Picking a Captain to double down on in MLS Fantasy is the most important choice ahead of each round of games for players around the world. There's a lot of self-help out there for MLS enthusiasts, with our team providing a few major consideration for the armband for each and every week. We'll be detailing the popular choice for captain, a few alternative picks in case Plan A doesn't go to plan, and a Wildcard pick of our choosing to add to the chaos. All aboard.
MLS Fantasy: Week 1 Deadline
For the 2019 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 Week progresses.
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 for the 2019 we will have one major essential pick, decided by a poll, as well as a series of alternatives in case your original pick doesn't go to plan, and a wildcard selection who might prove to be a worthwhile differential
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
Week 1: Essential Captaincy Pick
Our essential captaincy picks is voted on by members of our community on Twitter over at @HypeTrainMLS. We pit four popular choices against each other to see who wins the popular vote.
Fixture: LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire
Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA)
Player Price: $11.0 million
As you've probably been hearing all week if you follow their social media accounts - MLS is Back! The 2019 season begins with a full round of 12 fixtures to enjoy, with all 24 clubs being able to stretch their legs for us Fantasy players to evaluate.
Our first captaincy poll of the season, and in fact our first ever, feature some heavyweight MLS Fantasy players with serious acclaim. Given his global outreach, and a favourable home fixture to kick off the campaign, it was of course Zlatan Ibrahimovic that walked away with the bragging rights of being our first main captaincy choice.
Zlatan beat out stiff competition from Fantasy bonus points magnet, Nicolas Lodeiro, with the latter playing at home against another new MLS franchise, Cincinnati.
If you're unaware of Zlatan's first season in MLS, he was 45 minutes away from a spot in the play-offs, before The Galaxy capitulated against Houston Dynamo in an extraordinary 3-2 away win at StubHub Center.
The road that led to disappointment for Ibrahimovic was paved with 21 goals and 10 assists from just 27 appearances. 31 attacking returns is more than one-per game for the former Sweden international in a team that scored freely, but conceded freely too.
Backing up Zlatan's star power in California this season is Barros Schelotto, LA Galaxy's new Head Coach. If you're unfamiliar with the Argentine, he was the former Boca Juniors Manager that took his side to the final of the Copa Libertadores in 2018 - the year the final was marred with controversy and cancellations, with the second-leg eventually played in Madrid to eventual winners River Plate's benefit.
Schelotto's first act as Head Coach of LA was to install Zlatan as the club's captain for the new season, a role vacated by Ashley Cole after his return to England with EFL Championship side Derby County. This means, as expected, Ibra will be the go-to guy in the team this season and if fit, will hit bigger numbers than last season if Schelotto can provide a winning mentality in to the floundering Galaxy.
Chicago Fire, who didn't qualify for the play-offs last season, are the perfect opponents for Zlatan to get off the mark against, and if there is anything that rings true in MLS it is that class shines. In Zlatan, The Galaxy have abundance.
Week 1: Alternative Captaincy Picks
We don't have one specific alternative captain, but a few choices for consideration. This method bodes well with the flexible approach of MLS Fantasy of being able to chop and change your decision until the minute before a game.
Who are the leading Plan B contenders for Zlatan?
With Ibrahimovic and Lodeiro fighting it out for a spot as the top captaincy pick this week, there is a rich field to choose from this week.
If you're looking for Fantasy favourites that can come good in any game, Carlos Vela (LAFC) is the go-to option. Averaging 8.69 points-per-game last season, the Mexican international missed a portion of the season due to World Cup in Russia and would have likely finished as the top MLS Fantasy player last season had it not been for the tournament. Sporting KC visit, but Bob Bradley's side look as strong as last season and with Vela playing in the Number 10 role, could attract bonus points even if he fails to score or assist against a rigid SKC defence.
On the road, Ignacio Piatti (MTL) is the one player that Montreal often turn to for a slice of magic from out of nothing. A quick dribbler, and equally as lethal finisher, Piatti and the much-fancied Impact travle to MLS's worst side from last season, San Jose. On paper for us Fantasy players there's no easier points potential.
Lastly, Maxi Moralez (NYCFC) is now the man at Dominic Torrent's New York City FC after David Villa joined his former Barcelona and Spanish international, Andreas Iniesta, in Japan. Maxi was the king of the Double Gameweek's last season and travels to an Orlando City side that leaked 74 goals in 34 games last season, and should acquire enough attacking bonus to see a positive haul. Additionally, with Villa out of the picture, Moralez will be NYC's set-piece taker this season, which in theory should see a bigger season that the 258 points achieved in 2018.
Are thy any other considerations in case I need to rotate my team?
In the middle of the pack, Vancouver have welcome back Fredy Montero (VAN) to lead the line in Kei Kamara's absence (due to a move to Colorado Rapids) and is a potential punt with the armband in case you need to do some major rotation on your team, with Montero's $9.0m price an affordable route in attack.
Home advantage should see D.C. United pairing Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta rekindle their partnership, and with Atlanta focused on their 3-1 deficit in the Champions League, this might be the perfect opportunity for a solid home side in the capital to pounce on an opportunity in Frank de Boer's first MLS game in charge of the MLS Cup holders.
Nicolas Lodeiro (SEA) and Raul Ruidiaz (SEA) have to be mentioned in the captaincy conversation this week, though Seattle are prone to starting slow. The Sounders lost 1-0 at home to LAFC last season in their opener, and once again face a new face to the league, with Century Link Field becoming the captism of fire for new league entries. Cincinnati will sit deep and allow Lodeiro opportunity to amass Fantasy points, and in Ruidiaz have a polished Forward who notched 10 goals in just 14 appearances last season.
Our last middle of the pack suggestion comes in the form a new DP for Philadelphia Union, Marco Fabian (PHI). Philly were a home team last season and entertain a Toronto side in serious need of reconstruction, with new attacking midfielder Fabian arriving at the perfect time to strike whilst the iron is hot and Toronto's roster slightly depleted of match-winning talent. We don't know how Fabian translate into points just yet, but there's a consensus that the travelling side aren't at their best, and without their best player in Sebastian Giovinco anymore, there's a sense of concern from TFC fans, and a potential goldmine of points for opposition to exploit.
Week 1: Wildcard Captaincy Pick
We pull focus on a left-field choice for captaincy, with these selections typically coming away from home due to the home field advantage that MLS clubs tends to enjoy throughout the season.
Fixture: FC Dallas vs. New England Revolution
Player: Paxton Pomykal (DAL)
Player Price: $6.0 million
We've decided to use our wildcard captaincy selection to pull focus on one team that are stacked with value in midfield ahead of the 2019 season. Dallas are trying to push through a lot of youth players, and one player who looks set to thrive, and at a bargain too, is the mouthful of a name - Paxton Pomykal.
Pomykal has featured regularly in pre-season for Dallas as a CAM, and looks to have won the battle to earn a starting spot in a midfield trio for Dallas as they entertain the high-press of Brad Friedel's New England Revolution.
The Dallas midfielder looks set to fill the role of Mauro Diaz, who sought the sun for Shabab Al-Ahli in the UAE Pro-League. It's likely that Pomykal, a natural right-winger, will be the midfielder that is involved across Dallas's attack and will have a free role to find space on either flank, or through the middle to support Dominique Badji.
As unknown entity for sure, Pomykal could be a surprise performer for MLS Fantasy during Week 1, and though we'd never have the stones to captain the young American, with an inflated liklihood of attacking both attacking and defensive bonus, he's one to potential ponder with as you set your team throughout the weekend.
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