Ryan Kesler USA Today

 

 

The 'Looking Ahead' series helps you get the edge when setting your fantasy lineups.


 

A tough decision can be made easier with these charts showing you the best five and worst five schedules for upcoming seven-day periods. Some of you used them last year but for the benefit of new readers here is a refresher. The number next to the team indicates the 'multiplier' to use on a player's point-per-game pace to give you an idea how many points to expect for that week.


Conference Bias

 

It’s a lot closer this week than it has been before.  Don’t get me wrong, the East is still makes more appearances in the “Best Bets” section and fewer in the “Steer Clear” section.  But the margin is much narrower this time around.  The East leads the “Best Bets” 24-11, while the West leads the “Steer Clear” 21-14.

 

Are You Ready for the...Hurricane?

 

Oh boy.  I hope you all stocked up on your bottled water, canned tuna and corn flakes because a Hurricane is coming through the Eastern United States.  Please keep reading for more fun with puns.

 

Despite the unfortunate news that Jeff Skinner suffered another concussion, the Canes have been on a tear this season for their fantasy owners.  Eric and Jordan Staal have meshed together like they’ve known one another since birth and Alexander Semin has quashed his locker room “cancer” reputation and has made the Canes organization a believer.

 

With matchups against sieves such as: Tampa Bay, NY Islanders, Washington and Pittsburgh, the odds that the owners of Canes players winning this week just went up about 15%.  While Cam Ward’s numbers haven’t looked great this season – the key thing he’s doing lately is winning.  Ward has won four out of his last six (one of those losses was an OT loss) and his save percentage has been steadily rising over that time period.

 

Since my prediction of Claude Giroux last week went so well – I’ll throw another one out there for Eric Staal – Eric will put up a bare minimum of seven points over his next four games and he’ll be one of the stars of the week starting February 25th, 2013.

 

Undefeated (In Regulation) Heavyweight Champs

 

The team that really needs no introduction.  The team that tied the all-time record for wins starting a season without a regulation loss.  The team that on every given night seemingly finds a way to win.  This team reminds me of the 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings.  The Wings team that year found ways to win games they had no business winning, and while the Hawks haven’t had many games like that this year, they still are in every single game they’ve played and won the vast majority of them.

 

Lose Corey Crawford?  No problem.  Ray Emery is undefeated.  Patrick Kane’s hand is sore from punching cabbies during the offseason?  No problem.  Shortened season gave those bruises time to heal and now he’s in the conversation for the Hart Trophy.  The list goes on: Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp – this team is unbelievable right now.  The Hawks have six of their next eight games at the United Center.

 

So get your hands on some Hawks players, mimic the Ravens and yell “Cacaw” every time they score a goal (since no one knows what a Hawk cry actually sounds like).  I expect at least one loss over the next eight games (because, honestly, they can’t keep this up forever…can they?), but mountains of points to go along with them.  Play them with confidence as you have been throughout the season.

 

Singing the Blues in Nashville


The Predators are an amazing franchise and Barry Trotz is an amazing coach.  They have no business making the playoffs as often as they do.  They have no budget, no high-end forward talent and their coach doesn’t have a neck.  Yet they find ways to win.  Every.  Single.  Season.

 

This year has been no exception, but it has come at the expense of fantasy value.  Shea Weber has picked it up lately, but has been a bust overall (my fingers would be sore after counting $14 million too).  The best thing going for them is Pekka Rinne who has been an absolute beast this year.  There are currently three forwards worth owning: Colin Wilson, Patric Hornqvist and Martin Erat, but they’re about to hit a wall.

 

Their next six opponents are Vancouver, a rematch in Detroit (should be a doozy), Dallas and then a road trip to California for games against Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles.  I see 10-11 goals MAX out of the Predators in their next six games.  Get ready for some Nashville flavored tears and Flyers trolls heading over to the Predators message board bombarding them with trade offers including Max Talbot and Andreas Lilja.

 

End of an Era in Detroit?

