Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: Frank Vatrano is Ready For Prime Time
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview
I hope everyone had a fantastic Holiday Season and a Happy New Year to all! Fantasy Football is over, and it's a tad too early to talk Fantasy Baseball (we're doing it anyway here at FNTSY), so let's get in Fantasy Hockey mode. It's Week 12 of the Fantasy Hockey season, the first week in which the NHL's new BYE WEEK rule comes into effect. The Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins are the first team to experience the new rule, which allows for seven days rest. The Penguins will host Tampa Bay on Sunday, the one game they'll play during Week 12. They could use the break having gone 88 straight games without suffering back-to-back losses. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin owners will see just how strong their teams are without two of the best in the lineup.
Week 12 features nine teams playing four games, and it also means we're 10 weeks away from Fantasy Hockey playoff time. Let's get you caught up with what news, injuries and notes you may of missed from Week 11 and what it means going forward.
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: Injuries
You can bet P.K. Subban (upper-body) had January 3rd, 2017 circled on his calendar and you have to feel for him, as he not only won't be able to suit up against his former team Tuesday, he may be sidelined for an extended period of time. Subban is expected to address the media Tuesday prior to the Predators' game against the Canadiens. It'll be Nashville's eighth straight game without Subban. The Predators placed him on injured reserve Sunday, and he'll rest for two-to-three weeks. Reports suggest Subban may need surgery to repair a herniated disc. Certainly it's not what Elliotte Freidman from Sportsnet is implying, as he mentioned the Predators have not confirmed or denied a herniated disc being Subban's issue.
Subban missed four games in a contract dispute in 2012-13, but had never really missed a game due to an injury. He had four straight injury-free seasons with the Canadiens before suffering a non-serious neck injury in 2015-16, which caused him to miss the final month of the season, his last in Montreal. Not saying it is, but it could very well be related. Let's hear what he has to say before we speculate.
Ryan Ellis played 30 minutes in a 2-1 win in Philadelphia last week and has played 27 plus minutes in four of the seven games Subban has missed. Ellis only has two points over those eight games, but one came on the power play - his most recent game. He's putting pucks on net and blocking shots, and those numbers are going to improve as the ice time increases. His 26.09 minutes per game over the last two weeks is the seventh-highest mark in the NHL.
Sticking with blueliners, Justin Faulk (upper-body) and Andrei Markov (lower-body) landed on injured reserve. Faulk is listed as week-to-week and there should be an update on Markov early in the week. He was ruled out of all three road games during Week 11, but could rejoin the team during Week 12's three road games. If not, look for Nathan Beaulieu to eat up more minutes; 27, 28, 25, 23 and 24 in his last five games. He has 12 shots and nine blocks over that span. His 25.02 minutes per game over the last two weeks is the 11th highest per game average. He's a cheap DFS option with some power play upside.
As for Faulk, it's just frustrating to own this guy! Can't drop him because he does things like this; four goals and nine points in his last eight games before suffering another injury. Jaccob Slavin has averaged 24 minutes a game since Faulk has been sidelined, the most of any Carolina skater, and he's the one I think will benefit most. That said, Noah Hanifin has some upside and is worth DFS consideration.
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: Hurricanes Disrespect Rant
The entire Hurricanes team is undervalued. Finally, people are starting to buy into Cam Ward. Jeff Skinner is the only Carolina forward owned in more than 32 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Victor Rask holds the 32 percent mark, as he and and Skinner are always in play, but it's been the line of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Lee Stempniak that people should be aware of.
Aho and Teravainen each have nine points in their last 11 games and Stempniak has eight points, four of them goals. I'd roster Aho and Teravainen in deeper leagues. Aho in a 12-team is worthy and has the higher ceiling. All three are contrarian DFS plays. Maybe not now that they are hot, but they'll never be considered once they cool off. I'd consider them on most nights moving forward.
The Hurricanes are one of nine teams to play four games during Week 12 of the Fantasy Hockey season. Check below for more.
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: P.K. Subban Replacements
Let's be real, Ellis, Beaulieu and Slavin are not going to replace Subban's production. The three combined couldn't, but there are a few big names out there who could help.
Assuming the following are owned: Seth Jones, Matt Niskanen, Dion Phaneuf, Matt Dumba, Jeff Petry and Jake Gardiner.
