The Armband: FMLS Week 14 Captain Rankings
The Armband: FMLS Week 14 Captain Rankings

This article is part of our The Armband series.

It's been difficult to pick an MLS Fantasy captain the last couple weeks and that won't change with numerous players on international duty over the next month. In Week 13, goalkeepers Tim Melia outscored everyone but Cristian Techera, and that probably wasn't even the biggest upset after the Red Bulls didn't score at home after tallying 12 in their previous four, all wins.

There's a worry heading into Week 14 about Miguel Almiron because he's one yellow away from a suspension. If he gets it Wednesday, it obviously puts a damper on Atlanta's double (at NE, v. PHI). Others with two matches include New England (v. ATL, v. NY), Philadelphia (v. CHI, at ATL), Chicago (at PHI, v. SJ), Real Salt Lake (v. HOU, v. SEA), Houston (at RSL, at MTL), Los Angeles Galaxy (v. DAL, at POR) and Dallas (at LAG, v. LAFC). All eight teams open the week on Wednesday.

Before getting to those sides, there are a few worth considering with only one match. Sebastian Blanco and Diego Valeri could be used for a roster spot at home against the Galaxy, though it'd be hard to give them the armband with limited upside. The same goes for Graham Zusi against Minnesota. The only way he'd be worth a captain is if he scores or assists and gets a clean sheet, which is a lot to ask from a right-back. David Villa makes the most sense at home against Orlando City because their back line is still beat up and they've lost their last three. Villa is usually good for at least one goal, and he's totaled 30 fantasy points in his last two at home.

For the doubles, I'm ignoring Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake. Roland Lamah and Mauro Diaz may be in the conversation, but they both came off the bench at Toronto and there's no telling how that will play out with two matches (one in L.A.) in less than one week. For the Galaxy, I'm not putting everything into Romain Alessandrini, as he's another player with a high potential to come off the bench in one match due to his injury history. The Union have been all over in terms of results and six different players have scored their last six goals, none of them being C.J. Sapong. Real Salt Lake would be a trendy pick, but Albert Rusnak is gone on international duty and Joao Plata continues to fight injury. They have four wins from five home matches, but I can't bring myself to recommend Justen Glad.

The only reason Chicago isn't on that list is because Josef Martinez or Ezequiel Barco. Neither player has the bonus-point upside as Almiron, which has led to subpar performances, namely Martinez scoring five total fantasy points in the last two home matches. Both are dependent on goals, but Barco has at least hit four fantasy points in every start.

The Revs are the most intriguing place to look with two home matches against top competition. I wouldn't consider them safe, but they've already dealt with top teams at home (SKC, TOR). The problem is finding a player to give the armband to, with Cristian Penilla and Diego Fagundez the top options. Penilla is the pure upside play having reached double-digit fantasy points four times this season, but when he doesn't score, that total is usually around two or three. It's similar for Fagundez, except his floor is a point or two higher due to his central role in the midfield.

The Dynamo have two road matches, but that shouldn't be a major worry with 10 goals from their five trips away from home this year. It helps that RSL and Montreal are far from guarantees, even at home. Alberth Elis should be one of the armband favorites having reached five fantasy points in all but one match this season. He already has seven goals and five assists and often picks up attacking bonuses. Tomas Martinez is close behind, albeit with a lower floor and less production (three goals, four assists). Romell Quioto isn't a guarantee to play 90 each match, but he's hit double-digit fantasy points in four of his last six, so there's reason to consider the forward even with two fantasy points a real possibility in either game.

Editor's note: an earlier version of this article indicated that Miguel Almiron could be called up for international duty, but he did not make the most recent Paraguay call-up list.

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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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