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Fantasy hits league draft guide for 2017-18

50 players with added value in specific format

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

If you're in a fantasy hockey league that counts hits, certain players need to be prioritized.

Counting hits as a fantasy category has become increasingly popular in recent years. Just look at the percentage of Yahoo leagues that use hits: this specific league format has grown from 26.5 percent in 2014 to 30.6 percent in 2015 to 33.0 percent in 2016 to 42.3 percent so far in 2017.

In addition to pre-ranking your players on Yahoo using NHL.com's top 250, hits-league fantasy owners should fill their draft queue with players who have produced well in the category in years past in terms of their hits totals and per-game averages.

Below are 50 players who should be targeted in hits leagues. In addition to past performance and future potential, each player is a reliable producer in the hits category and has greater fantasy value than in a points-only format.

 

[RELATED: Fantasy team previews | Cheat Sheet]

 

NOTES: Each player's NHL career hits-per-game average has been noted below. ... Hits formats usually count goals, assists, plus/minus, hits, power-play points and shots on goal for skaters. … Value has been quantified based on factors including but not limited to past production, line combinations, defense pairs, power-play usage, injury history, age, sleeper/bounce-back/breakout potential and any anticipated regression. ... Hits totals have been tracked since 2005-06.

Jamie Benn, LW, DAL -- 1.7

Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH -- 2.7

Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA -- 1.7

Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS - 1.0

Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG -- 1.2

Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH -- 1.2

Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI -- 1.8

Brayden Schenn, C/LW, STL -- 2.4

Rickard Rakell, C/LW, ANA -- 1.3

Jake Guentzel, C/LW, PIT -- 1.5

Ryan Kesler, C, ANA (INJ.) -- 1.5

Nazem Kadri, C, TOR -- 1.6

Evander Kane, LW, BUF -- 2.3

Anders Lee, LW, NYI -- 2.1

Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (INJ.) -- 1.4

James Neal, LW/RW, VGK -- 1.6

Milan Lucic, LW, EDM -- 2.8

Nino Niederreiter, LW/RW, MIN -- 1.9

Nick Foligno, LW/RW, CBJ -- 1.9

Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJD -- 1.4

Chris Kreider, LW, NYR - 2.0

Ondrej Palat, LW, TBL -- 1.8

Patrick Maroon, LW, EDM - 2.0

Vincent Trocheck, C, FLA -- 1.8

J.T. Miller, LW/RW, NYR -- 1.6

Charlie Coyle, C/RW, MIN -- 1.5

Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL -- 2.2

Jonathan Marchessault, C/LW, VGK -- 1.4

Bobby Ryan, RW, OTT -- 1.5

Richard Panik, LW/RW, CHI -- 1.6

Boone Jenner, C/LW, CBJ -- 2.8

David Backes, RW, BOS - 3.0

Brandon Dubinsky, C, CBJ -- 2.7

Scott Hartnell, LW, NSH -- 1.6

Other forwards worth owning in a deeper hits league: Nick Ritchie (LW, ANA), Jordan Staal (C, CAR), David Perron (LW/RW, VGK), Paul Byron (LW/RW, MTL), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (C, OTT), Martin Hanzal (C, DAL), Andrew Shaw (C/RW, MTL), Zack Smith (C/LW, OTT), Andrew Ladd (LW, NYI), Bryan Rust (RW, PIT).

Hits specialists worth streaming: Leo Komarov (C/LW, TOR), Dustin Brown (LW/RW, LAK), Adam Lowry (C, WPG), Chris Kunitz (LW, TBL), Brett Ritchie (RW, DAL), Marcus Foligno (LW, MIN), Tom Wilson (RW, WSH), Cal Clutterbuck (RW, NYI), Matt Martin (LW, TOR), Ryan Reaves (RW, PIT).

Video: TOR@WSH, Gm5: Ovechkin lays a big hit on Gardiner

 

DEFENSEMEN:

Dustin Byfuglien, WPG -- 2.3

Kris Letang, PIT -- 1.6

Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF -- 1.9

Shea Weber, MTL -- 2.2

Drew Doughty, LAK -- 1.8

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI -- 1.7

Justin Faulk, CAR -- 1.6

Jacob Trouba, WPG -- 1.6

Brent Seabrook, CHI - 2.0

Nikita Zaitsev, TOR -- 2.1

Matt Niskanen, WSH -- 1.5

Brady Skjei, NYR -- 1.8

Dmitry Orlov, WSH -- 1.5

Jake Muzzin, LAK -- 2.2

Dion Phaneuf, OTT -- 2.4

Zdeno Chara, BOS -- 2.2

Josh Manson, ANA -- 2.4

Other defensemen worth owning in a deeper hits league: Radko Gudas (PHI), Jeff Petry (MTL), David Savard (CBJ), Adam Larsson (EDM), Johnny Boychuk (NYI), Ian Cole (PIT), Josh Morrissey (WPG), Erik Johnson (COL), Michael Del Zotto (VAN), Nick Holden (NYR).

Video: ANA@WPG: Byfuglien delivers a nice check on Rakell

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