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MLS Fantasy League: Week 16 picks

Another tricky round of Fantasy League is here. Go all out and stack your lineup or play conservative?

If you don't have 3 Timbers players on your roster this week, you're doing MLS Fantasy League wrong.
If you don't have 3 Timbers players on your roster this week, you're doing MLS Fantasy League wrong.

Round 16 is here. Four teams have double duty this week, so naturally you want to fill your lineup with as many of those players as possible.

Portland Timbers v FC Dallas

D.C. United v Toronto FC

Columbus Crew v Montreal Impact

Colorado Rapids v San Jose Earthquakes

Vancouver Whitecaps v New England Revolution

Montreal Impact v Houston Dynamo

Chicago Fire v Colorado Rapids

Vancouver Whitecaps v Chivas USA

Los Angeles Galaxy v Portland Timbers

First, a look at the Timbers roster.

I tend to repeat myself on this blog, but Will Johnson ($9.0) is a must have pick this round. The Canadian has played every minute of every game this season and is averaging a consistent 5.3 points per game. Right behind him is midfield maestro Diego Valeri ($8.0) at 5.2 points a game. Pick up both, that is, unless you want to play the luck of the draw, in which case Darlington Nagbe ($7.9) might be worth the risk.

Picking a 3rd Timber is decidedly more difficult. Ryan Johnson ($8.3) is always a threat, but rarely plays 90 minutes and has been rotated out of the lineup during busy stretches. Michael Harrington ($5.2) is a solid pick for his ability to get into the attack, but with the Timbers playing Dallas at home then LA on the road, it will be hard keeping clean sheets. Rodney Wallace will miss the round altogether, so avoid him.

(Keep in mind, after Round 16 the Timbers are at home vs. Colorado then take the next 2 weeks off. So if you stockpile your lineup with Timbers players, make sure you have a plan to offload some of those guys quickly.)

The Impact also have a myriad of options available. Marco Di Vaio ($9.2) is 2nd in the league in goals and another must have pick. If you don't already have Clint Irwin on your roster, Troy Perkins ($5.0) should be your keeper in goal this round. Matteo Ferrari ($4.8) and Hassoun Camara ($5.0) are both inexpensive defenders on a team capable of earning shutouts in both matches.

The Whitecaps roster, as described by Andrew Wiebe, is a fantasy league wasteland. Russell Teibert ($5.5), however, has been a revelation over the past month, scoring twice and adding three assists. He's cheap, prolific in front of goal, and relatively unknown. In other words, the perfect pick. (Note: Teibert is listed on the MLS Fantasy League website as a midfielder but has been starting up top)

I'm not very high on selecting anyone from Colorado this week. (Insert Half-Baked reference here) Chris Klute ($5.0) is your best option in defense. Clint Irwin ($5.1) is available, but at an overly inflated price.

My reluctance to pick Rapids players this week stems from a bigger question that comes up during every round of double action for MLS teams. Basically, how many transfers should you make? Obviously you want as many players available as possible, but you also don't want the transfer penalties to add up, and then there's the opportunity cost of disrupting your lineup in the coming rounds...

I'll write up a more throughout breakdown eventually, but as a general rule of thumb, you should only pick up players who are solid long term bets, short term transfers with a high probability of an immediate impact, or preferably both. This kind of reasoning explains why it's a smart bet to have 3 Timbers players on your roster this week, and why forwards like Atiba Harris and Deshorn Brown aren't such a good idea.

Team name: Ben Fong-Torres FC (Almost Famous was on at the time)

Rank: 198 (Up)