Jared Spurgeon - Spurgeon's 10 points over the last 30 days are tied for the seventh most among defensemen. He has three goals and five points in his last five games. One of those points came on the power play and he's getting a ton of ice time. I'd roster Spurgeon over Gardiner in leagues with plus/minus, and I'd roster him over Petry in leagues that don't count shots or hits. Petry edges him out in both categories.
Jacob Trouba - Trouba looks like he's started to get his legs back after missing the first few weeks of the season. He's hitting on all categories over the last two weeks. five points, plus five rating, 15 shots, 10 hits and 12 blocks.
Dmitry Orlov - Orlov has eight points in his last 11 games. He's capable of putting up multi-shot, hit, penalty minute and block games, while playing for a good team; and he's plus 13 on the season.
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: Other Injuries, News & Notes
The Panthers placed Aleksander Barkov (lower-body) on injured reserve, and he's expected to miss two-to-three weeks. Vincent Trocheck was already trending up with goals in three straight games. He has five points over those three games, and at least four shots on goal in six straight. Two of the five on the power play. Trocheck also has at least three hits in five of his last six games. Trocheck leads all forwards in ice time per game over the last 30 days at 22:52. He's a great add!
David Backes is out indefinitely due to another concussion. It's unfortunate for Backes and the Bruins, but an opportunity for others to step up. Ryan Spooner has three goals and 14 shots on net in his last four games. He has seven points over a current five-game point streak. Frank Vatrano has two goals, four points and 12 shots in five games since his second call up. I think he's ready for some big minutes, power play included. I love the play in daily and love the add.
Ryan O'Reilly underwent successful appendectomy over the break and is scheduled to miss another week or two. Now that Jack Eichel is back, Sam Reinhart is rolling with points in six straight; two goals, and seven points with three of them coming on the power play. He had five shots and played 21 minutes in his last game, tying a season-high mark.
Evander Kane plays 19 minutes a game, and hits every category. He's owed in only 30 percent of Yahoo! Leagues, but yet he's ranked 39th overall in the last 30 days and would have a higher in season ranking if not for an early season injury. In straight points leagues there's an issue, but not in leagues with penalty minutes, shots and hits. Over those 30 days, Kane has eight goals, nine points, 27 PIMs, 48 shots and 22 hits.
Rick Nash (groin) was able to skate Saturday, but he wasn't quite ready to play. Expect him back this week. Owners should probably wish for another week off, so he doesn't suffer another setback. Derek Stepan has stepped up in a big way with four goals and nine points in his last six games. His ownership has always been lower than the following, which I can't explain: J.T Miller, Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner and Jimmy Vesey. Drop all those guys and pick up Stepan.
Tyler Toffoli (lower-body) is expected to be re-evaluated this week, but doesn't seem close to returning to the lineup. He's worthy of an IR spot. I recently grabbed him in a league in which someone didn't think so and dropped him. Tanner Pearson is not someone I want to own, but I'll play him in daily. He has two goals and five points in his last five games; 22 shots in his last six. He typically plays with Jeff Carter who has 20 goals on the year.
Matt Murray's lower-body injury couldn't have come at a better time, as the Penguins are on a 'bye week' and have seven days off. They won't play until Sunday January 8th. Murray could only miss a couple more games due to the break in action. Otherwise Marc-Andre Fleury owners will get a few more starts.
Not an injury, but goalie news as Jaroslav Halak has gone from having his name on stop signs in Montreal to waivers, to an AHL demotion. Halak has six wins, a 3.23 goals against average and a .904 save percentage on the season. Thomas Greiss has won his last three starts and has allowed two or fewer in all three of them. He turned aside 48 of 50 shots in Boston last week. The Islanders give up a ton of shots and a ton of quality scoring chances, which makes him a risky play; but the saves and counting stats should pile up, which is good in certain formats. Add him if you need a goalie.
Kari Lehtonen has won three straight games and turned aside all 18 shots after Antti Niemi was pulled in Dallas' last game. It's not a fantastic add, but you could do worse. I'd rather have Mike Condon, knowing Craig Anderson is out indefinitely.
Troy Brouwer (broken finger) is listed as week-to-week after surgery and Taylor Hall (lower-body) is expected back in the lineup Tuesday against the Hurricanes.
