The Armband: FMLS Week 18 Captain Rankings
The Armband: FMLS Week 18 Captain Rankings

This article is part of our The Armband series.

Maybe I didn't study enough for the last MLS slate. Maybe it was a regular MLS week. Either way, most of the point leaders were players who weren't captained, and the only one in my top five who managed double-digit fantasy points was Maximiliano Moralez. Otherwise, David Villa left early with injury, while Miguel Almiron and Sebastian Giovinco, usually good for bonus points, failed to do anything outside of that. I pointed out Borek Dockal in my article but never considered him for the armband, and he led the week with 17 fantasy points. That's kind of how things work. Sometimes you step outside of the box and it works, but most of the time it doesn't.

For the upcoming week, there is one team that reigns over the rest: Atlanta, who are at home against Orlando City, a side that has lost their last seven matches while allowing multiple goals in each. Atlanta only scored once last match, but a lot of that can be attributed to a difficult opponent. This opponent could lead to a huge week for Almiron and hat-trick maestro Josef Martinez. The downside to Almiron is that he's surpassed seven fantasy points once in his last eight matches. The downside to Martinez is the three points he had last week, but the upside is his MLS hat-trick record.

Unfortunately, there aren't many other matchups that stand out. Nicolas Lodeiro is always good for a few bonus points, especially at home. Maybe the best thing for Seattle is that Portland was in Atlanta last weekend and may have tired legs with another difficult matchup. Then again, it's a rivalry and it'll be a physical match. Ignacio Piatti is at home, but trusting him against the Kansas City back line doesn't feel like a good idea. As for Moralez and Dockal, both are on the road against difficult competition. I'd recommend the Earthquakes, but they're up against the Galaxy, who have allowed only nine goals in seven road matches.

The next best place to look is Columbus at home against Real Salt Lake. I'm not comfortable with a clean sheet, but Federico Higuain and Gyasi Zardes should be good for a goal or two. Outside of the Atlanta match, both have been great at home, securing at least eight fantasy points in the three contests prior to hosting Atlanta. RSL have just four points from eight road matches this season, scoring five times and giving up 20.

New England are home to D.C. United, and that puts Diego Fagundez back on the radar after scoring at least eight fantasy points in the last three matches. He's more of a differential play, but he's quietly remained fantasy relevant for most of the season with five goals and five assists. Teal Bunbury has nine goals, if you're into that sort of thing.

If you want to wait for Sunday's matches and hope for the best, there are a few options. Toronto are at home, but they've been all over the place, scoring (and allowing) four against D.C. a couple weeks ago and then going scoreless against Dallas before that. The Red Bulls are one of the few teams with a positive road goal differential, which doesn't help. Giovinco hasn't provided much of a fantasy spark this season, similar to Toronto as a whole, yet he's always in the running for the armband. The safer play may be Victor Vazquez, who has at least eight fantasy points in his last four matches, scoring three and assisting four.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the Whitecaps are only in play because they host the Rapids, who have scored two and allowed 13 on the road. Felipe Martins has the best floor, but Kei Kamara scored a brace in the last home match and Cristian Techera had a hat trick in the one before that. If you like Vancouver, go ahead and guess the goal scorer, but I'll pass for my captain.

The ultimate differential would be Adama Diomande, who has filled in for Carlos Vela as LAFC's best player with four goals in the last three matches. The Union have a negative-nine goal differential on the road, so he's definitely viable.

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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. 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year.
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