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Anderson's value soars after near-perfect start

by Pete Jensen

Three days into the NHL season, Ottawa Senators' goaltender Craig Anderson is Yahoo's No. 1-ranked overall fantasy player.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Is a borderline top-20 fantasy goalie that was taken on average in the eighth round of fantasy drafts really the most productive player in the land? The numbers certainly don't lie, and Anderson has seen an exponential value spike as a result.


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Anderson, even after posting 33 wins in 63 outings last year, was perceived as a mediocre fantasy netminder at best coming into 2012-13. He was outside the top-20 in both GAA and save percentage last season, and had more than enough to worry about if he was to start the season slow.

Robin Lehner, Ottawa's backup goalie for the team's first two games, had a marvelous season in the American Hockey League before being recalled after the work stoppage. He was among the AHL leaders in GAA (1.90 - 3rd) and SV% (.945 - 2nd) while posting a 14-5-1 record in 21 appearances for the Binghamton Senators. Between Lehner and 6-foot-7 goalie prospect Ben Bishop, its widespread knowledge that a surplus of young talent exists between the pipes in the organization.

But, at least for now, Anderson has called off any rumblings that he could lose grip on the starting job. The 31-year-old is suddenly owned in 84 percent of leagues after pushing aside 58 of 59 shots faced to start the season. He's won his first two starts to join Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller and Tuukka Rask as the only goalies in the League who sport 2-0 records.

On Monday, he became one of only three netminders League-wide to post a shutout this season (joining Josh Harding and Jaroslav Halak) in stopping all 31 shots in Ottawa's 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers. Among goalies with multiple appearances so far in 2012-13, Anderson ranks first in GAA (0.50) and save percentage (.983). Simply put, no one has gotten more bang for their buck from a fantasy standpoint than owners who waited to take a goaltender and stumbled upon Anderson in mid-to-late rounds of drafts.

So will Anderson continue to churn out quality starts at his current rate? Most likely not, but it's at least worth noting that a workhorse goaltender that was somewhat off the radar to start the season has risen to the occasion with consistent play across all categories through his first two starts of the new season.


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