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 5 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 5: 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. Portland Timbers
Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA)
Player Price: $11.2 million
The international break is officially over and rather than picking up the scraps of a 5-game fixture list, we've the full plate of 24 MLS teams to choose from this weekend as Week 5 rolls around. On the subject of dining well, MLS Fantasy players are spoilt for choice this week, as we could have fielded a 10-player shortlist for captaincy consideration.
We ultimately settled on some similar names with form on their side, and the lone home ranger in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose LA Galaxy entertain Portland Timbers. Zlatan, who has missed the last 2 games through injury, is expected to return to LA's team this weekend, and this hasn't stopped a poll victory for the Swedish icon as the lowly Timbers take the trip down south to sunny California.
To us, Zlatan's win is certainly a surprise, though in the final hours of our poll, there was an emergene of voters in favour of Minnesota's Darwin Quintero. Ibrahimovic held on for the lead though, with players confident that the Swede will be fit in time for the Monday morning kick-off time over here in the UK.
The only potential downside of banking on Zlatan, especially if you're located in another timezone, is that The Galaxy are the last team to play during Week 5, leaving little to no flexibility if you're dead-set on the Forward as your captain. If staged earlier, with so much attacking talent in the conversation this week, it would have been easy enough to switch the former Man United and Barcelona man out of your teams, so you'll have to weight up how much faith you have in Zlatan.
What is in The Galaxy's favour this week is a combination of good home form, and the terrible fortunes that have fell Portland Timbers to start the 2019 season. Portland, MLS Cup finalists last season, are the only team to have conceded 10 or more goals after Week 4's action, with The Timbers conceding at last 3 goals in every away match so far this campaign - and with home comforts a lone way down the road due to improvements to Providence Park, it could be a long night for the travelling side.
Meanwhile, LA have had good fortune at home so far, beating Chicago 2-1 on opening day, before battling to a 3-2 victory against an in-form Minnesota side. Zlatan scored the winning goal against Chicago, and should he return, will be chomping at the bit to add to Portland's defensive troubles so start the season.
Failure to do so will leave last-minute captaincy hopefuls with nowhere else to turn, though with 14.2% ownership heading into the weekend, it looks like many will be entrusting with The Swede anyway.
Week 5: 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.
Outside of Zlatan Ibrahimovic this week, there is a lot of competition for captaincy, with Week 5 set to be the most diverse away of captains we'll have seen so far in a single round of games this season.
With away teams the most likely prevailing side during Week 5, we start with our alternative look with Seattle Sounders' perfect start to the season. 3 wins from 3 for Brian Schmetzer's side has yielded a goal in each game for Peruvian star, Raul Ruidiaz. Mr. Consistency has looked a real threat in each game, with The Sounders travelling to win-less Vancouver, whose new management have struggled for any consistency so far.
If Ruidiaz is an option, then star playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro will likely be the go-to For Fantasy players. Lodeiro is averaging 9.67 points-per-game and managed 11 points during Week 3's win at Chicago, with the attacking midfielder both scoring and assisting. Seattle's form should mean that their attacking assets won't be ignored, which includes Forward, Jordan Morris, who has one point more (25) than Ruidiaz (24).
Elsewhere on the road, Minnesota will look to bounce back after Week 3's 3-2 loss at LA Galaxy when Adrian Heath's team visit the Eastern Conference's bottom side, New England Revolution, who themselves only have a point to boast after 4 games and are reeling after a 2-0 home loss to MLS newcomers, Cincinnati. Of course, Darwin Quintero is the option in question, with the Forward notching 2 penalties and 3 assists so far this season, and against the lowly Revolution, the top attacker with 33 Fantasy points (and currently owned by 7.34% of players) will likely be a staple of most sensible team selections this weekend.
Talking of form players travelling to lowly sides in Week 5, MLS Fantasy's top player, Carlos Vela (40 points) travels up the Californian coast for an encounter against a San Jose side, who just like Vancouver and New England, are yet to win a game this season. LAFC look lethal at home, and just as potent away from the Banc of California, with Bob Bradley's side only away day a 2-2 spectacle against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. Vela scored twice on that occasion, and even though he didn't score or assist during Week 4's 2-1 home win against Real Salt Lake, the Mexican international notched 5 bonus points for a tally of 7 points, not bad going when you're not directly contributing to goals or assists.
