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Fantasy: Buyer beware these 10 players

Overdrafting Steven Stamkos, Henrik Lundqvist, Shea Weber comes with risk

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

When certain players are being overvalued in fantasy drafts, sometimes it's best to just steer clear.

Such players usually bring concerns from a fantasy standpoint, including but not limited to: a change of scenery, lack of lineup support, injury history and/or a dip in recent performance. When players who bring risk are going off the board much earlier than they should be, there's only so much of a positive spin you can put on their value.

FANTASY RANKINGS: TOP 250 | CENTER | LW | RW | D-MAN | GOALIE

DRAFT BARGAINS: FORWARD | D-MAN | GOALIE | BUYER BEWARE

Buyer beware of these 10 players with higher Yahoo average draft positions than their NHL.com rank. If they are available where NHL.com has them ranked, they are worth selecting. But reaching for them based on ADP alone brings unnecessary risk.

Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL.com: 21; ADP: 7.7)

There's no debating Stamkos' goal-scoring track record and high shots on goal volume since entering the NHL in 2008-09; he ranks second in goals (312) behind Alex Ovechkin (362) and 15th in SOG (1,818). But the three-time 90-point man missed more than half the season in 2013-14 because of a broken leg and hasn't been the same since, scoring 72 points in 82 games in 2014-15 and 64 in 77 games last season. There are also concerns about Stamkos' health after he missed all but one Stanley Cup Playoff game because of a blood clot. He re-signed with the Lightning and has a chance to regain form alongside Jonathan Drouin, but they have had trials together in the past with mixed results. With so many questions surrounding Stamkos' value and center being the deepest fantasy position, it's risky to take him in the top 10 or 15 overall.

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm3: Malkin pushes shot just wide in OT

Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL.com: 24; ADP: 21.5)

Malkin has averaged better than a point per game in each of the past five seasons, but has played 292 of a possible 376 games during the span because of injuries. Last season was a perfect example of how taking Malkin in the first two rounds can lead to disappointment; he had 58 points in 57 games with an outstanding power-play point total (27) on the Penguins' first unit, but was not in the lineup for the final month of the regular season, leaving his fantasy owners in a bind for their playoff rounds. Malkin's production dipped in the actual postseason upon returning; he played mostly alongside Chris Kunitz and Bryan Rust instead of with Sidney Crosby or Phil Kessel. Certainly consider Malkin if he falls to the late-second or early-third round of a 12-team draft, but it's questionable to reach for him.

Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers (NHL.com: 66; ADP: 33.3)

If healthy, Lundqvist should get his usual 30 wins in 60-65 starts, but his peripherals could put his top 10 fantasy goalie status in jeopardy. He faced the most shots in the League (1,944) last season and had the worst goals-against average of his career (2.48). The Rangers' Shot Attempts percentage (47.37) was fifth-worst in the NHL. They improved their forward group this offseason but lost their best offensive defenseman, Keith Yandle, and will lean heavily on Ryan McDonagh and rookie Brady Skjei. Lundqvist, now 34, is playing for Team Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 before returning to his heavy workload with a suspect defense in front of him. He will have a hard time living up to such a high ADP.

Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago Blackhawks (NHL.com: 73; ADP: 58.4)

Toews is the prime example of how real-life value doesn't always stack up to fantasy. He's a top-five NHL center in reality because of his two-way prowess and championship pedigree; however, he's being chosen on average in the 50s overall in fantasy, and that may even be too high. Toews has not scored 30 goals since 2010-11 and had 58 points last season, tied for 51st in the NHL. His PPP total (nine) was the lowest full-season total of his career, and he was off the first unit for much of the season. He is a steady fantasy performer and finished 64th in Yahoo anyway, but has a LW vacancy and aging Marian Hossa on his other wing. The middle rounds are the place to address fantasy position weaknesses, and there is plenty of center depth before and after where Toews is going.

