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Fantasy forwards: Name value can be overrated

Cut ties with Parise, Zetterberg for better production; top 100 rankings

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Fantasy Insider

Jokinen's power-play goal

FLA@TOR: Jokinen's feed finds the net for PPG

3/17/16: Jussi Jokinen centers a pass on the power play that deflects off a defenseman's stick and in, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead

  • 00:49 •

Rankings and/or ownership percentages are extremely useful in the grand scheme of an 82-game season. But once the fantasy playoffs roll around in head-to-head leagues, your memory needs to be short and your players need to be productive.

If you find yourself clinging to a player because of the past and have not seen proper results in weeks, months or all season, difficult decisions need to be made. I'm not telling you to cut the cord on a top-50 or even top-100 forward, but certainly don't let name value get in the way of your pursuit of a fantasy championship. If you've been winning to this point despite a player's struggles, that player should be deemed expendable.

Here are five forwards who are not cutting it in terms of standard-league production. Each is owned in at least 75 percent of Yahoo leagues and can replaced by a trending asset on the waiver wire depending on the size and structure of your league.

1. Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild (LW, 95 percent owned)

Replacement: Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers (C/LW/RW, 59 percent owned)

Parise is the 111th-ranked player based on Yahoo performance this season but is ranked 352nd in the past 30 days. His shot volume has remained strong in the span, with 32 shot son goal in 13 games, but he has one goal, five assists and zero power-play points. He's back with Mikael Granlund but played a period of time alongside Mikko Koivu and has not been able to get his season on track. The Wild and Colorado Avalanche are in a tussle for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with nine games remaining in the regular season. If you're in a keeper league, one where you have an extra bench spot for him, or one so deep where dropping Parise could burn you, hang onto him. But if you're in a shallow league, consider replacing him with Jokinen, the 53rd-ranked player in Yahoo who's tri-eligible and available in more than 40 percent of Yahoo leagues. He has at least one point in 13 of his past 14 games, has covered all six standard categories this season and has produced regardless of linemates and injuries around him.

2. Rick Nash, New York Rangers (LW/RW, 90 percent owned)

Replacement: Mikkel Boedker, Colorado Avalanche (LW/RW, 25 percent owned)

Nash was third in the League with 42 goals in 2014-15 but has struggled this season and has missed significant time because of injury (51 games played out of a possible 73). In six games since from a seven-week absence because of a bone bruise in his left leg, he has one goal, no assists, a minus-3 rating and 17 shots on goal. While the injuries certainly have not helped, his production when healthy has dropped in terms of goals per 60 minutes; after finishing second in the metric last season (1.83) among players with at least 50 games, he's tied for 94th this season (.89) among players with at least 50 games. He scored Monday, but there are a ton of concerns here and too little time to waste. Don't be afraid to cut ties with the Rangers forward and make room for the best dual-eligible wing available in your league. Boedker, available in three-quarters of fantasy leagues, has three goals, four assists and 11 shots on goal in nine games since joining the Avalanche. He has been on a line mostly with Nathan MacKinnon, who's day-to-day because of a knee injury, but that didn't stop Boedker from meshing well with Blake Comeau and Mikhail Grigorenko in MacKinnon's absence Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers with one assist, a plus-1 and one shot on goal.

Video: COL@VAN: Boedker crashes net, nets top-shelf goal

3. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings (C/LW, 94 percent owned)

Replacement: Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks (C/LW, 40 percent owned)

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill has tinkered with his lines for most of the season in an effort find the right combination for his many inconsistent forwards. Zetterberg is back where he started the season, with Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader, but has spent time on Pavel Datsyuk's line in between. Similar to Parise, Zetterberg's recent numbers are insufficient, with one goal, two assists, a minus-9 rating, one power-play point and 46 shots on goal in his past 14 games. The 35-year-old, who missed time with injuries in 2013-14 and 2014-15, has played all 72 games for Detroit yet is outside the top 100 players based on performance. While it may seem simple to ride the hot hand, Hertl readily is available and the third component of a line that features Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, two of the top-10 fantasy forwards. The Pavelski-Thornton duo is tied for third in the NHL in team goals where each has a point (38), and Hertl is taking advantage with two goals, five assists, a plus-4, two power-play points and 14 shots on goal in his past five games. Hertl has posted NHL career highs in the six standard categories and has been a fixture with Thornton and Pavelski in recent months.

4. Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators (LW/RW, 79 percent owned)

Replacement: Devante Smith-Pelly, New Jersey Devils (RW, 11 percent owned)

Ryan started the season with points in 24 of his first 33 games, but that level of consistency has been lacking for the better part of the past three months. He's tumbled to 124th for the season in Yahoo's rankings, has gone seven games without a goal and nine games without a power-play point. Outside of his minus-11 rating for the season, his coverage likely looks better than anyone available on your league's waiver wire. But that doesn't mean you should get complacent and risk your chances of advancing. While you could seek a dual-eligible wing, you should consider adding Smith-Pelly, who addresses the more scarce position of right wing. Since being traded to the Devils, Smith-Pelly has dominated in a net-front role and excelled on Adam Henrique's line, with seven goals, three assists, a plus-3 and 20 shots on goal in nine games. Dropping Ryan comes with much less risk than dropping Parise or Nash so don't think twice about riding the hot hand with this trending power forward.

5. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks (C, 82 percent)

Replacement: Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars (C, 9 percent owned)

Henrik and Daniel Sedin again are one of the top point pairs in the League, but that doesn't mean you should bank on him ahead of Eakin, who's centering a top-five fantasy player in Jamie Benn and has been scorching in his past six games with four goals and four assists. He's touching on all six categories in that span, while Henrik Sedin has one goal, seven assists, a minus-3, one power-play point and 18 shots on goal in his past 11 games. Henrik ranks 133rd in Yahoo leagues this season while Eakin should see plenty of top-six action down the stretch with Tyler Seguin out for the rest of the regular season. The Sedins are lacking a right wing right now with Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata injured, and the Canucks are out of postseason contention. The Stars, meanwhile, are the highest-scoring offense in the NHL at 3.21 goals per game and have Benn, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp for support without Seguin. If you're looking for a deeper-league, dual-eligible wing replacement for Nash or Ryan, feel free to employ Patrick Eaves (LW/RW, 2 percent owned), who is replacing Seguin on the Stars' first power-play unit.

Video: NYI@DAL: Eakin finishes the two-on-one rush


These rankings indicate fantasy expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by line combinations, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal.

1. Patrick Kane, C/RW, CHI

2. Alex Ovechkin, LW/RW, WSH

3. Jamie Benn, LW, DAL

4. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT

5. Joe Pavelski, C/LW/RW, SJS (+2)

6. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C/LW, WSH

7. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (+3)

8. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (+1)

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

10. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (+3)

11. Claude Giroux, C/RW, PHI

12. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH

13. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN (+1)

14. Steven Stamkos, C, TBL (+1)

15. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (+2)

16. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS

17. Wayne Simmonds, LW/RW, PHI (+9)

18. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA

19. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (+3)

20. John Tavares, C, NYI (-1)

21. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (+2)

22. Taylor Hall, C/LW, EDM (-2)

23. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (-2)

24. Filip Forsberg, C/LW/RW, NSH

25. Jason Spezza, C, DAL

26. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (+1)

27. James Neal, LW/RW, NSH (+1)

28. Ryan Johansen, C/RW, NSH (+3)

29. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI

30. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (+3)

31. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (DTD)

32. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (-2)

33. Patrick Sharp, C/LW/RW, DAL (+2)

34. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI

35. Matt Duchene, C/LW, COL (DTD)

36. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (+5)

37. Tyler Toffoli, C/LW/RW, LAK

38. Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA

39. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT

40. Derick Brassard, C, NYR

41. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL (+2)

