MLS Fantasy 2018: Gameweek 3 - Captaincy Picks
Picking a Captain to double down on in MLS Fantasy is the most important choice ahead of each of the 34 regular season Gameweek's in MLS's season. There's a lot of self-help out there for MLS enthusiasts, with our Hype Team providing three major considerations for the armband for each and every Gameweek. We'll be detailing the top choice for captain in home and away matches, and a Wildcard pick of our choosing to add to the chaos. All aboard.
MLS Fantasy: Gameweek Deadline
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.
Captaincy in MLS Fantasy
There are a few differences with picking a captain in MLS compared to playing other games such as FPL. The major element to note with our Captaincy article is that we'll be picking a captain who is playing home and away, as well as a Wildcard player of our own choosing.
We've listed the differences below that make captaincy in MLS Fantasy unique:
- With the Rolling Lockout, you can change your captain until the selected captaincy pick plays
- Once the team your captaincy pick takes to the field, you can no longer change your captain
- If your captaincy pick doesn't play, then you'll end up with nothing
- There is no option to select a vice captain
CAPTAINCY HYPE: 2018 SEASON PERFORMANCE
In each Captaincy article we track our progress throughout the 2018 MLS Fantasy season. Below you can check how our captaincy selections have performed by week to week in Major League Soccer.
Home: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto 0-2 Columbus Crew) - 3pts
Away: Josef Martinez (Houston Dynamo 4-0 Atlanta United) - 5pts
Wildcard: Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders 0-1 LAFC) - 9pts
Home: David Villa (NYCFC 2-1 LA Galaxy) - 10pts
Away: Yamil Asad (Atlanta United 3-1 D.C. United) - 2pts
Wildcard: Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps) - 9pts
Essential Total: 3 (1), 10 (2) = 13 points
Away Total: 5 (1), 2 (2) = 7 points
Wildcard Total: 9 (1), 9 (2) = 18 points
Gameweek 3: Home Captain
Fixture: New York City FC vs. Orlando City
Player: David Villa (NYC)
Player Price: $11.3m
New York's start to season is everything that Patrick Vieira would have wanted from his squad. New York made light work of Sporting Kansas in their opening day win, pulling off a comfortable 2-0 away to a team with a supposed strong defence.
Gameweek 2's home encounter with LA Galaxy offered a different test altogether, with the Galaxy much improved in an opening 2-1 home victory over Portland Timbers. LA started well in the match before NYC took the sword to their visitors, carving them open twice with rapid full-back play, with Anton Tinnerholm scoring his first goal for the club, and Ben Sweat's run and shot ultimately poked home by David Villa after a save from Galaxy's shot-stopper David Bingham.
Of all the teams to look strong in the opening two weeks, New York look the most imposing threat so far this season that could go the distance. Vancouver Whitecaps, LAFC, and Columbus Crew have also won their opening games, but Patrick Vieira's side look the side that every other team will want to avoid in MLS this season.
NYC take on Orlando City at Yankee Stadium, with the visiting side suffering a draw and a loss at home against D.C. United and Minnesota United, two teams who you'd consider to be at the bottom end of the MLS standings.
Orlando have been without attacking outlet, Dom Dwyer, and MLS's top assist-maker Sacha Kljestan, who has been serving a two-game suspension to begin the season after being shown a red card in the play-offs whilst playing for New York Red Bulls last season. It's been a slow start for Jason Kreis's side, who will not look forward to a visit to the Big Apple, and the prospect of facing an imposing New York side.
David Villa's Gameweek 2 Points
86 minutes played: 2pts
1 goal: 5pts
3 key passes: 1pt
1 big chance created: 1pt
7 shots: 1pt
David Villa celebrated his 100 appearance with a goal in the 2-1 victory over LA Galaxy, meaning he has scored in all 4 home openers for NYC. Of all the teams playing at home for Gameweek 3, Atlanta and NYC look best primed to return with goals and Fantasy points, so David Villa's second appearance as our home captain was inevitable this weekend.
Gameweek 3: Away Captain
Fixture: Minnesota United vs. Chicago Fire
Player: Nemanja Nikolić (CHI)
Player Price: $11.5m
With Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire, Toronto, Seattle Sounders, and unbeaten sides Columbus Crew and Vancouver Whitecaps, all on the road for MLS Gameweek 3, there is a greater choice for the armband for visiting players this weekend. We pondered for some time over our selection and narrowed our choice down to Nemanja Nikolic and Gyasi Zardes, but ultimately opted for Nikolic given his explosive potential in MLS Fantasy.
