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Pulido or Russell: MLS DFS | DraftKings Showdown $5k to 1st | July 30

Jovanni Vidal



Welcome to MLS DFS for July 30 (7/30/20). Here you’ll find our top picks, all things considered. The players who have price-considered floor/ceiling on DraftKings are especially highlighted.

Other English Premier League DFS content this week:

MLS Odds Report

Philadelphia Union (+260) vs. Sporting KC (-104), O/U 2.5

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The MLS DFS Breakdown

This MLS showdown features the Philadelphia Union taking on Sporting KC in the second round of the MLS is Back Tournament. The Union is mid-tier in the East with an expected goals allowed of 3.6, while Sporting KC is middle of the pack in the West at 2.7. Both teams are also average in expected goals for with 2.5 to the Union and 2.9 to Sporting KC. The Union is allowing the most shots per game in the MLS, and the play of Andre Blake has carried them to victories.

Sporting KC ranks fifth in the MLS in shot volume with an on-target accuracy of 38.2%. With the play makers on both sides, I expect goals and give the edge to Sporting KC 2-1, because their offensive weapons should be too much for Blake given the lack of Union defensive support.

These picks are listed in order of what I believe are the top plays, including median projection, floor and upside.

Note: For players not used in the Captain or MVP spot, they are priority in Flex.

Captain Picks

Alan Pulido (DraftKings $17,700)

Johnny Russell (DraftKings $15,300)

Alan Pulido ranks top five in the MLS in shot volume with an on-target accuracy of 34%. He needs goals to pay off the price but is contributing on 54% of Sporting KC’s overall scoring. He can build on his goal involvement upside with 5.67 shots and assisted shots per game. Johnny Russell is top-20 in crossing volume and controls the set pieces for Sporting KC. He averages 4.34 shots and assisted shots per game and comes at a discount to Pulido.

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Pulido is the preferred choice if goal hunting, but he should carry the higher ownership, so I would look to pivot down to Russell. He frees up for spread out salary to offensive weapons and provides the safer floor. In MME I would come under the field on Pulido and over on Russell.

Alan Pulido 2019-2020 stats: 3 goals, 4 assists, 24 shots.

Johnny Russell 2019-2020 stats: 12 shots, 14 shots assisted, 36 crosses.

Jamiro Monteiro (DraftKings $11,700)

Brenden Aaronson (DraftKings $8,700)

Jamiro Monteiro is the set piece man for the Union, with some sets going to Brenden Aaronson. Aaronson makes an interesting captain choice because his safe floor, low ownership and salary relief to fit in the big guns from each squad. Monteiro contributes on 23% of the Union’s overall scoring, while Aaronson contributes on 34%. I think the safer Captain spot, if going with the Union, is Monteiro, but you do not need a lot of shares to be overweight on Aaronson, which makes an upside leverage play.

Jamiro Monteiro 2019-2020 stats: 2 assists, 5 shots, 23 crosses.

Brenden Aaronson 2019-2020 stats: 1 goal, 7 shots, 17 crosses.

Other Options: Kacper Przybylko (DraftKings $12,000), Khiry Shelton (DraftKings $14,400).

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Flex Picks

Kai Wagner (DraftKings $4,400)

Andre Blake (DraftKings $4,800)

Kai Wagner pushes up the wing and can deliver crosses from open play. He serves as salary relief with a solid floor and does not need set piece shares to get there. He comes with limited upside, but at this price you only need his consistent volume of crosses and a few drawn fouls and interceptions. Andre Blake is the outstanding keeper for the Union, and he comes with the risk of getting blown up. He leads the MLS in saves and does not need a win or clean sheet to pay off the price. Blake’s upside comes from a win, and clean sheet and if the Union upset Sporting KC, he should be the key component to take down a GPP. In a Union win or a 0-0 tie, the pairing of Wagner and Blake comes with the clean sheet bonus to jump the field at games end.

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Graham Zusi (DraftKings $6,200)

Luis Martins (DraftKings $6,800)

Tim Melia (DraftKings $7,400)

The wing back duo of Graham Zusi and Luis Martins is a big component of the Sporting KC offensive attack. Martins leads the team in open play crossing volume and averages two shots and assisted shots per game. He also contributes on the defense with an average of two interceptions and won tackles per game. Zusi averages 2.84 shots and assisted shots per game and 2.5 interceptions and won tackles per game. He also is third on the team with open-play crosses. I will have plenty of lineups with these two together and also like pairing them with Tim Melia. 

Melia is priced like a keeper with a win and clean sheet bonus in the bag. I do not think this will be the case, but I will account for it when building. He will not see the volume to make up in saves what he loses if he allows a goal, but I am on the side of Sporting KC. I do not see them scoring enough to make his upside irrelevant. If you choose to fade him, I think you can hedge his upside with the pairing of Zusi and Martins.

Luis Martins 2019-2020 stats: 5 shots, 34 crosses.

Graham Zusi 2019-2020 stats: 8 shots, 20 crosses.

Other Options: Roger Espinoza (DraftKings $5,200), Alejandro Bedoya (DraftKings $5,600), Sergio Santos (DraftKings $7,000).

Related Soccer Content

Jovanni Vidal is accountant and finance analyst, with lifetime passion for fantasy sports. He has provided content and player analysis for season-long fantasy sites. He joined Awesemo to help new and current DFS soccer players learn new approaches to the game and how to succeed, with an overall goal to grow the DFS soccer sport and various league content offerings. You can reach him on Twitter @fluff_marsh.

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