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 Hype Team providing three 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 3 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 3: 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: D.C. United vs. Real Salt Lake
Player: Wayne Rooney (DC)
Position: Forward (CF)
Player Price: $10.5 million
Week 3's action is just around the corner and we've given a lot of time to dwell over captaincy options as this is the first week of the season where there doesn't appear to be just one simple answer, so what we're envisioning is a lot of diversity with choices this week due to Nicolas Lodeiro's popularity this week waning.
Our captaincy poll leans heavily on the inclusion of Lodeiro and a trio of Forward's with favourable home fixtures as we noticed the climate of Fantasy players right now to stack in attack (and somewhat neglecting the points in midfield).
D.C. United's good start to the season has put them in a good place, with Wayne Rooney edging our captaincy poll ahead of Atlanta's Josef Martinez, with Champions League rotation has stunted faith in Bradley Wright-Phillips, and perhaps rightly so.
Our only for this week was not including Luciano Acosta in our captaincy poll as it would have provided a clearer reflection of what we envision to be the major trend this weekend - a battle between the duo for captaincy.
Acosta, in the 6-months of his contract at D.C. United, was the one hogging the spotlight after a goal and assist in the 2-0 home win against MLS Cup holders, Atlanta, and arguably has the facts to back up his potential this week after averaging 9 points across the first few weeks of the season.
Wayne Rooney chipped in with an assist against Atlanta and looks to be crucial for set-pieces again this season. His corner led directly to DC's opening goal to Atlanta and it appears obvious that the Englishman will command every dead-ball situation.
Opponents, Real Salt Lake, only won 3 of their 17 away games last season, and have only conceded 1 goals from their opening 2 fixtures, so there is a threat that RSL might put up a good fight defensively to limit the points potential of the Rooney-Acosta partnership.
D.C. United are the most well-rounded Fantasy options with coverage across their team this week, meaning that the success. It appears that to stay competitive for Week 3, the armband will rest on either Rooney's set-piece potential or Acosta's finesse. Either way, you'll be on to a winner if D.C. United maintain Audi Field as a fortress.
Week 3: 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.
Next in line for the throne...
Immediate contention outside of D.C. United rests with Atlanta United and Seattle Sounders this week, with Josef Martinez (ATL) the only major contender from the MLS Cup champions. Martinez has a good record at home and scored in the 1-1 draw against Cincinnati last weekend. The only downside to Martinez's potential is the supporting cast of midfielders not yet up to speed with the new season (aside from Julian Gressel, he's been very good so far).
Nicolas Lodeiro's (SEA) bonus points potential should never be overlooked and with Seattle's first away day this season, away to Chicago Fire to open Week 3, coming after a brace of home successes. Lodeiro is still the man at Seattle and if club form holds true, Fantasy points won't be far behind.
The other major force it appears this week will be New York Red Bulls, which thrusts Bradley Wright-Phillips (RBNY) and Kaku (RBNY) into the conversation this week. Both players scored in a home win over San Jose Earthquakes last season and look essential picks if they start, but based off line-up reports, we're not so sure either are nailed to start due to rotation after the Champions League.
What about options based off form?
We're firm believers that if a player is good enough, they can overcome any fixture hurdles in MLS. True talent shines regardless of the occasion, which to us means in-form Darwin Quintero (MIN) shouldn't be overlooked. The top Fantasy player with 29 points has managed his haul away from home, albeit against opposition under new management (Vancouver and San Jose). 2 goals and 3 assists cannot be ignored for Quintero as he travels to an LA Galaxy side who are suffering from similar defensive problems as last season - the recipe for success for any opposing attacker.
Elswhere, Mauro Manotas (HOU) has scored in back-to-back games for Houston and is good value at $9.9 million this week, whilst Gyasi Zardes (CLB) opened his account on the road, scoring a brace at New England in Week 2. Saphir Taider (MTL) has also found the net in both games for Montreal, with the Canadian side visiting a leaky Orlando side.
Based off the logic above, Raul Ruidiaz (SEA) is also part of the conversation after scoring in both of Seattle's home openers this season, though may find himself overlooked due to Wayne Rooney and Josef Martinez playing at home.
Lastly, a Carlos Vela (LAFC) masterclass against Portland begs the question, should we overlook the Mexican international in the club's MLS encounter against NYCFC, a side that are typically defensively drilled on a small home pitch? The definition of class rising above the occasion might just ring through in Vela's case, with many afraid to pull the trigger on a tricky fixture on paper.
Are there any left-field considerations?
CJ Sapong (CHI), like Manotas and Taider, has scored in successive MLS matches and might be worth inclusion at the very least as a $7.9 million mid-range option. The only other overlooked options come from Sporting KC's attack, with Kristian Nemeth (SKC) an in-form option, though if rotation holds up, Kei Kamara (COL) might fancy himself a goal against the CONCACAF semi-finalists.
Week 3: 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: Toronto vs. New England Revolution
Player: Jordan Hamilton (TOR)
Position: Forward (CF)
Player Price: $4.4 million
Our last point of conversation this week isn't so much a cry for the most outlandish captaincy call of the season, as it is a big arrow pointed in Toronto's direction.
To our surprise, and the many expecting the 2017 MLS Cup winners to be the whipping boys of the 2019 season, we were very much surprised to see Greg Vanney's drilled side battling to a deserved 3-1 victory at Philadelphia on opening day.
Philadelphia have lost both matches so far this season, losing 2-0 away at Sporting KC, an occasion that got the most of Marco Fabian - the new DP missed a penalty, was sent off and as a result will miss the trip to Toronto this week. This means that we'll be taking Philadelphia's form as a pinch of salt, as well as a potential warning sign not to get ahead of ourselves regarding Toronto's capabilities this weekend, though the visit of New England couldn't be timed any better as the visiting side have struggled with just 1 point from their opening 2 games.
In attack, if Jordan Hamilton is to retain his place at the weekend, we could be looking at a real cut-priced Fantasy option this week. The big 'if' word plays a factor this week, but Hamilton impressed us against Philly and the Forward also has a goal in the CONCACAF Champions League to boot, so we're expecting big things against New England if in a starting birth.
The only detracting factors will be Jozy Altidore's potential availability, so it may be worth tracking Toronto's starting line-up this week. Hamilton is essentially a potentially great enabler this week so you can load up on a stacked midfield and forward line.
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