Weekly Dekes: Fantasy Hockey Feb 13 – 19

Welcome to the seventeenth 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: More teams are getting their bye-week at this stage of the season, and therefore we have a handful of teams who have very low activity for the week ahead. Saturday and Sunday are both very busy days with 14 teams playing back-to-back games on both of those days. Here’s the breakdown:

1 Game – Boston, Montreal

2 Games – Carolina, Chicago, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Washington

3 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis

4 Games – Arizona, Buffalo, Colorado, Columbus, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver, 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:

Monday/Tuesday: Arizona,

Tuesday/Wednesday: Toronto

Wednesday/Thursday: Philadelphia, St. Louis

Thursday/Friday: Colorado, Pittsburgh

Friday/Saturday: Florida

Saturday/Sunday: Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

Arizona Monday/Tuesday

Start the week off with a spot start on the Coyotes to take advantage of their back-to-back games in Alberta against Calgary on Monday and Edmonton on Tuesday. The Flames are coming off of 5 days rest and could be rusty opponents for Arizona. Domi is only 49% owned despite his return to the lineup and scoring 3 points in his last 2 games while averaging over 19 minutes in ice-time per game. If you’re looking for a spot on defense, consider Goligoski who is 15% owned and has 4 points over his last 4 games. Finally, if you’re looking to ride a hot goal-scoring hand, try big center Martin Hanzal who scored twice in the Coyotes’ last game against Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Strong Schedule

Colorado plays four games this week, all against Eastern conference teams on the outside of the playoff picture. Three of those games are the on the road, but nonetheless, the Aves have the potential to get a couple of rare wins this week. Pickard is available for goaltending starts while players like Iginla (16% owned), Rantanen (5% owned) and Soderberg (2% owned) have the offensive potential to get some points on the board, regardless of their disappointing seasons to date.

Likewise, Tampa Bay has a strong (but short) schedule this week. Their bye-week lasts all week until Saturday where they play Dallas followed by Colorado on Sunday. Both games are on the road but are against weak defensive opponents. I’m eyeing Palat and Killorn, both 27% owned and both very capable of big offensive performances. For category coverage take big Brian Boyle (2% owned) who wore some flashy red pants (according to Don Cherry) to Saturday’s game and came up with a goal that evening. Maybe he’ll put the red pants on again and score a few more next weekend.

Carolina too only plays two games this week on Friday and Sunday. They play both games at home against weak and modest opponents, Colorado and then Toronto. Aho (32% owned) has 5 goals in his last 5 games and is a good option for spot starting. Rask (18% owned) would have been considered a great option earlier in the season, but the Swede is ice cold lately. He has no points in his last 11 games, a -7 rating and 23 shots on goal. The cold streak will surely turn around at some point – he still has a respectable 32 points on the year (tied for 2nd on the team). Finally Lindholm (5% owned) is a strong playmaker as demonstrated by 9 assists over his last 8 games (but no goals).

Finally, the Flames are coming off of their bye week and are hopefully well rested in order to take advantage of three weaker opponents over the next 6 days: Arizona on Monday, Philly on Wednesday and Vancouver on Saturday. The first two games are also on home ice. Mikael Backlund, Calgary’s leading scorer at 38 points, is only 41% owned and would be a good pickup for the week ahead. If you’re looking for a higher ceiling, consider Bennett (11% owned) who has been cold lately but has been known to score in bunches (recall his 4 goal game against the Panthers in January 2016). Chad Johnson is tabbed to start on Monday night and could play every game this week if the team keeps winning with him in the blue paint.

Who’s Hot (and available): In keeping with the weekly theme, here are some hot players who are under 50% owned

Viktor Arvidsson – 5G, 2A, +2, 1PPP, 1SHP, 1GWG and 19 SOG over the last 4 games

I am at a loss for why Arvidsson is only 49% owned. He has 18 goals and 21 assists this year with a +16 rating and a very impressive 175 shots on goal (this is tied for 15th among all skaters). Other than his documented lack of powerplay time, Arvidsson is hands down the best and most valuable Predator this season but is only the 6th most owned. Everyone who is hanging onto James Neal should immediately drop him and grab Arvidsson if he’s available. He is a far superior option in almost every conceivable category.

Jason Pominville – 2G, 6A, +5, 1PPP and 8 SOG over the last 2 games

Pominville is one of the hottest players in the NHL right now. He has 9 points through his 5-game scoring streak and 18 points over his past 13 games. With 35 points on the year now, he is a valuable option on a strong Minnesota team. Surprising he is only 20% owned despite the absolute tear that just seems to keep going on like the Energizer bunny.

Patrik Berglund – 5G, +5, and 10 SOG over the last 3 games

I won’t fervently argue that Berglund has long term value like Arvidsson and Pominville do, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention his 3-game scoring streak with 5 total in that span (and 6 goals in his last 5 games). He has been seeing over 16 minutes of ice-time recently though so it’s possible that he stays hot for a little while longer, though the 50% shooting percentage cannot last forever. He’s 4% owned right now in Yahoo leagues.

Richard Panik – 3G, 2A, +4, 2PPPs and 8 SOG over the last 3 games

Panik is a streaky player as evidenced by the start of the season where he scored on almost every shot on goal for the first several games of the year. Fantasy owners went wild and grabbed Panik in leagues to the left, center and right. Ownership has fallen to 17% which may still be a bit too high in the long run – but while he’s hot, grab him and hope that the streak continues. Side note here that Chicago does not play until Saturday where they then play back-to-back nights.

Anders Lee – 7G, 9A, +2, 7PPPs and 45 SOG over the last 13 games

Lee keeps on rolling but his ownership hasn’t shot up too much (32% now). He is showing strong production and consistency, two valuable things for all fantasy managers. With the Islanders playing 4 games this week, it could be the perfect time to grab Lee.

Bo Horvat – 2G, 2A, +3, 1PPP and 6 SOG over the last 2 games

Horvat now has 38 points on the year and he has improved his plus-minus rating to -1 on the year. However, he’s still only 20% owned. Dynasty leagues should have a 100% ownership rate given he’s poised to be the Canucks’ number one guy after the Sedins fall out of the picture. He hurt himself on Sunday night blocking a shot but his injury status is still unknown. Keep an eye on him, Vancouver doesn’t play until Tuesday and they have 4 games on the week.

Nikita Zaitsev – 1G, 3A, 2PPPs, 6 SOG and 8 BLKs over the last 4 games

Another youngster on an exciting team, Zaitsev is having a good season but is only 16% owned. He doesn’t shoot the puck too often and thus only has 2 goals on the year, but he is now up to 23 assists and continues to profit from a strong, young and talented offensive core in front of him.

Calvin Pickard – 2W, 1 SO, 13 GA and 130 saves over the last 5 games

Although this doesn’t look that amazing compared to many other goalies, Pickard is only 12% owned and is thus a potential option in deep leagues for a manager needing another goalie. I’d recommend Pickard in points leagues rather than rotisserie because he won’t put up the best GAA or SV% on a weak Avalanche team. Nonetheless, Colorado has looked better lately and Pickard has the starter’s role following Varlamov’s injury – therefore there is quiet potential here.

 

image source: thehockeywriters.com

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