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Fantasy top 100 forward rankings for 2016-17

NHL.com lists most valuable standard-league assets during regular season

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long, NHL.com will rank the top 100 forwards for standard Yahoo leagues (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points, shots on goal). Players with long-term injuries have been removed from this list. Positions indicate eligibility in Yahoo leagues.

These rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by line combinations, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard leagues. Changes in value each week are based on recent performance and/or lineup trends.

When you're locked into a tight fantasy playoff round, the last thing you need is injury or suspension news involving one of your valuable players. Unfortunately, these are uncontrollable factors that become magnified this late in the season.

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: TOP 50 DEFENSEMEN | PROJECTED GOALIES

Depending on your league size and fantasy playoff structure, this week is either the semifinals or quarterfinals in head-to-head leagues. There are a number of key injuries (Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Johnson, Artem Anisimov) and one suspension (Matthew Tkachuk) that fantasy owners should be wary of, whether you own those players or not. 

Make sure to always have keeper-league eligibility in mind (if applicable), but desperate times call for desperate measures. Position eligibility, lineup placement, games remaining and strength of schedule are the most important factors down the stretch. If that means dropping a big-name player to ensure you will advance, then so be it. 

Here are some beneficiaries from the recent injury news who could boost your team the rest of the way: 

-- Johnson (lower body) has missed the past five games for the Tampa Bay Lightning, opening the door for Brayden Point (C/RW, 7 percent owned) to skate on the first line with Nikita Kucherov and reap the fantasy benefits. Point, who also plays on the first power-play unit, has five points, two PPP and 12 SOG in Johnson's five-game absence. Johnson has not practiced since March 16, so Point should remain a fantasy commodity until either Johnson or Steven Stamkos returns. The Lightning have 11 games remaining (three this week). 

-- Anisimov (lower body) will miss at least a few weeks for the Chicago Blackhawks, making Nick Schmaltz a must-own player down the stretch. The Blackhawks have a favorable schedule this week (vs. VAN, vs. DAL, at FLA), and Schmaltz had two assists and was plus-1 against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday alongside elite forwards Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin. Schmaltz has been fantasy relevant for more than a month, totaling 15 points with a plus-15 in his past 16 games, and you couldn't ask for better lineup placement from a waiver-wire addition. 

Video: ARI@CHI: Schmaltz celebrates 21st birthday with goal

 

-- Malkin (C, 3rd in Yahoo) will miss his third straight game Tuesday because of a shoulder injury and the line combinations in his absence are noteworthy. Productive wings Conor Sheary (LW/RW, 59 percent owned) and Jake Guentzel (C/LW, 29 percent owned) have remained with Sidney Crosby on the first line, each catapulting in the forward rankings this week. The Pittsburgh Penguins' second line has featured veteran Matt Cullen (C, 1 percent owned) centering Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist. Since returning from injury, Hornqvist has points in consecutive games with a total of six SOG. The Penguins have one of the most favorable four-game schedules this week (at BUF, at OTT, vs. NYI, vs. PHI), so add whichever of these top-six forwards may be available in your league. (UPDATE: Guentzel is day to day after sustaining a concussion against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday).

 

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Trending Up

Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky (33 percent owned) is quietly 95th in Yahoo's performance-based rankings because he's the only player in the NHL with at least 30 points (38), a plus-20 (plus-21) and 80 PIMs (81). He has a chance to take on a greater power-play role if Alexander Wennberg (day to day; neck) misses any time and is worth adding in place of any slumping center on your roster. Wennberg has broken out for 54 points, 22 PPP and is plus-8 this season but has low goal (12), shot (97 SOG) and PIMs (19) totals. If you can't afford to wait out Wennberg's injury status, Dubinsky can help your team in some rare categories. The Blue Jackets have 11 games left.

Video: CBJ@NJD: Dubinsky picks the corner on a penalty shot

 

Trending Down

Alex Galchenyuk was having a breakout season for the Montreal Canadiens prior to his injury Dec. 4, scoring 23 points in his first 25 games on the top line with Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov, but has seen a production dip since returning Jan. 14. He has 17 points and is minus-8 in his past 26 games and hasn't scored a goal in his past eight games. He's averaging 2:25 on the power play (14 PPP) and remains with his usual linemates at even strength, giving him a chance to bounce back for your fantasy team down the stretch. But as we get deeper in the fantasy playoffs, don't hesitate to cut the cord if Galchenyuk's struggles mount.

 

Worth Noting

-- Elias Lindholm (C/RW, 17 percent owned) enters the top 100 forward rankings this week, joining Carolina Hurricanes teammates Jeff Skinner and Sebastian Aho. Lindholm is riding a seven-game point streak and has 30 points in his past 33 games since Dec. 23. The Hurricanes have the most games remaining (12) in the League, so take advantage of this underrated distributor (26 primary assists, T-7th in NHL) before someone else does. 

-- After plenty of line changes through the first four months of the season, Rickard Rakell (C/LW, 47 percent owned) has become a fixture alongside Ryan Getzlaf over the past month for the Anaheim Ducks. Rakell has exceeded the 30-goal mark (31) and is finally starting to provide more category coverage; he has 11 points (nine goals, two assists) with a plus-3 rating and 35 SOG in his past 11 games.

Video: BUF@ANA: Rakell bats in a rebound with backhand

 

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Top 100 Fantasy Forwards

These rankings were last updated March 21. Remaining games played have been taken into account. 

1. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (SAME) 
2. Patrick Kane, RW, CHI (SAME) 
3. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (+1) 
4. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (+1) 
5. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (+1) 
6. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (+2) 
7. Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT (DTD
8. Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH (-1) 
9. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS (+6) 
10. Jamie Benn, LW, DAL (-1) 
11. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT (+3) 
12. Patrik Laine, LW/RW, WPG (-2) 
13. Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS (-2) 
14. Tyler Seguin, C/RW, DAL (-2) 
15. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (-2) 
16. Auston Matthews, C, TOR (+1) 
17. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (-1) 
18. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (+1) 
19. John Tavares, C, NYI (-1) 
20. Jack Eichel, C, BUF (SAME) 
21. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (SAME) 
22. Mikael Granlund, C/LW/RW, MIN (SAME) 
23. Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ (SAME) 
24. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (SAME) 
25. Mike Hoffman, LW/RW, OTT (+4) 
26. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (+4) 
27. Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI (-2) 
28. Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH (-2) 
29. Jeff Carter, C, LAK (-2) 
30. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (-2) 
31. Ryan Johansen, C, NSH (SAME) 
32. Mitchell Marner, C/RW, TOR (+1) 
33. Nazem Kadri, C, TOR (+4) 
34. Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM (+9) 
35. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (+7) 
36. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (+8) 
37. Eric Staal, C, MIN (+8) 
38. Ryan Kesler, C, ANA (-6) 
39. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (-4) 
40. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WSH (-6) 
41. James van Riemsdyk, LW, TOR (+5) 
42. Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET (+5) 
43. William Nylander, C/RW, TOR (+8) 
44. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI (-8) 
45. Mikko Koivu, C, MIN (-6) 
46. Claude Giroux, C, PHI (+1) 
47. Logan Couture, C, SJS (+1) 
48. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (+1) 
49. T.J. Oshie, RW, WSH (+6) 
50. Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW, NSH (+5) 
51. Nino Niederreiter, LW/RW, MIN (-11) 
52. Alexander Radulov, LW/RW, MTL (SAME) 
53. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG (+1) 
54. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (NR - INJ.
55. Nick Foligno, LW/RW, CBJ (+4) 
56. Evander Kane, LW, BUF (-15) 
57. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, FLA (-4) 
58. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (+4) 
59. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (-2) 
60. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (-2) 
61. Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW, BUF (+1) 
62. Conor Sheary, LW/RW, PIT (+23) 
63. Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW, TBL (-3) 
64. Jaromir Jagr, LW/RW, FLA (-3) 
65. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (SAME) 
66. Taylor Hall, LW, NJD (+1) 
67. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJD (+1) 
68. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, PHI (+1) 
69. J.T. Miller, C/LW/RW, NYR (+3) 
70. Derek Stepan, C, NYR (+6) 
71. Jeff Skinner, LW, CAR (+4) 
72. Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR (+6) 
73. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (-2) 
74. James Neal, RW, NSH (+3) 
75. Patrick Maroon, LW, EDM (NEW
76. Jake Guentzel, C/LW, PIT (DTD)
77. Alex Galchenyuk, C, MTL (-14) 
78. Alexander Wennberg, C, CBJ (DTD
79. Charlie Coyle, C/RW, MIN (+2) 
80. Jakob Silfverberg, RW, ANA (SAME) 
81. Patrick Marleau, C/LW, SJS (+2) 
82. Sebastian Aho, LW/RW, CAR (+7) 
83. Brandon Dubinsky, C, CBJ (NEW) 
84. Vincent Trocheck, C, FLA (SAME) 
85. Jason Zucker, LW/RW, MIN (-6) 
86. Justin Williams, RW, WSH (SAME) 
87. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (SAME) 
88. Marcus Johansson, LW/RW, WSH (SAME) 
89. Richard Panik, LW/RW, CHI (+1) 
90. Kyle Turris, C, OTT (+2) 
91. Radim Vrbata, RW, ARI (SAME) 
92. Zach Parise, LW, MIN (+2) 
93. Elias Lindholm, C/RW, CAR (NEW
94. Mikael Backlund, C, CGY (+1) 
95. Bryan Little, C, WPG (NEW) 
96. Michael Frolik, C/RW, CGY (+1) 
97. Rickard Rakell, C/LW, ANA (NEW
98. Nick Schmaltz, C/LW, CHI (NEW
99. Tyler Bozak, C, TOR (SAME) 
100. Brayden Point, C/RW, TBL (NEW

Suspended: Matthew Tkachuk (LW, CGY; two games) 

Dropped out: David Krejci (C, BOS), Sam Gagner (C/RW, CBJ), Tyler Toffoli (C/RW, LAK) 

Just missed: Ondrej Palat (LW, TBL), Paul Stastny (C, STL), David Backes (RW, BOS), Nathan MacKinnon (C/RW, COL), Andre Burakovsky (LW/RW, WSH), Tomas Tatar (LW/RW, DET), Josh Bailey (LW/RW, NYI), Patrick Eaves (RW, ANA), Bo Horvat (C, VAN), Thomas Vanek (LW/RW, FLA) 

Key injuries: Steven Stamkos (C, TBL), Mark Stone (RW, OTT), Tyler Johnson (C, TBL), Kyle Okposo (RW, BUF), Artem Anisimov (C, CHI), Marian Hossa (RW, CHI), Jason Spezza (C/RW, DAL), Robby Fabbri (C/LW, STL) 

 

READ: Last week's top 100 forward rankings

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