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 9 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 9: 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: Minnesota United (A), Real Salt Lake (H)
Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA)
Player Price: $13.2 million
Week 8 is well and truly in the past, when times were simpler and it was easy to pick from LAFC options in a Double Gameweek. How we yearn for such comforts of an automatic Carlos Vela captaincy pick right now on the eve of Week 9's massive Double Gameweek helping.
10 teams play twice this week, resulting in a minefield of choices to choose from this week, and in our captaincy poll this week we received a healthy response rate to our rate - and a lot of input from MLS Fantasy players who were very outspoken with our inclusions of midfield picks - Nicolas Lodeiro and Maxi Moralez - even though they'll be in the conversation this week.
The Lion, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of course prospered in a week which sees the legendary Swede strut his stuff for a brace of winnable fixtures this week for LA Galaxy.
If there are any detractors for Zlatan heading in to Week 9, they might might to look away now. The $13.2 million Forward has appeared in 5 of LA Galaxy's 7 matches this season, scoring in each of the 5 games he's played in.
In total, Zlatan's unblemished record has totalled a hugely impressive 7 goals and 1 lone assist, with the attacker scoring 4 of his goals from the penalty spot this season.
An average of 12.4 points-per-game sees him with the second best average points of the season, with Toronto's new influential Designated Player, Alejandro Pozuelo ($12.0m) the only player to eclipse Ibrahimovic, averaging an unrivalled 14.5 points-per-game after just 4 appearances.
With 62 points on the board, Zlatan is currently the 3rd best Fantasy player this season, only topped by LAFC rivals Atuesta (65 points) and the runaway points leader, Carlos Vela (103 points).
LA Galaxy's opponents this week offer a potential route to goals for Zlatan too, with Minnesota conceding 3 goals in their debut home match against NYCFC in a 3-3 draw during Week 7, before conceding 4 last weekend to Toronto in a 4-3 defeat. These numbers alone have pushed us too far down the Zlatan rabbit hole to ignore this week, and that is before factoring in that Real Salt Lake in recent times have rolled over on their soft underbellies when travelling on the road.
With Vela having a monopoly on this essential spot every week, Zlatan is the closest thing we have right now as to justification for captaining anyone else, and with this likely to be the popular pick of the week, it may be the move to have you keep pace in your mini-leagues at the very least.
Week 9: 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.
Double Gameweek Considerations...
We profiled Zlatan Ibrahimovic above, which is all well and good, and slightly obvious given his command over our captaincy poll this week, but there's another LA Gaalxy player who is worth mention. Jonathan dos Santos ($10.4m) has found his way in to form at the right time.
The Mexican international has played every minute of LA's 7 matches this season and is yet to drop below 4 points in a single game, so the likelihood is that the midfielder will hit 10 points over 2 games with relative ease, even without scoring or assisting. Dos Santos managed 13 points against Houston during Week 8's 2-1 home win, only registering a single assist, though picking up 8 bonus in the game, more than Zlatan has accumulated this season, highlights the true potential of a Zlatan alternative this week.
Talking of Zlatan, his main competitor for the armband this week is his Week 9 opponent, Darwin Quintero ($12.4m), who is likely going to be the first name in your team alongside Ibrahimovic as Fantasy players draft their preferred squads.
With 57 points, Quintero is the 4th bet Forward so far this season, scoring 5 goals and assisting 3 times sofar in 6 games, like Zlatan has the added advantage of being on penalties for his club, meaning a few impressive outings against LA Galaxy and D.C. United at home could really propel Quintero up the player rankings. Given Darwin's explosive nature, this week be a week to remember so we wouldn't think to hard about making room for him in your final squad for the week.
Seattle Sounders are in the Double Gameweek mix, which of course throws up the thought of Nicolas Lodeiro ($11.5m) as a captaincy suitor, though a 7.5 points-per-game average, and a spread of 2 goals and 4 assists from 7 fixtures has lead to some powerful criticism from MLS Fantasy payers that have been underwhelmed by Lodeiro's returns this season, with one of our followers saying the the Uruguay international 'is dead to me'. Nevertheless, coverage often dictates that Lodeiro might be an essential asset, especially as the attacking midfielder is also on penalty kick duty, so it might be too early to rule out the old guard just yet.