Video: NSH@COL: Landeskog scores to give Avalanche the lead

Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Colorado Avalanche (NHL.com: 82; ADP: 68.8)

Landeskog is more valuable in hits leagues than standard formats; he has at least 140 hits in each of his four full NHL seasons. He has well-rounded coverage in any format, but has had a negative plus/minus in three of the past four seasons. Landeskog's SOG total also dipped significantly last season, from 214 in 82 games in 2014-15 to 169 in 75 games. He plays frequently alongside Nathan MacKinnon, but is a much better value outside the top 80 overall. Taking Landeskog as a top 10 LW over Daniel Sedin, Jonathan Huberdeau and/or category coverage assets with more reliable linemates (i.e. Milan Lucic, Brayden Schenn) is a stretch given the state of the Avalanche. Colorado had a sudden offseason coaching change and its top players are playing for different teams in the World Cup, so there won't even be a full training camp for everyone to get acclimated to Jared Bednar's system.

Shea Weber, D, Montreal Canadiens (NHL.com: 84; ADP: 58.0)

Weber's fantasy stock takes a hit after moving from the Nashville Predators, where he skated with Roman Josi in all situations, to an underachieving power-play unit in Montreal, where he is expected to pair with veteran Andrei Markov. His plus-minus, PIMs and SOG totals dipped from 2014-15 to last season, and his power-play production is bound to decline from the 26 PPP he scored for the Predators (10th in man-advantage efficiency; 19.7 percent). Weber's hard-hitting, shot-blocking style gives world-class goalie Carey Price much-needed protection, but he should not be going in the 10-12 range at his position. Weber probably won't fall to where NHL.com has him ranked, so take your chances on higher-upside defensemen out there.

Tuukka Rask, G, Boston Bruins (NHL.com: 97; ADP: 58.7)

Rask finished outside the top 100 (118th in Yahoo) last season despite playing 64 games and winning 31, which speaks volumes about the decline of his peripherals and the Bruins defense at large. The Eastern Conference is much improved, the Bruins have missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and Rask's totals in wins, GAA and save percentage have declined drastically since he won the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14. Like Lundqvist, he still has name value and can eclipse 30 wins, but is playing for a team that has taken a sizable step back defensively in recent seasons. If you're looking for a goalie in the 50-60 range in your draft, go with a safer option (i.e. Jake Allen, Roberto Luongo, Devan Dubnyk) than Rask.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm4: Murray stones Oshie, keeps game tied

T.J. Oshie, RW, Washington Capitals (NHL.com: 106; ADP: 90.2)

Oshie was in a fantasy-friendly spot last season, playing frequently with Alex Ovechkin on the top line and first power-play unit, but finished with 51 points. He scored a career-best 26 goals, but had his lowest assist total (25) in a full season since 2010-11. Oshie is a safe bet in the plus/minus and PPP categories, but has never had more than 188 SOG in a single season. He's known for his shootout heroics, but that doesn't factor into fantasy leagues. There's more upside in drafting Kyle Okposo, Patric Hornqvist, Jaromir Jagr or even rookie Patrik Laine over Oshie in the eighth or ninth round.

Craig Anderson, G, Ottawa Senators (NHL.com: 181; ADP: 96.4)

Anderson emerged from a competition with Andrew Hammond to start 60 games last season, winning 31 and finishing with four shutouts. But his peripherals were far worse than Lundqvist and Rask, and he could easily take a step back in wins given his age (35), injury history and erratic start volume from season to season. Among the 10 goalies to play 60 games last season, Anderson had the worst GAA (2.78) and third-worst save percentage (.916). He's going among the top 100 players on average because of his high Yahoo preseason rank (88), but fantasy owners should pass on taking Anderson among the top 150.

Alec Martinez, D, Los Angeles Kings (NHL.com: 192; ADP: 124.4)

Martinez, 29, is not that young and has two proven defensemen, Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin, ahead of him in the Kings' power-play picture. He's worth owning in fantasy after 10 goals, 21 assists, a plus-16 rating, 40 PIMs and 13 PPP last season; however, his SOG volume (124) has always been low and his ceiling is limited because of Los Angeles' defensive depth. Martinez is being severely overdrafted on average; he's going higher than Seth Jones, Nick Leddy and Morgan Rielly, No. 1 defensemen for their respective teams.

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