After each round of matches for MLS Fantasy players, we'll be providing our Player of the Week, the player who we think is deserving of top spot, even if they didn't finish on the most points for a week. We'll take a look at the impact the player is having on his team, as well as the MLS Fantasy returns that they are providing. Strap in, it's time to get nostalgic. All aboard.
MLS Fantasy: Gameweek 24
For the 2018 MLS Fantasy season there is a 'Rolling Lockout', which means you can make substitutions and transfers until the second a player's game kicks off, which means you can chop and change your lineup as any Gameweek progresses.
You can view the schedule and a real time Gameweek deadline countdown clock (in the London GMT timezone) on our dedicated MLS Fantasy page.
MLS Fantasy Week 23 - Player of the Week: Diego Valeri (POR)
For the first time in seven rounds of MLS fixtures, MLS Fantasy players reverted back to a normalised Gameweek with do double-up on fixtures for select teams. Whilst the fixture schedule normalised, the Fantasy game rebooted with the arrival of the Fall Season.
If you're a first time reader, in MLS Fantasy the game's organisers decided to split the season in two - a Spring and a Fall season. The Spring season ended in Week 23, with the Fall campaign starting in Week 23.
The start of the Fall Season put the brakes on in sudden fashion, with Fantasy budgets reset to the basic $100.0 million, with many players (including ourselves) stressing the dire straights of selecting a team in a week which provided limited value - the likes of Alphonso Davies, who started the season as a $5.0 million differential, is no longer a secret in the football world.
With Week 23 an importance milestone in the season, one which might have seen the reversal of fortunes for many players who were cruising in the upper-echelons of the table, might have found themselves near the foot of the overall standings.
Our Player of the Week was the poster-boy for Week 23, with Portland hosting a Philadelphia Union side who are gutless away from this season. If you ignored the advice for Diego Valeri this week, then you'll be licking your wounds.
Diego Valeri's Week 23 Points - Portland Timbers 3-0 Philadelphia Union:
90 mins played: 2pts
1 goals: 5pts
1 assist: 3pts
Clean sheet: 1pt
1 penalty earned: 2pts
4 key passes: 1pt
3 crosses: 1pt
1 big chance created: 1pt
4 shots: 1pt
Portland's 3-0 win against Philadelphia was widely expected this weekend, with Portland heading in to the fixture 14 games unbeaten in MLS. The victory, spearheaded by a Valeri masterclass in midfield, moved the Timbers to 15 unbeaten in the league and up to 2nd in the Western Conference with 37 points.
The Timbers are 5 points off the pace of Dallas, who themselves lost 3-1 at home to the Western Conference's bottom side San Jose Earthquakes, but boast 2 games in hand over their Conference rivals. Two wins puts Portland in the driving seat to be crowned Conference champions, and it is possible that with 4 more games over Atlanta, Portland could be in contention to win the Supporters' Shield come the end of the season.
Valeri's Fantasy faithful will be elated over a performance which yielded a goal, an assist, a penalty earned, and 5 additional bonus points across the game. With Josef Martinez continuing his fine fine, notching his 25th and 26th goals in this MLS campaign the weekend against Toronto, it took the Godfather of MLS to outshine another Player of the Week performance for the well-coveted Forward.
For Valeri it looks like it will be business as usual this weekend in MLS Fantasy. The Argentine international and his 4.11% of owners will fancy their chances of 16 unbeaten as The Timbers host Vancouver Whitecaps at 4am on Sunday morning (for UK viewers).
The Fall Season looks set to favour Portland for the coming weeks, so we'd be surprised if Valeri isn't the first name on the team-sheet for MLS Fantasy players this weekend. By the nature of our name, The Hype Train, there's no doubting he'll be boarding our midfield selections for Week 24.
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