By Brian Maurer
El Tráfico has been one of the more exciting rivalries since LAFC became a team in 2018. Since the matchup is happening on opening day using historical data can be useful to decide which players are worth a look for fantasy managers.
This rivalry tends to be extremely high scoring as they have averaged 4.44 goals per game. I am looking for potential goal scorers and creators to plug into this match up and likely avoid most of the defensive options (unless they are named Raheem Edwards or Diego Palacios).
Some of the attackers and midfielders who stood out in this rivalry match-up last season who are intriguing plays for me opening week include Denis Bouanga, Chicharito, Kellyn Acosta, José Cifuentes, Riqui Puig, Carlos Vela and Gastón Brugman.
I am leaning towards picking at least two players from this game, perhaps three. Trying to get a piece of all the goals that could likely be scored is just too much to not invest at least a spot or two for my week 1 lineup. Bouanga stands out to me for sure as he scored a brace in the last El Tráfico. He is also one of the cheaper attacking options out of the group of attackers for both teams likely to start. And while he is at least $1 million less than some of his attacking counterparts, on both LA sides, I do not feel he is much of a fantasy drop off. I like premium value at less than premium rates, and Bouanga should be able to deliver that week 1.
Brugman is another intriguing one. In fantasy, it is not always the greatest play to pick a deeper lying midfielder. However, Brugman played extremely well after arriving in LA and was actually fantasy relevant. It was a very small sample size, but a 7.6 FP average for a $7mil player is intriguing, especially in a match up where both teams are likely to play aggressive and could put up multiple goals.
Players like Cifuentes, Puig, Chicharito, and Vela require less explanation as to their value as they are all key attacking contributors to their teams, but will cost premium cash to play them. Spending premium money in this matchup would not be a mistake as all of these players should be involved in multiple shot contributions.