By this point in the season, fantasy GM’s should be focused on the playoffs. If you’re in contention, you want to make sure you’re building a team that has the best possible chance to win. To do so, it’s important to not just look to get the “best” players, but really focus on your weakest statistics. Last week we took a look at some goal scorers who might be helpful additions, and this week we’ll look at some assist-heavy performers.
To start with, I’ll explain some of my data. I started out by taking each player in the Eastern Conference, then measured how many assists per game they have, in addition to how many assists came on the power play. Anyone who had below a 0.1 assists/game was removed and anyone with three or fewer assists was also removed. This left 243 players who had an average of just under 13 total assists, or an average of 0.314 per game.
There are 95 players above this average and of the top 30 in this criterion, 22 players are owned in 80% or more of Yahoo! Leagues. These include players like Giroux (0.81 A/GM), Karlsson (0.796), Malkin (0.75), etc. Below are the eight players who are owned in fewer than 80% of Yahoo! leagues, sorted by assists per game.
While it might seem as if the only players that can truly help your squad are the Giroux’s and the Malkin’s, the players above should be available at a much cheaper price tag. Rich Peverley, for example, is owned in only 27% of Yahoo! leagues, but has an assist per game average higher than players such as Jagr (0.55), Kessel (0.532), and Parise (0.511), not to mention his plus-17 rating.
Now taking a look at all of the players who are at or below the 13-assist average, we can again sort by assists per game and find the top contributors of the “below average” group (excluding Crosby and Pronger, the top two performers in this criteria).
Looking at the stats this way reveals some interesting fantasy options, again in players who are likely to be undervalued. Players like Pitkanen, Samuelsson, and Greene have missed various amounts of time due to injuries, while Kyle Turris missed time due to a contract dispute. When in the lineup, these players are playing relatively well, despite being owned in 25% or fewer Yahoo! leagues. Kyle Okposo is another player creeping his way up the chart (11 points in his last 12 games) after finally seeing some ice time with John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
Lastly, we’ll take a look at the players who have the highest percentage of their assists coming on the man advantage (PPA/A). While some of these players may not have a ton of assists, they’ll add not only to your assists total but also to your PPA or PPP categories.
Based on this view of the stats, if you’re going to gun for an assist-heavy player who is owned in 80% or higher Y! leagues, players like Streit, Richards, and Campbell may just be more enticing than others with fewer power play assists.
Depending on what type of move you are looking to make (trade for a superstar or utilize a waiver-wire addition), hopefully the data above was helpful in your decision making.