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 12 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 12: 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: Dallas (H) & Dallas (A)
Player: Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Player Price: $14.4 million
Welcome to the unstoppable train of Double Gameweek's in MLS. If you're new to these articles, we're 4 weeks deep in a long run of expanded fixtures, with multiple teams playing in midweek and at the weekend. This of course if how MLS operates and what it means is that the topic of conversation is constantly shifting from the potential of one team to another.
Week 12 features a few juggernaut teams in MLS Fantasy, with the conversation remaining where it has for most of the season - with the form of LAFC and Carlos Vela. The Mexican international has now appeared in 7 of our 12 articles as the essential captaincy poll, as voted for on Twitter, and though some may consider his inclusion to be boring, the pick is not obvious and necessary, but an effective one.
In what has quickly become Carlos Vela Weekly, our captaincy articles have essentially been deduced to updating Vela's goal and assist haul to open the 2019 season.
With no signs of slowing down, Vela both scored and assisted in LAFC's 3-0 win at Columbus Crew during Week 11, bringing a reminder to all those in MLS Fantasy who ditched him for premium Forward's like Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a double, that the MLS top-scorer should never be an afterthought and regardless of the obstacles or Double Gameweek allure from rival players, is the first name in your squad.
From 12 MLS appearances this season, Vela has scored 12 and assist 6, a total of 18 attacking returns from just 12 appearances. Averaging a goal a game, and an assist every other, at the bare minimum based on his priors, we should be expecting 2 goals and 1 assist during a double-down for LAFC.
LAFC are in a very unique position this week, not only as MLS Fantasy favourites across the board, but they play Western Conference rivals, FC Dallas, both home and away, starting with a meeting in California on Thursday evening (Friday morning at 3am for those reading this in the UK), before travelling to Texan territory, in what essentially is the fixture pile up succumb to a team competing in the Europa League.
Bob Bradley's side don't really have many injury concerns and look like they're back to firing on all cylinders, so Vela's inclusion looks a certainty, and with set-piece potential, and 28 bonus points as a giant buffer this season, the safe pick certainly looks the right one.
We at The Hype Train will be captaining Vela this week. Your friends will. Your mini-league rivals will. Those who won't will be doing it just to be different, and even though thinking outside the box is perfectly fine, we just don't have the stones to look in another direction when Vela's maintained great form all season and looks set to give Josef Martinez's record haul of 31 goals in the 34-game regular season.
Week 12: 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.
Looking to move away from Vela's overwhelming appeal?
Let's say you're one of the few that will be moving away from the template pick for Week 12, there are no better alternatives than Houston Dynamo. A Forward pairing of Mauro Manotas ($11.2m) and Alberth Elis ($11.3m) look a likely double-up in attack as Houston host Portland Timbers and D.C. United.
Both have featured in 9 matches this season, with Manotas scoring 5 and assisting 4 times having started all of Houston's fixtures. With Manotas the central figure and fox in the box, Elis is the attacking flair and speed, who has the added benefits of set-pieces. Elis, who also has 9 attacking returns (4 goals and 5 assists), and pips Manotas in our own rankings it we had to pick one.
Houston have played 6 of their 9 matches at home this season, with The Dynamo winning 5 and drawing 1, which means we should be going into back-to-back home games in good spirits for both.
With 87 points from just 8 games, Alejandro Pozuelo ($13.3m) is the only player in the top 16 MLS Fantasy players to have played less than 10 games this season (playing 8). 5 goals and 6 assists is just a phenomenal return from MLS Messi given a short time in the league, and with D.C. United at home before an away trip, Pozuelo is the first name in your midfield this week and is the best midfielder contender to challenge Vela.
Atlanta United are showing a great revival of form and are looking more like the side that were worthy MLS Cup winner last season. Star man, Josef Martinez ($10.2m) has scored 3 goals and assisted 2 in his last 5 appearances and was ultimately the right choice to bank on as captaincy last week, despite being overlooked. A pair of away days at Vancouver and New York Red Bulls will challenge Fantasy players picking both Elis and Manotas, and with penalties on his side, might be the preferred choice ahead of Manotas.
Seattle Sounders are next up on the docket, appearing in yet another Double Gameweek this season. Next in line for the captaincy shout for a midfielder after Pozuelo is Nicolas Lodeiro ($10.9m), though you'll have to be a true person of faith given Lodeiro's form. The Uruguayan has only got more than 7 points in a game once in just 6 appearances, which highlights that a low-key Seattle performance will almost certainly bring a low-ball score.
Another Double Gameweek for D.C. United provides another pair of difficult games for United, though we would be idiotic to rule out Wayne Rooney ($10.7m) and Luciano Acosta ($9.8m) as potential captaincy contenders. D.C. United are only in second in the Eastern Conference due to goal difference in Philadelphia Union's favour, and with 2 goals and 1 assist in 4 games, the attacking returns are trickling for Rooney, but might not be enough if you're looking for explosive returns.
Week 12: 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: Atlanta (H) & Sporting KC (A)
Player: Fredy Montero
Player Price: $8.3 million
If you're aware of how teams in MLS function, it shouldn't come as a shock to you to learn that teams and players lose and gain form at a whim. Vancouver are one such team, under new management this season in Marc Dos Santos, who have suffered from inconsistent form, winning 3, drawing 3 and losing 5 of their opening 11 matches of the season.
New to the team this season and returning to the Whitecaps as a Designated Player, attacker Fredy Montero has been adjusting to life back in America's top division, though form is in Fredy's favour ahead of a challenging Week 12.
As a differential team this week, Vancouver are the perfect option to bank on, potentially with an option as an autoroo pick, with Hwang ($7.6m) and Henry ($8.3m) outside bets in many estimations this week.
Montrero has scored in back-to-back games, first away at Portland Timbers during Week 11, before scoring the only goal of the game as Vancouver impressed in a 1-0 victory over Portland Timbers, who themselves were on a 3-match winning run on the road.
Atlanta, who have kept 4 consecutive clean sheets on the bounce are up first, and even though we anticipate The Five Stripes to get the win, the manner of the victory against Portland last weekend is a potentially good omen for The Whitecaps if Atlanta don't get out of first gear.
An away day to Sporting KC at the weekend is also a game this season that can go either way. SKC have only won twice this season, and haven't won in 6 matches since beating Montreal 7-1 at home on March 30th. Vancouver (8th) are ahead of Sporting (10th) in the West, a reality that many MLS followers just wouldn't have pegged given Sporting's form last season.
Of the 9 Double Gameweek teams this week, Vancouver are best placed to play the role of devils advocate, and with Montero being the reliable go-to right now, it could be the mid-range attacker that is a backdoor to points in MLS Fantasy this week.
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