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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Be thankful for your steals

by Pete Jensen /

Every Tuesday during the season, fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.


It's Thanksgiving week, so it's appropriate for fantasy hockey owners to reflect on the players who have been most instrumental to their success.


The 2014-15 NHL season is in full swing, so has you covered with weekly fantasy hockey positional rankings, real-time spin updates and waiver wire advice.

League championships are traditionally won beyond the early rounds and this season is shaping up to be no exception. Undervalued draftees are running rampant on the fantasy landscape, starting with the heavyweights.

Philadelphia Flyers wing Jakub Voracek (Yahoo average draft position: 93.7) is tied for the NHL scoring lead. Columbus Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen (ADP: 71.9) has averaged more than a point per game despite being passed over in drafts after missing training camp because of a contract impasse. Patric Hornqvist (ADP: 105.1) has excelled regardless of lineup placement and is on pace for 90-plus points, 300-plus shots on goal and 40-plus power-play points. New York Rangers wing Rick Nash (ADP: 51.2) is tied for second League-wide in goals (14) and has the highest shooting percentage (19.2) among players with more than 50 shots on goal this season.

Each of these four surprising fantasy anchors has solidified his spot among the top 20 forwards over the first quarter of the season, but the list of steals doesn't stop there.

Yahoo keeps track of the top 500 public league fantasy teams and which players appear most often on those rosters. Narrowing down their list to players with ADPs outside the top 130, here are the 10 forwards who appear most regularly among the head-to-head public league leaders.

Player % of top 500 teams Yahoo ADP Standard-league fantasy value
Filip Forsberg 29.8 139.6 Tri-eligible; leads NHL with +20; rookie lead in points, PPP, SOG
Tyler Toffoli 19.2 152.9 Tied for third with +13; NHL-best four shorthanded goals
Nick Foligno 18 149.9 One of seven players with 10+ goals and 10+ assists
Jaden Schwartz 16.4 165.2 One of three players with 20+ points, +9 or better, 60+ SOG
Jori Lehtera 15.2 153.5 One of 21 with 20+ points; tied for eighth with +12
Brock Nelson 13 157.8 Tied for NHL lead with six PPG; 19 points in 21 games
Nikita Kucherov 12.8 N/A Dual-eligible; 18 points in 22 games after 18 in 52 as rookie
Radim Vrbata 11.2 154.3 He and Henrik Sedin tied for eighth-best point pair in NHL
Vladimir Tarasenko 11.2 163.4 Tied for seventh or better in goals, points, rating, SOG
Johan Franzen 10.2 143.1 Dual-eligible; has 13 points (7 PPP) in 15 games


Radim Vrbata, RW, Vancouver Canucks

Radim Vrbata
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 17
SOG: 64 | +/-: 2
Of all the offseason free agent signings, you can make the argument that Vrbata has made the biggest impact of any forward with his new team. According to, Vrbata has played 71.1% percent of his even-strength minutes alongside Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, and the results have been staggering. The Czech Republic native has 10 goals on the season, with four over his past three games, and is excelling with the man advantage (nine power-play points in 3:06 power-play ice time per game). He's averaging nearly 3 1/2 shots on goal per game and has been one of many reasons for Vancouver's drastic turnaround.


Jonathan Drouin, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning

Drouin was a popular preseason Calder Trophy pick, but he has fallen way short of the hype. Tampa Bay has a surplus of fantasy-relevant forwards, which has pinned Drouin in a depth role after a brief trial with Steven Stamkos. We shouldn't look past his training camp injury, or the possibility that he just needs a little more time to get acclimated to the NHL level. But even those who tempered fantasy expectations for Drouin are surprised that he's only generated 17 shots on goal in 16 games so far. Keeper-league fantasy owners need to stomach the growing pains and stash Drouin on their bench for future use. I bumped him out of this week's top 100 forwards because he hasn't done much to deserve that billing. Until he's playing top-six minutes again, he's not worth playing every day in rotisserie formats.

Nick Bjugstad
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 11
SOG: 54 | +/-: 4

Nick Bjugstad, C, Florida Panthers

There's a member of the Panthers among the top 100 fantasy forwards again, and Bjugstad deserves every bit of that recognition. The 22-year-old had five goals, three assists, a plus-six rating and 14 shots on goal during a four-game point streak, which was snapped Monday. Bjugstad led Florida in scoring last season (38 points in 76 games) so it's not surprising to see him back on the fantasy map, but it remains to be seen if Bjugstad will build off this success and finish with 50-plus points. He's definitely worth taking a chance on in deep leagues with such a low Yahoo ownership (12 percent).


These rankings are based on expectations for the season ahead. Value is quantified by line combinations, overall upside and past performance in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal).

