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Fantasy top 60 'D': Flames' Giordano tops rankings

by Brian Metzer

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

UPDATED TOP 60 DEFENSEMEN RANKINGS

FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS

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

The Calgary Flames have been one of the most interesting stories through the first month of the NHL season. They have gotten off to a 9-6-2 start and sit just three points behind the Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division. There have been many reasons for that success, but one of the biggest has been the play of Mark Giordano.

Giordano, who jumps to the head of the line in our rankings this week, leads all defensemen in assists (14) and points (19), and ranks second in goals (five) and points per game (1.12). He collected 10 of those points (three goals) over his past five games and is probably the hottest player in the league not named Sidney Crosby.

He might not have been the first name you thought of when drafting defensemen for your fantasy team, but he probably should have been, especially when you consider he rolled up 47 points (five goals) over the 64 games he played last season.

That production translated into .73 points per game and was good enough to rank him behind the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson (.90) and the Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith (.77) in that category.

The offensive production was impressive, but the fact he appeared in 64 games is what probably pushed his average draft position to 101 overall, with an average of 17 other defenseman going ahead of him in Yahoo standard leagues.

You can't blame owners for being tentative.

The production is nice, but the fact Giordano played a full season twice over his first nine years in the league was enough to scare many off.

For those of you who took a chance on Giordano, you are being rewarded handsomely. He has provided outstanding category coverage, which is something you don't always get from a defenseman. We mentioned the goals, assists and points above, but he has also chipped in 17 penalty minutes, 39 shots on goal, a plus-6 rating and a shorthanded goal.

If there is one area where you might want to see some improvement, it is on the power play. He is logging almost three minutes per night with the extra man, but has collected only five power-play points on the season.

It is worth noting that entering the games on Monday night, the Flames were outscoring opponents 16-8 at even strength when Giordano and partner TJ Brodie were on the ice and were being outscored in those situations 18-16 when they were not.

Giordano might not be able to maintain his current level of production, but there is no doubt he will be among the leading scorers the rest of the way as long as he stays healthy.


TRENDING UP

John Carlson
John Carlson
STATS PRIOR TO NOV. 12 GAMES
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 11
SOG: 38 | +/-: -1
John Carlson, Washington Capitals -- Heading into the season many thought Matt Niskanen might be the top offensive defenseman in Washington. If not him, it would have to be Mike Green, right? Well, it appears we were all wrong and Carlson is staking out a claim as the top source of fantasy production on the Capitals blue line. He is skating on the top pairing alongside Brooks Orpik, a stay-at-home type that allows Carlson to play his two-way game. He has collected 11 points (two goals), put up 35 shots on goal and scored four points on the power play. He has six points over his past seven games and looks like he might finally be realizing the potential many thought he had when he was doing great things on the international stage during the World Junior Championship. Carlson is owned in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues, but that is sure to rise.

TRENDING DOWN

Damon Severson, New Jersey Devils -- Severson is going to be a very nice fantasy player as he moves forward in his NHL career, but it might be a bumpy road as he heads through his first season in the League. For all the accolades he collected as he rolled up seven points over his first eight games, he has cooled significantly. He has just one point over his past eight games and when you look at his season as a whole, he has points in just five of 16 games. He's still worth owning, but don't count on him as more than a depth scorer at the moment.

Alec Martinez
Alec Martinez
STATS PRIOR TO NOV. 12 GAMES
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 6
SOG: 38 | +/-: 9
KEEP AN EYE ON

Alec Martinez, Los Angeles Kings -- Martinez dropped down a slot in our rankings based on a couple guys returning from injury, but he could be on the move upward. He was someone we had high hopes for based on his performance late last season, as well as the fact he had a great Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he is heating up. He now has nine points in 12 games after picking up three assists in his previous game. He has an attractive plus-9, 38 shots on goal and has a knack of being part of the Kings offensive flow. Somehow he is owned in just 20 percent of Yahoo leagues.


TOP 60 FANTASY DEFENSEMEN

These rankings are based on expectations for the season ahead. Value is quantified by defense pairings, overall upside and past performance in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal). NOTE: Players with D/RW eligibility in Yahoo leagues (Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Burns) have been ranked as defensemen.

1 Mark Giordano, CGY (+7) 31 Marek Zidlicky, NJD (SAME)
2 Brent Burns, RW/D, SJS (+1) 32 Trevor Daley, DAL (SAME)
3 Erik Karlsson, OTT (-2) 33 Mike Green, WSH (SAME)
4 P.K. Subban, MTL (-2) 34 Damon Severson, NJD (-7)
5 Keith Yandle, ARI (-1) 35 Cody Franson, TOR (+4)
6 Kris Letang, PIT (+4) 36 Torey Krug, BOS (NR - INJ.)
7 Duncan Keith, CHI (-2) 37 Matt Niskanen, WSH (-3)
8 Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (-2) 38 Andrej Sekera, CAR (-2)
9 Shea Weber, NSH (-2) 39 Tobias Enstrom, WPG (-1)
10 Dustin Byfuglien, RW/D, WPG (-1) 40 Matt Carle, TBL (-3)
11 Ryan Suter, MIN (+1) 41 Dennis Wideman, CGY (SAME)
12 Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (-1) 42 Brian Campbell, FLA (-7)
13 Niklas Kronwall, DET (+6) 43 Nick Leddy, NYI (-1)
14 Alex Pietrangelo, STL (SAME) 44 Anton Stralman, TBL (-1)
15 Drew Doughty, LAK (-2) 45 Paul Martin, PIT (-1)
16 Cam Fowler, ANA (-1) 46 Jack Johnson, CBJ (-6)
17 TJ Brodie, CGY (+5) 47 Alec Martinez, LAK (-1)
18 Brent Seabrook, CHI (-2) 48 Dion Phaneuf, TOR (-3)
19 Andrei Markov, MTL (-2) 49 Dougie Hamilton, BOS (+1)
20 Jason Garrison, TBL (-2) 50 Alexander Edler, VAN (-2)
21 Mark Streit, PHI (+2) 51 Erik Johnson, COL (-4)
22 Sami Vatanen, ANA (+2) 52 Justin Faulk, CAR (+6)
23 James Wisniewski, CBJ (NR - INJ.) 53 Ryan Ellis, NSH (-4)
24 John Carlson, WSH (+6) 54 Hampus Lindholm, ANA (-3)
25 Tyson Barrie, COL (+1) 55 Alexei Emelin, MTL (-3)
26 Johnny Boychuk, NYI (-6) 56 Jake Gardiner, TOR (-3)
27 Alex Goligoski, DAL (-6) 57 Kris Russell, CGY (-3)
28 Christian Ehrhoff, PIT (-3) 58 Michael Del Zotto, PHI (-2)
29 Lubomir Visnovsky, NYI (-1) 59 Aaron Ekblad, FLA (NEW)
30 Justin Schultz, EDM (-1) 60 Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS (-5)

Dropped out: Zach Bogosian, Andy Greene, Francois Beauchemin

Key injuries: Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Zdeno Chara, Dan Boyle, Olli Maatta, Ryan Murray, Kimmo Timonen

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