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 11 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 11: 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: Toronto (H), Orlando (H)
Player: Josef Martinez (ATL)
Player Price: $9.7 million
We're not denying what Week 11 in MLS Fantasy is all about in regards to its captaincy battle. It's a triple threat between some of the finest players the league has to offer, with whoever you choose this week potentially having a big impact on your finishing position in the Spring Season standings.
With Josef Martinez beating Toronto's Alejandro Pozuelo to the title of essential captaincy pick this week, we thought we'd switch up how we do our weekly article and look at the trio of major considerations, starting with poll winner Martinez.
First up to bat is a man that should need to introduction to MLS regulars. The current Golden Boot holder and 2018 MLS Cup champion, Josef Martinez, is back in captaincy contention after pulling a rabbit out of the hat during Atlanta's 3-0 win at Sporting KC, with Martinez netting a brace.
The return to form is well-timed, with the Venezuelan a household name for football in the United States, and couldn't be better placed for us MLS Fantasy players to capitalise on a cut-price $9.7 million inclusion.
We typically say that quality will always show in MLS in these weekly captaincy articles, and even though Josef has only scored in 3 of 8 games this season, quality does eventually surface.
Sporting KC, who like Atlanta have suffered an indifference start to the season, mostly due to their involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League, couldn't handle the Forward, and with Toronto and Orlando visiting, the time could be right, but is he a better captaincy pick than Pozuelo?
Martinez has 28 less points than Pozuelo, with the Toronto attacking midfielder gaining 22 bonus, 13 more than Martinez, managing this in 2 less games. If you're new to MLS Fantasy, you'll understand that bonus points can break a Gameweek as any and all players are capable of attaining attacking and defensive bonus.
5 of Josef's 9 bonus points this season have been for shots taken, with the remaining 4 for key passes (2) and big chances created (2). This makes Martinez's route to points very simple. Goals and shots appear his major avenue, so Fantasy players will have to trust in Martinez delivering the goods against a pair of sides who have conceded a combined 29 goals this season, otherwise face a slide in the overall standing.
The Case for Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA)
Next in contention is the veteran Forward that is once again proving to be a reliable asset for Fantasy players this season, with a second Double Gameweek of the season primed for Zlatan and his LA Galaxy side.
Whilst the pros of Martinez are in a pair of home fixtures against opposition that both sit in play-off contention in the East (yes, early doors we know), Zlatan faces tougher tests on paper, though an away day at Columbus Crew is welcome due to the 5-game losing streak of The Crew.
Zlatan, like Martinez, faces similar questions about where his Fantasy points are coming from, as central Forward's lean quite heavily on their goal and assist output. Both Forward's in question have penalty kicks in their locker, which is great of course, but a reliance on goals can cost us, as we recently found out with Zlatan.
In Week 9's big Double Gameweek, LA Galaxy could only draw 0-0 with Minnesota, before toppling Real Salt Lake 2-1 at home. Zlatan scored against RSL, but lacked any threat at Minnesota's freshly-minted Allianz Field.
Zlatan has also scored 4 of his 9 goals from the penalty spot this season, so LA also lean heavily on VAR assistance and help from referees, which could work against Fantasy players if there's a clean game (which, by the way, is rarely, given how defenders operate in this league).
The Minnesota game in Week 9 for Zlatan was only a blip however, and we're clutching at straws for negatives - it is the only game in 8 that Zlatan hasn't scored in this season. 11 returns from 8 matches is good going for a 37 year-old that still operates 10 years his junior on the pitch.
4 of Zlatan's 10 bonus have come from shots taken, with 3 for big chances created, 2 for key passes, and a point for recoveries. This is on par with what is expected in a Forward, though Ibra is no mere mortal and has double-digit returns from 5 of his 8 appearances.
The ceiling is high with Zlatan, and if we had to lean on the fence and pick a side against Martinez, form would have to dictate that regardless of opposition, Zlatan is your man this week if you bank on a Forward with the armband.
The Case for Alejandro Pozuelo (TOR)
Last on the docket for this evening's captaincy tribunal, Toronto's new key man is under examination, though you don't need to go far to see that the Spanish attacking midfielder sticks out like a sore thumb for MLS Fantasy this season.
73 points. 6 games. 4th best player in MLS Fantasy and 2nd best midfielder. 10 attacking returns in that time with the best average points-per-game, boasting 12.17 per-game.
Attacking midfielders work slightly differently in MLS Fantasy, and by that we are quite crystal clear in meaning that they're more desirable due to having a higher ceiling for acquiring bonus points, greatly alleviating the pressure for goals and assists - an essential attribute to Zlatan and Martinez's hopes this week.
Pozuelo is the key man for Toronto and has an assist in 5 of his 6 appearances, scoring braces on 2 occasions this season so far. The midfielder is yet to drop below 6 points in a single game, and in just 6 games has more bonus points than Martinez (9) and Ibrahimovic (10) combined.
If we sound fixated on the measure of Pozuelo's worth due to bonus points, it's so true. The fixture doesn't really matter due to Poz's likely influence in a game generating a healthy Fantasy return.
Pozuelo's Bonus Points...
Big chances created: 8 bonus
Key passes: 5 bonus
Recoveries: 3 bonus
Shots: 2 bonus
Times Fouled: 1 bonus
Crosses: 1 bonus
Atlanta have started slowly under De Boer, whilst Eastern table-toppers Philadelphia Union were already beaten by Toronto this season - 2-0 in the opening fixture of the 2019 MLS season, and that was actioned without Pozuelo's influence.
Our bias sways in Pozuelo's direction due to offering a better ceiling. Like the Forward's, Pozuelo takes every Toronto set-piece, and has the additional bonus of providing more chances and big chances to bolster his score.
On top of this, the midfielder's price is almost certainly going to be going up, and if Toronto get across the line this week, they could find themselves top, and in just 8 games, Pozuelo could be hunting down Carlos Vela's (116 points) incredible start to the MLS Fantasy season.
In this triple threat, Pozuelo for us wins via a double knockout, though Zlatan has a fighting chance heading into the second round. That said, a few goals in the Swede's favour will have us eating our words.
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