The Armband: FMLS Week 31 Captain Rankings
The Armband: FMLS Week 31 Captain Rankings

This article is part of our The Armband series.

Atlanta are first overall in the MLS standings and first in the hearts of fantasy owners after four of the top six scorers in MLS Fantasy last week donned the black, red and gold. Atlanta came back and scored four against San Jose and then held RSL scoreless in a 2-0 win, and that left Miguel Almiron as the winner of the week with 24 fantasy points.

That likely won't be the case in Week 31, with only New York City FC and the Chicago Fire having two matches. The former is no doubt the better place to look for a captain with a home match against the Fire and then a trip to Minnesota. Chicago have struggled to get things going all season and had lost seven straight road matches prior to drawing New England 2-2 this past weekend. However, NYC's poor form is reason to look elsewhere. They have three points from their last six matches, with only four goals and no clean sheets. It's been a struggle, but the schedule is hard to ignore.

I can't remember the last time I recommended David Villa, but he's going to be a top option this week along with Maximiliano Moralez. There's little to separate the two, though Villa is more likely to score as Moralez has no goals and two assists in the last nine matches. If you want to get crazy and think NYC can secure two clean sheets, Anton Tinnerholm gets the call because Alexander Callens is suspended. Plus, Tinnerholm is no stranger to moving up in the attack.

It's a more frustrating situation for Chicago because neither of their matches are considered favorable. Sure, LA FC haven't dominated opponents on the road, but they could easily score three against the Fire back line. Nemanja Nikolic sparked his scoring boots and has eight goals in his last nine starts. The downside is that when he doesn't score, two fantasy points is a realistic output because he has no floor. Unfortunately, there isn't much other upside on the Fire outside of Aleksandar Katai, who has a goal in each of the last two matches; however, he isn't guaranteed two starts, having come off the bench in three of the four matches prior to his scoring run. If you prefer safety above all else, Bastian Schweinsteiger has a floor of nearly five fantasy points, so he should be good for 10 if all goes well.

Because of the iffy options in the double gameweek, there are a few matchups that stand out if you're looking for someone else. While Atlanta aren't in the mix with a trip to New York, I have my eyes on Nicolas Lodeiro, Luciano Acosta, Sebastian Giovinco and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. All of them are at home against weaker competition and should be headed for at least one appearance on the score sheet.

Lodeiro hasn't surpassed eight fantasy points in the last four matches, yet a home game against the Rapids should produce at least two goals for Seattle. Acosta has been the opposite of Lodeiro with 12 fantasy points in three of the last four, and he should have plenty of opportunities against the Impact even though they've outscored their last three opponents by an 8-2 score line. Giovinco would be my favorite choice if he weren't dealing with leg tightness because he's made the score sheet in his last 11 appearances. But of all the single-match players, Ibrahimovic is my top choice with 32 fantasy points in the last four, and Vancouver have allowed multiple goals in four of their last five on the road. If you don't trust NYC FC, Ibrahimovic may be the way to go.

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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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