USA Today

Fantasy Forecast: Conference Finals

We're into the final stretch fantasy managers, only two games away from the MLS Cup Final.
A shock result in Salt Lake City over Portland has made the second leg a very interesting game to say the least. It makes for a tough decision on whether to bank on Real Salt Lake continuing their dominance. Or perhaps you stick it out with Portland and hope they can win with two or more goals. In our other matchup, Houston blew a big opportunity at home finishing with a 0-0 draw vs Sporting Kansas City. The Dynamo were definitely hoping to have a favourable result with their home dominance but it certainly went awry. Can they rebound and steal a victory on the road? 
Sporting Kansas City vs Houston Dynamo
With Sporting coming away with a decent result on the road they'll be looking to deliver the finishing blow in this contest. Our thinking is Graham Zusi ($10.5m) will be the player serving up defeat to them. This game screams for someone to take over and Zusi has that play making ability to take the bull by the horns.
This team lives and dies by its back line, any one Aurélien Collin ($6.8m), Matt Besler ($5.9m) or Seth Sinovic ($5.8m) are an easy selection and poised for a good point haul; or if you're like us from last week, all three are in your line up.
Up front it's a just a big puzzle. No forward has stood out or has proven himself to be the type of player you can't be without. We anticipate many fantasy mangers will be going with a 5-4-1 formation or perhaps a 4-5-1 because of that. 
The success in these teams all lend themselves to their midfield and back lines. Jimmy Nielsen ($5.7m) will be our goalkeeper this week. We feel Portland versus Salt Lake could be a goal fest and feel more much comfortable standing with Nielsen behind that strong Sporting defence.
Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake
A 4-2 loss is extremely difficult to overcome after a disappointing first leg for the Portland Timbers, but if anyone has the ability to come back from that margin Portland certainly has the moxy to pull it off, especially at Jeld-Wen. Winning by two or three goals might be a stretch but we're going with our gut and most probably are hopes in which we see Portland make a fantastic comeback and lead their fans to a Cup Final.
The typical boys you want are in the middle of the park, Diego Valeri ($8.0m) and Will Johnson ($8.1m) are the must haves, followed closely by (Darlington Nagbe ($8.0m). The attack will live and die around this trio. Up top there's only one for us in which we see fit, that's Ryan Johnson ($7.9m). We have been a bit concerned by his play time recently but he's as good bet up front as any of the other attackers in the four teams remaining.
As for the backline, we're steering clear. We believe there is much better value going with Sporting Kansas' defenders as not only will they be more likely to hold a clean sheet, but they historically accumulate more points. One things for sure even if Portland doesn't manage to pull this of, there will be plenty of fantasy points to be had in this contest as Portland won't be going away without a massive fight.