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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Foligno, Johansen in Top 25

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets

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

NHL.com's new statistical database, powered by SAP, now includes enhanced stats that can help fantasy owners detect noteworthy trends.

These stats shed light on meaningful aspects of hockey. Similar metrics have been available on secondary sites in the past, but the NHL is now officially documenting them while adding exposure.

Enhanced skater stats likely won't emerge as fantasy categories themselves anytime soon, but usage/production trends are useful when mulling fantasy pickups, trades, and draft picks.

Here are some fantasy takeaways from NHL.com's stats update that apply to forwards:

NOTE: Sorting by position (forwards or defensemen) and looking at a player's games played (and ice time) makes it easier to compare players and identify category trends. These stats should be viewed on a case-by-case basis and shouldn't prompt rash fantasy roster decisions.

- Zone Start Percentage (ZS%) identifies how often a player gets offensive zone starts compared to defensive, excluding neutral zone. Preseason sleeper Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals has a 40 percent ZS% this season through 59 games, tied for the lowest among players with more than 20 games played. This indicates that coach Barry Trotz has been hesitant to give Kuznetsov, 22, more offensive opportunities. Does Kuznetsov still have long-term fantasy upside? Absolutely. He has eight power-play points in 1:30 per game in those situations this season. But for as long as he's seeing limited offensive zone starts and total ice time (12:51 per game), there's a short-term ceiling. Josh Bailey of the New York Islanders (ZS%: 55) and Darren Helm of the Detroit Red Wings (ZS%: 54) are exceeding expectations because of their elite-level linemates (John Tavares, Pavel Datsyuk) and frequent offensive zone starts. Bailey and Helm are each available in over 90 percent of Yahoo leagues. As we approach the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, fantasy owners should see if traded players had inadequate offensive usage with their former teams to anticipate changes based on their new team's depth.

- Fantasy owners love scoring chances. Shot attempts at 5-on-5 (SAT) and unblocked shot attempts (USAT) are now tracked as totals and percentages, as well as totals relative to when a player is not on the ice. Relative totals can indicate how valuable a player has been to his particular team. Jaromir Jagr's SAT relative (301) is significantly higher than his next New Jersey Devils teammate, Travis Zajac (198). This indicates that Jagr, 43, could bring much greater fantasy results if he's traded. The same goes for Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who led his team in SAT relative last season and paces it by an even greater margin this season. Going even deeper into situational SAT and USAT totals can reveal which players are among the best in the League at generating chances based on the score. Team SAT and USAT totals can reflect how well players are adjusting to a coaching change.

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TOP 100 FANTASY FORWARDS

These rankings are based on expectations for the season ahead. Upward and downward trends are based on games since Feb. 17, 2015. Value is quantified by line combinations, overall upside and past performance in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal).

1. Alex Ovechkin, LW/RW, WSH (SAME)

2. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (SAME)

3. Evgeni Malkin, C/RW, PIT (+1)

4. Patrick Kane, C/RW, CHI (-1)

5. John Tavares, C, NYI (+3)

6. Rick Nash, LW/RW, NYR (-1)

7. Claude Giroux, C/RW, PHI (SAME)

8. Steven Stamkos, C/RW, TBL (-2)

9. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (SAME)

10. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (+4)

11. Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI (SAME)

12. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (SAME)

13. Joe Pavelski, LW/C/RW, SJS (-3)

14. Tyler Johnson, C/RW, TBL (+1)

15. Jamie Benn, LW/C, DAL (+4)

16. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (+1)

17. Filip Forsberg, LW/C/RW, NSH (-1)

18. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (-5)

19. Zach Parise, LW, MIN (+1)

20. Pavel Datsyuk, LW/C, DET (+4)

21. Ryan Johansen, C/RW, CBJ (-3)

22. Alexander Steen, LW/C, STL (+1)

23. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (-2)

