The Armband: FMLS Week 8 Captain Rankings
The Armband: FMLS Week 8 Captain Rankings

This article is part of our The Armband series.

I slightly underestimated the number of NYC FC players who would start (or appear) in both matches last week, as they had 11 players reach at least 10 fantasy points including David Villa, who didn't start either match. At the least, Diego Valeri and Miguel Almiron both showed up as expected as my top choices behind Maxmiliano Moralez. On the other end of that, Kei Kamara wasn't even in the Vancouver lineup, and that's why it's important to rarely go with a differential captain in Fantasy MLS because the top options usually come through. Or something like that…

There aren't any double gameweeks in Week 8, but it's a full slate with lowly D.C. United the only team without a match. Per usual, there are a lot of different places to look for the armband with Houston (v. TOR) and Seattle (v. MIN) good starting points.

The big factor going against Toronto is that they aren't putting much into league play with CONCACAF Champions League in full swing, including the second leg at Guadalajara next Wednesday. Coming off a loss at Colorado, this is a surprisingly comfortable spot for the Dynamo, who have fallen off after their season-opening 4-0 win against Atlanta. They're still a team with a plethora of attacking options, led by Alberth Elis, who has scored or assisted in four of five matches. Against the Toronto B-squad, one has to think he'll make the score sheet again. He's been the most consistent player for Houston, whereas Tomas Martinez scored his first goal last weekend and Mauro Manotas has yet to surpass nine fantasy points in a match.

The Sounders scored their first two goals of the season last weekend and look primed to add to that total with Clint Dempsey back to face Minnesota. While I won't suggest giving the armband to Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro may be the easiest player to trust for captaincy only because he's close to a guarantee to reach eight fantasy points. He has 28 fantasy points through three matches, with zero goals and one assist, which means he does a little bit of everything else to secure bonus points. The Loons have lost their last three matches and have given up three goals in each of their last two on the road.

Also on the West Coast, the Timbers may not beat NYC FC, but there should be plenty of goals. NYC FC have scored at least two in every match this season, while there have been at least four goals in four of Portland's last five matches. Valeri has upside with a goal in each of his last three matches, but he hasn't provided much outside of goals and assists, so his floor is lower than someone like Lodeiro's. The better move may be to go with the road side, especially with Villa close to full health. He's always a threat to score, while Moralez is the safer choice because he's more likely to play a full 90 minutes. The worry is that another trip out west (they played at San Jose on March 31) following a double gameweek will be difficult to overcome.

If that's too big of a risk, the Red Bulls may be a safer play, as they've scored at least three goals in all three of their home matches this season. As for the Fire, they've struggled to get things going and their only road match came in a 2-1 loss at Minnesota. If it weren't for the CCL, Bradley Wright-Phillips may be the talk of MLS because he can't stop scoring. He only has two league starts (five total appearances), but already has four goals and two assists. There's plenty of downside if he doesn't make the score sheet, but it's easier to bet on him scoring at this point.

The Crew have a favorable match on the surface, but they've lost their last three, scoring once in the process, while the Revs have allowed just one goal in their last three. Federico Higuain started the season hot, but he has just nine fantasy points over the last three matches. Unfortunately, Felipe Gutierrez isn't back for Sporting KC yet, so there isn't one player who stands out even in a nice home match against Vancouver. Graham Zusi may be the best route given he's reached 10 fantasy points three different times, yet only one of those was because of a clean sheet.

Carlos Vela will undoubtedly be a popular pick against a Montreal team that has allowed seven goals in its last two matches. Vela has four goals and two assists in five matches, but it's worth nothing LAFC struggled in their only other trip out east this season, though Atlanta are better than Montreal.

Speaking of Atlanta, they travel out west to take on an extremely hard-to-predict Galaxy, who lost at home to Kansas City and then won at Chicago the next week. Atlanta have been equally hard to trust on the road, losing 4-0 at Houston and then beating Minnesota 1-0. Almiron is always a reasonable choice because he's scored at least eight fantasy points in each of his last five starts. If you prefer the home team, Zlatan Ibrahimovic actually dropped in price after getting his first start and scoring the only goal in their win.

For the rest, Sacha Kljestan has at least five fantasy points in his four starts and is a high-floor captain to trust, especially with Orlando City scoring nine goals in the last three. The Earthquakes sit near the bottom of the standings and will have trouble in this match. Dom Dwyer provides upside with goals, but Kljestan is around the ball more and safer to captain.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam writes on sports ranging from NFL and MLB to soccer and college basketball. Outside of writing, he has worked with a professional soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, and in the stats department at ESPN. He is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.
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