Sunday, October 8, 2017

NHL 2017 Week 1 Fantasy Hockey Report

The National Hockey League season is less than 7 days old. It may yet be too early to make major changes to your fantasy team, or it could be the best time to add certain players before the market corrects itself and the sample size gets larger. I play mostly Yahoo leagues, one deep league and one standard 12 team public league. Here are a few early tips that may help you out. There are some players who need to be added in shallow leagues and players who need to be added in deeper formats. There are some "buy low" candidates and some players that you might need to be worried about.

Players to watch, all formats:

1) Paul Stastny, St Louis: 15% ownership is too low for Tarasenko’s center. He’s going to put up good numbers so long as he stays on a line with one of the league’s most dynamic offensive talents. Safe to add in standard leagues.

2) Vladimir Namestnikov, Tampa: So long as he continues playing with Kucherov and Stamkos, he should be a must add in almost every league. That 25% ownership will rise.

3) Jakub Vrana, Washington: If he’s going to keep playing with Kuznetzov and Ovechkin, he’s addable in all formats. That 42% ownership will go up if he continues on the first line.

4) Bo Horvat, Vancouver: His 34% ownership in Yahoo leagues needs to be higher. Worth adding in all formats where he’s available. He is the future of this franchise and his ceiling seems to be continuously rising.

5) Jimmy Howard, Detroit: He’s widely available in shallow leagues with 50% ownership and through 2 games is 2-0 with a 1.44 GAA and a .960 SV%. Those numbers will come down, but ride the wave while it lasts. He’s one of the most added goaltenders in Yahoo leagues, and is an option in all formats.

Going Deep, players to add in deeper leagues:

1) Will Butcher, New Jersey: He’s been one of the most added players in Yahoo after scoring 3 power play points in a single game. There is some concern about his even strength ice time, but if you’re looking for a power play specialist, he won’t stay at 17% ownership very much longer.

2) Zach Hyman, Toronto: 6% ownership is far too low for a guy playing with Matthews and Nylander. If your league counts hits, he’s a must own. It’s unlikely he’ll last the entire season on the top line, but so long as he is, he’ll get points.

3) Alex DeBrincat, Chicago: He’s a player with high offensive upside who has played over 17 minutes the first 2 games with no points. Worth stashing on your bench in deeper leagues, but in 10-12 team leagues you’ll want to wait until he starts scoring before you add him.

4) Esa Lindell, Dallas: He’s playing important minutes on the first pairing in Dallas. He hasn’t scored any points through the first 2 games and owners may be starting to get nervous. Be quick to scoop him up in deep leagues, but wait for the production to start coming before adding in shallower formats.

5) Nick Bjustad, Florida: He’s only 2% owned coming off a bad season, but if he bounces back to previous form that ownership number should creep up to double digits. Must add in deep leagues if he’s available.

Buy low:

1) Sam Reinhart, Buffalo: He’s a borderline player in standard leagues, but he’s being dropped in thousands of Yahoo leagues after no points in the first 2 games. He’s a young guy with high upside.

2) Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal: He may never live up to the expectations of where he was drafted, but he’s still a decent add in deeper leagues and his owners are already starting to hit the panic button. He can be dropped in standard leagues.

3) Martin Jones, San Jose: Through the first two games he’s got a GAA of 5.17 and an .864 SV%. His owner might be nervous, so you may be able to get him cheaper than his draft value.

4) Anders Lee, Islanders: No points through 2 games has landed this young gun on the most dropped list for Yahoo leagues. I just dropped him myself in a standard league. But he’s definitely still worth owning in deeper formats and you might be able to get him at a cheap price.

5) Kyle Turris, Ottawa: He might have no points through 2 games, but he’s still playing over 20 minutes per night. The points will come eventually. Owners have started dropping him, so he’s another guy you might be able to get at a discount.

Be concerned:

1) Nick Holden, NYR: Nobody likes a healthy scratch in fantasy hockey. That 10% ownership won’t last long if he keeps watching games from the press box.

2) Brock Boeser, Vancouver: If you’re in a dynasty league, be patient. But his being a healthy scratch in the season opener is cause for concern in shallower leagues.

3) Vadim Shipachyov, Las Vegas: You can safely drop him in all formats while he’s in the minors. 40% ownership is way too high for this guy. Until he starts scoring points in the NHL he should not be on your roster.

4) Ryan Strome, Edmonton: If you drafted him because you thought he might play with Connor McDavid, he’s not. If he stays as the Oilers 3rd line center, his production will only warrant deep league consideration.

5) Steve Mason, Winnipeg: It has been a terrible start to his tenure in Manitoba. Mason is a goalie known to run hot and cold. When he’s on a hot streak he’s worth adding in all formats. When he’s cold (as he is so far), he’s not ownable in shallower leagues.

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