Weekly Dekes: Fantasy Hockey Feb 27 – Mar 5

Welcome to the nineteenth 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: With bye-weeks wrapping up, teams will no longer have 1-game weeks. Things are starting to get into a full swing now that the trade deadline is looming and the playoffs get ever closer. Let’s get into it:

2 Games – Anaheim, Edmonton,

3 Games – Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, New York Islanders/Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg

4 Games – Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, 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. Take advantage of the scheduling to maximize your available player adds. However, there are only 9 back-to-back sets for teams this week, this is less than the number of back-to-back sets last Saturday/Sunday. Plans accordingly.

Monday/Tuesday: Los Agneles, Minnesota, Montreal

Tuesday/Wednesday: Carolina, Pittsburgh

Wednesday/Thursday: None

Thursday/Friday: Arizona, New York Islanders, Toronto

Friday/Saturday: Chicago, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg

Saturday/Sunday: Buffalo, Colorado, Columbus, New Jersey, Vancouver

Trade Talk

LA Goaltending – To me, Bishop being dealt to the Kings was a HUGE surprise. It would have made a lot of sense earlier in the season while Quick was still recovering from his injury… but to occur the day after Quick’s return to action (side note to all Quick owners out there, FINALLY! We have him back!)? My best guess for the implications are as follows: Bishop’s value drops, significantly. Quick’s value drops a little – he should still be the starter (confirmed by GM Lombardi) as long as he’s healthy, but the Kings won’t lean on him in tough stretches and back-to-back sets like they might if Bishop wasn’t in the picture. Stay tuned for any more information on this however.

For Tampa, I imagine Vasilevskiy will be the unanimous number one starter. Although Budaj has played well this season in Los Angeles, the future of the Lightning’s blue paint has Vasilevskiy front and center. Might as well hand over the reins now and see how the youngster can handle it.

Hanzal to the Wild – Not sure exactly how this will play out in Minnesota. They already seemed to have a significant amount of depth on offense. Hanzal, for one, will be on a much better team and should see an increase in his +/-. However, he is no longer part of his team’s centerpiece on offense, therefore his value on powerplays and overall point production could drop. Otherwise, guys like Coyle, Pominville and Niederreiter might take a bit of a value hit – they might be sharing more ice-time with Hanzal in town.

On the Coyotes side, Domi, Doan and Vrbata will be relied upon more. The question is whether this gives them more opportunities, or whether they’ll suffer due to the loss of a quality teammate.

Trade Bait Remaining – Stay tuned for updates on potential trades. Still on the list are Landeskog, Duchene, Fleury, Shattenkirk and many more!

Hot And Available (Tinder for Fantasy Hockey)

Radim Vrbata (22% owned) 4G, 2A, +1, 2GWGs, 12 SOGs over last 4 games

Vrbata is pretty quietly on a huge tear lately. He has points in 9 straight games and now has 15 goals and 31 assists on the year. His -14 isn’t very helpful but the rest of his production is very strong. As noted earlier, Hanzal’s departure could be partially positive and partially negative for Vrbata. The Coyotes have 4 games in 4 of the next 5 weeks, therefore Vrbata could be an important add for your team (only 2 games next week though).

Nick Schmaltz (7% owned) 2G, 4A, +6, 5 SOG over last 3 games

He also has 10 points in his last 8 games and a +12 rating. His line (Toews and Panik) is one of the hottest in the NHL right now. Consider grabbing him while he’s piping hot. Likewise, Panik has 5 goals and 6 assists with a +10 rating over his last 8 games. He is 39% owned.

Ryan Ellis (30% owned) 1G, 3A, +3, 3PPPs, 6 SOG, 11 BLKs over last 4 games

Nashville’s offense has been booming lately with 19 goals over their past 4 games. Generally Josi and Subban will be the first to benefit but Ellis can easily contribute as well. He now has 28 points on the year.

Mikael Backlund (42% owned) 4G, 1A, +3, 1PPP, 11 SOG over last 4 games

Backlund now has 44 points on the year and 153 shots on goal. He is on pace for career highs in points (47 in 2015) and shots on goal (178 in 2013). He’s been a very dependable second-line center for the Flames and his point production on the second powerplay unit has been a pleasant surprise. He should be owned across a greater percentage of leagues as he has shown solid consistency over the past two seasons.

Oscar Klefbom (44% owned) 3G, 5A, +8, 3PPPs, 20 SOG, 12 BLKs over last 7 games

Klefbom is really turning it on with the Oilers, showing his potential to be a 40-point plus defenseman in the years to come. Over the last 14 days, he’s ranked 3rd among all skaters for fantasy production in my league, solid across many categories. Grab a hold now, the youngster continues to trend upwards on a new and improved Edmonton roster.

Josh Leivo (3% owned) 1G, 7A, +2, 1PPP, 20 SOG over last 7 games

Another young Leaf playing solid hockey, 23-year old Leivo is generating strong production alongside Komarov and Kadri. His duel-eligibility at LW and RW is also helpful for increased flexibility to your fantasy roster.

 

 

image source: icehockey.wikia.com

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