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Fantasy Five: Nothing like a pair of aces

by Matt Cubeta
When looking at the current top-ranked players in Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues, you'll notice there are a few teammates who crack the top listings. It's no surprise to see that if one player is doing well, one of his linemates is usually producing as well.

The No. 1 and No. 2 overall players are a pair of Tampa Bay Lightning teammates: Steven Stamkos is No. 1 (8 G, 10 A, plus-8, 10 PIMs, 7 PPP and 35 SOG); linemate Martin St. Louis is No. 2 (5 G, 7 A, plus-5, 6 PIMS, 5 PPP and 41 SOG). The No. 4- and No. 9-ranked players are two Anaheim Ducks linemates: Corey Perry comes in at No. 4 (4 G, 6 A, plus4, 29 PIMs, 4 PPP and 32 SOG) and linemate Bobby Ryan is ranked No. 9 overall (4 G, 5 A, +2, 27 PIMs, 1 PPP and 34 SOG). Their center, Ryan Getzlaf, isn't far behind at No. 18 overall. There's a third duo in the top 10: Chicago's Patrick Sharp is ranked sixth (9 G, 3A, minus-3, 0 PIMs, 5 PPP and 45 SOG) and Marian Hossa comes in at No. 7 (7 G, 4 A, plus-4, 10 PIMs, 3 PPP and 30 SOG. While these two don't actually play regularly on the same line, they still produce at an extremely high rate.

The point of telling you all this is that it's nice to "pair up" fantasy players. If you have Stamkos and St. Louis on your team, you'll be staring at close to a combined 200 points by season's end. By the same token, if you have a player like Henrik Zetterberg on your squad, why not make an offer to get Pavel Datsyuk. Just think of the production you could get by having both those guys on your team. If you have Daniel Sedin, try to acquire twin brother Henrik. Obviously it won't be easy to acquire these elite combinations, but this method also works with players that aren't superstars -- feel free to try to pair up the less popular teammates as well.

Let's start our Fantasy Five by looking at a few line combinations that could help your team if you can put any of the three players together.

1. Boston Bruins linemates (six games played each):
Nathan Horton – 5 G, 4 A, +3, 0 PIMs, 3 PPP, 15 SOG (owned in 93% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Milan Lucic – 3 G, 3, +4, 16 PIMs, 1 PPP, 11 SOG (owned in 74% of Yahoo! Leagues)
David Krejci – 1 G, 6 A, +3, O PIMs, 0 PPP, 17 SOG (owned in 54% of Yahoo! Leagues)

Colorado Avalanche linemates (nine games played each):
Chris Stewart – 5 G, 6 A, -3, 21 PIMs, 4 PPP, 29 SOG (owned in 96% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Paul Stastny – 4 G, 5 A, -3, 12 PIMs, 4 PPP, 32 SOG (owned in 92% of Yahoo! Leagues)
TJ Galiardi – 2 G, 1 A, -1, 6 PIMs, 1 PPP, 15 SOG (owned in 3% of Yahoo! Leagues)

New York Rangers linemates (eight games played each):
Brandon Dubinsky – 4 G, 4 A, even, 6 PIMs, 4 PPP, 22 SOG (owned in 21% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Ryan Callahan – 2 G, 6 A, +1, 2 PIMs, 1 PPP, 28 SOG (owned in 16% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Artem Anisimov – 3 G, 3 A, -1, 0 PIMs, 2 PPP, 20 SOG (owned in 4% of Yahoo! Leagues)

San Jose Sharks linemates (eight games played each):
Joe Pavelski – 3 G, 4 A, -6, 2 PIMs, 5 PPP, 35 SOG (owned in 87% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Ryane Clowe – 2 G, 3 A, -1, 21 PIMs, 2 PPP, 22 SOG (owned in 60% of Yahoo! Leagues)
Devin Setoguchi – 1 G, 1 A, -6, 6 PIMs, 2 PPP, 23 SOG (owned in 40 of Yahoo! Leagues)

2. It seems like every day a crucial player is going down with an injury. In this young season, we've already lost John Tavares, Mike Green, Rene Bourque, Pekka Rinne and Drew Doughty for various amounts of time to some sort of injury. Let's discuss two more vital injuries that have occurred in the last two days: Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa and Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson.

Hossa suffered an upper-body injury during Wednesday's game against the Kings after colliding with L.A.'s Jarret Stoll. The collision occurred in the second period of the game and Hossa didn't return to the game. The Slovakian star likely will miss a couple of weeks with the injury, and this is a big temporary blow for his fantasy owners. It's probably safe to expect Patrick Kane to replace him on the top line alongside Jonathan Toews and Tomas Kopecky, but the Hawks haven't announced anything officially just yet.

Craig Anderson's injury is a bit less clear. Colorado's starting goaltender was injured on Tuesday during warmups in their game against Vancouver and has been listed as out indefinitely. He injured his right knee while pushing off from the post at the end of his warmup and was unable to serve as Peter Budaj's backup. The only good news is that Anderson's knee will not require surgery. "It's going to require some treatment and rehab, and we hope to have him back as soon as possible," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. If you own Anderson, it would be a really smart idea to grab Budaj for the time being -- it sounds like Anderson could be out for a while.

3. Last week provided our first re-ranking of the Center position. Today we'll look at our new Left Wing rankings. These re-rankings are based on expectations of the season going forward (including injuries) -- positions predicated on's preseason rankings.

Rick Nash (-2)
Thomas Vanek (same)
James Neal (+10)

Players that dropped out of the Pre-season top 25: Simon Gagne, Ray Whitney, Alexander Frolov, Wojtek Wolski, Jussi Jokinen, Chris Kunitz

4. Looking for a hot waiver-wire pick up? Look no further than Flames forward Rene Bourque. Bourque was drafted at an average pick of No. 160.9 across Yahoo! Fantasy Leagues, but was dropped by quite a few teams after he went down in his second game of the season with a concussion. Bourque essentially missed three games (the game he was injured in he played in just 2:05), but since returning to the lineup on Oct. 19, he has provided a much-needed spark to Calgary's offense.

Going into Thursday night's game against Colorado, Bourque had 6 goals, 2 assists, a plus-2 rating, 2 power-play points, 22 shots on goal and 6 PIM in the five games since his injury. The 28-year-old forward has received more than 17 minutes of ice time in each game since returning to the ice, and is currently skating on Calgary's second line with Olli Jokinen and the red-hot Brendan Morrison. Bourque's Yahoo! League ownership started at 53%, but people have started to notice his hot streak, bumping his ownership up to 68%. If he's available in your league, jump on him immediately and expect the Flames winger to build off his impressive 27-goal, 58-point season from last season.

5. Last week we discussed one of the league's biggest surprises in John-Michael Liles. This week we'll take a look at one of the bigger disappointments to date (excluding players who have been injured): Taylor Hall. This No. 1 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft has yet to live up to the hockey world's expectations. Through his first seven games, Hall has just 1 assist while posting a minus-4 rating and just 13 shots on goal. Many people thought this might be the year the talented young Oilers team finally breaks out, but after a disappointing 2-4-1 start, we might have to wait a bit. Hall is still receiving nearly 17 minutes of ice time per game and 2:46 with the man advantage, but perhaps next season will be Hall's breakout year, just as Steven Stamkos did in his sophomore season in the League. If you're in a keeper league, hold onto Hall, but if not, feel free to put the 18-year-old on the trade market -- his name could draw attention from other fantasy owners.

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