Welcome to the tenth 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.
I’m back from vacation and ready to dive deeper into some fantasy hockey analysis for the week ahead:
Scheduling: The week ahead is a shortened one due to no action on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the upcoming Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, the schedule is compacted into the first 5 days of the week which therefore results in a decent number of back-to-back sets as detailed further on (most occur Thursday-Friday).
2 Games – Chicago, Dallas, New York Rangers/Islanders, Ottawa, San Jose, Washington, Winnipeg
3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, 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
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. Look for Brian Elliot to get another shot in goal for Calgary while Mrazek and Howard should split duty for Detroit while Murray and Fleury will likely each play a game for Pittsburgh. Also watch for another start out of Vasilevskiy for the Lightning.
Monday/Tuesday: Anaheim, Calgary, Detroit, Nashville, St. Louis
Thursday/Friday: Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver
Andrei Markov – left Saturday’s game and status is uncertain
Nikita Kucherov – placed on IR with a LBI
Kris Letang – out for a couple of weeks
Trevor Daley – week-to-week with an UBI
David Pastrnak – missed Sunday’s game due to an elbow procedure, estimated out for 2 weeks
Jonathan Huberdeau – practicing hard but still expected to miss another 4 weeks
Corey Crawford – resumed skating, expected to return after the Christmas break especially given Scott Darling has excelled during the past two weeks of Crawford’s absence
PK Subban – DTD and will at least miss Monday’s game
Mike Green – DTD after suffering a minor injury during Saturday’s game
Artem Anisimov – also DTD, missed Sunday’s game and most of Saturday’s game
Add Opportunities: With fewer games on the map in the upcoming match up, a few clever moves could be the difference between a win and a loss for the final full week of 2016.
Calgary starts the week off with back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday nights. The Flames have lost two straight after coming off of a six game win streak. Overall the team has significantly improved their play since the start of the season and could easily start another win streak. Youngster Matthew Tkachuk is proving to be a great young player. He has 15 points and a +4 rating in 29 games played while also filling out some healthy periphery stats as well: 60 penalty minutes and 51 shots on goal. In keeper leagues Tkachuk should be of further interest given his value will only continue to trend upwards. If you’re looking elsewhere on the Flames’ roster, give Bennett a go. Sam has 2 goals and 2 assists in the last 6 games. Finally, if you are in one of the 22% of leagues where Sean Monahan is unowned, grab him quickly while you still can. The center is currently on a 9-game point streak, much in thanks to the return of Johnny Gaudreau who has been back in the lineup for the past 6 games.
St. Louis also plays on Monday and Tuesday nights versus Edmonton and then the defensively weak Dallas Stars. Robbi Fabbri is only 38% owned despite scoring 18 points in 31 games thus far this season. He also has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 7 games. His duel-eligibility at C/LW adds additional value for the Tuesday night where all but 6 NHL teams are in action and lineups have lower flexibility.
Speaking of under the radar hot streaks, there are a few Pittsburgh Penguins who have been red hot recently that are available in most leagues. Justin Schultz (59% owned) has 3 goals and 6 assists in his last 7 games and has enjoyed his recent time on the powerplay, cashing in with 3 PPPs. Schultz is especially a good pickup opportunity right now given the recent injury to Kris Letang (and Trevor Daley). Schultz has at least a couple of weeks to fill into a huge role to continue his hot streak.
Conor Sheary (35% owned) has somehow managed to stay mostly anonymous despite his seemingly fixed spot on the Penguins’ top line alongside Sid the Kid and Patric Hornqvist. Sheary has 3 multi-point performances in his last 9 games and a total of 8 points during that stretch (and 18 points in 25 games played this season). There’s only more to come from the young Penguin, add him to your roster if you’re looking to shore up your depth on offense.
Detroit plays a back-to-back set on Monday/Tuesday too and has several underperforming players who have low ownership due to their struggles. This two day set could be an opportunity to grab Nyquist (44% owned) or Larkin (66% owned) and see them return to their potential. Otherwise, the best fantasy player (on an average points per game basis) is likely Thomas Vanek who has enjoyed rejuvenated success this year with 17 points in 21 games played – 1st on the team at a pace of 0.81 points per game. Surprisingly, his ownership is the lowest at 32% despite the fact he has been performing well and has been healthy for more than the past ten games.
Keep your eye out for more articles upcoming in the next two weeks which will summarize the top fantasy takeaways from the season thus far, updates on how my October sleeper picks have performed, and further analysis for the New Year.
image source: NESN.com