Welcome to the thirteenth 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 every team plays at least 2 games, hurrah! Quite a few however only have 2 games on the schedule. Saturday night is by far the busiest with 24 games throughout the NHL – let’s review the breakdown:
2 Games – Arizona, Colorado, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto
3 Games – Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Vancouver
4 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Dallas, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey. Philadelphia, St. Louis, 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. Take advantage of the scheduling to maximize your available player adds:
Tuesday/Wednesday: San Jose
Wednesday/Thursday: Montreal, Pittsburg
Thursday/Friday: Buffalo, New Jersey, Tampa Bay
Friday/Saturday: Arizona, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Florida, New York Islanders/Rangers, Toronto, Winnipeg
Saturday/Sunday: Anaheim, Minnesota, Philadelphia, St. Louis
Who’s Hot (and available): In keeping with the weekly theme, here are some hot players who are under 50% owned.
Calgary Flames’ 2nd Line (arguably the hottest line in hockey at the moment)
Although Backlund (38% owned) failed to register a point (or SOG) in Calgary’s last game against Vancouver, the 2nd line center has been the team’s best player for the past few weeks. In his last 9 games Backlund has amassed 12 points, 5 of which were scored on the powerplay. Watching the Swede play in any aspect of the game is a treat – he is a solid penalty killer alongside Frolik (each with 3 short-handed points on the year), a dependable 2nd PPP quarterback, and a two-way center on the team’s most reliable line (offensively and defensively). Backlund is on pace for career highs and will easily achieve them if he continues his dominant play.
Matthew Tkachuk is now 48% owned and is riding a 9-game point streak while playing on Backlund’s line. The kid leads the Flames in plus-minus at +10 and is one of the fiercest puck battlers in the western conference. He is certainly overshadowed by Werenski, Laine and Matthews but is an incredibly valuable rookie (among rookies, only Mantha has a better plus-minus at +11).
Michael Frolik (16% owned) has also been very successful lately while playing with Tkachuk and Backlund. The ex-Blackhawk has 4G and 5A in his last 7 games with Calgary. He has a +7 rating through that stretch and 20 shots on goal. If the Flames continue their strong play and recent success, Frolik will continue to see his ownership rise (+5% in the past day already). Grab him for Monday night’s game against the defensively leaky Winnipeg Jets.
Justin Williams (45% owned) – 4G, 5A, +8, 10 PIM, 19 SOG in his last 7 GP
The Capitals are heating up, they have won five straight, and so is Williams. He is ranked 2nd over the last 14 days given his consistent performances every night. However, at just over 14:30 of ice-time per game, he has less of an opportunity to extend his hot streak. Nonetheless, ride him while he and the capitals are streaking.
Patrick Maroon – (37% owned) 5G, 1A, +5, 12 PIM, 15 SOG in his last 4 GP
Maroon is fitting in quite well alongside McDavid and Draisaitl on the Oilers’ top-line. His spot here may not be permanent, so pick him up while it lasts. He has averaged over 19 minutes of ice-time in Edmonton’s last two games and scored a hat trick (including the GWG) against Boston on Thursday. His penalty minute production and shot totals during this past week were also incredibly valuable for fantasy owners.
Jacob Trouba – (32% owned) 1G, 6A, +5, 20 SOG, 14 BLK in last 6 GP
Trouba has averaged over 25 minutes of ice time during this productive stretch which covers multiple categories. The young Jets defenseman is showing his strong potential, even though Winnipeg won only 3 of those 6 contests. Winnipeg plays 4 games this week, including Monday night, and could add some depth to your defensive unit if it is in need.
Anthony Mantha (36% owned) – 7G, 5A, +9, 26 SOG in his last 9GP
Mantha’s ownership is up 14% over the past week as he continues to turn in solid performances for the Wings. The rookie is getting a ton of ice-time too, including powerplay time despite Detroit’s limited conversion rate. Unfortunately, it looks like this will be the first time in 26 years that the Red Wings will (likely) miss the post-season. They are 2nd last in the Eastern Conference, only one point ahead of the Islanders (who have two games in hand and the advantage in ROWs). At least the future is bright with Mantha.
Bo Horvat (22% owned) – 3G, 5A, +4, 3PPPs, 15 SOG in last 7 GP
Horvat may only average ~2 shots on goal per game, but he is an extremely efficient players with tons of talent that contributed greatly to Vancouver’s recent 6 game win streak (ended by the Flames on Saturday night in Calgary). His role has greatly expanded with the Canucks this year and, alongside Baertschi (7% owned and 6 points, +7 in last 7 GP), he is the future of Canada’s west coast team.
Nathan Beaulieu – (15% owned) 1G, 5A, +5, 4PPPs, 16 SOG, 13 BLK in last 6 GP
As mentioned on my #undertheradarplayerofthenight post for January 4th on my newly created Instagram account (@fantasyhockey_4fandfurther), Beaulieu is filling in on Montreal’s blueline quite nicely during Markov’s injury absence. Beaulieu’s powerplay time will be cut upon Markov’s return but the young defender has shown his dependability and offensive ability during this recent stint. Consider picking him up while Markov remains sidelined.
Michael Grabner – (46% owned) 4G, 2A, +8, 2 GWG in last 2 GP
Sorry for all of the Michaels featured this week… but WOW has Grabner been on fire for New York’s last two games. Sure his 66.7% shooting percentage isn’t sustainable long-term, but Grabner can be very streaky and should be grabbed during those times. And +8 over two games? Are you kidding me? He is extremely reliable at both ends of the ice which has earned him a +22 rating on the year, just 2 shy of Justin Schultz and Ryan Suter for NHL lead at +24. (Side note, remember when Schultz was -15 last year, or -17 in Edmonton in 2014 and 2012, or -22 in Edmonton in 2013???)