This is it. You only have one more chance to score the most points and finish No. 1 at the official MLS fantasy game. Of course, thatís only made possible by picking the correct captain. Last week saw the favorites of many topping lists with Romain Alessandrini, Diego Valeri and Nemanja Nikolic leading the way. Maybe the same will happen again.
With every team only having one match, the strategy is clear: pick someone at home in a favorable spot. David Villa is good and the most owned forward by far, but I didnít back him last week for a reason (he was on the road). With the regular season ending, home teams dominated last Sunday, securing seven wins from 11 matches with a 19-5 score differential. While thatís as good as it gets for home teams, itís still the best way to decide on a captain.
For the final week, letís look at the playoff race. San Jose, Dallas and Real Salt Lake are the only three teams still fighting for a final spot. The rest of the playoff teams outside of Toronto are fighting for position in the standings with a few teams still battling for a first-round bye. As for the teams eliminated, the Galaxy can be ignored this week on the road, while Montreal finds itself in an intriguing spot at home against New England.
Starting with that match, Ignacio Piatti is expected back after missing last week, and heíll be a clever differential captain along with teammate Blerim Dzemaili. Neither has been in much form, but a lot of that has to do with four of Montrealís last five matches coming on the road. With the Revs allowing 16 goals in their last three road matches and a minus-32 goal differential for the season, Piatti and Dzemaili could be set to end the season on a high.
Maybe the most favorable match of Sunday is Seattle at home against Colorado. With the Sounders still in play to earn the top seed, theyíll be a popular team to back as the Rapids have lost 13 of 16 road matches this season. Nicolas Lodeiro is the clear favorite due to his high floor, while Clint Dempsey is more of a boom-or-bust play because his fantasy value revolves around scoring, which he hasnít done consistently the last two months. An easier route may be to aim for another clean sheet and hope Joevin Jones finds the score sheet and thatís not out of the question as seen in his 11 assists this season.
San Jose, in need of a win, is in a great spot at home against Minnesota, though only one name is up for the armband. Valeri Kazaishvili has two goals and two assists in the last three matches and could be a great differential, as not many will look his way. Chris Wondolowski could also be in the discussion, but having not reached double-digit fantasy points in his last 23 matches, the upside isnít there.
New York City will be popular because they are still in need of three points and are at home against a Columbus team that is a long shot from clinching a first-round bye. The worry is that Columbus hasn't lost in their last nine matchesÖ but they may be losing their club. That wonít stop anyone from using David Villa or even Maximiliano Moralez, but Iím not sure Iíd trust them more than the Seattle players.
Dallas (v. LAG) and Real Salt Lake (v. SKC) are in similar situations, needing a win to have a chance at the playoffs. Dallas is the easier team to back given that SKC likes to play defensively. The Galaxy have also lost six of their last eight road matches, giving up at least two goals in seven of them. Normally, Maximiliano Urruti would be a favorite in this spot, but heís on a cold streak and hasnít scored in his last nine. Heís definitely a risk but could pay out huge if he finds his form in a good spot.
Portland is home again, yet they have a tough test against Vancouver. If the Timbers win, theyíll overtake the Whitecaps at the top of the conference. While itís a difficult matchup, itís never a good idea to go against Diego Valeri at home, especially with 11 goals and four assists in his last 11 starts.
A lot of eyes will be on Atlanta against Toronto, but that one will be hard to predict. Toronto doesnít have anything to play for, yet isnít a team you want to bet against. On the other side, Atlanta could use three points and have scored a league-high 46 goals at home this season. Yamil Asad and Hector Villalba have the higher floors, but Josef Martinez is the goal scorer and already has three hat tricks. If you want to reach for the stars, Martinez is the pick.