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Fantasy: Low ownership players in early top 50

Jacob Markstrom, Victor Rask remain underrated despite performance-based rank

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Fantasy Insider

Yahoo's performance-based rankings can provide a glimpse of how valuable hot fantasy starters have been compared to the rest of the League.

Take these rankings with a grain of salt, but here's a look at the top 10 skaters based on standard category coverage (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points, shots on goal) as we enter the 10th day of the 2016-17 season:

1. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (Preseason rank: 58 by Yahoo; 66 by
2. Brent Burns, D, SJS (13, 6)
3. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (5, 8)
4. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS (159, 172)
5. Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS (9, 7)
6. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (6, 12)
7. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (141, 174)
8. Erik Karlsson, D, OTT (18, 5)
9. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI (97, 85)
10. Auston Matthews, C, TOR (121, 108)

As surprising as many of these names are to see this high in the overall landscape, only Pastrnak (77 percent owned) and Kreider (79) are available in some shallow leagues. The rest are owned in virtually all formats. Outside of Burns, McDavid, Tarasenko and Karlsson (and Matthews in a keeper league), there may be an opportunity to sell high on these players in a trade -- for the right price, of course.


Things get even more interesting when you peruse the top 50 performance-based player rankings (including goalies). There are four names with low ownership percentages who have proven themselves to this point in the season and have potential staying power among the top 100 overall assets because of their lineup situations.


Jacob Markstrom, G, VAN (21 percent owned)

Current Yahoo rank: 28th

The Vancouver Canucks were one of the last teams fantasy owners would have loaded up their fantasy roster from, but Markstrom is quietly changing that perception. He is 3-0-0 with home wins against the Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres. His peripherals are excellent thus far (1.65 goals-against average, .932 save percentage), and he has an opportunity to earn the No. 1 goalie job; veteran Ryan Miller is dealing with an undisclosed injury. The Canucks, who started the season on a four-game homestand, will face plenty of resistance once they finally hit the road, but it's still a golden opportunity to see a potential starting goalie so readily available in fantasy. With early-season injuries to Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings), Matt Murray (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Mike Smith (Arizona Coyotes), Markstrom has emerged as a prime replacement option.

Video: BUF@VAN: Markstrom robs consecutive shots from Sabres


Artem Anisimov, C, CHI (24 percent owned)

Current Yahoo rank: 32nd

No player in the League offers more exposure to Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin than Anisimov, but he was only barely fantasy relevant last season with 42 points (10 power-play points), a plus-8 and 121 shots on goal in 77 games. When healthy, he plays on the top line and often on the first power-play unit with Kane and Panarin, last season's most productive NHL point pair (56). Anisimov, 28, exploded for four points, a plus-3 and three SOG against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, giving him five points in four games on the season. Anisimov has never scored more than 44 points in a single season (2010-11), but that could easily change with the potential splash effect of Kane and Panarin over a full season.


Jonathan Marchessault, C, FLA (16 percent owned)

Current Yahoo rank: 42nd

Marchessault, who's playing left wing on the Florida Panthers first line with Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr, is one of the most glaring candidates for a Yahoo position eligibility update. He has points in three of his first four games, totaling five points (one PPP), a plus-4 and 11 SOG. He's 25 years old and also playing on Florida's first power-play unit, a spot that is his for the taking until Jonathan Huberdeau, expected to miss 3-4 months because of a leg injury, returns to the lineup. Marchessault's center-only eligibility hurts him slightly at the moment, but this is a forward you simply have to make room in deep leagues if he continues to produce in five of the six standard categories.

The Panthers also have promising young defenseman in Michael Matheson (3 percent owned). The 22-year-old is averaging 20:01 per game and has three points, a plus-2 and 12 SOG in four games on Florida's second pair with Jason Demers.

Video: NJD@FLA: Marchessault puts home goal on deflection


Victor Rask, C, CAR (13 percent owned)

Current Yahoo rank: 46th

The average fantasy owner may not be familiar with Rask, but the reality is, he's the first-line center for a savvy possession team and has at least a point in each of his first four games. He scored his third goal and second power-play point of the season Thursday at the Calgary Flames, giving him five points, a plus-1 and 11 SOG on the season. He is easily the least-owned No. 1 center in the League, and is coming off a season of 48 points, leading Carolina with 18 PPP. If he takes the next step towards a 60-point season, you better be there to reap the benefits with his ownership still inexplicably low despite a scorching start alongside Jeff Skinner and Lee Stempniak (LW/RW, 23 percent owned) in all situations.

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