I have some great sleepers and advice for this week, so let's get right to it:
Roman Josi, D (Owned in 6% of Yahoo Leagues) – Roman Josi was one of my fantasy sleepers heading into this season, and I made sure that I picked him up in the last round of all of my drafts thinking I would have the steal of the year on my roster. Thus far into the season, that hasn’t happened as Josi got hurt and only returned about a week ago. The reason I’m telling you about him now is that he has once again regained his spot alongside Shea Weber on both the first powerplay unit and the first defense pairing. His value is low now but is due to explode soon, so grab Josi in all league formats. Now, do it now!
Cam Atkinson, RW (Owned in 9% of Yahoo Leagues) – One of the most unheralded players in the league, Atkinson is perhaps Columbus’ best player right now. Columbus does not have much in the way of offensive talent, but Atkinson plays on a fairly productive line with Ryan Johansen and Brandon Dubinsky and sees time on the powerplay. Atkinson currently only has 8 points on the season thus far, but is primarily bugged by an on-ice shooting% of 3.64 at 5 on 5 and an individual shooting% of 5.6 at 5 on 5 despite great possession metrics. In other words, if all holds true, Atkinson should begin to produce in the near future and is a good option in deeper leagues for some production.
Valeri Nichushkin, RW (Owned in 6% of Yahoo Leagues) – Every week I try to profile players who are poised to break out, either because they are in good positions to succeed and because of their inherent skill level. Nichushkin is profiled this week because he is both skilled and in a prime position on a dynamite offense. Nichushkin plays with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn on the first line, both at 5 on 5 and on the powerplay. Moreover, Nichushkin, the 10th overall pick of the 2013 entry draft, has loads of skill and amazing possession metrics. He is poised to break out soon immediately, and is most likely going to be see his ownership increase in the coming weeks, so grab him now and thank me later.
Cam Fowler, D (Owned in 43% of Yahoo Leagues) – I’ve had high hopes for Cam Fowler ever since that fantastic rookie year during the 2010-2011 season, and have been disappointed each year since. This year, however, seems like 2010 all over again. Fowler is producing at roughly the same clip he was then, and already has more points this year (11) than he did last year, in 5 fewer games. He is controlling the Ducks PP and is currently ranked 13th by Yahoo’s player rater over the last 14 days. He’s worth an add in all formats, so if you need a defenseman he is one of your best bets.
BUY RIGHT NOW
Max Pacioretty – Max Pacioretty hasn’t been the healthiest individual for fantasy owners, but his production this year is not indicative of his general skillset. He has four points in 12 games this year and has been uncharacteristically dormant for owners this year/ Pacioretty has been snake bit so far this season to say the least, and has an individual shooting percentage of 0 (yes, meaning nothing) so far this season at even strength. The good news is that Pacioretty’s Corsi Relative number is good, meaning that he is still driving play for the Habs and that he is just going through a very unlucky streak right now. He is the best possible case for a bounce back in the coming weeks, and his value is probably the lowest it will be all season. If you can buy low on him now, do so. If you own him, hold on unless you get a fair deal. Treat his value as you would have at the beginning of the season and do not overact to his poor performance thus far. You will be happy you did.
Patrick Sharp – Another player affected by puck luck, Sharp has an even strength shooting percentage of 8, which is normal, but suffering miserably on the powerplay with a shooting% of 4.76 (four year average is about 13.45% on the powerplay), and thus sees his overall shooting% go down to 6.6. As absurd as this may sound, this is fantastic news for Sharp owners. Powerplays are always geared to offensive production, and a drought in this area will generally correct itself as the year progresses. Hold onto Sharp for right now and watch his production increase as the year goes on.
· Rick Nash is back sometime this week. To those Nash owners out there this is welcomed news. Nash should see all of his normal minutes and be counted on to shoulder a large portion of the Rangers offense, so those who were able to tread water should get an immediate boost in your league.
· Matt Duchene is out for the next week, so adjust accordingly if he’s on your roster.
· Ben Scrivens has two shutouts in a row! Always worth picking up a goalie who has one of the best defensive systems in hockey ahead of him. He is a great add until Quick comes back from injury.
· Tyler Toffoli update from last week. He has 8 points in 7 games this season, but lost time on the powerplay last game. He is worth an add in deep leagues due to his production thus far, but keep in mind that this fast start won’t last forever. He definitely benefits from playing a top 6 role on one of the league’s best offensive teams but temper your expectations. He is a solid secondary scoring and should be treated as such.
· Just general fantasy advice here, but do not overact to early season results. Slow starts are common in all sports, and the best course of action is often to find impatient owners and pounce on players who will rebound. Stay the course, do not overact to cold streaks, and do not trade anyone unless you are sure you are winning the deal. Ask me if you need any help on trades, I’m more than happy to try to get you to the top of your league.
· All of the stats I produce from this article come from either stats.hockeyanalysis.com, behindthenet.ca, and extraskater.com. They are all fantastic sites and I recommend you go and check out each one, just as either a casual fan or for your fantasy hockey needs.
If you have any questions or need any help, ask below. Good luck this week!