As predicted, the first week of the NWSL Fantasy Season was anyone’s game, with eight different players scoring the ten goals tallied. It did appear to be the Week of the Internationals, with Spanish international Vicky Losada and Scottish international Kim Little both scoring twice for their clubs. Hey, I’ll be honest: I didn’t know who Kim Little was until Sunday. Now I know. And so does the league.
That being said, let’s think back to last season, when several players scored in their opening matches (Cuellar, Farrelly to name a few) but didn’t necessarily carry that momentum on through the season.
Still, I’m one to think positively. Well, that, and I listen to people who know more than me about certain players…it’s times like that when I wonder why I choose to do Fantasy Shots. I didn’t rank in the top 100 this week, but that’s not a bad thing. The first few weeks, like I said, are guesswork at best. Clearly, other people know what they’re doing more than I do sometimes. So, let’s chalk it up to my own fun and games, with a side order of soccer knowledge (that may or may not be relevant in the fantasy league).
Top Four Point Leaders in each position for Week 11:
Goalkeepers: N. Angerer (POR, 15 pts), H. Solo (SEA, 12 pts), J. Loyden (SBFC, 12 pts), A. Naeher (BOS, 11 pts)
Defenders: R. Moros (POR, 11.50 pts), B. Taylor (WNY, 11 pts), C. Niemiec/N. Marshall/E. Menges (POR, 8 pts), L. Barnes/K.Fletcher (SEA, 8 pts)
Midfielders: K. Little (SEA, 31 pts), V. Losada (WNY, 24.5 pts), A. Long (POR, 17.5 pts), C. Nairn (WAS, 13.5 pts)
Forwards: M. Rapinoe (SEA, 28 pts), A. Rodriguez (FCKC, 19.5), S. Leroux (SEA, 7 pts), J. Taylor (WAS)/J.McDonald(POR, 4 pts)
FC Lake Placid: Week 1 Team (*denotes captain, #denotes allocated, ~denotes vice-captain)
Points Earned: 62
Week 11 standing: 317
Overall Standing: 317
Goalkeeper:H. Solo# (SEA)
Defenders: C. Dunn# (WAS), L. Robinson (FCKC), C. Foord (SBFC), B. Taylor (WNY)
Midfielders: L. Holiday#* (FCKC), L. Sanderson (BOS), E. Tymrak (FCKC)
Forwards: M. Rapinoe#~ (SEA), L. DeVanna (BOS), C. Sinclair# (POR)
A few people (OK, one person) commented that I tend to favor US National Team and Canadian National Team stars on my picks, not giving “a chance” to the unknown or little known players. There’s a reason: they’re that good. They have the history, the past stats, and the results to back them up as top picks. If you look at the stats from the week previous, and the stats from last season, 8 times out of 10, you’ll see a member of the USWNT pool in the top spot. There’s a reason they’re allocated players. There’s a reason they’re on the National Team. There’s a reason they get points: they’re the best in the world. If you bank on them, 8 times out of 10, you’ll be rewarded.
Does that mean there’s not someone out there, like Angerer or Becky Sauerbrunn or Erika Tymrak, who could come out of the wood-works and make a statement? Of course not. Without the NWSL, the WPS, and the WUSA, we wouldn’t have players like Sauerbrunn on the National Team. The next Shannon Boxx or Becky Sauerbrunn are out there: relatively or completely unknown. I guarantee that there will be at least one player who bursts into the women’s soccer consciousness this season. It’s just a matter of time.
The reason I don’t pick the obscure players is that they just haven’t made me look at them yet. There’s nothing wrong with that. Fantasy sports are competitive, and in order to be competitive with my peers, I have to play with who I think are the strongest options. I am aware that LeBlanc is a terrific goalkeeper, or that O’Reilly is one of the best play-makers of the game. But sometimes, I have to ignore my favoritism and play who I believe has the best opportunity to get points that week.
