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2012 MLS Week 4 Fantasy Preview

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MLS Fantasy Forecast: Week 4

Another weekend of MLS action is drawing near, and the gap between the top and bottom is probably growing faster than you anticipated in your fantasy league. If you want to climb toward the top of your league, then it isn’t too late to start reading this weekly feature on USFutblog to help you with your transfer moves. Once again this week, we will spotlight players worth adding and dropping, with a bonus “bargain” player to round out your squad.

Two to Add:

Kenny Cooper – Forward, New York Red Bulls ($8.0)

If the first three weeks are any indication, Cooper may be in for a career renaissance with the Red Bulls. After scoring in the season opener, Cooper added a brace last week against Colorado, as the Red Bulls finally showed signs of life. Regardless of the team’s overall outlook, the strike-force is impressive at Red Bull Arena and though the prospect of having to share minutes with Luke Rodgers and Juan Agudelo may have scared some fantasy owners away before the season began, Cooper is making a strong case for a regular place in the lineup with his play.

With Agudelo ruled out for at least a month with a Meniscus injury and Rodgers' working visa still in doubt, Cooper’s minutes on the field are even more certain in the coming weeks. More importantly, he appears to be forming a positive partnership with superstar teammate Thierry Henry, as the two combined on Cooper’s first goal last week. With opposing defenses focused primarily on Henry, Cooper may find himself with more chances than ever in front of net.

The bottom line: Cooper is still a great value at $8, and should be scoring on a fairly regular basis this season.

Adam Moffat – Midfielder, Houston Dynamo ($6.1)

More than just a great beard, Moffat has become a staple of the Dynamo’s midfield since the team acquired him in mid-2011. The Scotsman was a key figure in the club’s run to the MLS Cup Final last season, even filling in as the main playmaker in the final, when Brad Davis was out with injury.

Though he may not have the same attacking responsibilities with Davis back healthy and playing, Moffat remains a good option for your team (although Houston is off this week so wait until next week to add him). Built like a defender, Moffat is a threat to get on the end of one of Houston’s patented set pieces, and he is even a threat to take set pieces as well, as the team’s top alternate to Davis. Plus, there is always the chance that he continues his run of scoring 35-yard blasts like this one.

The bottom line: He won’t score ten goals (maybe not even five), but for a reasonable price, he will play every week, and throw in a golazo every so often.

Two to Drop:

Ike Opara – Defender, San Jose Earthquakes ($5.9)

One silver lining of the U.S. U-23’s failure in 2012 Olympic Qualifying is that a great number of players have returned to their MLS clubs earlier than expected, and are ready to contribute to your fantasy teams once again. Unfortunately in Opara’s case, he has a very difficult situation to step in to as the Quakes travel to Seattle on Saturday night.

Though San Jose has been much improved in the early season, Seattle remains as strong as ever, and consecutive wins at Century-Link Field make it clear that the Sounders will be tough to beat on their home turf this season. Though the entire Earthquakes defense is likely to have a long night, Opara himself will either be suffering from the fatigue of the quick turnaround from Olympic play, or be held out of the lineup all-together.

The bottom line: It’s a bad match-up for San Jose and Opara is not a guarantee to be immediately re-inserted in the Earthquakes’ starting XI.

Marvin Chavez – Midfielder, San Jose Earthquakes ($9.0)

I hate to pick on one team, especially the Earthquakes who I believe are much-improved this year, but sometimes what works on the field, isn’t the best for your fantasy team. That is the case with Chavez, the Honduran winger, who finds himself on a team that is full of attacking talent, and apparently keen on rotating its players throughout the season.

Chavez has played well this year, starting last week against Toronto and earning an assist in his club’s 3-0 victory. However, he has yet to play a full 90 minutes, and with players like Shea Salinas and Simon Dawkins also taking time in wide attacking positions (not to mention Rafael Baca and Khari Stephenson), Chavez may struggle to find a regular place as the season develops.

The bottom line: Chavez is a decent player, who has put up decent fantasy numbers thus far, but $9 is simply too much to spend on a player who isn’t guaranteed to play each week.

Bargain Watch:

Marc Burch – Defender, Seattle Sounders FC ($4.7)

It was another week, another start for Burch, and another win for the Sounders against Houston last Friday. The former D.C. United defender, who appears to have ousted Costa Rica international Leonardo Gonzalez for the time being, has a lot of things going for him as a fantasy option.

First, he’s cheap – the only defender under $5 to start two games so far. Second, he plays for a good team – clean sheets might come more frequently for the Sounders than the likes of Toronto FC. And third, he can get forward – Burch was a striker at the University of Maryland, and his left foot is still as dangerous as any left-back in MLS. He already registered an assist in Week 2, and might be able to provide a few additional points as the season goes on.

The bottom line: His run at left-back might not last forever, but for under $5, you’d be silly not to add Burch to your team right now.

Follow Max on Twitter @MaxLom11

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