This is the week where fantasy owners get to stuff their faces with turkey, stuffing and plenty of hockey action; more on that later in the roster trends. Here are some of the players we are giving #HockeyThanks for in the fantasy world so far.
A healthy Sidney Crosby is where he belongs near the top of Yahoo fantasy rankings and it sure looks like there is no slowing down No. 87 on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Defense - MTL
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 20
SOG: 78 | +/-: 7
Even though he hasn't scored a goal in 10 games, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, P.K. Subban
of the Montreal Canadiens
, is the top-ranked fantasy defenseman with his 10 power-play points and 78 shots.
Lastly, the top-ranked goalie in Yahoo is the Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask, who is ranked in the top five in wins (12), goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (.945).
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Matt Read, Philadelphia Flyers (owned in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- Playing on one of the hottest lines on one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, the 27-year-old has four goals in his past two games. Playing on a line with Sean Couturier and Steve Downie, the trio has combined for 13 points in the past three games played. Even more impressive is Read's plus-6 rating in those three games played. With four games scheduled this week (@FLA, @TBL, WPG, @NSH) expect big things from the undrafted free agent who scored 24 goals as a rookie in 2011-12.
Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks (owned in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- The 12th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft exploded on the scene with 40 points in his rookie year as a 19-year-old. He followed that with only 40 points in 119 games played in the past two seasons but is now back and fantasy relevant for the red-hot Ducks. The 21-year-old has 13 points, plays the most minutes per game for the Ducks (23:09) and leads the team in power-play points (8). Anaheim plays three games this week (@DAL, CGY, @SJS) and it is time to trust Fowler again in the fantasy world.
Marek Mazanec, Nashville Predators (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues) --
Goalie - NSH
GAA: 2.32 | SVP: 0.929
The first opportunity after Pekka Rinne
's injury went to Carter Hutton
, but he was not up to the job. The next contender to fill the crease of the 6-foot-5 Vezina Trophy finalist has been Mazanec, 22, who has won three of his past four starts. Even with the rumors of the Predators shopping for a goalie the 6-4 Czech will be busy with four games scheduled this week (PHX, @CBJ, EDM, PHI), and only one of them is back-to-back.
Lucky 13 -- For the second of four times this season we will see 13 games scheduled on Wednesday. Only Dec. 23, the day before the holiday break, sees more action with 14 games. These are tough days for fantasy owners in daily leagues; our advice is to go with the hot hand despite the matchup. The four teams that are not scheduled to play on Wednesday are the Ducks, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.
Struggling teams' value --
Center - NYI
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 27
SOG: 71 | +/-: -2
We have already talked about how hot teams can produce some great fantasy options when line chemistry is working and depth scoring is showing, but what about the other end of the spectrum? You can find fantasy gold in some of the teams struggling to score and win games. The New York Islanders
might only have two wins in their past 10 games, but the top line of John Tavares
, Kyle Okposo
and now a healthy Thomas Vanek
are still producing for fantasy teams. The Buffalo Sabres
have a League-worst 1.64 goals per game, but Cody Hodgson
leads the team in scoring with 17 points and still is only owned in 53 percent of leagues.
Eric Gelinas, New Jersey Devils -- The Devils have been waiting for 2011 top pick Adam Larsson to be an offensive force, but their 2009 second-round pick (No. 54) has been the dynamo this season. After spending his first nine games in the American Hockey League, the 22-year-old has eight points in 14 games. The 6-4 defender is also making a huge impact on the Devils' power play with seven points and 2:45 time on ice per game with the man-advantage. The Devils have four games this week, three of them at home (WPG, CAR, @CAR, BUF). Gelinas would be a great addition on any fantasy team.