Weekly Dekes: Fantasy Hockey Mar 13 – 19

Welcome to the twenty-first 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.

Playoffs in many leagues are starting this week given there are only four weeks remaining in the NHL season. This is the best format to ensure that fantasy hockey playoffs are wrapped up prior to the final week of the regular season where many star players take the last couple of games off in order to rest for the upcoming playoffs – if their team’s playoff spot is locked down.

Scheduling:

3 Games – Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Montreal, Nashville, New York Rangers, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington

4 Games – Arizona, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg

5 Games – Carolina

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, Carolina, Los Angeles, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg

Tuesday/Wednesday: None

Wednesday/Thursday: Boston, Detroit

Thursday/Friday: Buffalo, Dallas, Florida, New Jersey

Friday/Saturday: Anaheim, New York Rangers

Saturday/Sunday: Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Minnesota, Montreal, Ottawa

Home Heavy Schedules – typically favorable compared to playing on the road

  • Arizona, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia play 3 of 4 at home
  • Calgary plays all four of their games at home
  • Carolina plays 3 of 5 at home
  • Edmonton and San Jose play all 3 games on home ice

Road Warriors – typically brings a harder schedule

  • Boston, Buffalo and Dallas play all 3 on the road (and in the span of four days)
  • Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Minnesota and Winnipeg play 3 of 4 on the road
  • St. Louis plays all 4 on the road

“Easy” Opponents

  • Arizona plays Colorado, Los Angeles, Detroit, and St. Louis – only one of these teams is in a playoff spot and that’s a second wildcard spot (although LA is in 9th too). Vrbata is only 22% owned despite having 49 points on the season
  • Colorado plays Arizona, and Detroit twice before finishing their week off against Chicago – Colorado is in last place themselves however. Only Rantanen (5% owned) holds much upside for your roster
  • Detroit plays the worst two teams in the west, Arizona once and Colorado twice – consider picking up Nyquist (28% owned), Tatar (13% owned), or Mantha (15% owned) if you’re optimistic about Detroit’s 3 games in 4 nights against weak opponents (Wed, Thurs, Sat)
  • Los Angeles plays at home against St. Louis, Arizona and Buffalo on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday before heading to Calgary for a Sunday night matchup – consider those first three games favorable matchups

“Tough” Opponents

  • Buffalo’s three road games are against tough Pacific opponents: San Jose, LA, and Anaheim
  • Florida runs into one team struggling to hang on to a playoff spot (Toronto) and three Metropolitan powerhouses Columbus, the Rangers, and Pittsburgh (these three played on the road as well)
  • Montreal only plays three games, one against Chicago and two against division-rival Ottawa
  • Tampa Bay also has four tough games against Eastern Conference opponents: the Rangers, Ottawa, Toronto and Washington

Day of the Week Concentration – games by day of week; look for teams to play games on off-nights so that you’re roster isn’t full of players all playing on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

  • Monday – 8 games
  • Tuesday – 9 games
  • Wednesday – 8 games
  • Thursday  – 12 games
  • Friday – 4 games
  • Saturday – 10 games
  • Sunday – 7 games

-Calgary plays on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday: pick up available players here and you won’t have missed games with players on the bench. Backlund is still available in 54% of leagues – he has 48 points, a +12 rating and 171 SOG this season with 15 powerplay points to boot (leads the team in this category despite playing on the second unit). Brodie (35% owned) is playing much better hockey although his five-game point streak ended on Saturday. Ferland (4% owned) is playing with Gaudreau and Monahan and has 4 goals in the past 6 games (6 goals in the last 9 and a +11 rating). Did I also mention that the Flames are on a 9-game winning streak, a record for the Calgary Flames? Oh and again, they play all four games on home ice this week.

-Pittsburgh plays their four games on the same days as Calgary. Conor Sheary (47% owned) has picked up where he left off after returning from injury – he is once against skating alongside Crosby and has 3 multi-point games in the last four outings. He has 41 points in 47 games played this season. Otherwise consider Kunitz (38% owned), Cole (31% owned) or Streit (30% owned).

-Anaheim also plays on Wednesday and Friday. Rakell has 28 goals in 57 games played but is only 37% owned. Eaves has four points in six games with the Ducks since the trade and is available in 72% of leagues.