1 Sidney Crosby, C (SAME) 51 Valtteri Filppula, LW/C (-3)
2 Steven Stamkos, C/RW (SAME) 52 David Krejci, C - DTD
3 Evgeni Malkin, C/RW (+1) 53 Jori Lehtera, C (+9)
4 Corey Perry, RW (-1) 54 Eric Staal, C (+6)
5 Claude Giroux, C/RW (SAME) 55 Brandon Saad, LW/RW (SAME)
6 Tyler Seguin, C/RW (+2) 56 Mike Cammalleri, LW/C (-3)
7 John Tavares, C (-1) 57 Brayden Schenn, LW/C (+4)
8 Jakub Voracek, RW (+2) 58 Ryan Callahan, RW (+5)
9 Phil Kessel, RW (-2) 59 Nick Foligno, LW (+9)
10 Ryan Getzlaf, C (-1) 60 Blake Wheeler, RW (-9)
11 Alex Ovechkin, LW/RW (SAME) 61 Marian Gaborik, LW/RW (-7)
12 Joe Pavelski, LW/C/RW (SAME) 62 Jarome Iginla, RW (+2)
13 Patric Hornqvist, RW (+1) 63 Milan Lucic, LW (-6)
14 Jamie Benn, LW/C (+2) 64 Brock Nelson, C (+9)
15 Patrick Kane, C/RW (SAME) 65 Gabriel Landeskog, LW (+6)
16 Jonathan Toews, C (-3) 66 Gustav Nyquist, C/RW (+1)
17 Ryan Johansen, C/RW (SAME) 67 Evander Kane, LW (-2)
18 Zach Parise, LW (SAME) 68 Mike Ribeiro, C (+6)
19 Rick Nash, LW/RW (+1) 69 Derek Stepan, C (+14)
20 Vladimir Tarasenko, RW (+4) 70 Bobby Ryan, LW/RW (+2)
21 Chris Kunitz, LW (-2) 71 Jordan Eberle, RW (-13)
22 Filip Forsberg, LW/C/RW (+1) 72 Jaromir Jagr, RW (-16)
23 Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW (+4) 73 Alexander Steen, LW/C (+5)
24 Anze Kopitar, C (-2) 74 Scott Hartnell, LW (-4)
25 Taylor Hall, LW/C (-4) 75 Jason Pominville, RW (-9)
26 Nicklas Backstrom, C (+2) 76 Nikita Kucherov, LW/RW (+8)
27 Logan Couture, LW/C (+3) 77 Ondrej Palat, LW (SAME)
28 Daniel Sedin, LW (+5) 78 Carl Soderberg, LW/C (-2)
29 Henrik Sedin, C (+5) 79 Tyler Bozak, C (NEW)
30 Pavel Datsyuk, LW/C - DTD 80 Johan Franzen, LW/RW (+2)
31 Joe Thornton, C (-5) 81 Johnny Gaudreau, LW (+8)
32 James Neal, LW/RW (SAME) 82 Alex Galchenyuk, LW/C (-7)
33 Matt Duchene, LW/C (-4) 83 Tomas Tatar, LW (NEW)
34 Martin St. Louis, C/RW (+3) 84 Steve Downie, LW/RW (NEW)
35 Wayne Simmonds, RW (SAME) 85 Jeff Skinner, LW/RW (NEW)
36 Henrik Zetterberg, LW/C (-5) 86 Shane Doan, LW/RW (+6)
37 Max Pacioretty, LW (-1) 87 Chris Kreider, LW (+6)
38 Jason Spezza, C (SAME) 88 Kyle Turris, C (+3)
39 Patrice Bergeron, C (SAME) 89 Loui Eriksson, LW/RW (-2)
40 Kyle Okposo, RW (SAME) 90 Andrew Ladd, LW (-9)
41 Jaden Schwartz, LW (+8) 91 Antoine Roussel, LW (+9)
42 Ryan Kesler, C/RW (SAME) 92 Ryan Strome, C/RW (NEW)
43 Jeff Carter, C/RW (+3) 93 Nick Bonino, C (-3)
44 Tyler Johnson, C/RW (-1) 94 Derick Brassard, C (+4)
45 Radim Vrbata, RW (+14) 95 Ryan O'Reilly, LW/C (-16)
46 David Backes, C/RW (-5) 96 Sean Monahan, C (-1)
47 Marian Hossa, RW (+5) 97 Kris Versteeg, LW/RW (NEW)
48 Patrick Marleau, LW/C (-4) 98 Tanner Pearson, LW (NEW)
49 James van Riemsdyk, LW (+1) 99 Tomas Plekanec, C (SAME)
50 Tyler Toffoli, RW (-5) 100 Nick Bjugstad, C (NEW)

Just Missed: Jonathan Drouin, Adam Henrique, Alex Killorn, Jiri Hudler, Paul Stastny, Nino Niederreiter, Clarke MacArthur, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Abdelkader, Antoine Vermette

Dropped out: Drouin, Stastny, MacArthur, Nugent-Hopkins, T.J. Oshie, Thomas Vanek

Key injuries: Patrick Sharp, Pascal Dupuis, Brandon Dubinsky, Brad Marchand, Valeri Nichushkin, Joffrey Lupul, Michael Raffl

*DTD: Day-to-day


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