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The Armband: FMLS Week 16 Captain Rankings

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.

It was an odd and frustrating Week 15 of MLS Fantasy, with six clean sheets and seven other teams being held to one goal. The players who stood out were slightly unexpected, as Alphonso Davies had four more fantasy points than anyone else in Vancouverís 5-2 win against Orlando. The Galaxy also scored three goals behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but not many benefitted from the seven goals between San Jose and LA FC as Adama Diomande and Chris Wondolowski both bagged braces. Meanwhile, Jonathan Osorio, and not Sebastian Giovinco, led the way for Toronto, while Miguel Almiron left early with a shoulder injury. Everyoneís worst move ended up being Alberth Elis, who had his worst fantasy performance of the season even though the Dynamo won 2-0. You win some, you lose some, right?

Week 16 should be a little more straightforward as long as everyone who's expected to play makes the starting XI. That shouldn't be a problem with MLS taking a mini-break while the World Cup gets underway. The clear path for top captains is through Toronto at home against D.C. United. Toronto appear to be back on track after getting three points at Philly over the weekend, while United remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and have allowed two goals per match on the road. Most armband decisions will come between Giovinco and Victor Vazquez. Surprisingly, Vazquez may be the safer pick because heís around the ball more, and that leaves for more bonus points from key passes and chances created. Giovinco will likely be the favorite because of name and heís due for a huge performance, having not surpassed 12 fantasy points in a match this season.

Osorio is the top differential play, though itís hard to see him as the leading scorer in consecutive matches. In terms of a defender, no one jumps off the page even with a clean sheet, as Auro are probably the best options, yet neither has surpassed nine fantasy points in a match.

New York should also be a favorite to back, while Montreal and San Jose are the teams that could go for three or four goals, yet no one will capitalize. The Red Bulls have scored 15 and allowed three in six home matches and could be headed for another clean sheet against Seattle, who have nine total goals. With Kaku on international duty, Bradley Wright-Phillips is the way to go even if heís cooled off in recent matches. The forward still has nine goals and five assists and has been close to a lock to score in every home match. Guys like Florian Valot and Daniel Royer should be in lineups, but Iím not sure either is worth risking captaincy.

Iíd be higher on Ignacio Piatti if the Impact didnít already have 11 losses and only one goal from their last three home games, but itís hard not to go against Orlando at this point, with eight goals allowed in their last two on the road. Piatti has some big outings this season and if Montreal score a goal or two, heíll likely be involved. And while he didnít play last match, nothing was made of it, so all signs point to him back in the starting lineup.

The Earthquakes deserve a look not only because they scored three goals last match, but also because the Revs are on a long road trip, with matches in Louisville and Chicago last week and now in San Jose. Itís likely theyíll have tired legs and that should lead to a couple more goals, though maybe not for Wondolowski. Iíd rather put money on the younger Danny Hoesen, who has four goals and two assists in his last six starts. He hasnít shown incredible upside, with only one match over nine fantasy points, but the potential is there if New England get in a hole early. If for some reason you doubt Toronto, Iíd look at Hoesen.

Elsewhere, Iím avoiding Colorado and Chicago, while Columbus and Atlanta will be hard to project, especially with Almiron unlikely to play. The Crew havenít lost in a while, but they also havenít won their last four in all competitions. On the downside, Atlanta havenít allowed more than one goal on the road since the opener and without Almiron, Iím not going to back Josef Martinez. Federico Higuain and Gyasi Zardes are on the map, but Iíd rather trust other sides with better matchups. Higuain deserves a look only because he has at least nine fantasy points in his last four matches without a red card.