*descends from the soap box*
Week 2 Schedule:
Kansas City v. Washington
Western New York v Chicago
Portland v Sky Blue
Houston v Boston
Washington v Seattle
All times listed in ET
Picks for Week 2 (*denotes captain/~denotes vice-captain/#denotes allocated player)
Goalkeeper: N .Angerer (POR)
She had a solid game against the Dash, and, as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, will likely continue that way. Being a non-allocation helps if you want to load your front line this week. Sky Blue didn’t look too strong offensively (week 1 anyway…that could have just been one game) so she could come away with a clean sheet.
WATCH LIST: A. Naeher (BOS), H. Solo# (SEA), A. Harris# (WAS)
Naeher had one of the strongest performances of goalkeepers in the first week. Despite her team’s loss to Seattle, she was nominated for NWSL Player of the Week with 7 saves. Solo, of course, is always one to consider, and if you have an allocated spot availiable, may be your best option. Harris didn’t perform spectacularly during week one, but Washington has two games this week. The potential for points is there.
Defenders:C. Dunn# (WAS), B. Taylor (WNY), N. Marshall (POR)
Crystal Dunn was relatively quiet during her first professional match, but the girl has definite offensive skills, despite her position, and she has two games this week to prove that. Taylor scored this week, and last season proved she was a threat. Marshall could pull in a clean sheet with Portland, and she’s never one to count out for an assist.
WATCH LIST: L. Robinson (FCKC), S. Cox# (SEA), A. Krieger# (WAS)
Robinson is usually a staple in my back line, thanks to her non-allocated status and her talent, but since I’m trying the 3-4-3 this week, there’s just no room. Cox had a strong game for Seattle, and looks to be back to her old self. If you have a spot for an allocated player, take her. Krieger could also be an option with Washington’s two games this week, but I’m hesitant, simply because of Washington’s play, and their past results.
Midfielders: L. Holiday# (FCKC), K. Little (SEA), D. Matheson# (WAS), L. Chalupny~ (CRS)
Holiday warrants no explanation for me. Sure, she didn’t score last week, but she had some opportunities, and I never NEVER count her out. This top billing probably won’t change until FCKC has a bye week. Like a majority of the managers here, I’ll put Little on my roster this week. Why not, especially when Seattle faces a relatively untested Washington back line. Matheson, while unspectacular last week, nevertheless has shown in the past that she has the potential. I’ll take the risk with Washington’s doubleheader. Chalupny scored in Chicago’s last preseason game, and is still one of the best midfielders in the world. She’s a no-brainer for me (though that could be considered biased, as she’s one of my favorites).
WATCH LIST: M. Zerboni (WNY), J. Fishlock (SEA), Y. Averbuch# (WAS), A. Long (POR), V. Losada (WNY)
Zerboni was one of the few midfielders who garnered points last week, and facing Chicago, could make something happen. Fishlock and Long are on my watch list usually, but not always on my roster. As evidenced last week, both have a really good habit of scoring goals, but also of gaining fouls and yellow cards. Use at your own risk…though the payoff could be huge. Averbuch hasn’t drawn attention to her play just yet, but the UNC product definitely has the chops. Losada is worth mentioning for Week 1 with two goals and an assist. Can she continue that dominance in week 2?
Forwards: M. Rapinoe#* (SEA), A. Wambach# (WNY), L. Elston (HOU)
Why wouldn’t I keep Rapinoe on my roster? It’s early in this season, but she’s on a hot streak with both the national team and last week with Seattle. Wambach is always a threat, though she’s been in a bit of a slump with the national team (if you can call it a slump). Have a good backup just in case, as Wambach broke a bone below her eye last week and sat out (she’s listed as doubtful this week). Elston is someone I don’t know much about, but hey, maybe I’ll be the one to rake in the points if she produces against a relatively weak Boston back line.
WATCH LIST: E. Masar (HOU), S. Kerr (WNY), S. Leroux (SEA)
Masar is touch and go…she could produce, or she could be a bust. A risk, if you want to take it. Kerr gets a lot of attention from Wambach, and if the latter plays, Kerr could be a big point-gainer. Leroux didn’t produce last week, but it’s only a matter of time.
[NOTE: as of 00:48 Saturday March 19, I have updated my forwards. In light of the NWSL injury report, ABBY WAMBACH (WNY) has been replaced on my roster with AMY RODRIGUEZ (FCKC)]