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MLS Fantasy Fisticuffs: Round 17

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It's about to get hectic.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Fisticuffs pits angry combatants head-to-head in an MLS Fantasy soccer showdown. Each week, Phil and Ben argue over which players will perform. The stakes are high. The competitor whose team scores the fewer amount of points through Round 27 (September 3rd) will have to endure two laps of shaming around the Toyota Stadium concourse, Cersei Lannister style (though probably not nude)! Join our league using the code 35-1619 to follow along.

Phil's off exploring the majesty and splendor of our national parks this week, so you're stuck with me. 7 teams broke 100 last round with the mysterious 'orange crush' living up to their name by crushing it with top score this round. I currently lead Phil 1384-1322 for our side bet.

Round 16 Review:

Gang, it's brag time. Phil parlayed his wild care into a top notch performance last round. It would have been even more outstanding if Drew Moor (D- $7.7) and Diego Valeri (M- $11.0) had managed to set foot on the pitch this round. Regardless, Phil's round score of 112 pushed him back into the Top 10 overall, which makes him one of the highest performing pundits in Fantasy MLS. If you followed his tip on Jack Harrison (M- $5.8) last round, then you're sitting pretty.

Speaking of Harrison and sitting pretty, I also took the plunge on the #1 draft pick from last year's Superdraft and netted a tidy 107 points last round. I have seen the mountaintop, and I now sit upon it. I'm #1 in all the land, and I expect I'll be able to field a full team in Round 18 so maybe I'll get to enjoy it for a few weeks. Thanks to all our regular readers- the fear of disappointing may have inadvertently pushed Phil and I to a new level this year. We'll try our level best to keep it up.

Round 17: Fight!

It's a quick turnaround this round, and be warned, that you'll have a roster deadline Friday, next Wednesday, and again on Friday. We'll probably do something briefly for the Wednesday games and something more expansive leading into Round 19 when everyone will get unlimited transfers. For now, we're getting you ready for Friday and the massive 'bye week' next Wednesday.

In picking players for this round (and hopefully next), I'm looking at whose playing whom and where. New York Red Bulls have two home games (a cross country visit from Portland Timbers followed by a possibly Kaka-less OCSC on short notice). I'll load up on New York and generally avoid adding Portland and OCSC this round. Both Sacha Kjlestan (M- $12.0) and Mike Grella (M- $8.2) add over 8 ppg at home this round, so there's a solution at midfield whatever your budget may be. Both Aurélien Collin (D- $7.8)  and Chris Duvall (D- $6.2) will be suspended this round, so I wouldn't try mining for clean sheets in Harrison this round. New York's form may not be good in recent history, but now that they're free of recent fixture congestion, I expect they'll be a good investment for the next 2 rounds.

Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps also have back to back home games, but they're considerably more difficult fixtures. Seattle's got LA Galaxy (2 Goals allowed in last 5 matches) and FC Dallas (5 Goals allowed in last 5 matches) on tap, so I'm not pumped up about the return of Clint Dempsey (F- $10.8) or the goal dependent Jordan Morris (F- $8.2). Osvaldo Alonso (M- $9.0) has been a bonus point machine, but he's a yellow card away from a suspension so I'll steer clear for this round at least.

Vancouver's schedule is only slightly better. They'll face the stingy Colorado Rapids this round, but you might get a decent return when they host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. Pedro Morales (M- $10.9) has been earning bonus points lately, so he's definitely someone to keep an eye on for next round. Vancouver haven't kept a clean sheet since April, but I'm guessing they're about due. You could do worse than Tim Parker (D- $6.2) or David Ousted (G- $6.1) in the coming rounds.

Final Thoughts:

Here's a best of the rest. It's just a matter of time until Sebastian Giovinco (F- $12.8) goes off. He'll play both upcoming rounds. Adding Ola Kamara (F- $8.5) seems like points chasing, but he's getting a lot of shots and the matchups (@NER, vs TOR)aren't scary. Harrison Afful (D- $7.5) is on the pricey side, but his floor has been 3 this year, and he's usually good for multiple bonus points. If you're feeling kinky, Hector Jiménez (D- $5.2) is actually playing attacking mid with Federico Higuain (M- $10.7) out. There's a sneaky differential play for the next few rounds.

Your 5 top players on form with games in the next 2 rounds: Mauro Diaz (M- $11.3) , Benny Feilhaber (M- $11.2), Matt Hedges (D- $9.4), Ola Kamara, and Fabian Castillo (M- $11.0). You'd be well-advised to have at least one of these guys for the next couple of rounds. Good luck, gang- keep up the good work!