Weekly Dekes: Fantasy Hockey Oct 24 – Oct 30

Welcome to the second 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.

Week one is now in the books and the Edmonton Oilers sit atop the standings with 5 wins and only 1 loss. Hopefully your fantasy team grabbed a 1-0 start. I had a great first matchup, only one other team in my league scored more fantasy points (and I lost Quick on the first night!). Week two starts on Monday, here is what you need to know:

Scheduling:

5 Games – Philadelphia

4 Games – Buffalo, Calgary, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Winnipeg

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders and Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Vancouver, Washington

2 Games – Colorado

*Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are all VERY busy nights in the NHL this week. Since it will be tough to pick up extra man games on these peaks nights, take a look at the teams seeing action on off-nights: Calgary and Chicago play on Monday, Friday and Sunday while Edmonton and the New York Rangers play Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Potential spot starts here include Mikael Backlund (7% owned), Artem Anisimov (37% owned), Oscar Klefbom (14% owned), Derek Stepan (39% owned) or Jimmy Vesey (17% owned).

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

Injuries:

-Johnathan Quick lasted only one period in the season opener before suffering a groin injury that will leave the Kings’ number one goaltender on the sidelines for three months and maybe longer. Zatkoff has played poorly in his absence but Budaj has been able to step in and earn Los Angeles’ only two wins thus far. Normally these goalies are not worth owning, but Budaj could be worth a pickup in deeper leagues – don’t expect shutouts and strong a strong save percentage, but the Kings are still a solid team that could produce some wins for your fantasy team.

-Mike Smith is currently week-to-week with a lower body injury which leaves an open door for Louis Domingue to take over during this period. He is young and unproven and the Coyotes are at the bottom of the NHL, but if you’re dying to add a goalie to your roster and every other starter is taken (deep leagues), it could be worth a gamble.

-Patrick Sharp is out of the Dallas Stars’ lineup with a concussion. Not many fantasy implications here, but a player like Cody Eakin might step up in his absence.

-Jaden Schwartz is healthy again and logged over 17 minutes of ice time on Saturday against the Flames, earning an assist in the process. He should be owned in all leagues and played every night.

-Similarly, Carey Price is back in action and picked up a win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Al Montoya filled in very well for a few games but is now relatively useless given Price will play most nights unless it’s a back-to-back set for the Canadiens.

-Crosby skated by himself on Saturday. This is good and bad news. Good that he isn’t in a dark room but bad that he hasn’t progressed further. Hopefully Sid the Kid can play his first game of the season soon – he played so well at the World Cup that it’s a shame he has to sit out instead of resuming where he left off.

 

Back-to-Backs:

Monday/Tuesday: Calgary and Philadelphia

Tuesday/Wednesday: Anaheim and Boston

Wednesday/Thursday: Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders

Thursday/Friday: Columbus and Winnipeg

Friday/Saturday: Colorado, New Jersey, Vancouver

Saturday/Sunday: Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington

Philadelphia plays 5 games in 7 nights which includes two back-to-back sets: one to start the week and one to wrap it up. So far Mason has started in 3 of 5 games and Neuvirth has started 2 (and was pulled once). Each goalie has one win and each goalie will likely start 2 games this week – the #1 role is leaning towards Mason but could change after the compact week comes to an end. Consider picking up Travis Konecny (11% owned) for Monday and Tuesday nights games (at the very least). He’s only average 14:32 minutes of ice time per game but he is playing on the second line alongside Voracek and has 5 assists and a +2 rating after 5 games. He also has 11 shots on goal and 4 penalty minutes and could therefore give your team a quick boost to start the week.

Columbus plays 3 games in four nights (25th, 27th and 28th) while on a pacific coast road trip. Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski is somehow only 38% owned right now despite having 2 goals, 3 assists, and 16 shots on goal in only 4 games played. He is averaging over 21:30 minutes of ice time so far and he has taken over as the powerplay’s #1 blueliner. Werenski has proven that Tortorella’s decision was a good one by earning 3 powerplay points in those first 4 games. Only four defenseman have more points so far – Werenski might not just be a short term pickup for week #2, he could become a mainstay in fantasy leagues everywhere.

Why Panik Now?

Richard Panik currently leads the league with 6 goals. Yet this is not a pickup recommendation (56% owned). Panik has only 9 shorts on goal after 6 games played and therefore has a very unsustainable shooting percentage at 66.7%. However, he is playing on the first line alongside Toews and is even seeing powerplay time on the 2nd unit. My point is that Panik cannot continue to score at this pace without shooting the puck more than 1.5 times per game… be careful who you are dropping in order to grab Panik. Eventually he’ll come back down to earth. I’d rather take a shot at Artem Anisimov (36% owned) who plays alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. Anisimov (106 goals in 489 career games before this season) also has a history of offensive prowess, unlike Panik (25 goals in 181 career games before this season). Sell high if you already own Panik!

Must have Gustav

Gustav Nyquist (62% owned) scored 28 goals in 57 games in 2013 and 27 goals in 82 games in 2014 before slumping to only 17 goals in the 2015 season. Detroit Red Wing fans were disappointed despite the fact that a 43 point year isn’t anything to be ashamed of. The start of October has shown Nyquist return to form with 7 points in his first 6 games while going +5. The 27-year old is the future of the Wings franchise with Datsyuk gone and Zetterberg aging – consider picking up Nyquist and also benefiting from his duel LW/RW eligibility. Mike Green and Thomas Vanek have also enjoyed strong starts to the season, both showing signs of resurgence despite their struggles in recent years (they’re also getting into old vet territory).

March on with Marchessault

Huberdeau’s injury opened up a spot on the Panthers’ top line with Jagr and Barkov which Jonathan Marchessault (20% owned) has grabbed and held onto. All signs point to a successful fit – one Jonathan out, another Jonathan in. Marchessault has 7 points in the first 5 games, is +5 and has managed 16 shots on goal as well. He has also skated for 19 minutes or more 3 times. The points will keep coming as long as Huberdeau recovers from Achilles tendon surgery (3-4 months). Grab Marchessault if you’re looking for a dependable replacement at the center position… Yahoo might even grant duel-eligibility given he is playing on the wing. At least finish your week with a Saturday/Sunday back-to-back spot start.

Remember to tune in every week to receive injury updates, schedule analysis, and more. What else would you like to see broken down every week? Leave a comment below.

image source: hfboards.hockeysfuture.com

 

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