Welcome to the third edition of Weekly Dekes, your go-to location for information on the week ahead which includes 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 three starts on Monday, here is what you need to know:
2 Games – Minnesota
3 Games – Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington
4 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, New York Rangers, St. Louis, Winnipeg
No NHL games on Monday night – extra time to do your weekly fantasy research before action starts. There are 12 games on Tuesday night, 12 games on Thursday night, and 13 games on Saturday, therefore this week is very heavily weighted towards peak night action.
Detroit plays their three games on offnights this week: Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. Montreal’s first two games of the week are Wednesday and Friday too.
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
Wednesday/Thursday: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Vancouver
Thursday/Friday: Arizona, Winnipeg
Friday/Saturday: Columbus, Montreal
Saturday/Sunday: Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton, New Jersey, New York Rangers, St. Louis
J.T. Miller is still only 31% owned despite his solid statline (3G, 6A, +5, 22 SOG) 9 games into the season. Although I do not expect him to maintain the point-per-game pace, his production can be somewhat sustainable while averaging over 15 minutes of ice-time/night. Miller is dual-eligible at C/LW and could provide your team with a boost during the Rangers’ back-to-back set Saturday/Sunday.
Slow Starting Buy-Low Candidates
In this section I won’t discuss Ovechkin and Benn who have definitely had “slow” starts. I will discuss players that fantasy hockey managers are more likely to trade, players that those managers might have draft-regret that you can buy low on. That being said, the players listed below should turn things around and therefore are worth trying to buy low.
Patrice Bergeron – C – BOS (pre-season rank #35)
This Bruins veteran missed the first three games of the season due to injury and has scored only one goal (with no assists) in five games played since his return. Despite the low point total, Bergeron is averaging over 17 minutes of ice-time per game and a shot on goal per period. His scoring touch will shine soon, but the fact that we are entering the third week of the season and he has only one point to show for it might allow you to sneak a trade in.
John Carlson – D – WSH (pre-season rank #56)
The Washington Capitals have tons of offensive depth and Carlson leads the blueliners in powerplay minutes. However, eight games in with only one point could lead to some managers second guessing his value. Carlson has had 35+ points three seasons in a row and will continue to generate points at a similar pace – being on ice for over 23 minutes per game on one of the best teams in the NHL will result in strong +/-, shots on goal, and blocks for your fantasy team (on top of a return to the points column). Buy low now!
Andrew Ladd – LW – NYI (pre-season rank #79)
Sometimes fresh starts on a new team bring out the best in a player immediately, but sometimes it requires some adjustments and patience. After 9 games with the Islanders, Ladd only has one assist, six penalty minutes, and 21 shots on goal. His spot on the first line with Tavares is also in trouble, perhaps the chemistry just isn’t there. These are all causes for concern and reasons for managers to abandon high hopes for Ladd. However, Ladd’s days in Winnipeg did not involve a top-10 linemate. Therefore, I expected Ladd to return to previous form (but not reach new heights without playing alongside Tavares) which includes category coverage and >0.50 point/game production. This one might be higher risk, but it comes with a higher probability that Ladd’s current manager will sell low.
Tyler Johnson – C – TB (pre-season rank #114)
After a disappointing season in 2015-2016, managers might be quicker to give up on Johnson this year following his mediocre performance after 9 games: 2 goals, 2 assists, -8 and only 12 shots on goal. Overall Tampa has had a disappointing start to the season, going just 5-4-0 with more than 3 goals allowed per game for a total differential of -2. The entire team is due for a turnaround and so is Johnson, the undrafted fantasy stud with a combined +60 from 2013-2015 and 160 points through 228 games during that span. The kid has talent and he’ll find his groove soon.
Other Candidates to Aim for: Pekka Rinne (only 1 W in 6GP), Sean Monahan (no assists thus far), Filip Forsberg (no goals yet), David Krejci and Torey Krug (see powerplay section), Mark Stone, Gabriel Landeskog, Jaden Schwartz.
Overrated to Begin with: Evgeny Kuznetsov (he’ll still trend upwards), Frederik Andersen (no comment), James Neal (although he’ll eventually score a second goal if he keeps pummeling the net with 3.75 shots per game), Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad.
-Damon Severson is quarterbacking the powerplay in New Jersey, a powerplay that marks a greater threat to opposing teams this season with the addition of Taylor Hall. Severson already has 4 powerplay points this year, tied with Hall for the team lead. He also has 6 points which is second on the team to Hall. In medium/deep leagues, grab him quick, number one offensive defensemen never go out of style (his 6% ownership is very low despite the fact that only 12 more defensemen have more points than him out of the gate).
-William Nylander is currently tied for the league lead for most powerplay points with 7 after 9 games. He is becoming a main fixture of Toronto’s offense alongside Matthews – and he also isn’t dragging down the plus-minus category while sitting even at 0. His ownership at 80% illustrates the fact that his value has been noticed by most. But, if he is still available in your league, grab him quick to take advantage of his rising stock while benefiting from his dual C/RW eligibility.
-The Boston Bruins have converted only 7% of powerplay opportunities – a measly 2 powerplay goals on 28 opportunities. Look for things to turn around in Massachusetts – players like Bergeron, Krejci, and Krug will be the first to benefit. These three have a combined 4 points in 21 man games played. Last season, they were also top-3 on Boston in powerplay points (25 for Bergeron, 19 for Krug and 18 for Krejci). An extension of Bergeron’s buy-low argument can therefore be applied to Krug and Krejci right now.
– Although Victor Rask likely cannot keep scoring on 24% of his shots taken, the young Hurricane has bundles of talent and has so far proven himself as the team’s new top center after the departure of Eric Staal. Rask has produced at least a point in each of Carolina’s eight games to start the year and has a total of ten during that stretch. He is seeing first line minutes at even strength and on the powerplay (totaling over 18 minutes per game) and will continue to generate offense alongside Jeff Skinner. I liked him pre-season and I like him even more now. In 72% of leagues Rask remains unowned – that should be far lower NOW.
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image source: alchetron.com