Weekly Dekes: Fantasy Hockey Nov 21 – 27

Welcome to the sixth 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 matchup between a win and a loss.

Winning or losing week #5 by a long shot? Why not get off to a head start in week #6 by adding a player on Sunday that plays on Monday night, thus creating an extra man game without using one of your add/drops for the week ahead (that is if you have one remaining this week). More NHL fantasy hockey analysis and advice for the week ahead:

 

Scheduling:

2 Games – Los Angeles

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, New York Islanders, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

4 Games – Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay

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: None

Tuesday/Wednesday: New York Islanders, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto

Wednesday/Thursday: None

Thursday/Friday: Boston

Friday/Saturday: Anaheim, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Sane Jose, Vancouver, Washington

Saturday/Sunday: Carolina, Florida, Ottawa

Despite a busy Monday with 7 games in the NHL, there are no back-to-back sets on Monday and Tuesday nights for any teams. There are also 12 games on Wednesday night and only 2 games on Thursday night. But come Friday/Saturday there are 10 teams with back-to-back sets, quite a busy weekend! It seems like, overall, the week ahead has switched peak nights to Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with quite a few teams playing a game on each of those days. 15 teams play 4 games this week which will provide for an abundance of short-term pickup opportunities:

 

Hot Streaks: There are plenty of hot streaks out there – Hossa has two game winning goals in a row (so does Victor Rask and Jeff Carter has three straight) and six goals in the past seven games, but he is already 84% owned and doesn’t provide much of an opportunity for acquisition. Tuukka Rask has five wins, two shutouts and only 5 goals against in his last six games played. Nate MacKinnon has 2 goals, 2 assists, a +3 rating, 11 shots on goal, one short handed point and one game-winning goal in his last two games played. The following players however are performing well recently and are available in many Yahoo Fantasy hockey leagues.

Patrick Eaves – RW – DAL (34% owned): Eaves has scored a goal in 5 straight games and has six goals and one assist during that streak. He also has 7 goals in his last 7 games. While playing alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin this hot streak could last awhile – a higher shooting percentage is justifiable when two of the world’s best players are providing consistent top quality scoring chances for their line mates. Unfortunately, Dallas plays against defensively stingy teams in Minnesota, Nashville and Vancouver this week, keep that in mind as you consider adding Eaves to your roster (but don’t drop him if his production falters during this stretch).

Andrei Markov – D – MON (62% owned): Markov’s 7 game point streak came to an end on Saturday night but that doesn’t mean that the hot streak is over or that Markov doesn’t deserve to be owned across most fantasy leagues. During that 7 game point streak Markov had 2 goals, 8 assists and a +7 rating (he has not finished a game with a minus rating since Nov 4th, the scary 10-0 loss to Columbus). The veteran defenseman (turning 38 in December) is playing on the top powerplay unit alongside Shea Weber – constantly feeding that big one-timer will result in a perpetual stream of PPAs.  Worried about Markov’s age? Don’t be, he has only missed 2 games in the past four seasons and is therefore as dependable as they get. Montreal plays on Tuesday and Thursday this week when the rest of the NHL is quieter, just another reason to add him to your roster now if he is still available in your league.

Brandon Sutter – C – VAN (4% owned): This is a real deep play, but the young Brandon Sutter has seemed to have found a permanent place alongside the Sedin twins in Vancouver. He has played over 22 minutes in each of his last two games (both went into OT though) and has scored a goal in four straight games. The -9 on the season isn’t helpful but the youngster surely has value while playing alongside Daniel and Henrik while also logging time short-handed and on the powerplay. In deeper leagues, give him a go for the stretch of 3 games in 4 nights (Nov 23, 25, 26) against three teams who have shown defensive struggles thus far in 2016-2017. In the order in which Vancouver plays them: Arizona (3rd worst in the league at 3.29 GA/GP), Dallas (2nd worst, 3.37 GA/GP), Colorado (10th worst at 2.76 GA/GP).

David Krejci – C – BOS (48% owned): The sleeping stud has awoken in the past two weeks of action. Krejci has 7 points (2 on the PP) in his last 7 games played and is +5 through that streak. The slow start to the season is becoming a memory and the Bruins’ early disappointments on the powerplay have also been tempered. Boston also plays 3 games in 4 nights (Nov 22, 24, 25) which provides a great opportunity to test out Boston’s 2nd line center on your fantasy squad – he might just find himself a permanent spot there after justifying his pre-season rank of 105.

