Weekly Dekes: Fantasy Hockey Jan 2 – 8

Welcome to the twelfth 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.

 

Scheduling: This week is another odd one. Pittsburgh only plays one game and it isn’t until Sunday. Similarly, Ottawa doesn’t play until Saturday where they then play back-to-back games on the weekend. Saturday is by far the busiest day of the week with 24 teams in action. Other peak nights (Tuesday and Thursday) are not overly busy compared to other weeks, therefore most fantasy managers will not be needing to make tough decisions on who to leave on the bench.

1 Game – Pittsburgh

2 Games – Dallas, New York Islanders, Ottawa,

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg

4 Games – Boston, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Nashville, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, 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. There are back-to-backs everywhere this week, take advantage of the scheduling to maximize your available player adds:

 

Monday/Tuesday: New Jersey

Tuesday/Wednesday: Montreal, New York Rangers, Winnipeg

Wednesday/Thursday: Detroit

Thursday/Friday: Carolina, Chicago, Nashville

Friday/Saturday: Arizona, Calgary, Florida, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Toronto, Vancouver

Saturday/Sunday: Boston, Columbus, Edmonton, Minnesota, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay

 

Who’s Hot (and available): Last week several people mentioned that they’d like to see some lower ownership rates among these players. As a result, I have gone below 50% for every player and have also picked a couple under 20%. Enjoy.

Mikael Backlund (26% owned) – 7G, 5A, +4, 22 SOG in his last 9GP
There aren’t many players in the NHL that are hotter than Backlund right now. It’s obviously not sustainable, given he has scored on 4 of his last 5 shots on goal during his 4-game goal streak, but the Flames center is proving to be very valuable lately. On the season he has 24 points and 94 shots on goal with an overall shooting percentage at 11.7% which is modest. Calgary’s next four games are against Vancouver (x2), Winnipeg and Colorado, all very weak defensive teams (8th, 5th, and 1st worst GA/GP respectively). Let the good times continue to roll for Backlund on your roster for the next week or so – there is a good chance that he’ll stay hot.

Mikael Granlund (48% owned) – 5G, 10A, +12, 26 SOG in his last 12GP

I’ve talked a lot about Charlie Coyle recently, but his ownership is now at 69% so I’ll divert my focus to another Wild forward who has been extremely consistent over the last month. During this 12 game stretch, Granlund has registered a point in all but two games and thus has 5 multi-point performances as well. Granlund’s duel-eligibility at C and LW will also be useful for fantasy managers looking to add the young Finnish player to their lineup.

Anthony Mantha (22% owned) – 5G, 4A, +8, 19 SOG in his last 6GP

Detroit has had a disappointing season from players like Tatar and Nyqvist, but an undebatable bright spot is rookie Anthony Mantha (rookie despite playing 10 games in 2015-2016). Mantha is riding a 6-game scoring streak where he has been red hot, firing more than 3 shots on goal per game and logging increasingly greater time on ice – he has had over 20 minutes of ice-time in each of his last two games. His ownership has already rocketed 12% in the last day following a 3-point performance in the Centennial Classic vs. Toronto on Sunday. He is also duel-eligible on both wings. Keep in mind that Detroit plays back-to-back on Wednesday/Thursday, a perfect opportunity to grab Mantha.

Ryan Spooner (15% owned) – 3G, 4A, +2, 19 SOG in his last 6GP

Spooner emerged last season as a dependable second or third line center with 49 points in 80 games played. He started slow this year but has been hot lately, including a 5-game point streak. Totals so far this campaign are 7 goals, 12 assists, +0, and 80 SOG – he is only 15% owned despite the respectable statistics. Average ice-time for Spooner over the past 7 games is around 17 minutes – up from a season average slightly below 15 minutes. If he can keep that share of ice-time, he’ll have more opportunity to generate another 40+ point season with the Bruins. Finish the week off with Boston’s Saturday and Sunday night games versus Florida and Carolina by adding Spooner to your lineup.

Tanner Pearson (10% owned) – 2G, 3A, +3, 17 SOG in last 5 GP

The “That 70s Line” on LA was previously a force to be reckoned with. Pearson since has shown moments of strength in hot streaks here and there. He’s riding a modest streak right now and could continue producing through the week. This is definitely a potential add for deeper leagues, but one that could certainly pay dividends, especially considering Pearson’s strong shooting totals lately and his +10 rating on the season – therefore he will at least be likely to contribute positively at least a few categories.

Justin Williams (35% owned) – 2G, 3A, +3, 6PIMs, 14 SOG in last 4 GP

Williams is heating up right now – he has two multi-point games in the past 4 games and has 7 of his 9 goals (this season) within the last 12 games. However, he ranks 6th among Capitals forwards this year in ice-time per game. Therefore Williams should be utilized during his hot streak but is not as viable on a long-term basis.

Kari Lehtonen (39% owned) – 3W, 5GA and 95 Sv in last 4 GP

Lehtonen has won each of his last three starts and made 18 saves on 18 shots in relief of Niemi in the Stars’ last game, a 3-1 loss to Florida. He is therefore currently winning the short-term goalie battle in Dallas and deserves to be picked up for spot starts in the coming week. Dallas as a team has been successful lately too with 5 wins in their last 8 games. Long-term neither Niemi or Lehtonen are dependable however given the shared starts and mini streaks that each goalie goes on when they play well. Ride Lehtonen while he is playing well if you need assistance in net. It is also worth noting that Lehtonen has more wins and a better goals against and save percentage than Niemi this season (despite Niemi’s ownership being 3% more than Lehtonen’s).

image source: wingingitinmotown.com

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