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 22 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 22: 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: New England Revolution vs. LAFC
Player: Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Player Price: $13.0 million
This past week, Carlos Vela captained an MLS All Star team in a 3-0 defeat to La Liga side, Atletico Madrid in Orlando. The move to give the LAFC attacker the armband is not to dissimilar from what us MLS Fantasy players have been doing since the beginning of the season in March, and yet again, ahead of another round of games, we find ourselves locked in with the Mexican international.
Vela won our weekly poll be beating off small competition from Wayne Rooney and Josef Martinez, and a sizeable 27% that might bank on Seattle's Nicolas Lodeiro in a home game against Western Conference outfit, Sporting KC.
(C)arlos Vela hasn't been far away from the captaincy buzzword all season, and on the eve of a visit to a New England side that haven't lost an MLS match in 11, we once again find ourselves providing our readers with our latest article blast of Carlos Vela Weekly.
From 21 appearances (Vela has only missed 1 match due to injury), El Capitan finds himself on the verge of toppling Miguel Almiron's 269 points from the 2018 MLS Fantasy season.
Currently on 253 points, 12 games are left for LAFC this season, with Vela needing just 16 points to equal Miggy's points haul from last season, and just 17 points to be the top points-scorer in a single MLS Fantasy season. What's astonishing is that the $13.0 million Forward get the job done in only 22 matches.
Vela has managed 17+ points from 3 matches this season, and has hit double-digits from 15 outings this season, meaning he's only scored 10 or less points on 6 occasions this season. Vela has amassed a huge 66 points in just his last 4 games alone, which is an average of 16.5 points-per-game, meaning based on his average he could be just shy, or just eclipse Almiron's 269 points.
Form alone, regardless of fixture, is telling enough that Vela should be the first name in your team, and due to his high points yield in virtually every game bar 6, that we're looking at a complete season of having a set-and-forget captain to bank on.
What we do know that, though, that provided any last-minute interest from Premier League side, Spurs, doesn't materialise, that Vela is destine to shatter MLS Fantasy records this season, and we should all rush to be part of a record-breaking season, one that looks destined to end with LAFC at the very least claiming the Supporters' Shield.
LAFC's remaining MLS fixtures:
Week 22: New England (A)
Week 23: New York Red Bulls (H)
Week 24: Real Salt Lake (A)
Week 25: San Jose (H) & LA Galaxy (H)
Week 26: Minnesota (H)
Week 27: Orlando (A)
Week 28: Philadelphia (A)
Week 29: Toronto (H)
Week 30: Houston (H) & Minnesota (A)
Week 31: Colorado (H)
There are two big Double Gameweek's left for LAFC, with Week 25 the annual Rivalry Week, with LAFC at home to both Californian sides, San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy. Later, the penultimate weekend of the season sees Bob Bradley's side host Houston before travelling to Minnesota for a final away day of the campaign.
There are also fixtures against sides that haven't been overly impressive this season - Real Salt Lake, Orlando, and Colorado - for captaincy certainties, whilst any home game that features Vela seemingly a lock too.
Being conservative, it wouldn't surprise us at all to see Vela average 10 points-per-game between now and the end of the season, so we could be looking at a finishing total of 360-390 points, without of course including any injuries or suspensions potentially bringing this tally down.
The runaway captaincy train is one that can't be ignore this week, even in testing conditions against an in-form New England side. It's that simple. If Vela's fit, he has earned the right to be the automatic captaincy pick as he looks to add to his 35 attacking returns, and an inevitable path in to the MLS Fantasy history books.
Week 22: 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.
Whilst we gush in appreciation over Carlos Vela and his relentless form throughout the 2019 season, we must remember that there is always a Plan B in MLS, and there are always points to be had across the league. With New England unbeaten in 11, there will no doubt be a section of players that won't want to take the risk with Vela, believing there is to be value for points elsewhere in the league.
Our first port of call is Seattle, with Sporting KC visiting town. Nicolas Lodeiro ($12.4m) has been hotly tipped to star against an SKC side that are 6 points adrift of the play-off spots in the West. The reason? Lodeiro has been averaging 8.5 points-per-game over the last 4 games, and is widely considered to be the top midfielder pick this week due to Pozuelo and Valeri travelling away from home this week.
Elsewhere in midfield, directly opposing Carlos Vela this week is New England's Carles Gil ($12.3m), an attacking outlet who is ripe in form, with the midfielder scoring and assisting in each of his last 3 games, whilst Gil has scored in 4 consecutive MLS matches, and provided attacking returns in 5 straight games. Gil has welcomed 40 points over the course of 3 matches, which should see him as a default option in your team. LAFC will offer healthy competition though, so a freak result and score might be on the cards for Fantasy players as something has to give between the in-form sides.
Next up, depending on how little you value LA Galaxy's defensive stability, Josef Martinez ($12.9m) not only challenges Vela due to his price, but also offers remarkable form of his own heading into a home fixture against Zlatan and company. Martinez has scored in each of his last 8 fixtures, scoring 12 goals in those 8 matches and totalling 83 points. This brings Martinez up to scoring in 13 of his 20 matches this season, form that can't be ignored against an LA side that were recently knocked back for 3 at Portland.
There might not be as much of a high-ceiling, or form of a Josef Martinez or Carles Gil, but Wayne Rooney ($10.8m) might turn a few heads this week. Rooney has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 6 matches, but finds himself in an interesting position this week. Philadelphia are top of the Eastern Conference on 29 points. Atlanta (36) and DC (36) are in hot pursuit. Philadelphia just recently lost 4-0 at Montreal, meaning the gap in the East between 1st and 7th is just 6 points. Rooney is a man for the big occasion and this could be a vital win, which could see the play-off sides divided by just 3 points in the East - that would be some story as the regular season nears its conclusion.
Lastly, San Jose have won 6 of their last 7 MLS matches, winning 4 consecutive matches, with Vako ($8.7m) indispensable to the good form of an Earthquakes side that have risen to 4th in the West and look set to finish within the play-off bracket this season. With a reasonable price-tag, Vako will be the first name in most Fantasy teams this week and the visit of a Columbus team sitting in 10th in the Eastern Conference, 9 points adrift of play-off contention, means that many will be expecting Vako to follow up his brilliant goal against Colorado this weekend. Vako has scored in each of the last 3 matches too, so form in on his side as The Crew visit California.
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