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Fantasy Hockey Gauntlet - Week Four: Michael Raffl, Nikita Kucherov, Kris Versteeg

Troy Langefeld runs the fantasy hockey gauntlet for week four of the NHL season!

Kucherov is lighting it up in sunny Florida - Photo Credit
Kucherov is lighting it up in sunny Florida - Photo Credit
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed out on the early entries into my weekly series, you can find it all right here: Fake Teams Fantasy Hockey. A quick recap of last week's article: Last week was the ultimate hit or miss week. I hit it big with three of my picks last week and had four do terribly. Another one got injured and only one produced what could be considered an average output.

Lets start with the good. Tyler Johnson rewarded us with a six assist effort last week including a four point game on the Tuesday. I hope he was in your lineup. Wingels had a good all around line with a few points, a plus rating, powerplay points, penalty minutes, and a decent amount of shots. Nothing was crazy, but he helped you in every category and had a point in every game which is a major bonus. The real winner was John Gibson though who looked terrific in the two games he played. He was even going to get a third game until he injured himself in warmups. Its being reported as a lower body injury right now and there is no news as to when he might return. Hopefully it's not serious as he looks like the guy to own in the Duck's crease right now.

And now for the bad: Andrew Shaw did absolutely nothing to help you last week. Just as I denounce Brad Richards and swing with Shaw, the Blackhawks move Richards back to the second line and Shaw to the fourth line. I don't know what to tell you here now. Grab one of both and hope they make up their mind? Stay away from either? Choose your poison, there's major upside for whichever one sticks.Nick Leddy and Adam Henrique didn't impress either and didn't take the shots needed to add value. Antti Raanta was a complete surprise as he didn't receive a single start. Instead Scott Darling got the first two starts before Corey Crawford returned and played both halves of the back to back over the weekend. Everything involved in that situation surprised me, but Crawford should be a workhorse from now on, barring any injuries, so it's a moot point going forward. Jared Spurgeon was placed on injured reserve, so I won't pass judgement on his play through the week and my trade target in Mike Smith continued to play poorly. I still think he's a target and the cost it'll take to get him keeps on dropping, but I have to wonder now how long this poor streak will continue. We're now in November and if he doesn't fix it soon, I'll be firmly on the avoid list. I still do think he'll be fine though. Chris Stewart didn't do a ton, but I didn't expect him to. He basically did exactly what I expected and the penalty minutes were a nice bonus. Keep waiting to see if he gets traded.

It might now be the time to start reviewing the two Fake Teams hockey leagues. I didn't want to in the beginning as I wanted to let it settle in first and start seeing some results. At this point, we can start seeing who some of the more active managers are and who the teams to watch out for are. The snake draft league - This was Made in Kariya - is already seeing some major separation in the standings. The auction draft league - Don't Toews me bro! - is far tighter among the top 10, but the bottom two are really struggling. In both leagues I find myself in a playoff spot and fine with my current position. My offense could use a little bit of work in both leagues, but all in all I'm happy with the teams. So far, I've gone 2-2-1 in week one, 5-0-1 in week two (took over another team from an inept manager), and 5-1-0 in week three. I find myself in 6th/10, 1st/8, tied for 4th/12, 4th/12, 3rd/12, and 4th/10 and I'm in a playoff spot in all but the first one (which happens to be my home league and the most important of them all), but I'm only six points out of that playoff spot. In the two season long points leagues I'm in, I'm sitting tied for 7th/14 and 4th/12. So far so good this year, we'll see how the rest plays out!

Week Four (November 3-9):

4 Game Week: Detroit, Edmonton, New York Rangers, Ottawa, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver
2 Game Week: Boston
All other teams at 3 games

You should go and get NHL Center Ice (if you haven't already done so) to properly enjoy the season's slate of games; trust me - it's worth the money.

Waiver Pickups:

Jiri Tlusty - LW - CAR (11% owned): I don't want to repeat myself too often, but Tlusty is still far too widely available. I mentioned him back in week one and he has done absolutely everything we have asked from him, so why is he only up 2% in ownership since then? Yes he plays for Carolina and yes they are terrible but Eric Staal is back from injury and Alexander Semin has been a healthy scratch meaning that Jeff Skinner has joined Staal and Tlusty on the top line. Finally they combined Staal and Skinner and you can have the third player for nothing. His seven points in the past nine games will speak for itself.

Contributes in goals and powerplay points
Can hurt you in plus/minus and penalty minutes

Michael Raffl - LW - PHI (7%): Raffl has been promoted to the first line with Claude Giroux and Jacub Voracek and has responded with four goals and fourteen shots in the last four games. He's worth an add while he's on this line and a play as long as he stays hot.

