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Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Fantasy All-Access: Making New Year's resolutions

Matt Sitkoff - Contributor

With a new year comes the promise of making things better. Making resolutions to go to the gym more or help out others are being said over and over again. Here are some NHL Fantasy New Year's Resolutions that will help owners see a better result in 2014.

It is time to quit on players that are not performing. One month of struggling has now turned to three months of not performing, and it is time to say goodbye to these players and move on in the new year. Some of these players to cut loose are New York Rangers forward Rick Nash, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz and Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

It's also time to take a risk in a trade and help your team while using strength to help out a weakness. Take a player who has been over-performing in 2013 and find a way to acquire a player who will strengthen an area of need in your ultimate goal of winning the championship. Players to target in trades are those on the trading block that could see their stock rise and goalies that are starting most of their teams' games.


Midseason top 200 fantasy hockey rankings insiders Matt Cubeta, Pete Jensen rank most valuable assets Fantasy Hockey Staff

The official midway point of the 2013-14 NHL season (Game No. 615 of 1230) falls on Jan. 2, but has your fantasy hockey needs covered just in time for the holiday season.

Below are updated top-200 overall player rankings, as determined by fantasy insiders Matt Cubeta and Pete Jensen. As we approach the League's three-day break from game action, fantasy owners should use these rankings as a basis for team evaluation and future transactions.

These rankings should be viewed as our experts' opinionated projections of the League's most valuable fantasy assets based on performance to this point and expectations of the season moving forward. Injured players have been included based on approximate recovery time and potential statistical impact upon their return. Other factors taken into account include Yahoo position eligibility, line combinations, category coverage, contract status and statistical performance from previous seasons.

NOTE: These rankings project value in standard fantasy hockey leagues, which include a 6x4 category scoring system: goals, assists, plus-minus, power-play points, shots on goal, penalty minutes, goalie wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.


In the Cage: Bishop establishing elite fantasy value

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

Every Thursday 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.

Ben Bishop
Goalie - TBL
RECORD: 18-5-2
GAA: 1.96 | SVP: 0.934
Before the season started, very few people expected Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop to be a venerable fantasy asset. In fact, on average, 38 goalies were drafted before he was eventually selected 171st overall in Yahoo Fantasy leagues.

Less than three months later, Bishop has established himself as one of the best goalies to own this season. Not only does he sit fourth overall in goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.934), and second in wins (18), but his three shutouts also ties him with six other goalies for first overall.


On the 'D'-fence: Familiar path for Stars' Gonchar

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - Correspondent

Many around the NHL raised an eyebrow when the Dallas Stars traded for the rights to defenseman Sergei Gonchar back on June 7 and signed him to a two-year, $10 million contract that would keep the veteran with the team through the 2014-15 season.

Though the move seemed a bit strange to some, it filled a need for the Stars, who were lacking a true quarterback for their power play. It also provided an opportunity for him to work with Alex Goligoski in much the same capacity that he had while the duo patrolled the blue line for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sounded like a nice plan until the season started and Gonchar produced just one point, an assist, over his first 15 games.

He has now played in 32 games for the Stars and finds himself with just 11 points, seven of which have come on the power play. That production isn't up to his standards, but those who have followed Gonchar's career closely are reacting with a wink and a nod as if they are in on a secret.


The Front Line: A look at the top 10 fantasy players

Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Matt Cubeta - Fantasy Insider

We see it every year. Early on in each season, there's plenty of shuffling among the top-10 fantasy rankings -- this goes for Yahoo league rankings and my rankings. I have to try and determine where I believe each player fits in with so few games accounted for. If a superstar gets off to a slow start (Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers), do I drop him significantly or leave him high in the ranks with expectations he will return to past seasons' form? If a player comes out of nowhere to perform at the level of a superstar (Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues), do I rank him among fantasy's elite?

These are the questions that are most difficult to answer during the first month of the season. However, we're nearly three months into the 2013-14 NHL season and trends have now turned into realities.

Giroux is no longer a roster detriment like he was in the first few weeks of the season, but he's still ranked 52nd in Yahoo leagues. That's certainly not what we expected and that's why he's ranked 26th in my latest set of top 100 forwards. Steen's hot streak has lasted all season and he's currently the 10th most valuable fantasy player in Yahoo leagues, leading him to earn a top-20 place in my ranks for how I expect him to perform from this point on.

We see cases like Giroux and Steen throughout the ranks, where players have earned their high ranking or have fallen significantly despite being an early draft pick back in September.

Throughout all this player shuffling, consistency has finally started to develop within my top-10 forward rankings.


Fantasy All-Access: The time for giving gifts

Matt Sitkoff - Contributor

This is the last All-Access until the New Year, so we decided to give our fantasy holiday gifts.

For owners of the top three players, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane, we give the gift of an iPad Air to watch all the amazing highlights they have been providing your fantasy team this season.

For Steven Stamkos owners we give the gift of an Elf on the Shelf to monitor his recovery and return back to the top of the fantasy charts.

Lastly, we give the gift of a carousel to all the goalies in the NHL as that symbolizes the state of fantasy hockey goalies at this point of the season.


In the Cage: Hurricanes face goaltending decision

Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - Correspondent

Every Thursday 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.

Over the past 10 days, Los Angeles Kings rookie Martin Jones has put on a goaltending clinic. The undrafted 23-year-old has four straight wins, including consecutive shutouts, and 111 saves on the first 114 shots of what looks to be a promising NHL career.

His shutout streak was snapped at 177 minutes and 16 seconds in Thursday night's 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, but between the impressive start to his career and the play of Ben Scrivens, the Kings are sitting atop the throne with a League-best 1.91 goals-against average even without Jonathan Quick.

The Anaheim Ducks have experienced similar success with their goaltending depth this season. Rookie Frederik Andersen has filled in admirably during Viktor Fasth's absence by going 8-1-0 with a 1.74 GAA and .938 save percentage. The same goes for the Chicago Blackhawks and rookie Antti Raanta, as he is now 5-0-1 with a 2.12 GAA and .926 save percentage with Corey Crawford sidelined.

With the rising number of injuries, the latest being Crawford and Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, the number of potential "three-headed monsters" will inevitably rise as well. Most of the time this isn't an issue, because the third goalies will return to the American Hockey League with no issues.


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.

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