42. Jeff Carter, C/RW, LAK (+4)

43. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (-1)

44. Justin Williams, RW, WSH (+3)

45. David Krejci, C, BOS

46. Loui Eriksson, LW/RW, BOS (+3)

47. Jonathan Huberdeau, C/LW, FLA (+3)

48. Ryan Kesler, C/RW, ANA (+6)

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

50. T.J. Oshie, C/RW, WSH (+2)

51. Zach Parise, LW, MIN (-7)

52. Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET (-4)

53. Jack Eichel, C, BUF (DTD)

54. Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI (+2)

55. Andrew Ladd, LW, CHI

56. Kyle Palmieri, LW/RW, NJD (+13)

57. Jussi Jokinen, C/LW/RW, FLA (+17)

58. Tyler Johnson, C, TBL (-7)

59. Shane Doan, LW/RW, ARI (+2)

60. Milan Lucic, LW, LAK (+2)

61. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, PHI (+6)

62. Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW/RW, BUF (NR - INJ.)

63. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (+13)

64. Mats Zuccarello, LW/RW, NYR (-4)

65. Dylan Larkin, C/LW, DET (-2)

66. Henrik Sedin, C, VAN (-9)

67. Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (-2)

68. Mike Hoffman, C/LW, OTT (+2)

69. Vincent Trocheck, C/RW, FLA (+12)

70. Scott Hartnell, LW, CBJ (-4)

71. Evander Kane, LW, BUF (+4)

72. Tomas Hertl, C/LW, SJS (+6)

73. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (-5)

74. Logan Couture, C/LW, SJS (-15)

75. David Backes, C/RW, STL (+4)

76. Mark Stone, RW, OTT (+4)

77. Rick Nash, LW/RW, NYR (-5)

78. Bobby Ryan, LW/RW, OTT (-7)

79. Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT (+15)

80. Eric Staal, C/LW, NYR (-7)

81. Boone Jenner, C/RW, CBJ (+5)

82. Andre Burakovsky, LW, WSH

83. Jeff Skinner, LW/RW, CAR

84. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (-7)

85. Jaden Schwartz, LW, STL (+6)

86. Mike Ribeiro, C, NSH (+1)

87. Mikko Koivu, C, MIN (+6)

88. Alex Galchenyuk, C/LW, MTL (-4)

89. Max Domi, C/LW, ARI (+1)

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

91. Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ (+8)

92. Reilly Smith, LW/RW, FLA (+8)

93. Jarome Iginla, RW, COL (+3)

94. Mikkel Boedker, LW/RW, COL (NEW)

95. Brandon Dubinsky, C/LW, CBJ (+3)

96. Ondrej Palat, LW, TBL (-1)

97. Jordan Eberle, RW, EDM

98. Adam Henrique, C/LW, NJD (NEW)

99. Tomas Tatar, LW/RW, DET (NEW)

100. Cody Eakin, C, DAL (NEW)

Just missed: Paul Stastny (C, STL), Nazem Kadri (C, TOR), Frans Nielsen (C, NYI), Carl Soderberg (C/LW, COL), Jordan Staal (C/LW, CAR), Gustav Nyquist (C/LW/RW, DET), Rickard Rakell (C, ANA), Jakob Silfverberg (LW/RW, ANA), Devante Smith-Pelly (RW, NJD), Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (RW, TOR)

Key injuries: Tyler Seguin (C/RW, DAL), Evgeni Malkin (C/RW, PIT), Alexander Steen (C/LW, STL), David Perron (LW/RW, ANA), Brendan Gallagher (RW, MTL), Mathieu Perreault (C/LW, WPG), Michael Cammalleri (C/LW, NJD), Jason Pominville (RW, MIN), Nikolaj Ehlers (LW/RW, WPG), Bryan Little (C/RW, WPG), Benoit Pouliot (LW, EDM), James van Riemsdyk (LW, TOR), Kyle Turris (C, OTT)

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