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Fantasy Hockey: Breakaways and Benders

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Mikael Backlund is taking advantage of the top line minutes.

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

In this weekly piece I will provide 5 players below 50% owned who should be looked into owning (Breakaways) and 5 players above 50% owned who are struggling (Benders). This doesn't mean you should drop the Benders but maybe they can ride the pine for a week to get their head back in the game. Generally, I am very skittish about dropping anyone above 90% owned unless they have shown 2+ months of really bad play. My rationale for the selections includes some looking through the box scores but a majority of it is with the eye test, watching the games.

5 Breakaways:

Mikael Backlund (C, Cgy) 10% owned. I showed serious praise to him in the article last week but he's now the head honcho for them. He will continue to see a rise in all stats while up there.

Sam Bennett (C,LW, Cgy) 17% owned. Every few weeks I'll throw Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart into here as I think they are both on the cusp of breakout seasons.

Anthony Mantha (RW, Det) 4% owned. Now on the Red Wings top line, Anthony has 3 in his last 9 games and is not shy about firing shots on net with the 20th most shots taken over the last two weeks.

Insert Buffalo Player under 50%. Jack Eickel's return to the lineup means everyone should see a boost as he draws more eyes on him and creates more plays for his team.

Richard Rakell (LW, Ana) 37% owned. There was a time when being part of the Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry line was as good as it gets. Not so much anymore but maybe Rickard is trying to change that.  He has 5 goals in 7 games.

5 Benders:

John Klingberg (D, Dal) 92% owned. He's averaging a point every other game which is ok for a defensemen but nowhere near what I was hoping from him at the start of the season. His shots are down, quality looks are down and I have to wonder if last year was a one year wonder.

Patrick Sharp (LW, Dal) 78% owned. Piling on the Stars here I maintain they overachieved last year but are almost in an equally unbelievable drought right now. Patrick should not be 78% owned with 1 goal and a -5 in the last 2 weeks of games.

Bobby Ryan (RW, Ott) 53% owned. Slow start + injury + tough week fro Senators, I'm sitting Bobby next week.

Joe Thornton (C, SJ) 88% owned. He looks sluggish and a bit behind on his play this year. I can't tell if father time has struck him, he's still reeling from last years playoffs or if it's just a slump. Either way, I'm inclined to sit him.

Justin Faulk (D, Car) 83% owned. Just 1 point in his last 9 games to go with a  -3. Until he shows something, he's riding the pine or maybe the waiver wire.