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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Flyers' Voracek sustainable

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.


Philadelphia Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek was taken on average with the 94th pick in Yahoo fantasy hockey drafts.

The upside was clear: the 25-year-old was fresh off a career season in terms of goals, assists, shots on goal and power-play points. He was a lock to play with top-tier fantasy asset Claude Giroux again, so getting a taste of that pie was only logical for fantasy owners.


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That said, Voracek didn't have the pedigree to suggest such elevated consistency and offensive balance through 14 games in 2014-15.

Voracek ranks second in the NHL in assists (16) and points (22), and is tied for the League lead with seven multipoint outings. His rise to superstardom is largely due in part to his status as Giroux's right-hand man, but Voracek is beginning to make his own mark as a top-20 forward and one of the game's most balanced point producers.

For what it's worth, Voracek is on pace for 128 points. It's highly unlikely that he will continue to perform at such an unconscious level over 82 games, but the worst thing his owners can do is mistake him for a sell-high candidate.

The No. 1 reason to not sell high on Voracek is his shooting percentage. Voracek has six goals on 49 shots on goal (12.2 percent) this season, meaning his breakout success has not hinged on a sky-high conversion rate. Voracek's goal scoring and shot production are sustainable. His prowess on the distributing end will also continue as long as he's seeing even-strength and power-play time with Giroux.

When looking at some of the other surprises to this point, their percentages are not likely to be maintained. Some examples include Nick Foligno (25.9), Tanner Pearson (25.9), Rick Nash (22.0), Brock Nelson (20.6), Tyler Toffoli (18.9) and even Vladimir Tarasenko (16.1). Voracek is shooting at a higher percentage than his career average (10.4), but not by much.

The Czech Republic native is making waves by generating scoring chances as a passer and a shooter. He's on pace for 287 SOG, which would blow away his 2013-14 total (235). If he puts up such a shot volume, even at a lesser conversion rate, he'll be in position to reach 30 goals for the first time. That's a feasible expectation, meaning Voracek has a legitimate chance to join Giroux among the NHL's 80-point scorers.

In the shortened season, Voracek scored 22 goals on 129 SOG (17 percent), which was a breakout campaign but more of a sign that Giroux was setting him up for high-percentage looks. He shot 9.8 percent in 2013-14 and still had a career season, evidence of his emergence as a well-rounded player. Last season, Sidney Crosby and Taylor Hall were the two forwards with 50-plus assists and 250-plus shots on goal. Voracek is poised to join that elite group.


With the exception of penalty minutes, Voracek covers five of six standard-league fantasy categories. He has especially excelled with the man advantage, totaling 17 power-play points in 48 games during 2012-13 and 23 in 82 games last season. He put up those 2013-14 numbers despite his shooting percentage regressing below the mean.

And while owners can reap the benefits of Voracek's production with the man advantage (six PPP in 2014-15), you don't have to rely on it as long as he's producing consistently at 5-on-5. He leads the League in even-strength scoring (16 points), has the most such games with at least one point this season (13) and has formed the NHL's top point pair so far with Giroux (at least one point on 14 team goals). He's seeing the most ice time per game (18:23) of his career, and he's making every second count.

Voracek, who was acquired by the Flyers in the deal that sent Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets, has solidified himself as the perfect complementary weapon to Philadelphia's captain. This is no longer just Giroux benefiting Voracek; it works both ways. Fantasy owners can't ask for more than that from an eighth or ninth-round pick.


Filip Forsberg, LW/C/RW, Nashville Predators

Filip Forsberg
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 15
SOG: 41 | +/-: 15
Forsberg was limited to six points with a combined minus-13 over 18 NHL games prior to this season, but a top-line role next to James Neal and Mike Ribeiro in Peter Laviolette's system has made all the difference in the world. His plus-15 rating leads the NHL, and he has been on the ice for 21 team goals and only two goals against through 14 games. The 20-year-old is seeing first-unit power-play action for the Predators and leads all rookies in points (15) and shots on goal (41).


Thomas Vanek, LW/RW, Minnesota Wild

In two games without Zach Parise, the Wild have mustered one goal. Vanek assisted on it, but has still been a major disappointment so far for Minnesota, especially in power-play situations (3:41 of power-play time per game, one power-play point). He has been passive offensively with one goal and eight assists in 13 games and a shots on goal-per-game rate (2.0 in 2014-15) well below his career average (2.82). He's playing with young playmaker Mikael Granlund and former teammate Jason Pominville in Parise's absence, so fantasy owners can only hope this elevated role boosts Vanek's production in the short term.

Elias Lindholm
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 8
SOG: 29 | +/-: -1

Elias Lindholm, C/RW, Carolina Hurricanes

Injuries were the story in Carolina for much of the first month, but having Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner back in the lineup has taken some of the load off the Hurricanes second unit. Lindholm has found his niche alongside Nathan Gerbe and Riley Nash in November with five goals, two assists, a plus-5 and 15 shots on goal over his past six games. He's only 10-percent owned and has dual eligibility in Yahoo leagues, so take a flyer on him in deep formats.


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

Just Missed: Derick Brassard, Tommy Wingels, Antoine Roussel, Mikael Granlund, Elias Lindholm, Justin Abdelkader, Reilly Smith, Mikko Koivu, Troy Brouwer, Chris Higgins

Dropped out: Wingels, Granlund, Abdelkader, Koivu, Cam Atkinson, David Perron, Mikkel Boedker

Key injuries: Zach Parise, Taylor Hall, Patrick Sharp, Brandon Dubinsky, T.J. Oshie, Valeri Nichushkin, Michael Raffl

*DTD: Day-to-day; NR - IR: Not ranked last week because of injury


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