With recent form favouring Eastern Conference table-toppers, D.C. United, many players will fancy Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta's chances away at Orlando City. One bone of slight contention is that Orlando have only lost 1 of their 4 games this season and just registered a huge 1-0 away win at New York Red Bulls, so may pose some serious questions of Ben Olsen's team from the capital. D.C. are top for a reason though, and with set-pieces and bonus points on the table, as well as the form charts, we quite fancy the former England international to silence a noisy Orlando City Stadium.
Talking of the Red Bulls, dismissing the pedigree of the current Supporters' Shield holders could come back to haunt us, so it is at least worth mentioning the potential of MLS goal machine, Bradley Wright-Phillips away at a Chicago side - another team without a win so far this season. This will be BWP's first performance on the road this season and has a goal to his name after netting against San Jose during Week 2.
Another not to write off is Josef Martinez, with Atlanta facing a very tough and viewer-enticing encounter at Columbus Crew this weekend. Like BWP, Martinez has a solitary goal on home soil this season, and now without CONCACAF distractions, perhaps we'll start to see a settled Atlanta side in MLS. Martinez will also be coming back to The Five Stripes in a terrific mood - the Venezuelan scored against Lionel Messi's (and club-mate Pity Martinez's) Argentina side during the international break.
If Atlanta continue to struggled, however, Gyasi Zardes could be part of the clean up crew that sweeps the MLS Cup holders to one side this weekend. The American was a big loss for Columbus in Week 4's 3-0 loss at Philadelphia, and even though Zardes has only found the net away from home this season, home comforts could come to Zardes's aid as Frank De Boer's visiting side look sluggish to shape to the Dutchman's on-field philosophies.
Week 5: 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: Colorado Rapids vs. Houston Dynamo
Player: Alberth Elis (HOU)
Player Price: $9.2 million
Lastly on the captaincy agenda, keeping our considerations on the road this week, we turn our attention to Houston Dynamo's trip to Colorado Rapids. Houston, who are unbeaten after 3 games, all of which have been played at home, travel away for the first time this season to a team without a win in 4 games, Colorado Rapids.
Kei Kamara and Benny Feilhaber have provided added depth and strength for Colorado this season, but aren't still the total package defensively, which for us provides an opening an attacking affair with a Houston side bursting with attacking talent.
After taking the spotlight with a goal in the opening 2 MLS matches, Mauro Manotas took a backseat to Alberth Elis during Week 3's 3-2 home win against Vancouver. Elis is Houston's set-piece taker who typically operates on the right of an attacking trio for the Dynamo. Elis has pace and energy to burn for days and is at a level where his level should shine through on a consistent basis in MLS.
Priced at $9.2m, Elis is a few million cheaper than all of the premium assets this week and may be the perfect filler for an attacker who won't break the bank, who is fresh of a 19-point haul to boot.
Fantasy players will also be capitalising on Elis's differential status this week, with the Honduran owned by less than 2% of players as of writing. If there is a sting in the tail this week, we have a feeling that it might be from Elis building on his first big performance of the season, and is one to heavily consider as your team selection begins to take shape.
You can read more of our latest news from the world of MLS and MLS Fantasy by clicking here.
For more MLS, follow @RealHypeTrain and @HypeTrainMLS on Twitter for the latest social media insight from The Hype Train.
Want to know more about The Hype Train?
The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, live sport, and professional wrestling.
As well as providing FPL articles on our website, we are a founding Contributor to the new Fantasy Football Hub, where you can find more unique articles, including weekly Power Rankings, from The Hype Team. You can support us and read exclusive members only content for just £2 per-month by clicking here.
The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog 2016' by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), with the final presentation held at Old Trafford in Manchester.
You can follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, or visit our website here at www.thehypetrain.co.uk