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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Fantasy defensemen: Sharks' Vlasic underrated

Wednesday, 01.20.2016 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

If you were asked to identify the top six scorers among defensemen during the past month, who would be on the list? It's certain there will be least one name that would be omitted and that is why that player is the topic of this week's column.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang leads defensemen with 16 points in 10 games between Dec. 20 and Jan. 20. The Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith is second with 14 points, and the San Jose Sharks' Brent Burns, the Arizona Coyotes' Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano are tied for third with 13 points apiece.

That list shouldn't be shocking as all of them were highly coveted assets in fantasy drafts. What might surprise is that the player who is sixth with 12 points was selected in three percent of Yahoo standard drafts, and when he was selected it didn't happen until on average the 14th round with the 165th pick.

That player is the Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Fantasy forwards: Second line elevating Capitals

Tuesday, 01.19.2016 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals have been elite-level fantasy staples throughout the past decade. Suddenly, they have company in their own town.

Ovechkin is second in the NHL in goals (27) and leads the League in shots on goal (222), while Backstrom is one of six players with a point per game or better this season (others: Patrick Kane, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Erik Karlsson, Johnny Gaudreau). No one should be surprised to see Ovechkin and Backstrom where they are in the fantasy rankings, but rarely have the Capitals had a second line as powerful as their current trio of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky.

Fantasy All-Access: Don't be shy to add Domingue

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Monday, NHL.com staff writer Sean McCullen identifies potential waiver-wire pickups and points out lineup moves and schedule impacts for fantasy hockey.

Rookie Louis Domingue's hot start since taking over as the No. 1 goalie because of injury and ineffectiveness in the Arizona Coyotes crease doesn't quite rival Andrew Hammond's record-setting run with the Ottawa Senators last season.

But he's been pretty darn good and certainly is worth a look from fantasy owners.

Domingue has not lost in regulation in 10 starts since being recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Dec. 11. Initially thought to be Anders Lindback's job after No. 1 goalie Mike Smith sustained an abdominal injury that required surgery and will keep him out until February, it didn't take coach Dave Tippett long to recognize Domingue gives the Coyotes a better chance to win.

Fantasy Friday: Kopitar, Crosby turning corner

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Early on in the season we talked a lot about typically strong-performing players struggling out of the gate. I even wrote a story back in October about players like Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings) and Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) who had gotten off to slow starts.

Now it's time to revisit that list and find out who's turned the corner since then.

Here's a look at players that were expected to be solid fantasy contributors but started the season poorly, and how they're doing now, just past the midway point of the 2015-16 season.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Allen out; Blues turn to Elliott

Thursday, 01.14.2016 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey staff writer David Satriano provides in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Satriano is your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.


Jake Allen was having an MVP-type season for the St. Louis Blues before he sustained a knee injury in the second period of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. He was 18-10-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and five shutouts, and clearly carrying the load.

But now Allen (86 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) is considered week-to-week with a knee injury, which means Brian Elliott, who has been with the Blues for five seasons and has seen his share of being a No. 1, a backup and in a timeshare, will get a bulk of the starts.

Fantasy top 60 'D': Predators, Stars lead in scoring

Wednesday, 01.13.2016 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Brian Metzer provides in-depth defenseman analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer is your go-to guy for fantasy D-men advice all season long.


Long time readers of this column already know it, but defensemen can make or break your fantasy season. You definitely need the right mix of forwards, but you are not going to win your league unless you have solid players to fill out your four starting defensemen slots in Yahoo Standard Leagues.

There have always been a handful of guys capable of putting up big numbers from the backend, but it seems the number grows by the season. To demonstrate that fact, I pulled some numbers from a column I wrote following the 2011-12 season.

The top-60 defensemen that made up my final rankings accounted for 454 goals and 1,575 assists, or an average of 7.56 goals, 26.25 assists and roughly 34 points.

Of that group, there were 17 who scored 10 or more goals and 21 who had 30 or more assists.

Through the halfway point of this season, the top 60 have accumulated 313 goals and 933 assists, or an average of 5.21 goals, 15.5 assists and roughly 21 points, putting them on pace to eclipse the 2011-12 totals by a nice margin.

It is also worth noting there are already 10 defensemen with eight or more goals, two of whom have 14 or more, and 18 defensemen with 25 or more points.

