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 19 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 19: 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: Houston Dynamo vs. LAFC
Player: Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Player Price: $12.0 million
After a manic few weeks with huge Double Gameweek's, MLS Fantasy enter a weekend that will be unfamiliar to them - a normal round of weekend fixtures to contend with.
The US Open Cup this week had its time to shine, but now with all 24 clubs in action in a rivalry-packed round of games, our essential captaincy poll was once again decided by a player that scored in midweek in the cup - MLS Fantasy table-topper Carlos Vela.
*Vela travels to Houston, rather than LAFC hosting the Dynamo*
A trip to Houston this week is off the back of an unforgettable Double Gameweek 18, which saw Vela manage a relentless 36 points, as seen below.
One point of contention for some this week will be a knee injury that Vela picked up in a 1-0 loss to Portland Timbers in the Open Cup quarter-finals. Vela seemed to drag himself to 90 minutes and we wouldn't be surprised to see El Capitan have a reduced role this week, especially as a rematch against LA Galaxy from last season's 4-3 epic, which featured 'that goal' from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is on the agenda. Bob Bradley won't want t risk his own talisman against a Houston side who have their internationals back to pose more than a few threats.
This weekend, if Vela plays, then we'd suggest that even on one leg he deserves the armband, but this is a week with plenty of worthy home alternatives to bank on. Air with caution and keep up to date with lineups.
Week 19: 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.
Might we have to look at Vela alternatives?
Should the worst happen, and LAFC are missing the best player in the league for their visit to Texas, we're left in a healthy position this week as there are captaincy options across the league - with Portland and Chicago in particularly favourable positions right now.
We'll start with Portland and their double-up of Fantasy potential, Diego Valeri ($11.6m) and Brian Fernandez ($10.9m). Colorado, who are rock bottom of the Western Conference with just 19 points, visit a Timbers team who, much like D.C. United did last season, have found a winning formula at home that is dragging them into their annual play-off spot.
The case for Valeri is glaringly obvious. A combination of set-pieces and an upturn in form gives captaincy options a safe route to points should Colorado add to their 38 goals conceded. Fernandez, who is operating from the right, drifts inward much like Raheem Sterling does for Man City, and is finding himself in the right place at the right time. Fernandez scored in his first 5 MLS fixtures, failing to score last time out at NYCFC, a side in very good form, whilst the Forward has scored 6 goals in total.
If you're looking for form and influence, combined with a warm feeling inside that the player's chosen opposition is just not that good under their current management, then Nicolas Lodeiro ($11.5m) might be the attacking midfielder for you. Returning from Copa America duty, Lodeiro made up for lost time when he scored both goals in a comfortable home win over Columbus, and with an Atlanta side struggling to find their identity under Frank de Boer coming to town, surely they'll be caught out by a consistent Sounders side.
Talking of unconvincing, Columbus Crew travel to Orlando City this week, with Nani ($9.5m) appearing in many draft Fantasy squads as a result of his favourable price. The former Portuguese dropped in price last week, but with 3 assists in his last 3 games, given limited game time, a must-win match against another lowly side in the East must give Nani the right opportunity to perform well this week. Also, he's on penalties and set-pieces.
With LA Galaxy facing derby games, both at home, in their next 2 rounds of action, is it that time of year which will propel Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($10.3m) into the public spotlight? Zlatan has scored 13 goals this season, including 2 in LA's recent win over Toronto. This sets the scene perfectly as San Jose and LAFC visit next up, with Ibrahimovic a big player for the big moment, should this make our captaincy picks relatively straight forward in case of Vela's absence?
Lastly, Chicago Fire are among our favourites to earn Fantasy points this week as they entertain an FC Cincinnati side that have not had the kindest of debut seasons in MLS - highlighting why the league won't get rid of its transfer structure until every team is developed. With an away day on the cards, Nico Gaitan ($9.6m) is our go-to pick for the armband this week. The former Atletico and Benfica playmaker is beginning to show his true class in MLS, with the attacking midfielder contributing 23 points (1 goal and 3 assists) in his last home performance. This might be Nico's week at the summit of contention.
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