 

First of all, let me preface this by saying I’m a Wings fan – so I know exactly what’s going on here.  Did anyone see Datsyuk versus Nashville the other night?  Has anyone gone Beast Mode™ harder than Datsyuk went that night in a long time?  But even that performance coupled with Zetterberg’s renewed commitment to excellence after receiving the “C” hasn’t gotten the Wings over the loss of Lidstrom, Stuart, Hudler and Rafalski from two years.  Then there is the plethora of injuries this year (most manned games lost).

 

Don’t get it twisted, even with all that, this Detroit team is average, as average as it’s been in a long time.  This isn’t like after the last lockout where Kenny Holland had to cut the payroll in half, but we had Datsyuk and Z in their primes.  This is what it is, an injury riddled hockey team with their superstars leading the way and a new guy with the resemblance of Toucan Sam coming in from the place that makes those cool watches and knives to lead us in goals.  The Wings are also relying on a goalie that’s seeing two pucks being shot at him when there’s only one.

 

A rematch against the Predators on Saturday, the Canucks looming the next day, then the Pacific coast on Wednesday and Thursday (LA and SJ), followed by the NHL-leading Blackhawks coming to town?  While the Hawks are starting one streak, a long time streak might be ending in Hockeytown: the Wings might miss the playoffs for the first time in 20+ years, if things don’t change quickly.

Possible Pickups


Here’s a list of some players, owned in less than 30% of Yahoo leagues, to target during the upcoming Monday through Sunday week.

 

Carolina: Jiri Tlusty (28%) – Two games removed from his seven points in three games, but he’s still seeing top line minutes with Eric and Semin at even strength and PP.


Florida: Tomas Kopecky (3%) – The prime benefactor of the Versteeg injury.  Kopecky is skating with Fleishmann and Weiss while Versteeg is out.  Florida is pretty bare when it comes to fantasy assets, but Kopecky could pay off with games against Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Carolina (twice) this week.


Chicago: Dave Bolland (7%) – Centering Kane and Sharp at even strength and on the powerplay.  Not sure what the Hossa injury will do to his linemates though.  Find it hard to believe he can’t accidentally get some points with Kaner and Sharpie on his wings.


Boston: Dougie Hamilton (22%) – Averaging over 2.5 shots per game.  Getting second line ES and PP time.  Only registered points in one of the past four games (two points), but he still put 11 shots on net during that same span.


Minnesota: Mikael Granlund (9%) – Riding a three-game point streak.  Currently getting secondary powerplay time with Setoguchi and Cullen.


 

