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 24 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 24: 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: FC Dallas (H) and Seattle Sounders (H)
Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA)
Player Price: $10.8 million
The past few weeks in MLS Fantasy have actually been quite tricky to navigate. We don't know about you, but there have been some big and unexpected scores, and a lot of favoured Fantasy talent that haven't been hitting top gear. NYCFC and Maxi Moralez failed to thrill last week. Dallas went 5-3 against Minnesota, Toronto can't keep clean sheets, Atlanta have been difficult to predict and last week there were no clean sheets.
The saving grace for some low scores have been captaincy picks. Record breaking Carlos Vela helped to plug the gaps last week, though ahead of Week 24, we have put a host of Double Gameweek talent on show.
Our poll pitted Zlatan against in-form Nicolas Lodeiro, Diego Valeri and the hit-and-miss Nicolas Gaitan (who if you owned last week, will be rolling your eyes). Due to back-to-back home games, namesake on his side, and fixtures that offers goals, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a marginal winner ahead of Diego Valeri, who is in a very similar situation this week.
Right off the bat, it's worth stating the form that LA Galaxy are enduring currently in MLS. Guillermo Schelotto's side have lost 3 games on the bounce, all of which have been on the road to difficult sides. LA have lost to Portland (4-0), Atlanta (3-0) and D.C. United (2-1), results which have put The Galaxy's play-off advantages (and spot?) in doubt.
LA, who were riding LAFC at the top of the Western Conference, have lost 4 of their last 6 matches, a run which has seen them drop from 2nd in the West to 5th. Portland, who are in 8th in the Conference, are only 3 points behind LA. It's very feasible that we could be looking at an identical situation as last year, with The Galaxy missing out on the play-offs on the final day of the regular season.
Regarding Zlatan as a captaincy pick, there is an element where form has to play a part in your decision this week. Dallas and Seattle are both in good form and can offer something of a threat, even though LA are far better at home than they are away (welcome to MLS, this happens across the league).
Zlatan's last goals came during Week 20's 3-2 home victory over LAFC, with The Lion netting a hat-trick against their inter-city rivals. Blanks against Portland and D.C. United have followed, with Ibrahimovic not featuring against Atlanta in a 3-0 defeat.
The Swede is a slight anomaly as he has the ability to strike when you least expect it, and being a man for the big occasion, goals against Conference play-off rivals would not be out of the footballing script given that the Forward's not been in great form as of late, though Bill Hamid saved brilliantly from Ibra last week.
The ke choose will be between Ibrahimovic and Valeri this week, so you as an MLS Fantasy player have to judge what is better for you - the explosive potential of Zlatan, or the steady and bonus points capabilities of Valeri.
Week 24: 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.
About those Double Gameweek picks...
As Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a lot of competition this weekend for the armband, as previously mentioned, Portland's home fixtures against Chicago and Atlanta have provided a good opening for Diego Valeri ($12.3m) as a potential captaincy alternative. There might be a few rotational fears, though, as Valeri can be prone to sit out during one game in a double up. That said, the attacking midfielder, who dominates set-pieces at The Timbers, has started the last 8 games and provided a brace of assists in a recent home win against Vancouver Whitecaps. Valeri has managed 7+ points from 5 of the last 6 fixtures, so is a safer route to points than Zlatan, if he plays of course.
Another captaincy option in a similar boat is the in-form Nicolas Lodeiro ($12.8m). The Uruguay international has scored 3 goals and assisted 3 goals in the midfielder's last 6 games. In a recent 3-3 home draw with New England Revolution, Lodeiro both scored and assisted, earning 15 points, with Lodeiro earning 9+ points from 4 of the last 5 fixtures. Lodeiro's looking fixture proof, so it doesn't really matter that Nico is on the road twice, against both RSL and LA Galaxy.
A little left-field this week, but the form of Minnesota's Ethan Finlay ($7.9m) might be enough to bank on the winger with a brace of home games against Colorado Rapids and Orlando - two sides you'd want to face in a Double Gameweek. With Darwin Quintero going AWOL as a Fantasy asset this season, Finlay has stepped in the last couple of games, scoring 3 goals in 2 games. Minnesota will be heavily attractive options this week, with Finlay at the bare minimum the perfect mid-ranged midfielder to pick, even if you don't captain the winger.
If you'd like to back on reputation, even though Sporting KC haven't lived up to the billing this season, Felipe Gutierrez ($10.7m) is a good points outlet, one that might rear its head again for Week 24's action. Gutierrez missed a penalty last weekend against Real Salt Lake, though he scored twice against Seattle during Week 22. It's one option to at the very least consider, even if you'll ultimately steer in another direction.
Is it worth banking on a solo-effort?
Elsewhere in the league, there is literally nowhere else to start other than by highlighting the achievements and feats of Carlos Vela ($14.0m) ahead of a Week 24 trip to Real Salt Lake. The LAFC attacker has broken the points total amassed by Miguel Almiron in the 2018 season.
Atlanta's Almiron (now wearing the black and white stripes of Newcastle United in the Premier League) finished with 269 points last season. Vela has already eclipsed that record, meaning the Mexican international is now the top points scorer in MLS Fantasy in a single season. The added benefit is that Vela has 10 games to only add to his legacy to close the regular season.
Vela's 23 goals and 15 assists has equalled the record of attacking returns in a single MLS season, with one more goal or assist tipping Vela over the line and a record holder in his own right.
Real Salt Lake is the perfect opposition, not only to bank on Vela in a huge Double Gameweek, but one that might be worth the captaincy armband. LAFC are storming the Western Conference with 55 points after 24 games, with Vela managing 10+ Fantasy points in 5 of the last 6 games. Class is permanent with Vela, and it seems, so is form.
You can read more of our latest news from the world of MLS and MLS Fantasy by clicking here.
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The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in the Fantasy Premier League (#FPL), providing beautiful graphics and weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb ranking tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review movies, live sport, and professional wrestling.
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The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog 2016' by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), with the final presentation held at Old Trafford in Manchester.