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 29 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 29: 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: Cincinnati (A) & San Jose (H)
Player: Josef Martinez (ATL)
Player Price: $13.9 million
28 down. 3 to go. MLS Fantasy is in the final stretch of the season, with back-to-back Double Gameweek's in store for us players before Decision Day on Sunday October 6th, which is of course the final day of the 34-game regular season.
Between now and then, we've the little matter of MLS captaincy this week, with a host of attacking talents from Atlanta, Portland and Seattle, all top contenders. Our poll voted for a majority victory for MLS Fantasy's 5th best performing player, Atlanta attacker Josef Martinez, who sits on 206 points from 26 games this season.
With a few games left to go of the season, after scoring a hat-trick in a 7-2 win over a Sporting KC side who have done nothing but disappoint this season (with the club sitting in 9th place in the West, with 54 goals conceded and 6 points adrift of the play-off line), Zlatan Ibrahimovic declared that he was the greatest player to ever set foot in Major League Soccer.
In terms of technical ability the legendary Swede might be, though he has to fight the likes of Thierry Henry and Steven Gerrard, even though neither man were overly successful in America's top division. David Beckham was flush with technical ability, and won a brace of Supporters' Shield (2010, 2011) and and MLS Cup (2011, 2012) honours, with Beckham also changing the entire culture of football in the United States.
Zlatan has propped his LA Galaxy up to 5th in the Western Conference after the win over Sporting, though his time with The Galaxy is proving to be problematic, especially when Zlatan's side failed to qualify for the play-offs last season after final day heartbreak in a 3-2 home loss to Houston Dynamo, a game LA led 2-0 at half-time.
Ibrahimovic has joined LA in a time when The Galaxy are enduring a lull, and when statistics and on-field efforts from other players make you question The Swede's self-assessment of excellence, especially as new local rivals LAFC have taken the limelight and shine away from any such statement, with the Black and Gold on course to win the Supporters' Shield this year, and in Carlos Vela, have a player who has out-performed Zlatan in every attacking department this season.
This is of course a gateway into the topic of Atlanta's Josef Martinez, who must have raised an eyebrow (or two) after hearing Zlatan's comments to the press after a win against a side who won't be making the play-offs this season.
From a statistical point of view, MLS Fantasy is a good measure of performance, with Zlatan the 3rd best player in the game on 225 points. 26 goals and 4 assists for Zlatan is dwarfed by the 28 goals and 15 assists (43 attacking returns) by Vela, with the Mexican international the top MLS Fantasy player of all time currently, with 320 points on the board.
Josef Martinez has also outscored Zlatan during his time in MLS, and like LAFC, this has occurred at a new and progressive club, though in Atlanta's case it's been a highly successful few years on the pitch. Atlanta beat Portland to win MLS Cup in 2018, with The Five Stripes also winning the US Open Cup final against Minnesota in 2019, with Atlanta currently holding both domestic trophies at the same time.
Atlanta are on course for the play-offs again this year and have 24-goal Martinez at the helm of the attacking output once again. In 2018, the Venezuelan scored 31 goals, the most ever in an individual season (Vela needs just 4 to break the record in 4 games), taking Martinez's record to 55 regular season goals in 2 years, which is 7 goals better than 48-goal Zlatan. Goals aside, Martinez beat the likes of Zlatan for the MVP award last season, won trophies, and in Vela's case, he'll beat Zlatan to the acclaim of the award this year.
Martinez will dominate the MLS Fantasy captaincy equation this week too, with a visit to lowly FC Cincinnati on the cards, before a home tie against San Jose at the weekend. A pair of wins for Frank de Boer's side will confirm Atlanta's play-off birth, and we expect that MLS clubs will struggle to keep Martinez out of the picture.
The $13.9 million option has scored in each of Atlanta's last 11 MLS league games, an unbelievable feat that has seen Martinez score 14 goals and exactly half of Josef's Fantasy points this season - 103 points.
There's no one else for the job this week, surely?
Week 29: 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.
The Double Gameweek captaincy targets...
If you're not on that Martinez train, Week 29 sees two teams have very similar attractions in terms of captaincy options. Seattle and Portland both have an attacking midfielder and a striker that both offer a particular appeal.
In attacking midfield, Seattle's Nicolas Lodeiro ($12.8m) and Portland's Diego Valeri ($13.5m) are the key targets that are both on set-pieces and are bonus points magnets. Lodeiro is fresh off a 13-point game against New York Red Bulls, with the Uruguay international netting twice in a 4-2 home win. Dallas at home offers the potential for a high-scoring affair, whilst D.C. United away poses a question about Seattle's attack, but since Rooney signed a contract with Derby, it's all gone a bit stale in the Capitol.
Valeri comes in at the meatier price but has tighter form on his side, with Valeri earning 5+ points in 6 of the last 7 games, including 2 goals and 4 assists in this period. The advantage for Valeri is that both fixtures this week, against NY Red Bulls and Minnesota, are at home.
This would then give Brian Fernandez ($9.5m) the slight captaincy advantage over Seattle's Raul Ruidiaz ($11.9m) as Fernandez is well rested after missing Week 28 and should come back strong in back-to-back home games to secure their play-off hopes. Ruidiaz has scored 3 goals in the last last 4 games through, so consistency with the Peruvian is back and not to be overlooked.
Big hitters playing just the once...
We went into some depth about Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($12.8m) earlier in this article, with the Swede in fine form in Fantasy. The Swede has scored 10 goals across 6 league games and has managed 10+ points from 5 of his last 6 appearances. That is cause for serious consideration, especially as LA Galaxy look to solidify their play-off intentions when Montreal Impact fly south to California.
Elsewhere in LA and in the topic of conversation this week, Carlos Vela ($15.5m) has 4 games to aid history in LAFC's favour, firstly by undoing Josef Martinez's goal-scoring exploits from 2018 (31 goals), and in beating NY Red Bulls record 71 points in a regular season from last season. A visit from Toronto gives Vela an identical challenge to Zlatan this week - beating a Canadian side with mixed form - during Week 29. Vela is back amongst the goals too, scoring LAFC's lone goal during a 1-1 draw at Philadelphia Union during Week 28, so it looks set to be business as usual as LAFC look to win for the first time in 4 attempts.
At the very least, we'd suggest making a few template Fantasy squads that do include one or both of the attackers as we'll likely be hitting gold with one or the other (or both).
Lastly, sandwiched between Vela and Zlatan in the Fantasy charts is form Aston Villa midfielder, Carles Gil $12.8m), with the attacking midfielder offering a lot of single-game perks with Real Salt Lake set to visit Gillette Stadium this weekend. Gil picked up 15 points last week, assisting twice and collecting 7 bonus. The potential of a repeat performance at home against RSL this weekend is tempting to consider, especially as Vela has just come back from injury and might potentially have his minutes managed.
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