24. Nick Foligno, LW, CBJ (+2)

25. Henrik Zetterberg, LW/C, DET - DTD

26. Andrew Ladd, LW, WPG (+2)

27. David Backes, C/RW, STL (-2)

28. Nikita Kucherov, LW/RW, TBL (+1)

29. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN (+4)

30. Jason Spezza, C, DAL (+1)

31. Logan Couture, LW/C, SJS (-4)

32. David Perron, LW/RW, PIT (-2)

33. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (+1)

34. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (+1)

35. Tomas Tatar, LW, DET (+7)

36. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG - DTD

37. Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (-5)

38. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (-1)

39. Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI (+4)

40. James Neal, LW/RW, NSH (SAME)

41. Gustav Nyquist, C/RW, DET (-2)

42. Jeff Carter, C/RW, LAK (+9)

43. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (-5)

44. Bryan Little, C/RW, WPG (SAME)

45. Radim Vrbata, RW, VAN (SAME)

46. Phil Kessel, RW, TOR (+1)

47. Patrick Sharp, LW/C, CHI (-6)

48. Jaden Schwartz, LW, STL (+1)

49. Henrik Sedin, C, VAN (+8)

50. Martin St. Louis, C/RW, NYR (+2)

51. Ondrej Palat, LW, TBL (+10)

52. Derek Stepan, C, NYR (+2)

53. T.J. Oshie, C/RW, STL (-3)

54. Ryan Kesler, C/RW, ANA (-6)

55. Marian Gaborik, LW/RW, LAK (SAME)

56. Derick Brassard, C, NYR (+2)

57. Ryan Callahan, RW, TBL (-4)

58. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (+2)

59. Jiri Hudler, LW/RW, CGY (-3)

60. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL (+10)

61. Scott Hartnell, LW, CBJ (+4)

62. Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT (-16)

63. Bobby Ryan, LW/RW, OTT (+4)

64. Colin Wilson, LW/C, NSH (-1)

65. Milan Lucic, LW, BOS (-6)

66. Mike Ribeiro, C, NSH (+2)

67. Eric Staal, LW/C, CAR (+2)

68. Jarome Iginla, RW, COL (-6)

69. Patrick Marleau, LW/C, SJS (-5)

70. James van Riemsdyk, LW, TOR (+1)

71. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (-5)

72. Tyler Toffoli, RW, LAK (+3)

73. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (SAME)

74. Tomas Plekanec, C, MTL (+3)

75. Ryan Strome, C/RW, NYI (+3)

76. Kris Versteeg, LW/RW, CHI (+8)

77. Jason Pominville, RW, MIN (-1)

78. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CHI (-6)

79. Matt Duchene, LW/C, COL (-5)

80. Brandon Dubinsky, LW/C, CBJ (+1)

81. Mikko Koivu, C, MIN (+18)

82. Alex Galchenyuk, LW/C, MTL - DTD

83. Mats Zuccarello, LW/RW, NYR (-1)

84. Mike Fisher, C, NSH (+2)

85. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (SAME)

86. Valtteri Filppula, LW/C, TBL (+3)

87. Blake Comeau, LW/RW, PIT (+3)

88. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (+3)

89. Nick Bjugstad, C, FLA (-1)

90. Anders Lee, LW/C, NYI (+6)

91. Thomas Vanek, LW/RW, MIN (+4)

92. Mike Cammalleri, LW/C, NJD (NEW)

93. Steve Downie, LW/RW, PIT (-10)

94. Alex Tanguay, LW/RW, COL (SAME)

95. Jordan Eberle, RW, EDM (-2)

96. Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL (NEW)

97. Kyle Turris, C, OTT (NEW)

98. Justin Abdelkader, LW/RW, DET (NEW)

99. Mike Hoffman, LW/C, OTT (+1)

100. Jori Lehtera, C, STL (NEW)

Author: Pete Jensen | NHL.com Fantasy Insider

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