Welcome to the first edition of Weekly Dekes, your go-to location for information on the week ahead which will include team scheduling, injuries, hot streaks, and more. Take this information provided to make some roster moves, whether it’s a permanent replacement or a temporary rotisserie of your final roster spot. It’s kind of like economics. Draft day is macroeconomics where you look at the big picture and long term trends. Microeconomics is the day-to-day, focusing on back-to-back games, hot and cold streaks, short term injuries, and maximizing the number of fantasy games played for your roster.
With most fantasy leagues allowing 3 or 5 player adds each week, the last position on your roster can be changed multiple times during the week, allowing you to increase games played for your fantasy team while taking advantage of short term opportunities. This could be the difference in a tight match up between a win and a loss.
The first “week” of the fantasy hockey season is, as usual, one and a half weeks long due to the first puck drop occurring on a Wednesday. Because of this, most teams have 5 or 6 games in Week 1, with only two teams starting slow at 4 games.
4 Games – Buffalo, Columbus
5 Games – Arizona, Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg
6 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Detroit, Edmonton, Minnesota, New York Islanders and Rangers, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver
Link to Excel doc containing scheduling information for the full season: https://4fandfurther.com/2016/09/15/nhl-fantasy-hockey-2016-2017-team-schedules-by-week-night-of-the-week-and-fantasy-playoffs
-Sidney Crosby (concussion): The exact cause of the injury, which was diagnosed on Monday, is unknown but Sid been sidelined since Saturday. As per usual with concussions, duration is unknown. And with Crosby’s concussion history, this could be worrisome. He’s one of the best in the league though, do not drop him.
-Jonathan Huberdeau (lower leg laceration): Expected to be out for three to four months. This will give others an opportunity to step up – it looks like Jonathan Marchessault (1% owned) will be given the first shot at an expanded role. He is slated to skate alongside Jagr and Barkov on the Panthers’ first line.
-Jake Allen (ankle): After a bit of mystery, it looks like Allen will be ready for the season opener against the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Anyone previously hoping to pick up Hutton for a few weeks will now be disappointed. However, with back-to-back starts to kick off the year, only a fully healthy Allen would be expected to be given both games, therefore pencil in Hutton for Thursday night.
Back-to-Backs: These represent good opportunities to make a roster addition for two games in a row rather than a single spot start. It also provides potential indication where backup goaltenders may have the chance to start a game – a spot start available to boost your goaltending statistics.
Oct 12 – Oct 16
-St. Louis: Wednesday/Thursday
-Nashville/Chicago: Thursday/Friday home and home series
-New York Islanders/Anaheim/Vancouver: Saturday/Sunday
-St. Louis kicks the season off with back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday night, giving managers the opportunity to roll the dice on players like Nail Yakupov (19% owned) and Paul Stastny (29% owned) for two games in two nights. These players could fill pivotal roles alongside Tarasenko or Steen, especially with Schwartz on the sidelines.
-Calgary begins the season with 3 games in the first 4 days of action with a home and home series against Edmonton on Wednesday and Friday nights and then a match on Saturday against Vancouver. Here you can experiment with youngsters Sam Bennett (17% owned) and Matthew Tkachuk (14% owned). Three rivalry games in short succession could provide some indication on the value these two potential sleepers might have this season.
-Keep an eye on the New York Islanders as they play three games in four nights: Thursday, Saturday, Sunday. Pareanteau was given an opportunity to play alongside Tavares and Ladd on the top line during exhibition play but was then subsequently cut from the team and placed on waivers. This coveted spot is now up for the taking and could very well be determined in a short period of time. Brad Boyes was a sleeper in 2012 before flourishing alongside Tavares for the entire season. Whoever ultimately sticks could similarly have huge value. Potentials include: Anders Lee (8% owned), Jason Chimera (2% owned) and Josh Bailey (2% owned).
Oct 17 – Oct 23
-Colorado/Ottawa/Pittsburgh/San Jose: Monday/Tuesday
-Minnesota/New York Rangers/Vancouver: Saturday/Sunday
-Arizona plays on October 18th, 20th and 21st. Although still in rebuild mode, the Coyotes youth have shown strong promise. Most leagues have taken notice and have acquired Domi (91%) and Duclair (59%). However, dependable category coverage veteran Shane Doan (31% owned) should not be overlooked. The Coyotes captain will continue to produce and will benefit from the injection of youth surrounding him. Also on the watch list should be Alex Goligoski (41% owned), a capable offensive defenseman who is set up to see material time on the powerplay after OEL. Pickup one of these players for this four night stretch and get rewarded.
-Earlier in the week (Oct 17th, 18th, and 20th) San Jose and Colorado are busy with 3 games in 4 nights. A potential Shark acquisition in this timeframe is Joonas Donskoi (49% owned). The Finland-native scored 12 points in San Jose’s 24 game playoff run last season and is looking to resume where he left off by taking advantage of an uptick in ice time alongside 2nd line teammates Couture and Boedker (29% owned). Ownership across the Avalanche roster tapers off after MacKinnon, Landeskog, Barrie, and Duchene – Iginla is only 38% owned and Soderberg is a mere 7%. Iginla (RW) had 22 goals and 25 assists last year while Soderberg (C) tallied 51 points. Under a new coaching system, Colorado’s once potent offense could reignite if their possession time improves. These two will surely benefit and can provide some depth to your roster (for either RW or C) for at least this short time span with a few points on the board. Did I mention that Colorado went undefeated in pre-season action?
Winnipeg Goalie Battle
With former #1 Pavalec placed on waivers, the battle between Hutchinson and Hellebuyck begins on Thursday night. Honestly, it’s about time the Jets focus their goaltending on the younger, superior options. Now it’s anybody’s guess who will take the spot or whether a 50/50 split will occur for the lion’s share of the season. Either way, Winnipeg is hoping to rebound on the backs of new captain Blake Wheeler and rookie Patrik Laine. Grab Hellebuyck or Hutchinson if they are available and your goaltending situation could strengthen.
Opening Night Rookie Watch
Matthew Tkachuk will make his NHL debut on Wednesday night. If he’s still available in your league, grab him for day #1 of fantasy hockey 2016-2017. In the Battle of Alberta, anything can happen. The 6th overall pick in last year’s draft could break out to a big start while skating alongside Brouwer and Bennett or even Gaudreau and Monahan. If you take a chance and secure Tkachuk before puck drop, you won’t have to scramble to grab him if his debut is a success. If his debut is a flunk, you could easily drop him Thursday morning and scoop up someone else for day #2 – ultimately there isn’t anything to lose, and potentially a lot to gain.
Remember to tune in every week to receive injury updates, schedule analysis, and more.
image source: thestar.com