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 8 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 8: 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.
Fixtures: Vancouver (A), Seattle (H)
Player: Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Player Price: $13.8 million
Week 7's high-scoring returns have now faded, with another midweek deadline arising for a brace of teams battling twice this week.
Captaincy consideration this week was over before any form of debate or consideration could get out of the proverbial racing traps, as MLS Fantasy players quickly get wise to the reality of a Double Gameweek for the league's top side right, LAFC.
We are of course subtly hinting that the form of Mexican international, Carlos Vela, has been so good, that the $13.8 million Forward has earned himself the right of being a true 'set and forget' captaincy pick.
Our captaincy poll only needed 49 votes to tell you what players of the game are pretty much thinking in unison - Vela is the man to bank on as Bob Bradley's side travel to Vancouver, before returning home at the weekend to face Seattle Sounders in a table-topping clash in the Western Conference.
Our other captaincy alternatives just did not stand a chance, with Rossi, Zlatan and Josef Martinez each failing to reach 10% of the vote.
The majority of the active MLS Fantasy populace will be putting the armband on Vela this week, and in turn has made arguing the case almost a redundant feature this week - but for those not clued in by now, it is very clear to see why there is such a one-sided dominance this season.
Vela is the top MLS Fantasy player this season with 86 points. The next best players are D.C. United defender, Steve Birnbaum (56), and Vela's teammate, Diego Rossi (53). That's a 33 point difference already for a player, who had it not been for the Russian World Cup last summer, could have beaten Atlanta's Miguel Almiron in becoming the top Fantasy player in his maiden season with LAFC.
LAFC have started the season in superb fashion, winning 6 and drawing 1, of their opening 7 matches. Victory against both Conference rivals, Vancouver and Seattle, will give the Californian side a 9-point gap at the top of the table in the West after just 9 games.
Vancouver have struggled for goals this season, only finding the net 5 times in 6 appearance, with The Whitecaps currently without a win this season. Seattle, meanwhile have only conceded 5 goals and will pose a seriously threat to a potential clean sheet, but all depends on the fitness of Raul Ruidiaz ahead of the tie at Banc of California Stadium.
Last time out against The Sounders, LAFC recorded their first every home match in MLS with a win over their divisional rivals and did the double over Brian Schmetzer's side after an extra-time free-kick from central defender, Laurent Ciman.
The rate Vela is going, with set-pieces at his disposal, and averaging 12.29 points-per-game, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Mexican get to the 20 point mark this week, or more, depending on how lenient Vancouver's defence are on Wednesday evening. It looks set to be another high-scoring week, with Vela at the heart of the conversation once more, so for the sake of keeping up appearance, surely he gets the armband.
Week 8: 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.
With everyone and their cat likely to bank on the talents of Carlos Vela this week, we've not deemed it necessary to choose a wildcard captaincy option as we genuinely don't believe that it applies ahead of Week 8's fixtures, though if you do want to go another direction, there are some in-form alternatives that could help make the difference in case Vela suddenly has a dip in form.
Double Gameweek captaincy targets...
The major alternative picks of course come from within LAFC's ranks this week, who Forward Diego Rossi ($10.5m) the next in line to the throne if something miraculously happens to Vela this week. The Uruguayan attacker, the 3rd best MLS Fantasy player this season, has 6 goals and 1 assist to his name and is nailed on to play most minutes for Bradley's attacking side.
Defensively, you could make the case for Walker Zimmerman ($9.3m) or Steve Beitashour ($7.2m) as an outside bet. LAFC have kept 3 successive clean sheets, with Beitashour offering an attacking outlet on the right, whilst Zimmerman is always a danger with long-range strikes and from set-pieces.
From Vancouver, Hwang In-beom ($7.4m) is the best attacking player for The Whitecaps with 23 points, though having just suffered a -0.5m price fall, we would be hesitant on this left-field pick, though the South Korean has looked very good since arriving, and despite losing 2-0 to LA Galaxy, was arguably the best player on the pitch that night, so there is potential Hwang might add to his lone assist from Week 1 given 2 bites at the cherry, especially with an away day at Orlando on the horizon.
Single Gameweek captaincy targets...
Toronto return to BMO Field this weekend, with attacking midfielder, Alejandro Pozuelo ($11.5m) managing 39 points from just 3 fixtures this season. Pozuelo assisted the in-form Jozy Altidore ($11.1m) twice in a 3-2 loss at Seattle, with both offering great potential ahead of a home game against a Minnesota side who leaked 3 goals in their debut home match at Allianz Field against NYCFC. Pozuelo's set-piece potential and 4 assists edges Altidore's appeal for us this week, though who can argue with 5 goals in only 4 games, right?
LA Galaxy have won all 4 of their home matches this season and play on home soil against an in-form Dynamo side that prevented The Galaxy from reaching the play-offs in dramatic style last season, overturning a 2-0 deficit to beat LA 3-2 on the road. Of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($12.7m) has worked his way in to the conversation, with 5 goals and 1 assist in his last 3 matches. The Zlatan-Vela combo this week looks the way to go, which should open the door for Pozuelo to feature heavily in squads this week.
FC Dallas have lost 2 of their 3 away games this season, which should provide a glimmer of hope for Josef Martinez's ($9.3m) subdued stock during Week 8. Martinez has only scored once this season, netting against Cincinnati during Week 2's 1-1 home draw. A first win for De Boer's side must be around the corner at some point, and if Atlanta get ticking, Martinez will boast the goals, and Fantasy points, though we would air on the side of caution before overlooking other Single Gameweek options above first.
Portland Timbers just don't have anything going for them right now, had a late VAR decision against Dallas in their most recent defeat to against them, and look like they really miss the home comfort of Providence Park this season. Shipping 17 goals this season would make any MLS Fantasy question ask, 'who are playing Portland this week?'. Travelling to Columbus, Gyasi Zardes ($9.3m) will have the opportunity to add to his 3 goals this season and always strikes when you least expect it, with Week 8 a likely time when you wish you had, but you hadn't.
Talking of struggling sides in the Western Conference, San Jose have lost 5 of their 6 matches this season and host Sporting KC this week. With SKC out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage, we expect a more routine line-up from here on out, which should further benefit Johnny Russell's ($10.8m) start to the season. Russell has scored 4 in a decent start to his season, adding 2 assists, with Sporting heavy favourites to score against an Earthquakes side who have conceded 16 goals so far this campaign.
The last of the captaincy round-up ends at D.C. United, with Wayne Rooney ($11.1m) looking to redeem himself after a red card in DC's 5-0 home loss to LAFC. Rooney's set-piece potential, combined with United's ineffectiveness when the former England captain is out of the side, should result in some nice industry as Rooney looks to add to his 4 goals and 3 assists against an NYCFC side who have drawn 5 of their opening 6 matches.
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