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: Trending Up
Seth Jones - Yes, another Blue Jacket trending up. The entire team is trending that way and they have been for 15 games, as they extended their win streak by beating the Wild Saturday, ending a 12 game run of their own. Jones has 10 points in his last 15 games and at least a shot on goal in 14 straight.
Brandon Dubinsky - Columbus leads the NHL with a 3.46 goals per game mark, and if you're missing out on that offense and want a piece, Dubinksy is your best bet. He's fourth among Blue Jackets' forwards in ice time per game and has been producing lately, most likely because he's been playing with Cam Atkinson, who ranks inside the top 10 in scoring. Dubinsky is a solid stream and a great DFS value.
Mikael Granlund - First it was Charlie Coyle, then it was Eric Staal, and now, the next Wild center to run to the waiver wire and grab is Granlund. It's probably too late, because he's been on one hell of a run with four multi-point games in his last five to go along with at least a point in 10 of his last 12 games. Granlund, Coyle and Staal all rank inside the Top 50 players in standard leagues according to Yahoo! Sports. Add in Mikko Koivu and all four are a combined +63 on the season which has a lot to do with their rank.
Minnesota has a different feel this year. This scoring is new to their franchise and fans. The Wild have finished no better than 12th in goals per game since entering the league in 2000-01, finishing mostly in the bottom 10 (twice they finished dead last in goals per game). They've always had the goaltending, just never the offensive power. Well give Bruce Boudreau some credit as he's let his boys go. Minnesota's 3.11 goals per game is the fourth highest mark in the NHL and they are 16th in shots per game.
Koivu, Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter are all under 50 percent owned in leagues as well and are all affordable in DFS.
Chris Kreider - Kreider has seven goals in his last six games, including a hat trick his last time out. He has 20 shots in his last four games! Safe to say he's feeling it with Stepan and Mats Zuccarello. The trio have combined for 27 points in their last six games.
Anthony Mantha - Mantha put on quite a show during the Centennial Classic Sunday. His Red Wings lost 5-4 in overtime. but he scored twice and added an assist, giving him points in six straight games. He has 17 shots on goal over his last four and is playing heavy minutes. Detroit can't score and he can so expect the minutes to continue.
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: Trending Down
Anze Kopitar - He's a better real life player than a Fantasy Hockey player and really struggling this year with three goals and 16 points in 32 games. He missed some time with an injury, and maybe he's still bothered by it because he only has one goal in his last 27 games. It's hard to cut Kopitar but I don't want him on any of my teams.
Jake Muzzin - I have no problem dropping Muzzin who has eight points on the season. He provides value in leagues with hits and blocks, but L.A. can't score.
Conor Sheary - He doesn't belong in the trending down section, but he's getting dropped. He has points in three straight and four of five while playing with Crosby. If it's because the Penguins only play once this week then you must be hard up for talent. If you see him on the wire pick him up.
Fantasy Hockey Week 12 Preview: 4-Game Streams
Mark Letestu - Letestu has one fewer point and one fewer power play point than Connor McDavid over the last month. Letestu has 11 fewer shots, but it's his hits and blocks that gives him a better monthly ranking. Nobody is telling you to drop McDavid, but recognize that Letestu is involved. He plays on the PP and PK and gets a lot of ice time. He's worthy of a stream or contrarian DFS play.
Spooner and Vatrano. See above.
Alexander Edler - He's back and has two points in three games. He also picked up nine hits and nine blocks. He does a bit of everything.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Four points and seven shots in three games since returning from injury. He's led all Lightning forwards in ice time per game over the last three with a 21:06 mark. He's also on a line with Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. I'd keep Palat on my roster for more than Week 12.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils can't score goals. A back-to-back later in the week with the Leafs and Oilers could be worth a stream. In order: Michael Cammalleri, Kyle Palmieri, Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac. P.A. Parenteau gets chances when he plays.
Entire Squad. Aho and Teuvo. See above.
Viktor Arvidsson - Not much else to say about this guy. He's solid and has appeared in just about every weekly article. He has 116 shots on goal (14th among FWDS), 10 goals on the season now and plays big minutes with big time players.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dubinksy. See above.
Vinnie Hinostroza - has three goals and five points in his last seven games. He's seen his ice time jump from 10 minutes a game to 15, and played 17 in the Hawks' last game. Hinostroza has 15 shots on goal in his last four games while playing with Jonathan Toews. Cheap, cheap, cheap!
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