If you are in a tight league where every little stat matters, making the smart adds/drops could determine whether you are the league champion or just another one of the nine, 11 or 13 disappointed losers. At this point of the season it’s not about what your players have done for you all season long, it’s all about what your player will do for you in the next four weeks that will determine your fantasy fate.
Without a doubt
With eight points in his last five contests, McDonald has really been on fire as of late. During that span he’s averaging 21:45, 2:53 of which is on the PP, all while averaging 4.2 SOG per contest. If you’ve been following my columns all year, you’ll notice that ice-time plus SOG generally equals point production. An added bonus is that he maintains dual eligibility as both a center and a left wing in Yahoo! leagues. At just 48 percent Yahoo! owned, he’s a great pick up for at least the next week to help contribute during the opening round of the H2H playoffs.
Williams is also another “hot” add candidate this week. He’s recently been reunited with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Penner on the Kings’ top line, which ranks second in terms of point production according to FrozenPool, as they have tallied 17 points as a unit during the last two weeks. At 78 percent Yahoo! owned, he’s going to be pretty hard to acquire in many leagues, but it may be worth a shot if you can land him.
If there is an award given to players for being dependably consistent, then that award surely has to belong to Erat. For the last six seasons, he has tallied right around the 49-57 point mark and he’s on pace to tally right around that mark once again. The Kings’ trio has ranked number two in production as a unit. Guess who ranks number one? At 16 percent Yahoo! owned, he should be widely available for those in need of RW help during the stretch run.
If you’re after a bit more of the peripheral stats like HITs/BS/SOG then Ward is probably the better option to own from the Preds. Much like Erat, Ward is a pretty consistent producer and should finish around his typical yearly average of 34-35 points. If the numbers do fall in line as expected, he should produce seven or eight points in the final 13 contests, which certainly makes him fairly fantasy worthy.
With Alex Steen out of the line up with the dreaded high-ankle sprain, D’Agostini has taken full advantage of the misfortune and made full use of his newly acquired responsibility on the Blues’ top line alongside David Backes and McDonald. During the last two contests, he’s averaging 17:58 as well as 2:49 on the PP, all while averaging 2.5 SOG per contest. If he manages to maintain that role as well as the numbers during their upcoming west coast road-trip, he could pay huge dividends for plenty of owners in the next few weeks. Add away!
D-Mac was on a tear when Derick Brassard was on the shelf with an injury. On face value, now that Brassard has returned you would think that MacKenzie’s value would return back to Earth, but he should still hold plenty of value in a few fantasy leagues (especially those that count HITs). He’s currently lining up on the third line alongside newly acquired Scottie Upshall and youngster Matt Calvert. That trio has a lot of oomph in their play and can certainly still generate plenty of offense. Also, last contest, coach Scott Arniel split the even strength ice-time 16.39 percent to the top-line, 15.85 percent to the second-line and 14.21 percent to the MacKenzie, Upshall and Calvert line, so it’s not like they’re getting shafted in terms of ice-time. He probably isn’t on the top of my list of must-adds, but if you are grasping at straws, D-Mac could certainly be a viable option.
Speaking of clutching at straws, Emery is certainly a player that might influence the outcome of a few fantasy leagues, if he can gather a few starts down the stretch for the Ducks. Dan Ellis was horrible on Sunday night against the Coyotes, and with Anaheim close to Western playoff contention; any blips along the way will be exasperated bigger than it normally would be. Emery came in for relief of Ellis and stopped all nine of the shots that he faced. He has plenty to play for during the rest of this season (UFA after this season is over), so the motivation factor could certainly play a big role in him wanting to showcase himself for next campaign.
Outlook not so good
I know the Avs paid a king’s ransom to acquire EJ at the deadline, but now they have future implications for the trade. In one-year H2H or Roto leagues, EJ’s fantasy value for the duration of this season is pretty much zero to nil. During the last four contests, he’s registered a minus eight rating, which will essentially hand your opponent that category on a silver platter. Sure the SOG (and HITs/BS if your league counts those), are nice, but it’s not worth sacrificing all of the points and plus/minus categories just for the limited advantage in SOG. I’d easily take an Erik Karlson, Dan Hamhuis, Dennis Wideman, or Jason Garrison over EJ for the stretch run.
For the 68 percent of you Yahoo! players out there that still owns Hornqvist, I don’t know what you are thinking? He has a lone point in the last 10 contests and as much fantasy value as a low fat salad on the McDonald’s menu (seriously does anyone actually go to McDonald’s and says hmmm I’ll take the salad???). There are plenty of other right wingers with higher upside this week, so turn to those alternatives instead.
Much like Brian Rafalski, I’m dealing with back spasms at the moment, and I can tell your first hand that it’s not a pleasant thing. The problem with it is that there isn’t really a quick fix to solve it, rest and therapy is really the only solution. With that said the Red Wings are pretty firmly entrenched in a playoff spot, plus they have plenty of depth (Nik Krownwall, Jon Ericsson, and Jakub Kindl) on the defensive front, so there isn’t an immediate need to force Rafalski back into an integral role before he is truly ready. With Detroit facing fairly defensive-minded teams this week (Wsh, Clb, and Nsh), you actually might see better production from some ww players over Rafalski.
Campbell briefly returned to action on Sunday night, but left during the second period after re-aggravating his lower body injury. To be fair, the Hawks have done just fine without him with a big 6-3 win over the Sharks on Monday night, so there isn’t an immediate need to rush him back before he’s ready. Much like the Red Wings, Chicago also faces off against a couple of fairly red-hot defensive teams on the road this week (Dal and Phx), so there might not be a lot of room for offensive output from Campbell this week. If you’re locked in a pretty tight matchup I’d seriously look into outright dropping him as a viable option.
If you’ve been following my columns this year then you’re probably well informed about the typical production curve that Morrow has throughout a season. He generally spikes in October and December, then February and really tapers off during the other months. This has proven true once again with a pretty healthy line of nine points in 12 contests in February, but he’s followed that up with just two points and 19 SOG in seven March contests. Unless your league has an emphasis on calculating the HITs category, it might be an eventful move to seek other alternatives.
The latest news coming out of Edmonton is that Hemsky has a problem with his rotator cuff and is out for another week or two. The problem with that is the Oilers haven’t placed him on the IR list yet, which means he has the dreaded DTD status in Yahoo! which is extremely detrimental to fantasy leagues. Unless you have a very strong core for your fantasy squad, you just can’t have a player sit on your bench collecting goose eggs. It’s just not worth hanging onto Hemmer, so make the smart move and drop him ASAP.
As predicted in my column three weeks ago, Robidas has been a major loser, at least from a fantasy perspective, of the Dallas-Pittsburgh trade just prior to the deadline. Since the trade, Robidas has posted just two points and 19 SOG in 10 contests and has completely reverted back to the physical stay-at-home defenseman type that he displayed when he first entered the league. The problem with that is that stay-at-home D tends not to be rewarded in typical fantasy hockey leagues, so if you’re in a league that doesn’t have a strong emphasis on peripheral stats, you might want to strongly consider moving beyond Robidas.
Remember at this stage of the season, it’s not about when you drafted a player back in September, nor is it about a player that has potential point-per-game status sitting on your bench with DTD status. It’s all about what a player can do for you in the next seven days and beyond. Don’t let “big name” status get in the way of you winning a fantasy championship, it’s all about the numbers from here on out.