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Weber, Chara and Lidstrom lead the way for D-men

2011-12 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen Rankings

Thursday, 09.01.2011 / 12:01 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

By Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Weber, Chara and Lidstrom lead the way for D-men
NHL.com's Matt Cubeta ranks the top defensemen for the 2011-12 fantasy hockey season.
NHL.com started their fantasy hockey rankings with centers on Monday, Aug. 29 and will release rankings for each position by day, finishing with goalie rankings on Friday, Sept. 2. We will release the top-175 overall fantasy hockey rankings on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Positions are based on where we project these players to start the season -- they may change when the season begins. Regardless of what kind of league you're in, NHL.com has you covered for fantasy hockey all year long.

There's no doubt people will question Shea Weber being our top fantasy blueliner. Truth is, there are a few players that could hold down the top spot, but we believe Weber possesses the most upside -- and his track record suggests just that.

With the exception of an injury-plagued season in 2007-08, Weber has recorded at least 16 goals in every full season since arriving in the NHL in 2005, with a career-best 23 in '08-09. Take into account that only four other defensemen (Dustin Byfuglien, Lubomir Visnovsky, Brent Burns and Nicklas Lidstrom) scored more than 16 goals last season and you're staring at one consistent, high-scoring blueliner. Also remember that Weber is solid in the plus/minus category, takes tons of shots and has a knack for playing a very physical game, which leads to a healthy amount of penalty minutes. Altogether, this makes Weber the most well-rounded fantasy defenseman and our No. 1 guy.

It's always difficult to know when to select your first defenseman in a fantasy draft, but remember: they simply won't outproduce many forwards. Visnovsky led all blueliners with 68 points last season, but 27 forwards finished with more points than that. Furthermore, only three d-men ranked among the top 75 NHL players in points (Visnovsky, Lidstrom and Keith Yandle). While it's important to have a clear-cut No. 1 defenseman on your squad, don't go off the board and select one too early -- you're guaranteed to regret it.

You could make up ground later in the draft by selecting youngsters who could potentially break out this season. Guys like Alex Pietrangelo, John Carlson, Cam Fowler and Ryan Ellis all have tons of potential and could impact your fantasy team in a big way.

Let the games begin: Fantasy league formats and strategies

Top 175 | Top 50 Breakdown | Centers | Left Wings | Right Wings | Goalies

Rank
Team
Player
1. Shea Weber
2. Zdeno Chara
3. Nicklas Lidstrom
4. Drew Doughty
5. Dan Boyle
6. Lubomir Visnovsky
7. Dustin Byfuglien
8. Mike Green
9. P.K. Subban
10. Keith Yandle
11. Kris Letang
12. Brent Burns
13. Duncan Keith
14. Christian Ehrhoff
15. Alex Goligoski
16. Dion Phaneuf
17. James Wisniewski
18. Alexander Edler
19. Mark Streit
20. Alex Pietrangelo
21. Brent Seabrook
22. Tobias Enstrom
23. Erik Karlsson
24. Kevin Shattenkirk
25. Andrei Markov
26. John-Michael Liles
27. John Carlson
28. Tyler Myers
29. Sergei Gonchar
30. Chris Pronger
Rank
Team
Player
31. Ryan Whitney
32. Mark Giordano
33. Joe Corvo
34. Tomas Kaberle
35. Jack Johnson
36. Sheldon Souray
37. Erik Johnson
38. Niklas Kronwall
39. Ryan Suter
40. Kimmo Timonen
41. Kevin Bieksa
42. Dennis Seidenberg
43. Stephane Robidas
44. Brian Campbell
45. Cam Fowler
46. Matt Carle
47. Anton Babchuk
48. Ryan Ellis
49. Marc Staal
50. Dennis Wideman
51. Andrej Meszaros
52. Joni Pitkanen
53. Marek Zidlicky
54. Ian White
55. Jordan Leopold
56. Travis Hamonic
57. Cody Franson
58. Michael Del Zotto
59. Kurtis Foster
60. Zach Bogosian


Just Missed: Jamie McBain, Dan Girardi, Jay Bouwmeester, Ed Jovanovski, Bryan McCabe, Victor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Andy Greene, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Erik Gudbranson


Contact Matt Cubeta at MCubeta@nhl.com


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