|ESPN.com: 2011||[Print without images]|
As the busy summer months kick in, Segment 2 has only a few weeks remaining and over the next month there's ample chance to start players who will get to play twice in the coming week.
But in doing so comes risk, as managers juggle lineups to keep players fresh for the long grind of the season, a grind that will soon include CONCACAF Champions League play as well as U.S. Open Cup knockout games.
Leaning on regulars through the league matches isn't too difficult to predict, but be sure to keep an eye on the injury updates provided in order to get the most out of your lineup.
Here's a look at some of the best bets for this week:
Landon Donovan, MF, LA Galaxy, 8.5 market price (CHI): After a long Gold Cup campaign, Donovan returned to action for the Galaxy last week. While he couldn't settle back into the groove right away, he'll get a few good chances taking on the Chicago Fire at home.
Jimmy Nielsen, G, Sporting KC, 7.4 (CLR, CHV): KC's dreadful start to the season on the road is in the rearview mirror. The team is riding high and, with two games this week, Nielsen provides ample opportunity to rack up big points. That he'll be playing at home against two struggling teams increases the incentive.
Rich Balchan, D, Columbus Crew, 7.2 (@VAN): Perhaps one of the most overlooked rookies in 2011, Balchan has played all but one game for the Crew this season. Having recently switched from outside back to a defensive midfield role, he and his Columbus teammates will look to keep a clean sheet on the road this weekend against a poor Vancouver Whitecaps side.
Thierry Henry, F, New York Red Bulls, 8.0 (TOR, DCU): When Henry has been healthy, he's been in a great form. However, injuries and illness have dogged him at times this year. Despite that, he's tied for the league lead in goals and will have two cracks at the two worst defenses in the league in the coming week.
Dwayne De Rosario, MF, D.C. United, 7.5 (@NWY): Already into his third team in 2011, De Rosario wasted no time showing he can still be a difference maker by picking up an assist against the Philadelphia Union over the weekend. He'll be fired up to face one of his old teams as he continues to integrate himself into his new club.
Joel Lindpere, MF, New York Red Bulls, 6.2 (TOR, DCU): One of the most underrated players in MLS, Lindpere bailed out goalie Bouna Coundoul last weekend by scoring a brace to earn a point on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes. He'll likely play the full 90 in both games this week and is one of New York's most consistent scoring threats from the midfield.
Steven Lenhart, F, San Jose Earthquakes, 6.2 (@CHV, PHI): A consistent handful for opposing defenses on a weekly basis, Lenhart scored an exquisite diving header over the weekend to give San Jose a temporary lead. The recent return of Chris Wondolowski will continue to afford Lenhart scoring chances over the next week.
Chance Myers, D, Sporting KC, 6.4 (CLR, CHV): The former first-round pick's professional career has sputtered more than started. Finally healthy, Myers appears to have turned a corner. Starting in the last eight matches for KC, he helped shut down the opposition attack on more than one occasion and will look to do the same this week.
Conor Casey, F, Colorado Rapids, 5.6 (@KAN, VAN): Casey had to sit out last weekend after picking up a red card, but he's a cheap option with four goals in his past five games. He's bound to score at least once in the coming week with two games on the schedule.
Steven Beitashour, D, San Jose Earthquakes, 5.8 (@CHV, PHI): Another slow starter this year, Beitashour has, for the time being, locked down the right back spot for San Jose. His crossing ability has been a real asset for Wondolowski and Lenhart, as shown especially over the weekend.
The New England Revolution don't have a game this coming week, so be sure to drop everyone to the bench if you have them. Nat Borchers (D, Real Salt Lake) was part of a group of players that picked up red cards over the weekend and he'll miss this weekend's game in Dallas. Although Gold Cup duty is over, Rafael Marquez (D, New York Red Bulls) continues to struggle with an injury and could miss a couple more weeks. The oft-injured Jed Zayner (D, D.C. United) had knee surgery Friday and will miss up to six weeks.
While shutouts are far from guaranteed, given Sporting KC's play of late, goalie Jimmy Nielsen could be set up very nicely for a substantial point haul this week.
Travis Clark is a fantasy soccer writer for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter @travismclark.