Nikolaj Ehlers – LW/RW – WPG (68% owned): If you’re looking to add assists production to your fantasy lineup, look no further than one of Winnipeg’s many young talents, 20-year old Dane, Ehlers. Playing on the wing alongside Scheifele and Laine, Nikolaj has generated 12 assists (and 2 goals) in the Jets’ last 10 games. Let’s remind everyone that Scheifele and Laine currently rank tied-3rd and tied-1st, respectively, in goals scored thus far. Even if the hot streak cools down, Ehlers will continue to produce points all season long and will likely finish with 60+ total points on the year if he stays healthy.

Jaden Schwartz – C/LW – StL (57% owned): The low ownership still baffles me as Schwartz has been back in the lineup for over ten games now after missing the beginning of the season. He has 5 goals in his last seven games and an additional 2 assists during that time. He has been averaging over 19 minutes of ice-time per game and is a valuable fantasy asset due to his dual-eligibility too. Set up Schwartz for the Tuesday/Wednesday back-to-back set.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – G – TB (46% owned): The Tampa Bay backup has been very impressive in his last three starts which have all been wins. He has two shutouts in a row and has made 97 saves on 98 shots against in that time – a minimum of 31 saves in each game played. His starts on November 10th and 19th were not part of a set of back-to-back games; he is therefore being granted a workload above that of most backup goaltenders. There also remains the question of Bishop’s permanence as the Lighting’s starting goalie. It looks clear that Vasilevskiy could be the future defender of Tampa’s crease. But if Stevie-Y trades Bishop this year, the value of Vasilevskiy will dramatically spike that much quicker. Could be worth the gamble? Dallas’ interest in Bishop has definitely increased; neither Lehtonen nor Niemi can give the Stars what they need at the back-end. It could happen sooner than you think.

 

Injuries: A lot of injuries in the last week of action, most of which I’m sure you have already heard about. Even after considering all of the big, long-term injuries, there are quite a few high profile day-to-day injuries throughout the leagues right now including: Alexander Steen (upper body), Mike Hoffman (groin pull), David Pastrnak (upper body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Bobby Ryan (finger bone bruise), Patric Hornqvist (concussion), Matt Duchene (concussion), TJ Oshie (week-to-week upper body), Anze Kopitar (upper body), Michael Cammalleri (personal).

Big News Items:

Steven Stamkos, Band-Aid’s newest sponsored athlete (just kidding), will miss four to six months after undergoing knee surgery. This hurts Stamkos owners but creates greater opportunity for guys like Tyler Johnson and Palat who will receive more powerplay ice time as a result and could see a greater share of ice-time alongside Kucherov, Tampa Bay’s best player (in my opinion even when Stamkos is healthy).

Johnny Gaudreau got hacked a few too many times (pretty sad defensive strategy in today’s NHL when player safety is a top concern and declining offense is a league-wide concern) and fractured a finger as a result. Surgical repair was required and the resulting timeline is expected to be about six weeks. In his absence, Bennett is my top pick to fill the void. The new top line of Monahan, Bennett and Brouwer clicked on Friday night by delivering both Flames goals – Bennett had a goal and an assist, a +2 rating, and 6 shots of goal in 19:08 of ice-time. Calgary fans are hoping this is the beginning of a big streak from the youngster who has yet to break out this season.

Taylor Hall is listed as 3-4 weeks with a knee injury. Without Hall or Cammalleri in the lineup, the Devils’ offense will be starved. Guys like Zajac and Parenteau will have to pull more weight. However, one of my favorites, Damon Severson, will have to work harder to generate assists in the weeks to come – don’t view this as a sign that he isn’t worth owning however.

Neuvirth will miss four to six weeks with a knee injury and will therefore be giving Mason an opportunity to be the team’s number one goalie during the recovery process. If Philly can start playing defense and win some games, Mason could become a valuable asset for a fantasy team lacking goaltending (all those first round draft Quick picks out there).

Lineup Returns: Spezza and Sharp are back for the Stars. Gaborik is on track for December. O’Rielly skated on Sunday to give his oblique injury a test after missing four games – on track to return soon. Similiarly, Eichel returned to the ice on Wednesday but still has a long way to go before returning to the lineup (estimated around 3 weeks). Kreider only missed two games but returned to action on Friday night. Vanek returned on Sunday night. Seth Jones has also now been activated as of Monday morning.

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