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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

On the 'D'-fence: Fowler finally rewarding owners

Wednesday, 12.11.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

The Anaheim Ducks are cruising along with the second-best record in the Western Conference. Their 21-7-5 mark is actually good for second in the overall NHL standings as well. That is great news for the franchise, but their success has also paid huge dividends for fantasy owners.

Our Matt Cubeta took a look at their dynamic group of forwards in his "The Front Line" column on Tuesday and today we'll be talking a lot about one of their talented young defenseman who seems primed for a big step forward after a couple of down years: Cam Fowler.

Fowler burst onto the scene during the 2010-11 season after being selected with the 12th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. He made the lineup out of camp and went on to put up 40 points (10 goals) over 76 games. His plus-minus was an unpalatable minus-25, but for the most part he was a must-own defenseman that season, putting up 123 shots on goal and 20 penalty minutes. He also notched three game-winning goals.

The Front Line: Getzlaf powering Ducks' fantasy surge

Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

While the Pittsburgh Penguins forwards have hogged the fantasy headlines this season (and deservedly so, as Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin make up three of the top four fantasy forwards in Yahoo leagues), the Anaheim Ducks' duo of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf deserve some credit as well.

Last week I explained how it's the Penguins with the best fantasy quartet of forwards in the League (James Neal being the fourth player), but the Ducks could rival almost any other team for the most productive group of fantasy forwards. Some of their players are a bit more under-the-radar. Perry and Getzlaf certainly are household names by now, but Dustin Penner, Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano have found their fantasy niches this season.

Let's start with Getzlaf, who is in the middle of an NHL-best 14-game point-scoring streak (officially it's scored as a 12-game streak because Getzlaf missed three games in the middle of it due to injury from Nov. 9-14; see table to the right).

Getzlaf currently is the No. 7 player in Yahoo leagues and his 37 points this season trail only Crosby (43) and Malkin (38). If Getzlaf hadn't missed three games it's safe to say only Crosby would be ahead of him in the scoring race. The 6-foot-4 center has a plus-14 rating and 11 power-play points, but we've come to expect these kinds of numbers from him. Only once has Getzlaf finished a season with a minus rating and he's recorded a plus-13 or better in four of his eight seasons (excluding this season). He's also had 24 or more power-play points in six of them.

Fantasy All-Access: Filling in for injured stars

Matt Sitkoff - Contributor

Injuries have plagued the fantasy world lately and some of the biggest names currently are out of action.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, but could return to the lineup Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, is expected to miss the next 4-5 weeks with a strained groin, and the Detroit Red Wings are without Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and Henrik Zetterberg (back).

Recent additions to the list of injured players has been Philadelphia Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier (back), Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (lower body), Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body) and Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak (oblique).

What does this mean for your team? If you are dealing with these injuries, look for the players featured below in our waiver-wire watch to step up.

In the Cage: Lundqvist's extension, rookies on rise

Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 12:09 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

Whether it was adjusting to smaller leg pads, acclimating to a new defensive system, or just trying to stay focused amidst ongoing contract negotiations, it has been a cumbersome first quarter of the season for New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

As a result, Lundqvist has experienced an unceremonious “first” in his eight-year NHL career: a losing record in back-to-back months. He went 3-5-0 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in October, and then 5-6-0 with a 2.27 GAA and .924 save percentage in November.

That culminated with him riding the pine in consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 5-7, 2011.

Regardless, Lundqvist’s elite skills and overall consistency merited an extension that will make him the highest-paid goalie when his brand new seven-year, $59.5 million contract kicks in next season.

Knowing that Lundqvist’s workload will likely result in another 30-win campaign, expect his fantasy value to rise as the season continues. This is historically his weakest month in terms of save percentage (.913), but over his entire career, Lundqvist has a .921 save percentage in both January and March, a .924 mark in February, and a .928 mark in April.

On the 'D'-fence: Where to find power-play points

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, Correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy defensemen in our weekly segment: "On the 'D'-fence." From updated defensemen rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Metzer will be your fantasy d-man insider all season long.

Fantasy hockey shouldn't be complicated.

At the end of the day you want to discover and roster the players that will score and set up the most goals, and in some hockey pools that is all you need. Like the game that is actually played on the ice, if you score more than the other team you are going to win, but it isn't always that simple in leagues that track stats above and beyond those counting by standard scoring.

We are all guilty of dumbing the game down to goals and assists at times, while we neglect categories like hits, blocked shots or the one we'll discuss today, power-play points. Power-play points can be tough to come by, and that stems from the fact most teams only have five to eight players that log significant ice time with the extra man.

