The Armband: FMLS Round 12 Captain Rankings

The Armband: FMLS Round 12 Captain Rankings

This article is part of our The Armband series.

Another uneventful double gameweek has passed, with Sebastian Giovinco picking up an injury and mostly unexpected players shining. Two Toronto forwards reached double-digit fantasy points at the official MLS Fantasy game, and neither was named Giovinco or Jozy Altidore. Tosaint Ricketts came out of nowhere to score three goals, while one of the cheapest forwards available, Raheem Edwards, had two assists after entering the week questionable due to injury.

There were bright spots like Victor Vazquez and Federico Higuain, but Justin Meram was the main highlight after Saturday's hat trick, a game in which Ola Kamara made a two-minute appearance. So, like everyone predicted, no player with two matches finished in the top eight of fantasy defenders, while performances from Shkelzen Gashi and Haris Medunjanin, among others, took the weekend.

Luckily, we probably won't have to deal with someone with one match outscoring the rest of the league for Week 12. That's mainly because 10 teams have two matches this week, though that won't stop anyone from getting a hat trick. The problem to finding a captain is that a lot of these players will undoubtedly be rested in the first or second match, a la Kamara or Giovinco from the last two weeks. Five games take place Wednesday with a number of sides having to travel back home or somewhere else for a match either on Saturday or Sunday.

It's quite a task to sort through it all and I won't cover every team, but Philadelphia (v. HOU, v. COL) has the most favorable schedule with two home matches, while Colorado (at CHI, at PHI), Houston (at PHI, at ATL) and NYC FC (at RSL, at ORL) are all on the road twice. David Villa is immune to most matchups, but it's a wonder if he'll start both games with all of the travel. The Rapids and Dynamo are coming off nice wins, but I'm not sold on either team taking that form on the road.

For the Union, it's possible that C.J. Sapong and Fabian Herbers will each start a match, leaving Medunjanin the player to target as he's played every minute this season. While he won't match the one-goal, two-assist performance from the weekend, Medunjanin has been a great creator for Philly all season and two home matches is reason enough to back him.

For the rest with one road and one home match, only Real Salt Lake (v. NYC, at SEA) and Chicago (v. COL, at DC) have a somewhat favorable schedule with the least amount of travel. Other teams like Sporting Kansas City (v. SEA, at VAN) and Seattle (at KC, v. RSL) have longer trips, though Orlando City (at SJ, v. NYC) takes the cake after having played at home last Saturday. In a matter of nine days, Orlando will have three matches with a trip to San Jose between two at home. Cyle Larin and Kaka won't be terrible captain options, but it wouldn't be surprising if either one was rested.

One player who doesn't have to worry about that is Dom Dwyer, who served a suspension over the weekend. With a home match against a beatable Seattle back line and then a trip to Vancouver, Dwyer has nice matchups and could be slated to start both. Still, defenders like Matt Besler may be easier to trust because even if SKC doesn't get a clean sheet, he usually leads the team in clearances and recoveries. If you don't like risk, Besler may be one of the easier routes to 10 fantasy points from two matches. Benny Feilhaber has played a full 90 in the last four matches, but I still wouldn't put all of my eggs into his basket.

On the other end of that, Nicolas Lodeiro is another trusty option, always good for bonus points even without a goal or assist. Clint Dempsey can be considered, though that would mean you're hoping he starts in the home match against RSL, not the one at SKC. Dax McCarty fits that Lodeiro mold, while anyone who backs Nemanja Nikolic would be banking that he starts in the midweek match against Colorado. The Fire may have the best situation, getting to face two bottom-of-the-table sides, which is why Nikolic is a favorite… if he starts in both games. And will they try and push 32-year-old Bastian Schweinsteiger to play two quick matches?

With so much risk involved in having star players rested, I'm plenty comfortable in picking one of the younger, safer options to lead my fantasy team. But as usual in a double gameweek, it may be worthwhile to look at some of the other ones with only one match who are hosting over the weekend. Dallas is in a nice situation getting the Earthquakes on their second leg, while Vancouver hosts SKC. Maximiliano Urruti could pounce on that situation or even Matt Hedges or Walker Zimmerman with the hopes of a clean sheet, considering the Quakes have three goals from six road matches.

Montreal v. Portland or Minnesota v. Los Angeles could produce goals, which means all of the stud midfielders in those matches could be great differential plays. There's nothing wrong with captaining Ignacio Piatti, Diego Valeri, Kevin Molino or Romain Alessandrini, you just have to accept it when the one you captain finishes with three fantasy points.

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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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