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
Home: David Villa (NYCFC 2-0 Orlando City) - 0pts
Away: Nemanja Nikolic (Minnesota United 2-1 Chicago Fire) - 2pts
Wildcard: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United 4-1 Vancouver Whitecaps) - 10pts
Home: Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew 3-1 D.C. United) - 2pts
Away: Maxi Moralez (New England Revolution 2-2 NYCFC) - 4pts
Wildcard: Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls 3-0 Minnesota United) - 13pts
Home: Felipe Gutierrez (Sporting Kansas City 1-0 D.C. United) - 6pts
Away: Carlos Vela (LA Galaxy 4-3 LAFC) - 15pts
Wildcard: Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo 0-2 New England Revolution) - 3pts
Home: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United 5-0 LAFC) - 20pts
Away: Carlos Vela (Atlanta United 5-0 LAFC) - 3pts
Wildcard: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy 0-2 Sporting Kansas City) - 2pts
Home: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United 2-2 NYCFC) - 10pts
Away: Sacha Kljestan (Philadelphia Union 0-2 Orlando City) - 8pts
Wildcard: Maxi Moralez (NYCFC 4-0 RSL // Atlanta 2-2 NYCFC) - 23pts
Home Total: 3 (1), 10 (2), 0 (3), 2 (4), 6 (5), 20 (6), 10 (7) = 51 points
Away Total: 5 (1), 2 (2), 2 (3), 4 (4), 15 (5), 3 (6), 8 (7) = 39 points
Wildcard Total: 9 (1), 9 (2), 10 (3), 13 (4), 3 (5), 2 (6), 23 (7) = 69 points
Gameweek 8: Home Captain
Fixture: New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire
Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips (CF)
Player Price: $9.9 million
New York Red Bulls have had a turbulent start to the season, juggling both an MLS schedule, and navigating the tough waters of the Champions League. Eliminated in the semi-final stage after a 1-0 aggregate loss to Liga MX side Chivas, the focus for RBNY has returned to domestic fixtures, and they looked a threatening side in a recent 3-1 home victory against Montreal Impact.
In general, the Red Bulls have been a punishing outfit at home, putting teams to the sword and largely exposing teams at the back. Dominating Portland 4-0, cruising past Minnesota 3-0, and defeating Montreal 3-1 at home, has been met with a 1-0 defeat away at Real Salt Lake, and being involved in a highly entertaining 4-3 defeat away to Orlando City.
Scoring in all 3 home matches this season, there is no Forward in MLS who looks more likely to score in every home fixture than Bradley Wright-Phillips, which puts him comfortably in our slot as home captain.
Due to RBNY's schedule, BWP has been rotated and subbed a lot in the early going this season, but should now start to show more in regards to his Fantasy output, which currently stands at an impressive 4 goals and 2 assists, with 35 points from just 2 starts (which is highly impressive given his limited play time).
BWP's appeal this weekend sharpens with the visit of Chicago Fire, a side who we can best describe as pedestrian in the early weeks of the season. They looked out of ideas at home against a fragile LA Galaxy defence in a 1-0 home loss, and it doesn't look like they'll fair much better when going into Red Bull Arena to take on a team who has scored a minimum of 3 goals in each home game this season.
Most Fantasy players will likely bank on BWP as an option this week, so it is probably just cause that you so the same, just to potentially negate potential head to head battles and competitive members in mini-league.
BWP is the place to start, as are the Red Bulls on the whole this week, in what we consider to be one of the more clear-cut fixtures of a weekend filled with matches that could swing in either direction.
Gameweek 8: Away Captain
Fixture: LA Galaxy vs. Atlanta United
Player: Miguel Almiron (CAM)
Player Price: $12.3 million
Once again we are left going through the fixture list, juggling a few familiar faces for the potential of being a captain away from home. Of course, we may be overlooking a few options, but the only teams that we believe MLS Fantasy players would feel comfortable putting the armband on this week would be from LAFC, Atlanta, or NYCFC.
Well run down our thoughts on teams playing away from home this week, so you understand our breakdown and process.
The other teams playing away from home during Gameweek 8:
Vancouver Whitecaps: Kai Kamara is injured and they lack a goal threat, especially away as a Sporting KC side on good form right now.
Toronto FC (@ Houston): Big rotation is expected this week with the second-leg of their Champions League final in Mexico against Chivas. Toronto are 2-1 down and have to throw it all into that one game, so the Houston game, much like the recent Colorado defeat, will be a write-off for Greg Vanney's side.
Chicago Fire (@ NY Red Bulls): The Red Bulls are dominant at home, and you wouldn't want to favour Nikolic, who is predominately a home player.