-Minnesota and Ottawa play on Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sunday.. four of the busiest days of the week.

Hot And Available (Tinder for Fantasy Hockey)

Last 14 Days:

Jean-Gabriel Pageau (6% owned) 3G, 3A, +6, 2 PIMs, 1 SHP, 1 GWG, 20 SOG, 13 BLKs over last 8 games

He’s playing on the third line but has averaged 16 minutes in time on ice over the last two weeks and deserves recognition for the solid category coverage that he has achieved during this stretch. Pageau doesn’t get much powerplay time however – he’s a risky add but could also payoff due to his flashy potential and short-handed capabilities.

Sam Gagner (29% owned) 3G, 5A, 3PPPs, 21 SOG over last 8 games

Gagner has 7 of those points (at least one per game) over his last 5 games. He only gets around 14 minutes on ice per game but he has proven his depth value by registering 43 points on the season to date (including 18 on the powerplay, good for 5th on the team).

T.J. Brodie (35% owned) 2G, 4A, +9, 1PPP, 1 GWG, 12 SOG, 12 BLKs over last 6 games

Brodie has been playing much better lately as exemplified by his point-per-game production rate over the past two weeks combined with a very strong +9 plus-minus. He is still -17 on the year but that should continue to improve while the Flames keep rolling. I’ll reiterate their current 9-game win streak could be extended with their next 4 games played on home ice. Brodie has been playing 24 minutes per game recently and should benefit from his team’s rise in the power rankings in the week ahead.

Tyler Bozak (14% owned) 2G, 5A, +1, 3PPPs, 14 SOG over last 6 games

Bozak has had a very strong year – he has 46 points now with only a -1 rating. His 125 shots on goal are not enviable but he continues to be a viable option at center for a fantasy team in need.

Jaccob Slavin (5% owned) 5A, +5, 4 PIMs, 12 SOG, 13 BLKs over last 8 games

Slavin was recently featured on NHL.com’s article on an NHL all-underrated t eam alongside Backlund, Silfverberg, and others. He has been a bright spot for the organization with a +15 rating on the season. His 24 points aren’t amazing but if his current streak continues, his five games played next week could be valuable for your roster. Just make sure you have room to play him before making the acquisition.

Ondrej Palat (29% owned) 1G, 3A, +3, 4PIMs, 2PPPs, 1 GWG, 20 SOG, 8 BLKs over last 7 games

Palat is once again playing with Kucherov on the top line which always results in big scoring potential every night. Although Palat had a tough start to the year, he has been much better recently. If the Lightning make a big push in their fight for a playoff spot, Palat could be a big steal for fantasy managers around the league. After all, it was only two years ago that Palat registered 63 points in 75 games played – his abilities are known.

7 Days:

Conor Sheary (47% owned) 2G, 4A, +2, 6 PIMs, 1PPP, 1 GWG, 15 SOG over last 4 games

Sheary should be owned in 90%+ of leagues going into the week ahead. Pittsburgh plays 4 games on off-nights and Sheary has been a beast all season long. He has played alongside Crosby all season and has average 0.87 points per game. Since returning from injury, Sheary has three multi-point games in the last 4. He also has duel-eligibility at LW and RW. What more do you need?

Nick Bonino (5% owned) 4G, 1A, +2, 2PPPs, 13 SOG over last 4 games

Sticking to the Penguin theme, Bonino has been hot lately too. Although Pittsburgh plays Calgary on Monday to start the week (where the Flames have outscored opponents 8-0 combined in their last two games), the rest of the week’s schedule is strong. Plus, Elliot and the Flames can’t be perfect forever – Monday night’s game should be an exciting one.

Michael Frolik (18% owned) 2G, 3A, +2, 2PPPs, 9 SOG over last 3 games

Frolik is on a 4-game point streak and has now registered 41 points on the year. He is only 4 points off of matching his career high (back in his rookie 2008 season in Florida) and has 14 games to set a new career high. It’s all around been a great season for the Flames’ second line of Backlund, Frolik and Tkachuk. Let’s see if Calgary can pickup a few more big victories this week with four home games and no back-to-back sets.

image source: cbc.ca

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