The Armband: FMLS Round 1 Captain Rankings

The Armband: FMLS Round 1 Captain Rankings

This article is part of our The Armband series.

The first week is usually the hardest for fantasy purposes. With so many new players on new teams, it's hard to determine which guys will take off running and which ones won't make the starting XI. While not everyone is Sebastian Giovinco, there are players like Carlos Vela and Alejandro Romero Gamarra who could be useful captain options more than once this season.

For now, in Round 1, it's best to stick with what we already know. That means Giovinco and David Villa up front and Nicolas Lodeiro and Diego Valeri in midfield. With how dominant these guys have been (when on the field), there's no reason to go against them in the first week of a new MLS season. Going with a differential is fun, but maybe not as much in the first weekend of games. The harder part will be finding out which defenses are the worst this season. Per usual, I'll be looking at home teams and that's where I'm starting.

Giovinco is the clear place to go with a home match against Columbus. Giovinco didn't lead the league in fantasy points last year, mostly due to injury, but he still averaged close to a goal and assist per match. Toronto's record at home is also relevant, as they scored 45 and only allowed 15 last season. In fact, if you were looking for differential captains, Victor Vazquez and Justin Morrow would top that list. Even without a clean sheet, Morrow is a defender who frequently gets forward and even had a hat trick last year. Of course, Jozy Altidore can't be forgotten whenever Toronto is at home. He also battled injuries, but still managed 17 goals and six assists in 29 starts last season.

The other place to look is Toronto's opponent from the MLS Cup final because Seattle is also at home. The Sounders were slightly less dominant at home in 2017, scoring 32 goals and allowing 12. They'll be at CenturyLink Field against expansion club LAFC, which played in a friendly against Vancouver a couple weeks ago with the teams combining for eight goals. There's no surprise that Lodeiro is the best choice considering he led all of MLS Fantasy last season with 315 points. Clint Dempsey is a hot name, but I faded on him last year as he's mostly goal dependent in fantasy.

There are plenty of other places to look, but Villa won't be one with a road match at Kansas City, a team that allowed a league-low 11 goals at home last season. On the opposite end of that, Houston scored 43 goals at home and face an Atlanta team that will try and build off its impressive first campaign. The Dynamo often switched their attacking line, which led to issues in fantasy. For now, Tomas Martinez and Alberth Elis are the top choices, though the former is suspended for this week. That's not to say Mauro Manotas and Romell Quioto are worth any less at this point, though.

A safer place to look is probably Mauro Diaz and Maximiliano Urruti at home against Real Salt Lake. Those two didn't get to play together often last season because of Diaz's injury, but at least RSL had one of the worst defenses, allowing 39 goals in 17 road matches. I'd still be wary of those two mainly because neither did much in the final two months of the season.

Philadelphia is an intriguing option with David Accam joining C.J. Sapong in the attack. The Union were much better at home last season scoring 36 goals, while New England gave up the most road goals in the league at 46. But considering we haven't seen Accam with Philly outside of preseason action, this isn't the safest bet.

I'd be more willing to bank on the Orlando attack, which now has Sacha Kljestan, Justin Meram and Dom Dwyer. Throw in Yoshimar Yotun and Josue Colman and Orlando is a scary team. They should start the season on the right foot with a home match against D.C. United, though with Dwyer and Kljestan missing out, I'm not sure whom I'd back for captain. Meram is a reasonable place to turn or maybe even Dwyer's replacement, Stefano Pinho.

The last two teams to consider are the Whitecaps (v. Impact) and Galaxy (v. Timbers). Romain Alessandrini got some reinforcements in the attack, which should pay immediate dividends, namely Ola Kamara, who had 19 goals last season. Those two could turn into a top fantasy duo in the league, not dissimilar to Giovinco and Altidore. The Timbers won the Western Conference last season, but just like most other teams, really struggled on the road, allowing 32 goals.

As for Vancouver, Kei Kamara will try and help Yordy Reyna and Cristian Techera find more consistent fantasy value. His hope is to match what Fredy Montero did with 14 goals and six assists. Even in a nice matchup, I'd probably stay away from these guys before seeing a little more out of them.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam, a 2019, 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's soccer editor. He also runs RotoWire's Bracketology, as well as writes on other various college basketball content. He has previously worked at ESPN and Sporting Kansas City, and he is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.
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