New England Revolution (@ Columbus): Tempting as potential options, but what happens if Columbus rediscover some form. A bit of a wildcard shout ahead of this weekend. Form has dipped and changed rapidly with both teams. On their day though, Columbus can be dangerous at home.
San Jose Earthquakes (@ Orlando): Orlando's home record suggests that there will be goals in this game for both teams, but there has been little consistency with their Fantasy returns. Vako was hot then cold. Eriksson, Hoesen, and Wondolowski also. Orlando are in fine form though and have found good rhythm with Kljestan and Dwyer on form.
Philadelphia Union (@ FC Dallas): Massively lacking firepower in the final third and will struggle for goals at an organised Dallas side who are quietly stringing together some good results.
Colorado Rapids (@Real Salt Lake): Colorado have looked very good in recent weeks, but we expect RSL could bounce back and recreate another tight and nervy game like they managed in their 2-1 win against Vancouver. Not a pretty prospect for Fantasy players.
Minnesota United (@ Seattle Sounders): Proving to be an entertaining side on their day, Minnesota could spring a surprise in Seattle, but the Sounders were very good against Sporting KC and look in prime position for a first win of the season this weekend.
So, who should be in contention?:
Our main considerations are David Villa, who recently scored away at Atlanta having come back from injury. NYCFC are in good form and could pose Portland some serious questions.
There's also LAFC. Carlos Vela is proving to be in the question every week in the away captaincy category as he's had a good start to the season, and could pose Montreal some big questions.
Our pick though is the safest in regards to points accumulation. Miguel Almiron has been a solid returner every week for Fantasy players and Gerardo Martino's side travel to an LA Galaxy side who are still prone defensively. Chicago Fire didn't pose much attacking threat against LA Galaxy, but against sides who can attack, Galaxy have looked prone.
Portland and Montreal have the potential to stifle the attacking prowess of NYCFC and LAFC, especially as both home sides look like they could give anyone a game on their own turf.
Almiron has managed 4 double-digit Fantasy returns this season, all at home, with his 2 performances away from home yielding just 11 points.
Managing 8 points away at Minnesota during Atlanta's last away performance, without scoring or assisting, highlights Almiron's importance in accumulating auxiliary points that are making players tick over week to week.
MLS Fantasy players agree, with Almiron's 29.5% ownership (8,092 owners) proving to be more than any other player.
Almiron is proving be be a massive favourite amongst the team here, and his consistency means that he edges out Villa and Vela in a week for tricky away fixtures.
Gameweek 8: Wildcard Captain
Fixture: Houston Dynamo vs. Toronto FC
Player: Alberth Elis (RW)
Player Price: $11.5 million
Last up to bat in our captaincy article this week, we're going back to where it all started. Alberth Elis tore Atlanta United to pieces during Gameweek 1 in a 4-0 victory, and has since been a favourite for MLS Fantasy players, particularly on home soil.
Elis started the season on a hot streak and was the top MLS Fantasy player after Week 3, which saw the right-winger manage 32 points from his first 3 matches. In the following 3 matches Elis has managed 22 points.
After a disappointing Week 5, which saw Houston lose 2-0 at home to New England Revolution, and a 3 point return for Elis, the winger was back amongst the points in an away trip to San Jose Earthquakes. Setting up Manotas with a fine cross in a 202 draw, collecting 6 points, Elis reminded players of his potential threat from a wide position, and this week might just be the perfect occasion to place faith in him once more.
As we outlined above, Toronto have their heads elsewhere with the second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League next week in Mexico against Chivas, with the MLS Cup holders already trailing trailing 2-1.
Toronto fielded a weakened side against Colorado last week and were comfortably beaten 2-0, and with Toronto desperately wanting to move the Houston fixture without success, this is the perfect time for a cut-throat Houston side to solidify Toronto's bad start to the MLS season.
Tkae the Champions League out of the equation, Toronto have still started the season in slow and sluggish fashion, only toppling Real Salt Lake 3-1 at home this season. In every other game we watch the Canadian side have looked second best in every encounter. They looked lost against Montreal, lacking quality against Colorado, and lacking ideas against Columbus on opening day.
So far this season Elis has totalled 2 goals and 4 assists, and the expectation this weekend against a surely weakened Toronto side will be to add to his 6 attacking returns this season.
Casual MLS viewers have earmarked Elis as a breakout star in MLS this season, and it will hard to persuade anyone differently. The winger is at the heart of Houston's counter-attacking style and will be the vital cog in condemning Toronto to another defeat this weekend.
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