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 31 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 31: 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: LAFC vs. Colorado Rapids
Player: Carlos Vela (LAFC)
Player Price: $15.5 million
It's been a season of closely monitoring and reporting on the continued success and form of Carlos Vela and LAFC this season, particularly in this weekly captaincy article as we have captured every high and every low from an unforgettable season from the Mexican international.
It goes without saying, and is completely the right thing to have happened, that Vela has won our final captaincy poll of the season. It's been well deserved given that we've adopted Vela as one of our own, given that we've provided the Forward with more attention than some parents do their own children over the course of 2019.
The only player even coming close to Vela's popularity in MLS this season has been Zlatan Ibrahimovic, though with a final home match of the season, against Colorado Rapids of all teams, a side that actually beat LAFC 1-0 earlier in the season, there's no disputing the power of Vela's attraction on Decision Day.
A win for Bob Bradley's side will see LAFC beat New York Red Bulls' 71 points amassed during the 2018 regular season, with LAFC eyeing 72 points.
In another landmark occasion, it's quite astronomical that it has only taken a single season for Josef Martinez's 31 goals from the 2018 regular season, potentially toppled. Martinez is a clinical player with a charisma and flair that makes him an irresistible force for praise, whilst Vela a more reserved player that's gone about his business every week, with no team seemingly able to figure out that he loves to cut inside on to his left-foot. Vela's not got the same adulation that Martinez received a year ago, though it doesn't undermine the achievement, especially with a goal against The Rapids that will shatter the foundations off of the Banc of California Stadium.
30 games. 31 goals. 15 assists. 4 penalties earned. 84 bonus. 345 Fantasy points. We may never see another season like this in MLS Fantasy, with 45 attacking returns (and counting) from a single player.
These numbers alone tell the story better than we ever could. Vela has been the man this year and there is absolutely no doubt who the team here will be putting the armband on this weekend as Week 31 closes the season.
Week 31: 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.
Rolling the dice one last time...
If you're looking for a safe bet to hedge your bets on this week, just remember that form and class in MLS is typically permanent, which of course means you can't rule out Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($13.8m) from ending the regular season with a bang. The Swede has scored and assisted in each of his last 3 encounters, netting 13 times in his last 9 games, a feat that shouldn't go unnoticed. With Zlatan close to beating Miguel Almiron's 2018 points haul of 268 points with 5 or more points, it'll cap a destructive year in front of goal should Houston roll on their bellies on Decision Day.
The only games with any steak left at the end of the season involve the play-off races in the Western Conference, with 4 squads in the running for the 6th and 7th spots, though in reality we don't think many will be betting on a Dallas lose to Sporting KC, Portland beating or drawing with San Jose and a Colorado Rapids win at LAFC, to leapfrog The Rapids into 7th.
Western Conference Table:
6) Portland: 46pts (+1)
7) Dallas: 45pts (+2)
8) San Jose: 44pts (-1)
9) Colorado: 42pts (-2)
Week 31 Fixtures:
Portland vs. San Jose
Dallas vs. Sporting KC
LAFC vs. Colorado
This competitive edge means that the second-best midfielder in MLS Fantasy, Diego Valeri ($12.5m) is a must-have option this week to consider, even though the attacking midfielder has failed to score or assist in his last 4 matches. The Argentine has been getting 5 and 6 points in games, purely due to bonus points, but if you believe in the big drama on the final day, Valeri will be the go-to guy for Portland and was rested at Sporting KC at the weekend, meaning he'll be the vocal point this weekend when it matters the most at home to San Jose.
Also rested and returning for the final day of the season is Seattle's Nicolas Lodeiro ($12.9m), for a home encounter against Minnesota United in a match with some significance. Both teams are locked on 53 points and the winner will get a certain home advantage for the play-off games, essential for any MLS Cup aspirations. Lodeiro has scored 7 goals and assisted 12 times this season and is a bonus points magnet having collected 82 points. Just keep an eye out for the lineups to ensure that Nico is in Seattle's starting lineup.
Finishing the season with play-offs secured in the Eastern Conference, Toronto host Columbus Crew on the final day, with potential mention to be had for Alejandro Pozuelo ($10.0m) ahead of Decision Day. One of the league's standout players this season, Poz's form fell off halfway through the season, though the goals and assists have begun to creep back into the Spaniard's game, with the attacking midfielder managing 2 goals and 3 assists in the last 5 matches. Reasonably priced when compared to Lodeiro and Valeri, Pozuelo might get our nostalgic vote this weekend due to the impact he's had on MLS this season.
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