Philadelphia started the season well against New England Revolution and could pose a good test for a Columbus side who have been impressive in their first two matches this season. Zardes has scored in both games, and looked impressive at Toronto on opening day, so possesses a route in, but the manner of Chicago's defeat at home to Kansas edges our interest this week.
Chicago Fire were beaten 4-3 by Sporting Kansas City in the best MLS match we've watched over the two Gameweek's this season.
Chicago's visit to Minnesota is interesting due to Minnesota's highly impressive victory over Orlando City, which saw Ethan Finlay score both goals to take all the points for travelling side. Minnesota will have to shuffle the deck though for the visit of Chicago as Kevin Molino, their key attacking threat, looks set to miss out for the rest of the season after injuring his ACL in the victory at Orlando.
Chicago prospered in the second-half of their defeat against Kansas by providing a lot of service to Aleksandar Katai and Nikolic, with both dangerous assets to have. Nikolic scored both of his goals from crosses, with Katai also scoring from a cross, with Bastian Schweinsteiger providing the first of Nikolic's goals, looking to supply on demand.
Nemanja Nikolic's Gameweek 2 Points
90 minutes played: 2pts
2 goals: 10pts
4 shots: 1pt
Orlando came up against a resolute Minnesota defensive structure, but Orlando hardly tested The Loons in the box, and lacked any kind of threat in the air, which Chicago offer in spades. Orlando preferred to play between the lines and tried to find space through the middle, with Minnesota picking Orlando off on the counter through the pace of Ethan Finlay and Mason Toye.
For Fantasy players who banked on Nikolic in Chicago's opening MLS fixture will be keeping hold of the Forward after a 2 goal appearance, and currently owned by 6.47% of players, could provide the difference in your mini-leagues. We're expecting another open affair with Chicago this weekend, with Nikolic our major moving target this weekend.
Gameweek 3: Wildcard Captain
Fixture: Atlanta United vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Player: Miguel Almiron (ATL)
Player Price: $10.3m
If you wanted proof that MLS can be an unpredictable league, Atlanta United's first 2 games of the season would be the main case study used in any hypothesis, highlighting how quickly fortunes can turnaround.
Gerardo Martino's squad were humiliated in Houston with a 4-0 defeat, with a fragile defensive performance allowing Mauro Manotas, Andrew Wenger, and Alberth Elis to burst any pre-season expectations right out the window in regards to starting the season with a bang.
In the 4-0 defeat at Houston, Atlanta deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation which pushed Miguel Almiron out to the left of midfield, with Julian Gressel playing behind Josef Martinez. Atlanta were swamped in midfield, with Jeff Larentowicz, usually a holding Midfielder, playing at centre-back with Gonzalez Pirez.
D.C. United started the season strongly in a confident 1-1 draw at Orlando City, with former Atlanta winger Yamil Asad the star of the show on opening day in Florida.
Fast forward one week, with Atlanta ousting D.C. 3-1 in front of a record MLS attendance, Yamil Asad was a name barely spoken on the field as Atlanta came back from a humbling performance against Houston, to a resounding one against Ben Olsen's visiting side.
Atlanta changed from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2 formation, with Julian Gressel moved from CAM to a right wing-back role, with the German causing trouble all afternoon. Miguel Almiron was allowed a free-role in midfield, controlling the flow of Atlanta's attack, and the tactic greatly rewarded the home side at the final whistle.
Miguel Almiron's Gameweek 2 Points
89 minutes played: 2pts
1 goal: 5pts
1 assist: 3pts
9 recovered balls: 1pt
7 shots: 1pt
Atlanta host Vancouver Whitecaps during Gameweek 3, with their Canadian visitors winning both of their opening games, including a recent victory against Houston Dynamo. Vancouver's good start implies that Atlanta will be in for a good game this weekend, which puts Almiron's position as our wildcard captain in good focus ahead of this weekend.
Almiron's performance was at the heart of a pulsating home opener for Atlanta, and you can read more about the Paraguay international in our Star Players article by clicking here, or interacting with the tweet below.
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