The final line of coverage sees D.C. United on the road this week, with Forward, Wayne Rooney ($10.7m) looking to compete with Zlatan and Darwin ahead of away days at Columbus and Minnesota. The former England captain has failed to score in 3 games, which is hardly captaincy material in our eyes, but true quality always finds its bell being rung, which means Rooney is due some goals or assists sooner rather than later. Columbus's recent home loss, and Minnesota's defence, potentially offer a route in attack for many players this week that fancy D.C. United to get back on track after a 4-0 humbling at home to NYCFC.
Single Gameweek Considerations...
If you've seen the fixtures this week, you have probably contemplated the exact same thing as us: doesn't Alejandro Pozuelo ($12.0m) look great value at home against Portland Timbers this week, despite only playing once?
After just 5 matches played for Toronto, Pozuelo is the 5th best player in MLS Fantasy with 58 points, averaging 14.5 points-per-game, the most of any player this season. Portland are fresh off their first win of the season, a 3-1 victory at a decent Columbus Crew side, so the story isn't going to be as simple, but when you've scored 19 and 20 points in 2 of your first 4 matches for your new club, you're very, very hard to ignore.
Elsewhere, Carlos Vela (14.3m) travels to a Seattle Sounders side that he just scored twice against in a 4-1 home win for LAFC. Bob Bradley's side have won all 3 of their fixtures against The Sounders and will look to make it 4 in a row. Vela's 10 goals and 5 assists to open the season from 9 matches means he is the first player to reach 100 MLS Fantasy points this season.
Even with just 1 fixture, there will be a few Fantasy players out there that put the armband on him regardless of the circumstance as the Mexican international is just that good in this league.
One last single game option is Atlanta's Golden Boot holder, Josef Martinez ($9.5m), who notched a 2nd goal of the season in a recent 2-1 home loss to Dallas. Martinez looked sharp against Dallas and could springboard his Five Stripes teammates onto a victory over lowly Colorado Rapids this weekend. Chances are Josef will be overlooked due to the allure of the Double Gameweek, but with Martinez there's always a hat-trick around any corner and this might be one such occasion if De Boer's side can get out of first gear.
Week 9: 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.
Fixtures: New York City FC (A), Montreal Impact (A)
Player: Nicolas Gaitan (CHI)
Player Price: $9.2 million
Batting from left-field this week, we go on the road and join Chicago Fire as they prepare for back-to-back away days at a couple of tricky customers - NYCFC and Montreal - with all 3 teams featured in the bumper Double Gameweek.
Our senses are points us at NYC assets for their price and value with 2 plum home fixtures on the horizon, though there is a strong acclaim that Chicago are the perfect differential team to bank on this week, with Nico Gaitan's arrival potentially offering a route to spoiling the party ahead of the upcoming Week 9 fixtures.
The creative Argentine attacking midfielder has featured 4 times since signing for The Fire this season, with his first 2 appearances during Week's 5 and 6 coming from the bench. Gaitan's first start came against Vancouver during Week 7, but his first real big performance came last week in a 4-1 route of Colorado Rapids at home.
Gaitan picked up a brace of assists against Colorado Rapids to open his account fo attacking returns in MLS, managing an unrivalled 13 points and 5 attacking bonus points, all which highlight his potential value in a Gameweek when we found ourselves forced with criticism on our @HypeTrainMLS Twitter handle for rating the likes of Maxi Moralez and Nicolas Lodeiro as worthwhile captaincy considerations.
With a lot of firepower at The Fire's disposal, Gaitan is the vital cog that will surely spell danger for a New York side that have drawn 5 of their opening 7 fixtures. We're not sure that we'll captain Gaitan ourselves, but at least this small consideration might have a few MLS Fantasy players at least changing their formula from the options provided in this week's Power Rankings.
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