This article is part of our The Armband series.
The World Cup is in full swing, but MLS is back after a short 10-day break, and even then many teams have played in U.S. Open Cup matches. Most of the better teams are at home for Week 17, which means deciding a captain in MLS Fantasy shouldn't be too difficult… or something.
Philadelphia (v. VAN), New York (v. DAL), Kansas City (v. HOU), Seattle (v. CHI), Atlanta (v. POR) and NYC FC (v. TOR) are all at home and there are still players from other squads who deserve consideration.
Ignacio Piatti scored a brace against Orlando 10 days ago and faces them again, though this time on the road. Colorado have been competent at home and face lowly Minnesota, but it's hard to suggest giving the armband to any of them. The same goes for Real Salt Lake against San Jose, and I'm banking on a Justen Glad for a clean sheet. LAFC (v. CLB) are also on the hard-to-trust list with Carlos Vela competing in Russia.
The Red Bulls will be in many rosters with a dominant 17 goals and four allowed in seven home matches. Dallas are tied at the top of the able but have only played five road matches this year, including a 3-1 loss to NYC FC. Kaku should be back with the team after spending time with Paraguay and immediately enters the discussion. He only has four fantasy points in each of his last two starts, yet he averaged double digits in his prior four. At the least, he's probably a safer bet than Bradley Wright-Phillips, who remains goal dependent. If Wright-Phillips doesn't make the score sheet, there's a decent chance he'll only have one or two fantasy points, and that's what happened against Philly and Columbus.
Because of those low floors, Miguel Almiron stands out above the rest, as usual. He wasn't 100 percent last match, but still made it 86 minutes and had an assist in a road win against Columbus. Almiron surprisingly hasn't had more than seven fantasy points in six of his last seven matches, but it's hard to bet against him and Josef Martinez at home. Martinez is the guy who can go for a hat trick in any given match and has scored in his last four starts. He may have more upside than Almiron at this point, but Almiron is slightly safer due to more activity. The Timbers are playing well, but they also gave up two goals to Colorado in their last road match.
The other top side to back is NYC FC,, even with a tricky matchup and new coach. Toronto can be the best team in MLS at times, but they can also give up multiple goals like in recent matches against Columbus and D.C. United. Considering NYC have scored 19 goals and allowed three at home this season, it's more likely Toronto's susceptive back line shows up. It's almost the same situation as Atlanta with the competition for captain being between David Villa and Maximiliano Moralez. Normally, Villa is the go-to, with four goals and two assists in his last five starts, but Moralez has shown more upside of late with at least 10 fantasy points in three of his last four. That makes him somewhat of a differential, as it's likely Villa will draw more interest from the public.
The Union are a strong home side, yet I can't bring myself to captain Borek Dockal or anyone else. I'm more inclined to go with Nicolas Lodeiro on bottom-feeding Seattle mainly because Chicago have given up multiple goals in four of their last five road matches. Also, Lodeiro didn't lose a step while he was away and scored seven fantasy points in the last road match at New York without a goal or assist.
The only defender worth captaining is, once again, Graham Zusi, as Sporting have allowed only one goal from their last four home matches and recently held Portland scoreless in Portland. Even then, Houston have a conference-high 29 goals, making them tough to go against. And I'm not sure captaining Zusi is a good idea anyway with better options available. There is some chatter about Sebastian Giovinco, but in a difficult spot, I'm again looking elsewhere.