Contributes in goals, shots
Can hurt you in assists, powerplay points, and penalty minutes

Nikita Kucherov - LW/RW - TB (35%): The second line in Tampa Bay has been electric over the last two weeks and the Russian has nine points over that span. Playing with the aforementioned Tyler Johnson (eleven points over the same time span) and Ondrej Palat (five points), all of them have been phenomenal, but only Kucherov remains widely available. I don't expect this level of production to continue much longer and he's probably a borderline rosterable guy for the season, but I could be wrong and he's worth a look if you're in trouble.

Contributes in goals, assists, plus/minus, and shots
Can hurt you in penalty minutes and powerplay points

Mike Ribeiro - C - NSH (31%): Young Filip Forsberg is the one getting all the love in Nashville right now, but Ribeiro has been playing well anchoring the top line with the young Swede and James Neal. Center is quite deep and he remains a bubble option, but I expect him to be quite consistent if unspectacular for the remainder of the year. Quiet production if you will. His nine points in the last nine games will play and even nicer for it's consistency - only one game without a point in that span.

Contributes in assists
Can hurt you in goals, powerplay points, shots

Toby Enstrom - D - WPG (29%): Enstrom has long been a reliable and valuable commodity on the blue line for the Jets, but many expected Trouba to cut into his role significantly. That hasn't really panned out. Instead Enstrom has produced eight points in twelve games this season and has picked up right where he left off every year. He'll make a fine fourth defenseman on most teams so long as the Jets don't take away the opportunity that Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba have left open for him.

Contributes in assists and powerplay points
Can hurt you in goals, penalty minutes, and shots

Jiri Hudler - LW/RW - CGY (25%): Another top line player on a shitty team, have we forgotten his 54 points and a plus rating with the Flames last year? I wouldn't expect as many goals as last year, but he'll have sneaky value all year and has six points in the last five games.

Contributes in assists and powerplay points
Can hurt you in goals, penalty minutes, and shots

Radko Gudas - D - TB (21%): Gudas as a rookie contributed 22 points and 152 penalty minutes last year. I expected to see more opportunity with regards to points this year, but alas an injury and the addition of Jason Garrison has limited his potential there, even with Victor Hedman out. If nothing else, the penalty minutes should continue to be a boon for your team and he he's not absolutely terrible everywhere else - with the potential for more. A boderline number five defenseman right now, but worth a look if you need penalties and are in trouble o the blue line.

Contributes in penalty minutes
Can hurt you in goals, assists, powerplay points, and shots

Kris Versteeg - LW/RW - CHI (3%): Dare I suggest picking up another Blackhawk after they have shown that they are determined to mess with me? Versteeg is at least worth monitoring as he played on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa last game. He was even on the top powerplay unit with them. It looks as if coach Q is trying to shake things up and spread the scoring threats among his top three lines for a more balanced attack. That's what it looks like, but who knows what kind of games he's playing with me. Still, anyone on that line is worth owning, just be quick to drop him when Sharp comes back up to the top line.

Contributes in goals, assists, plus/minus, powerplay points, shots
Can hurt you in penalty minutes

Ben Scrivens - G - EDM (45%): I'm hesitant here as well. The Oilers have a penchant for letting their goalkeeper's get bombarded with shots. That said, Scrivens has been remarkably good the last two weeks and if nothing else will at least give you volume stats as he has won the starting job and plays quite frequently. Be careful with him still, but it's not so crazy to think that maybe Edmonton is finally taking the next step (we've been saying that for years).

Taylor Hall - C/LW - EDM (99%): Hall was just placed on IR with a sprained MCL. He'll be out 2-4 weeks. This will make it easier to get him from a manager who doesn't understand the way IR works in fantasy or who is scared of injuries. Make a play for him. He still won't be cheap, but this is a great player that will be a difference maker later for you. See if you can get him for 80 cents on the dollar.

Anze Kopitar - C - LA (99%): Kopitar has been terrible to start the season and it's really been the 70's line that's carried the Kings so far. With Marian Gaborik returning from injury late last week, look for him to break out of his slump soon. I'd look to acquire him from an unsuspecting owner now for again maybe 80 cents on the dollar.

Hopefully there is enough here to help you through the week, but if not, here is a preview towards next week.

Week Five (November 10-16) Preview:

4 Game Week: Arizona, Boston, Carolina, Dallas, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, San Jose, Winnipeg
2 Game Week: Detroit, Philadelphia, Vancouver
All other teams at 3 games

My NHL Schedule:

The NHL Schedule has not been revised for anything since last week but can be found here: 2014-15 NHL Schedule . Don't forget to change the time zone to your appropriate time zone. The one thing I ask of you is that you do not take my schedule and use it for your own personal gains. Please do not sell it, you can direct people here to find it, but do not sell it.

I'm new to the twitterverse, but I'd love to hear your feedback and questions. Follow me on Twitter @HockeyGauntlet for more of my thoughts and all of your fantasy hockey needs.