With all this said, I wanted to take time to look at some of the top scoring blue lines in the NHL this season: how they're built, how many defensemen they have used, who gets the power-play time and if they have any options available for you on the waiver wire.

Before we jump in, here are a couple notes about the overall list. There are 13 teams that have gotten 80 or more points from their blue line collectively. The next 11 teams on the list have gotten at least 61 points from their groups. The Nashville Predators lead the way with 104 points and the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils bring up the rear with just 51 points apiece from their defensemen.

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Positive regression trends

Tuesday, 01.12.2016 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen provides in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top-100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen is your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.


The midway point of the season is an appropriate time to evaluate abnormally high and low shooting percentages and see where regression to the mean can help predict fantasy value.

Although there can be exceptions, history provides a strong indication of shooting percentage trends. Last season, the shooting percentage leader among those with 200-plus shots on goal was Steven Stamkos (16 percent), with no other player above 14.3. Two seasons ago, two players eclipsed 16 percent: Joe Pavelski (18.2) and Chris Kunitz (16.1).

At the midway point of 2015-16, nine players are on pace for more than 200 SOG with shooting rates above 16 percent. Three of them (Pavelski, 19.4; Mike Hoffman, 18.3; Jamie Benn, 18.1) are upwards of 18 percent, difficult to sustain with a high SOG volume. Regardless, these are three of the most valuable League-wide, and thus heavily owned in fantasy leagues.

On the flip side, five of 53 forwards with 200 or more SOG (Jeff Skinner, Henrik Zetterberg, Jason Pominville, Patrick Sharp, Nathan Gerbe) finished with a shooting percentage of less than 8.0 percent last season. Two seasons ago, seven qualifying players finished below that threshold. At the halfway mark this season, 13 forwards are shooting under that mark. That's likely to change for the better, and fantasy owners would be wise to take advantage.

Here are a few of those forwards with steady SOG volumes who could benefit from a shooting percentage correction in the second half. Line situations only help these players' chances of seeing positive regression.

Fantasy All-Access: Predators becoming top targets

Sean McCullen - NHL.com Staff Writer

Every Monday, NHL.com staff writer Sean McCullen identifies potential waiver-wire pickups and points out lineup moves and schedule impacts for fantasy hockey.

Shortly after John Tortorella took over as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 21 it became clear that center Ryan Johansen soon would be playing elsewhere in the NHL.

The Blue Jackets on Wednesday traded Johansen, 23, to the Nashville Predators for 21-year-old defenseman Seth Jones.

The addition of Johansen in Nashville will have significant fantasy implications. In his first game with the Predators, at the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, Johansen started on the top line with left wing Colin Wilson and right wing James Neal. By the end of the game Filip Forsberg had replaced Wilson on the line. Forsberg, Johansen and Neal were a line Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes while Wilson was out because of a lower-body injury.

If Wilson (C/LW, 7 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) plays with Johansen when he returns, he's worth adding to help fill a hole created by an injury to a key player. Although he has four goals in 36 games this season, he did score a career-high 20 in 77 games in 2014-15.

NHL.com's midseason fantasy awards for 2015-16

NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff

We've just about reached the midway point of the 2015-16 NHL season (Jan. 9), so let's get to some midseason fantasy hockey awards.

Our NHL.com fantasy hockey staff of Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen, Brian Metzer, Sean McCullen and David Satriano have voted on 10 different categories, from overall and positional MVPs to surprises, disappointments, top rookies and second-half sleepers.

Top picks and runner-ups for each award have been chosen by each writer based on performance and category coverage in standard Yahoo leagues. Other factors that can influence close calls include Yahoo average draft position and dual eligibility.

NOTE: Picks have been made based on player performance during the first half of the 2015-16 season and not with further production in mind. The only exception is each writer's second-half sleeper pick.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Capitals' Holtby keeps rolling

Thursday, 01.07.2016 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey staff writer David Satriano provides in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Satriano is your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.


Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals is putting together a season that looks an awful lot like one we saw last season, one of the best ever statistically by a goaltender.

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price swept the NHL awards, winning the Hart, Vezina, Ted Lindsay and Jennings trophies, leading the League in wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933). This season, Holtby has 24 wins and an almost-identical 1.92 GAA and .932 save percentage.

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