Welcome to the fifth 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.
How many teams in your league are 4-0 thus far? Here comes another dose of NHL fantasy hockey analysis and advice for the week ahead:
2 Games – Boston, New York Islanders
3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver
4 Games – Calgary, Florida, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Washington, Winnipeg
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
Back-to-Backs: this is where backup goalies could potentially be good spot starts, pay attention to who is scheduled to play in the crease
Monday/Tuesday: Tampa Bay
Tuesday/Wednesday: Calgary, Washington
Friday/Saturday: Chicago, Montreal, Pittsburgh
Saturday/Sunday: Florida, Los Angeles, Winnipeg
The week gets off to a slow start with only one game on Monday night, Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders. Wednesday is also quiet with only Arizona at Calgary and Pittsburgh at Washington. Not too many back-to-back sets this week either.
Early Week: Start off your week on Monday by adding a man-game played with a spot start for Tyler Johnson (58% owned) who has yet to break out this season despite 18 minutes of ice-time per game played. Thinking the Islanders have the edge on Monday night? Pickup Brock Nelson who is only 20% owned despite scoring 11 points in 15 games. Or lock-in Josh Bailey (3% owned) who is currently playing alongside fantasy stud John Tavares. If you’re looking for broader category coverage, grab Calvin de Haan and see your blocks and PIMs benefit as a result – he has 4 PIMs and 12 blocked shots in his last two games played.
Mid Week: Calgary, Pittsburgh and Washington all play on Wednesday on Friday where your lineup will likely have empty slots (vs. full schedules on Tuesday and Saturday). Frolik (10% owned) and Backlund (7% owned) are Calgary’s best forwards thus far this season and have both contributed two short handed points in 16 games played. The Flames play defensively starved Arizona on Wednesday and could break their slump on home ice against backup goaltender Louis Domingue. Conor Sheary (6% owned) could be a stealthy pick on the Penguins where he has 2 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games. He is also seeing an increase in time on ice every game and most of that time is spent playing alongside the game’s best: Sidney Crosby. Otherwise take a shot at more usual suspects in Chris Kunitz (53% owned) or Trevor Daley (13% owned). For Washington, you can hope that Johansson (65% owned) gets hot again and scores his 8th (and maybe more) goal of the season while spot starting on your roster. Justin Williams (40% owned) only has two points so far on the season but could break out at any time and help your fantasy squad in the process.
Over-Owned Fantasy Players
Ownership on Damon Severson and Alexander Wennberg have both roughly doubled to around 30% now. The fantasy community is catching on but there’s still some room for those numbers to tick upwards. What upside does Larkin (82% owned) have that Wennberg doesn’t? The Columbus Blue Jackets are trending upwards and the Detroit Red Wings are on the decline and might miss the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. On the defensive side of things, Jake Muzzin is 77% owned and provides much less PPP production than Severson who is New Jersey’s go-to blueliner on the powerplay.
Let’s take a look at a few more players whose numbers and opportunities do not match up with their ownership percentages:
Aaron Ekblad – D – FLA (pre-season rank #83, 91% owned)
The Panthers have been mediocre this year other than Marchessault. Ekblad has only 2 goals, zero assists and is an astonishing -7 after 15 games played. Sure he’ll turn things around but he is currently the 21st most owned defenseman in the league. The kid is still young but he has never scored more than 40 points in a season and he is not anywhere close to proving he belonged at his pre-season rank, among d-men, at #19. Sami Vatanen (83% owned), Zach Werenski (69% owned), Mark Streit (38% owned), and maybe even Oscar Klefbom (10% owned) are producing more than Ekblad and most (not Streit and long shot on Klefbom) have better potential for the remainder of the season. I’ll blame a slow start on Klefbom’s year just as easily as Ekblad’s year. Trade him now if you own him before others figure out that he’s not a top-40 fantasy defenseman.
T.J. Brodie – D – CGY (pre-season rank #190, 43% owned)
I love T.J. Brodie, last season he was arguably the most exciting Flames player on the ice in overtime, ahead of Gaudreau only because he seemed to be out there for 80% of the duration and flew from end to end as if his fuel tank was stuck at full. However, this year he looks flat, confused and all around bad. I don’t know whether to blame a lazy training camp or clueless coaching systems under new head Glen Gulutzan that do not take advantage of Brodie’s skillset. Regardless, he is -11 through 16 games with only 3 assists. The Flames have had a forgettable start to the year and have a miserable powerplay but there’s no way that guys like Markov, Severson and Daley should have lower ownership. Keep an eye on Brodie if he does manage to turn things around, but cut ties with him for now and at least avoid the +/- drag.
Jason Spezza – C – DAL (pre-season rank #55, 77% owned)
Spezza has had a great career and plays alongside two of the best offensive players in the league (Seguin and Benn) but he is over-owned for the simple fact that he is 33-years old and can never seem to stay healthy. He almost missed the entire 2012 season (only 5GP) due to a back injury that has never seemed to entirely vanish since. He has already missed 6 games this year in separate stretches and will miss his 7th on Sunday. All the while he is listed as day-to-day and is therefore unable to be slotted into the IR to allow for a temporary pickup replacement. Yes, he’s typically reliable when he’s in the lineup but he isn’t good enough to make me forget the fact he can never be depended upon when he’s needed the most (e.g. fantasy hockey playoffs).
Jonathan Drouin – LW/RW – TB (pre-season rank #117, 70% owned)
Many touted Drouin as one of the most under-rated players going into the season, a player ready for a big breakout season after sorting out all of the off-ice drama. He sure hasn’t impressed anyone with 5 points in 10 games played including only 1 goal in his last 7 games played which doesn’t count 5 games missed due to injury. Again, Drouin is good and has potential but so do Nikolaj Ehlers (59% owned), Cam Atkinson (51% owned), Jimmy Vesey (50% owned), and Charlie Coyle (24% owned).
Think I’m wrong about the guys mentioned above? Think I missed a few obvious ones? Share your thoughts in the comments section and I will happily debate.
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: alchetron.com