Friday, February 22 to Thursday, February 28
Best Bets
Pittsburgh (4.40) - 4 Games: FLA, TB, @FLA, @CAR
Carolina (4.29) - 4 Games: TB, @NYI, @WSH, PIT
Chicago (4.20) - 4 Games: SJ, CLB, EDM, @STL
Florida (4.10) - 4 Games: @PIT, BOS, PIT, BUF
NY Islanders (4.09) - 4 Games: @BUF, CAR, BOS, TOR
Steer Clear
St. Louis (2.10) - 2 Games: CLB, CHI
Montreal (2.76) - 3 Games: NYR, @OTW, @TOR
Edmonton (2.80) - 3 Games: PHX, @CHI, @DAL
Ottawa (2.85) - 3 Games: TOR, MTL, @BOS
Vancouver (2.85) - 3 Games: @NSH, @DET, PHX
Saturday, February 23 to Friday, March 1
Best Bets
Chicago (4.36) - 4 Games: CLB, EDM, @STL, CLB
Carolina (4.29) - 4 Games: TB, @NYI, @WSH, PIT
Minnesota (4.10) - 4 Games: @CGY, CGY, @PHX, @ANH
NY Islanders (4.09) - 4 Games: @BUF, CAR, BOS, TOR
Tampa Bay (4.01) - 4 Games: @CAR, @PIT, BUF, @NYR
Steer Clear
Vancouver (2.00) - 2 Games: @DET, PHX
Montreal (2.76) - 3 Games: NYR, @OTW, @TOR
Ottawa (2.85) - 3 Games: TOR, MTL, @BOS
Nashville (3.05) - 3 Games: @DET, DAL, @ANH
Washington (3.10) - 3 Games: NJ, CAR, @PHI
Sunday, February 24 to Saturday, March 2
Best Bets
Anaheim (4.85) - 5 Games: COL, @LA, NSH, MIN, @PHX
Carolina (4.40) - 4 Games: @NYI, @WSH, PIT, FLA
Chicago (4.36) - 4 Games: CLB, EDM, @STL, CLB
Boston (4.23) - 4 Games: @FLA, @NYI, OTW, TB
Florida (4.15) - 4 Games: BOS, PIT, BUF, @CAR
Steer Clear
St. Louis (2.00) - 2 Games: CHI, EDM
NY Rangers (2.26) - 2 Games: WPG, TB
Detroit (2.75) - 3 Games: VAN, @LA, @SJ
Columbus (2.76) - 3 Games: @CHI, DAL, @CHI
Edmonton (2.80) - 3 Games: @CHI, @DAL, @STL
Monday, February 25 to Sunday, March 3
Best Bets
Carolina (4.40) - 4 Games: @WSH, PIT, FLA, @FLA
Florida (4.31) - 4 Games: PIT, BUF, @CAR, CAR
Chicago (4.20) - 4 Games: EDM, @STL, CLB, @DET
Boston (4.14) - 4 Games: @NYI, OTW, TB, MTL
Minnesota (4.11) - 4 Games: CGY, @PHX, @ANH, EDM
Steer Clear
Calgary (2.85) - 3 Games: @MIN, @COL, VAN
New Jersey (2.09) - 2 Games: @WPG, @BUF
NY Islanders (2.89) - 3 Games: BOS, TOR, OTW
Detroit (2.75) - 3 Games: @LA, @SJ, CHI
Tampa Bay (2.91) - 3 Games: BUF, @NYR, @BOS
Tuesday, February 26 to Monday, March 4
Best Bets
Carolina (4.40) - 4 Games: @WSH, PIT, FLA, @FLA
Boston (4.14) - 4 Games: @NYI, OTW, TB, MTL
Minnesota (4.11) - 4 Games: CGY, @PHX, @ANH, EDM
Florida (4.31) - 4 Games: PIT, BUF, @CAR, CAR
Pittsburgh (4.10) - 4 Games: @FLA, @CAR, @MTL, TB
Steer Clear
Philadelphia (2.10) - 2 Games: WSH, OTW
Detroit (2.75) - 3 Games: @LA, @SJ, CHI
Nashville (2.80) - 3 Games: @ANH, @SJ, @LA
Montreal (2.81) - 3 Games: @TOR, PIT, @BOS
Calgary (2.85) - 3 Games: @MIN, @COL, VAN
Wednesday, February 27 to Tuesday, March 5
Best Bets
Carolina (4.51) - 4 Games: PIT, FLA, @FLA, BUF
Florida (4.41) - 4 Games: BUF, @CAR, CAR, WPG
Chicago (4.15) - 4 Games: @STL, CLB, @DET, MIN
New Jersey (4.10) - 4 Games: @WPG, @BUF, @TOR, TB
Boston (4.09) - 4 Games: OTW, TB, MTL, @WSH
Steer Clear
Calgary (1.94) - 2 Games: @COL, VAN
Dallas (2.15) - 2 Games: EDM, STL
Nashville (2.80) - 3 Games: @ANH, @SJ, @LA
San Jose (2.90) - 3 Games: DET, NSH, @VAN
NY Islanders (2.94) - 3 Games: TOR, OTW, MTL
Thursday, February 28 to Wednesday, March 6
Best Bets
Chicago (5.25) - 5 Games: @STL, CLB, @DET, MIN, COL
Carolina (4.51) - 4 Games: PIT, FLA, @FLA, BUF
Florida (4.41) - 4 Games: BUF, @CAR, CAR, WPG
Phoenix (4.20) - 4 Games: MIN, ANH, ANH, @ANH
New Jersey (4.10) - 4 Games: @WPG, @BUF, @TOR, TB
Steer Clear
Nashville (1.81) - 2 Games: @SJ, @LA
Philadelphia (1.85) - 2 Games: OTW, @NYR
Washington (1.99) - 2 Games: @WPG, BOS
Dallas (2.15) - 2 Games: EDM, STL
Los Angeles (2.90) - 3 Games: @VAN, NSH, STL



Write comment
Comments (0)add comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy