantasy Rankings: Week 9
MLS Fantasy Rankings: Week 9

This article is part of our MLS Fantasy Rankings series.

The rankings below are based on Major League Soccer's official fantasy game and cover all games in Week 9. While they can be used for DFS purposes, they are done with a focus on the league's season-long game.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below, or hit up JD on Twitter @dfsMLS.

Forwards

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Zlatan IbrahimovicLA at MIN, v. RSL13.2Both Minnesota and RSL are in the bottom third of goals allowed and expected goals allowed per game. Minnesota will likely be without Opara, Calvo, and Gregus. Zlatan's xG per match is significantly higher than Carlos Vela's (thanks in part to four penalty kicks).
2Carlos Darwin QuinteroMIN v. LA, v. DCU12.4For me, Quintero is the only challenger to Zlatan for top forward this week. He also takes penalties, both of his matches are at home, and Minnesota have found themselves in shootouts lately.
3Angelo RodriguezMIN v. LA, v. DCU8.2It's always wise to diversify your fantasy player portfolio, but Angelo's recent performances are really making me consider two Minnesota forwards.
4Heber Araujo dos SantosNYC v. CHI, v. ORL7.8Heber's presence in the NYCFC attack has been a game changer already. He'll need help from his teammates - as I'm not sure he's a player who can singlehandedly shred defenses - but few MLS players are. With Mitrita ailing, Tajouri-Shradi questionable, and Dome Torrent constantly tinkering with the lineup, Heber is not the surest bet this week but he's an incredible value with a high ceiling.
5Wayne RooneyDCU at CLB, at MIN10.7These two road games don't come at a good time for a struggling DC United side that look a little tired. Rooney actually finds himself as a somewhat of an under-the-radar play this week and I think it could work out. The cap hit might be a bit too stiff for me to squeeze him in, though.
6Jordan MorrisSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC7.9With Ruidiaz and Will Bruin both on the mend, it looks like Morris may be the central forward against a San Jose team that is improved but still defensively suspect. Morris hasn't been delivering the points but he's intriguing at the least here with two home fixtures.
7Nemanja NikolicCHI at NYC, at MTL8.7 
8Gyasi ZardesCLB v. DCU, at HOU8.8I might be a little lower on him than most this week, but neither of Zardes' matches strike me as great opportunities and he is a very one-dimensional fantasy player. Combinations with more upside AND more safety can be found elsewhere this week.
9Danny HoesenSJ at SEA, at DAL6.9His recent goals have shown what he and the Earthquakes can do on the counter, which just so happens to be exactly how San Jose will probably have to attack in these road games. I'm staying away given the other options, but the price is cheap and the player is quality.
10Maximiliano UrrutiMTL at NE, v. CHI7.4 
11Valentin CastellanosNYC v. CHI, v. ORL7.2After resting a match due to a concussion, Taty could reprise his starring role from the Minnesota match. He'll make for an enticing option for a bench spot if he starts on Wednesday.
12C.J. SapongCHI at NYC, at MTL8.9 
13Cristian EspinozaSJ at SEA, at DAL8.9Two road games and a lack of bonus points from a winger make Espinoza a shaky fantasy bet for me. He's good, but maybe not 'third forward for a double game week' good.
14Carlos VelaLAFC at SEA14.3You might think that Vela is squarely in play despite just one match, but even his high 11.44 pt average wouldn't automatically surpass two games from a mid-level forward like C.J. Sapong who is averaging 6.43. Take your chances with a player who could play 150+ minutes instead of an expensive Vela.
15Cristian PenillaNE v. MTL, at SKC7.0Brad Friedel, the mad sad scientist, hasn't consistently handed consecutive starts to Penilla even once this year. Why would we expect him to properly utilize his best player now?
16Romario IbarraMIN v. LA, v. DCU7.5Better fixtures than the middling DGW forwards below here. Probably will see 90-120 minutes.
17Juan CaicedoNE v. MTL, at SKC6.3 
18Harry NovilloMTL at NE, v. CHI7.7 
19Josef MartinezATL v. COL9.5Nemeth and Elis stand out as other good single game week options, if necessary. Jesus Fereira is cheap and on quite the hot streak as well.
20Teal BunburyNE v. MTL, at SKC5.7 

Midfielders

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Maximiliano MoralezNYC v. CHI, v. ORL9.7We're not talking last year's Maxi and Lodeiro, but both are still high quality players with two home matches. Maxi has three key passes and six shots in two away games since returning from injury, while Lodeiro has the same in his past three starts (two at home).
2Nicolas LodeiroSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC11.5One factor in favor of Lodeiro over Maxi might be penalty kicks, as he's proven a reliable taker and Maxi missed his last week (though I expect him to remain the taker). San Jose have given up a healthy number of pks this season.
3Carles GilNE v. MTL, at SKC10.6Montreal seem set up to have a pretty dismal match at New England and if Gil can take advantage, I'll be totally happy with just the 3-4 points we can expect in Kansas City.
4Jonathan dos SantosLA at MIN, v. RSL10.4With just one goal and an assist, JdS is still averaging nearly 7.5 pts per game. He also has been on the field for every minute of every game this year. Last week he earned a whopping 8 bonus points in one match alone!
5Cristian RoldanSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC10.0Lodeiro has burned some people this year, so I get it if you'd rather go for the ultra-consistent Roldan. I'll go for the upside and penalty taker, though.
6Alexander RingNYC v. CHI, v. ORL8.9I'm probably using two of my NYC spots for players on the defensive side, but Ring makes for an appealing mid-price option. 
7Luciano AcostaDCU at CLB, at MIN10.3He's not influencing the game as much as we'd like, but he is still bringing decent point hauls with considerable upside.
8Nicolas GaitanCHI at NYC, at MTL9.2He broke out against the Rapids but can he go on the road and unlock two tougher defenses? Will he get a full compliment of minutes when Chicago have other attacking options? There's some uncertainty here but I like Gaitan this week.
9Aleksandar KataiCHI at NYC, at MTL8.3Katai has taken 15 shots in his last two matches. Probably not happening with two road games here, but it's safe to say he's feeling good lately.
10Victor RodriguezSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC8.9 
11Pedro SantosCLB v. DCU, at HOU8.6 
12Osvaldo AlonsoMIN v. LA, v. DCU8.4Both age and matchup put Ozzie a little below the other defensive or all-around midfielders above (JdS, Roldan, Ring).
13Federico HiguainCLB v. DCU, at HOU8.1Pipa's output just isn't rapid enough for me to be enticed anymore unless the matchup is very favorable. Still a quality player, but lacking the things that earn us fantasy points on a consistent basis.
14Saphir TaiderMTL at NE, v. CHI10.8Even though these rankings are out the day of the game, it still remains to be seen whether Taider is healthy enough to start the first match. We'll get to see the lineup before all games kickoff and I'd bump him up to 7-8th if he's in the starting eleven.
15Gustav SvenssonSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC7.9 
16ArturCLB v. DCU, at HOU8.1 
17Ethan FinlayMIN v. LA, v. DCU5.0Finlay is an incredible value on a team that will need goals to keep up with the opponents, but there's a chance he may not start both matches. Two home games and ~120 minutes for a $5.0 player is nice though.
18Alejandro PozueloTOR v. POR12.0Pozuelo won't have Jozy but let's not overreact, he's still one of MLS's best. Playing just one game, albeit a good matchup, I'm inclined to look elsewhere and not overthink things.
19Dax McCartyCHI at NYC, at MTL8.5 
20Wil TrappCLB v. DCU, at HOU7.7 

Defenders

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Alexander CallensNYC v. CHI, v. ORL7.3Callens is just recently back from injury, but I assume the ironman will be suiting up for both of these games.
2Maxime ChanotNYC v. CHI, v. ORL7.6New York's defensive back three with Callens, Chanot, and James Sands behind Ring and Ofori has proven tough to break down. It's fair to expect at least one clean sheet from them this week.
3Anton TinnerholmNYC v. CHI, v. ORL7.1NYCFC don't have much coverage at right back, which makes Tinnerholm a far safer fantasy start than Matarrita.
4Kim Kee-HeeSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC7.0Assuming Chad Marshall is back in the lineup rather than the woeful Roman Torres, Seattle should have a good shot to keep San Jose off the board. They'll also want to prove they're a better team than they showed last week during this week's rematch against LAFC.
5Kelvin LeerdamSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC7.9 
6Brad SmithSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC7.8With the congested schedule, Nouhou could nab a start from Smith.
7Chad MarshallSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC8.0Rested or injured last match? It's not entirely clear but the steady Marshall would be a fine albeit expensive fantasy play.
8Romain MetanireMIN v. LA, v. DCU7.4Minnesota have given up two or more goals in 5/7 matches and even with both of this week's games being at home, a clean sheet is unlikely. Both Calvo and Gregus are out for the first leg and Opara may not be back either. Metanire makes up for all of this with some offensive output, but it's not enough to rank him any higher than this.
9Jonathan MensahCLB v. DCU, at HOU8.3 
10Zakaria DialloMTL at NE, v. CHI7.1Montreal are due to sit back and bunker in at least one of these games, but probably both. I wouldn't bet against them stealing a clean sheet and I certainly wouldn't bet against Diallo racking up bonus points.
11Gaston SauroCLB v. DCU, at HOU6.6Sauro feels like more of a rotation risk than Mensah, but his price is better and attacking output sure has been as well. Columbus have a fairly neutral DGW schedule.
12Daniel LovitzMTL at NE, v. CHI6.6Lovitz is the only other Montreal defender I'm confident in starting both games. Raitala could always bump out to the left, but seems to be settling in at centerback for Remi Garde.
13Steve BirnbaumDCU at CLB, at MIN8.8Pretty expensive for two road matches against solid teams.
14Ronald MatarritaNYC v. CHI, v. ORL6.3I'm fully aware he's played three straigh full 90 minutes. I'd be shocked if he starts both of the next two, but if you think he will then bump him near the top of my rankings.
15Jorgen SkjelvikLA at MIN, v. RSL6.4 
16Waylon FrancisCLB v. DCU, at HOU6.9 
17Andrew FarrellNE v. MTL, at SKC6.5The initial home fixture against Montreal sans Piatti (probably) and Taider (possibly) is actually pretty appealing and would put several Revs defenders in play as bench options. Farrell is the most likely, in my eyes, to go 180 minutes.
18MarceloCHI at NYC, at MTL5.6 
19Shea SalinasSJ at SEA, at DAL5.4Good production and playing higher up the field, but this is not an easy pair of games coming up.
20Michael BoxallMIN v. LA, v. DCU5.4 

Goalkeepers

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Sean JohnsonNYC v. CHI, v. ORL6.8Not the best on this list talent wise, but he has the best matchups and both are at home.
2Stefan FreiSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC7.7Frei or Vega will need to be the second keeper in any DGW keeperoos. It's pretty clear who is the better bet of those two.
3Zack SteffenCLB v. DCU, at HOU8.5With DC struggling, Columbus could have a good start to their week, but 8.5 is a hefty price to pay for only an ok set of matchups.
4Evan BushMTL at NE, v. CHI6.4If Sean Johnson were off the board, I'd really be thinking about using Bush after factoring price and opportunity cost (getting three other Seattle players outside of Frei).
5David BinghamLA at MIN, v. RSL6.5At a hampered Minnesota side and RSL at home? That's not bad.
6Bill HamidDCU at CLB, at MIN8.1 
7Cody CropperNE v. MTL, at SKC4.8 
8Vito MannoneNE v. MTL, at SKC6.4Sorry guys, but geographic location won't fix their defense or Mannone's personal limitations.
9David OustedCHI at NYC, at MTL5.4Not a bad pair of road fixtures. I think Ousted and Chicago could surprise, but ended up bumping him just a hair below Mannone and Cropper.
10Daniel VegaSJ at SEA, at DAL5.0 

Value Rankings

(forwards and midfielders under $7.5, defenders under $6.0; not ranked above)

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Djordje MihailovicCHI at NYC, at MTL6.9 
2Joe CoronaLA at MIN, v. RSL7.2 
3Sebastian LletgetLA at MIN, v. RSL6.9He's been really disappointing lately but we also know what he's capable of.
4James SandsNYC v. CHI, v. ORL6.9Playing in the defense, this isn't the most appealing midfield option, but he's a cheap source of points.
5Jackson YueillNE v. MTL, at SKC5.9If you are strapped for budget, Yueill should be very much in your bench plans this week.
6Luis Alberto CaicedoNE v. MTL, at SKC5.2 
7Giancarlo GonzalezLA at MIN, v. RSL5.2Either Gonzalez or Araujo will be a good budget option this week, depending on how the Galaxy line up.
8Diego FagundezNE v. MTL, at SKC5.7 
9Juan AgudeloNE v. MTL, at SKC4.8 
10Rasmus SchullerMIN v. LA, v. DCU5.2 

Captain Rankings

RankPlayerMatchupPriceNotes
1Zlatan IbrahimovicLA at MIN, v. RSL13.2Thanks to Lodeiro slumping and Maxi being a little quieter this season, this is a relatively easy call for me. Not near Vela-last-week easy, but not hard.
2Carlos Darwin QuinteroMIN v. LA, v. DCU12.4If you're always harping on home games > road games, please go ahead and take Darwin > Zlatan this week! (Seriously though, he's also a very quality option).
3Maximiliano MoralezNYC v. CHI, v. ORL9.7I need more goal scoring potential from my captain, but if Maxi retains pks after this week's miss, he's a solid pick.
4Nicolas LodeiroSEA v. SJ, v. LAFC11.5Rare chance to captain Lodeiro in a good spot when nobody else will, but is this current version worth the risk?
5Carles GilNE v. MTL, at SKC10.6Putting the chickens largely in one basket here and betting on a big first match from Gil.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JD Bazzo
JD is a contributing soccer writer at RotoWire and was a finalist for the 2017 FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year award. JD has been writing for RotoWire since 2015. He is a proud Pittsburgh native, purveyor of fantasy sports, and likely the first Penn State Basketball fan you've ever met.
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