The Front Line: Malkin, Penguins forwards excelling

Tuesday, 12.03.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, fantasy hockey expert Matt Cubeta will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy forwards in his weekly segment: "The Front Line." From updated rankings to players you should keep a close eye on and much more, Cubeta will be your fantasy forwards insider all season long.

And just like that, Evgeni Malkin is back. How did it happen so quickly? The Pittsburgh Penguins forward went from outside the top 50 fantasy players in Yahoo leagues to the No. 4 overall player in less than two weeks.

After earning the week's No. 1 star, Malkin made his fantasy owners completely forget about his sluggish start when he had just three goals and 10 points in 13 October games. Thanks to an incredible November that saw him post four goals and 25 points in 15 games, Malkin's 35 points on the season trail only his teammate, Sidney Crosby, and by just one.

But for fantasy owners, Malkin has been even more valuable. His 15 power-play points are tied for the NHL lead with Alex Ovechkin; he is tied for ninth in the NHL with 13 minor penalties (good for 26 penalty minutes); and he has a plus-1 rating and 80 shots on goal which have certainly helped. He's been a completely dominant fantasy player, and most of this incredible production has come in the month of November. He would likely be the No. 1 player if not for his slow start.

Fantasy All-Access: A November to remember

Matt Sitkoff - Contributor

The second month of the fantasy season is over and some of the big names in the NHL reclaimed their spots at the top.

Evgeni Malkin
Center - PIT
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 28 | PTS: 35
SOG: 80 | +/-: 1
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had only 10 points in 13 games played in October, but followed that up with 25 points in 15 games played to lead all scorers in November.

The Chicago Blackhawks embarked on their Circus Trip to end the month and Patrick Kane, the reigning Conn Smythe trophy winner, had a 12-game point-streak where he had eight goals and nine assists.

Finally, New York Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot burst on the scene with an NHL-leading 1.15 goals-against average and .956 save percentage for goalies with at least five November starts, and his two shutouts were tied for the most in the League in the 11th month of the year.

In the Cage: Red Wings' Gustavsson stepping up

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

During the season, Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy goaltenders in's weekly segment: "In the Cage." From updated goalie rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Goldman will be your fantasy goalie expert all season long.

Still celebrating the holiday with family and friends? Then sit back and feast on our cornucopia of goalie stats before the weekend kicks off with the 2013 NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers (1 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN). More specifically, we take a look at shot-for percentages for a couple of goalies that are seeing a rise in their fantasy value.

Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is currently stuffing opponents at a high rate. Not only is he taking advantage of some inconsistent play from Jimmy Howard, but after stealing a few wins, he’s now benefitting from more offensive support.

On the 'D'-fence: Thankful for a defensive fantasy feast

Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, Correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy defensemen in our weekly segment: "On the 'D'-fence." From updated defensemen rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Metzer will be your fantasy d-man insider all season long.

We are one day away from the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, which provides the nation a chance to reflect on all of the things for which they are thankful.

While appreciating our health, prosperity, friends and family is at the heart of the day, we also see large gatherings in which everyone brings something to the table to aid in the celebration.

Today the defensemen of the National Hockey League come together to give you a fantasy feast!

This feast my not provide turkey legs, sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce, but the boys have covered dishes full of goals, assists, shots on goal and all of the other statistics you need to win your league.

The Front Line: Giving thanks in fantasy hockey

Tuesday, 11.26.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

To say we should be thankful for the play of Alexander Steen is an understatement. After all, on average he was selected with the 163rd pick in Yahoo leagues during draft season and right now he's ranked fifth among all players. I mean, the guy's second in points (29), is second in goals (19) and is tied for second among forwards with a plus-15 rating. This coming from a player that I ranked 154th coming into the season.

Steen is the obvious forward to be most thankful for this season. But what about the rest of the bunch? So, in honor of Thanksgiving, from the forwards that have performed as expected to the guys that have surprised everyone, let's have a look at what fantasy owners should be thankful for at this point of the season.

Bryan Little, Winnipeg Jets -- For being one of the most complete fantasy players in the game. I ranked Little 192nd among all players at the start of the season and right now he's 40th in Yahoo leagues. Only three players in the NHL have more than 10 goals, 10 assists, 20 penalty minutes and a plus rating: Corey Perry (no surprise), David Backes (not a huge surprise) and, you guessed it, Bryan Little.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins -- For not missing any games this season. To no one's surprise, Crosby is my No. 1 overall fantasy player right now, and as long as he can stay healthy, he should remain there.

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