Fantasy Hockey Week 18 Preview:
What did we learn from Week 17? Well, seven teams were on bye and six of them lost bringing the ‘team coming off a bye week’ record to 4-12-4 with a -29 goal differential. Not only is it frustrating to lose one of your best players for the majority of the week, but to have them not even show up when they return makes it worse. There are nine more teams on bye this week (BUF, DET, CBJ, SJS, VAN, DAL, MIN, STL & WIN) and then the Anaheim Ducks will have a few days off starting this Sunday. Then that’s it for the bye weeks! Then it’s back to normal in terms of games played per week for teams as we move closer and closer to Fantasy playoffs.
Detroit, Minnesota, Vancouver, Winnipeg and San Jose only play once this week. All Canucks and Red Wings not named Henrik Zetterberg and Anthony Mantha can be dropped if in need of wins to make the playoffs. Others in desperation mode may drop Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Mikko Koivu or Jason Zucker. All four are solid adds. Maybe wait on Zuker.
When mentioning the Winnipeg Jets two things come to mind. Well, three or four. Mark Sheifele is a star. Dustin Byfuglien is a Fantasy Hockey stud. Jacob Trouba can be dropped in Fantasy leagues and Mathieu Perreault is a sneaky add. Let’s start with Trouba as the NHL handed down a two-game suspension for the hit to the head of Mark Stone during Sunday’s win in Ottawa. Winnipeg enters its bye after Tuesday’s game in Toronto and they don’t play again until February 28th, leaving Trouba sidelined until March 3rd. Eleven days is a long time to wait around for a defenseman to come back.
As for Perreault. Well, he’s found himself playing alongside stars in Sheifele and Patrik Laine. Perreault not only has two goals and two assists in his last three games, he has the skill to keep up with those two. The C/LW has seen his ice time go from 8-10 minutes a game to 14-15, and now 17-19 a game. He has 10 shots in his last four and 13 hits in his last two games. The grit is something he’s always shown. I’d have him on my radar if I was sitting near the top of Fantasy leagues. In fact, he’s on one of my teams already and he’ll be an add when the Jets return from their bye week.
Last week I wrote about how the return of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov would balance out the Panthers. Well they’ve won five straight and eight of their last nine. They are coming off wins in Nashville, San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles and St. Louis. They are four points back of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Barkov has five goals and eight points in seven games since returning from injury and Huberdeau has four goals and eight points in seven games since returning from his injury. It’s not only those two getting it done; Jussi Jokinen headlines again this week after scoring four goals and picking up two assists in his last six games.
It’s a trickle down effect. The second line players who were getting top line minutes against top pairings now get a break against lesser opponents. Believe it or not, it’s a thing.
Week 17 Fantasy Hockey Injury Notes:
Oh boy, the Ottawa Senators took a hit over the weekend.
Bobby Ryan (finger) – Ryan is sidelined 3-6 weeks in what looks like another break. His fourth in the last three years.
Mark Stone (head) – Stone is getting checked out for another concussion. Early reports are that he did not suffer a concussion when taking an elbow to the head Sunday from Trouba.
Mike Hoffman (lower-body) – Hoffman only played a handful of minutes Sunday and did not return for the second or third period. He did, however, travel with the team on their upcoming four game road trip with starts Tuesday in New Jersey.
Now on to Pittsburgh.
Justin Schultz (concussion) – Schultz suffered the injury Thursday and has missed the last two games. Has no timetable for his return and his teammate, Olli Maatta (broken hand), also suffered an injury Thursday that will keep him sidelined for six weeks.
That brings me to Trevor Daley. Although he has gone pointless in six of his last seven games, he’s about to get a ton of ice time. He played 20 minutes in his last game and 25 on Thursday. If anything happens to Kris Letang, he’ll be a must add.
Matt Dumba (lower-body) – Dumba could return Tuesday against the Blackhawks. He’s missed the last four games and if it’s five straight, he won’t return until at least the 27th, after Minnesota’s bye. He’s hard to hang on to after Tuesday if you haven’t already made the drop.
Week 18 Fantasy Hockey Trends:
Patrick Maroon – We’ve been down this road before. You all dropped Maroon last week after a cold stretch and all he did was pick up two goals, two assists, 14 shots, 10 hits and seven penalty minutes during Week 17. Just keep him on your roster. He’s been playing with Connor McDavid for weeks now.
Jaromir Jagr – Jagr just turned 45 and has points in five of his last six games. He’s back producing with the kids we talked about earlier.
Johnny Boychuk – He’s one of six defensemen to have at least 100 shots, hits and blocks. If you are playing in leagues with the blocks and hits he’s a must. He plays big time minutes and is producing right now with six points in his last eight games.
Calle Jarnkrok – The Predators play four games this week. Jarnkrok has four goals and six points in his last six games. Looking even further back, he has six goals and 10 points in his last 11 games. Viktor Arvidsson is the better add, but he should be owned already.
Richard Panik – Panik won’t continue this pace (four goals and seven points in his last five games), but he makes for a decent DFS play while he continues to play with Jonathan Toews. Panik has 12 shots in his last three games. The Hawks’ play Arizona this week.
Brandon Dubinksy – I know, again with this guy. People still don’t want to buy in. In straight points leagues I get it, but even still, if someone drops him this week because of the bye, grab him. In leagues with hits and faceoffs you are missing out. He has 11 points over the last three weeks as well.
Andrew Ladd – After ripping him all year, I finally have something nice to say about him. He’s scoring goals! He has 16 on the year and four in his last three games. On top of that he’s putting pucks on net and registering hits. He’ll provide a boost in leagues with those categories and a boost to his game since Doug Weight took over.
Michael Cammalleri – For two straight games he’s been a healthy scratch. Go ahead and drop him.