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Week 13: Fantasy top 100 forward rankings for 2016-17 lists most valuable standard-league assets during regular season

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long, will rank the top 100 forwards for standard Yahoo leagues (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points, shots on goal). Players with long-term injuries have been removed from this list. Positions indicate eligibility in Yahoo leagues.

These rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by line combinations, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard leagues. Changes in value each week are based on recent performance and/or lineup trends.

It's been a rookie forward class for the ages, with Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets among the top five goal scorers League-wide at the midway point of the regular season. Mitchell Marner of the Maple Leafs and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames have joined them among the top 60 overall players based on standard category performance. 


But Laine's season took an unfortunate turn for the worse Saturday when he sustained a concussion against the Buffalo Sabres. There is no timetable for his return, meaning fantasy owners are without the 27th-ranked player in standard leagues and one of the three most valuable in keeper formats, along with Matthews and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. 

What does this mean for the Jets? If their 2-0 win against the Calgary Flames on Monday is any indication, this could be a big value boost for right wing Drew Stafford. 

The Jets kept Blake Wheeler, one of the top 15 point producers in the NHL since 2011-12, in his usual spot at right wing alongside center Bryan Little and left wing Mathieu Perreault. Stafford, meanwhile, had an assist and was a plus-1 on the first line with center Mark Scheifele and left wing Nikolaj Ehlers, two of the biggest fantasy steals of the season to this point. Stafford also played 2:21 on the power play. 

Stafford (3 percent owned) has points in back-to-back games and should be on the radar of deep-league fantasy owners. He has been inconsistent during his NHL career but had 21 goals, 187 shots on goal and nine power-play points in mostly a top-six role last season. His best season was 2010-11 with the Buffalo Sabres when he had 31 goals, 52 points and 19 power-play points.

Video: WPG@BUF: Stafford knocks in his own rebound for lead

Other in-house candidates to see time alongside Ehlers and Scheifele during Laine's absence are Wheeler, Perreault (if Ehlers shifts to right wing) or Joel Armia, as referenced in our waiver wire watch this week

There also are plenty of outside replacement options for those in 10- or 12-team leagues, namely Anthony Mantha or Thomas Vanek of the Detroit Red Wings, Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild and Sebastian Aho or Teuvo Teravainen of the Carolina Hurricanes. Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (C, 24 percent owned) is another option if you need center help; he has 13 points, four PPP and is plus-7 in his past 13 games. 


Trending Up

Michael Grabner (LW/RW, 48 percent owned) was an unheralded signing by the New York Rangers as an unrestricted free agent July 1 to add speed and improve their penalty kill. If Grabner would have scored 19 goals in a full season, the decision to bring him in would have been tabbed as a great success. But the fact that he has 19, the same total as Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, at the halfway mark is astonishing. He has been a sell-high candidate in fantasy all season because of his unsustainable shooting percentage (22.1), currently the second-highest in the NHL among players with at least 70 SOG. But his shot volume is strong, he's cashing in on more of the breakaway chances he creates with his great speed, and his plus-22 is tied for fourth in the League. He joins the top 100 forwards this week and has a legitimate chance to challenge his career-high 34 goals from his rookie season of 2010-11.

Video: NYR@CBJ: Grabner races in and scores for late lead


Trending Down

Forward Taylor Hall was expected to boost the New Jersey Devils offense, which averaged the fewest goals per game in the NHL last season at 2.22. Though the Devils are two spots higher in the rankings (ahead of the Arizona Coyotes at 2.05 and the Colorado Avalanche at 2.03), their average this season has declined to 2.19. Hall has 17 points in 16 home games, but did not have a point in the Devils' winless three-game homestand (0-2-1), which ended with a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday. He's missed 10 games because of injuries, and teammates Michael Cammalleri, Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique have been inconsistent and are barely worth owning in most formats. Hall has a chance to redeem himself in the second half because of his strong points per game average (0.78) and shot volume (105), but does not deserve a spot among the top 50 fantasy forwards at the moment.


Worth Noting

-- The Connor McDavid line carousel has continued, with Leon Draisaitl and Patrick Maroon (LW, 43 percent owned) in those spots at the moment. Draisaitl has had a phenomenal season despite such lineup flux, with 35 points, 15 on the power play, in 42 games. He's 40th overall in standard leagues. Maroon, who has been close to a point-per-game player when skating with McDavid the past two seasons, saw his Yahoo rank skyrocket to 46th after he had five goals, one assist, a plus-5 and 15 SOG in his past four games. Because Maroon offers penalty minutes (50), hits (96) and exposure to McDavid, he is a must-own player in most formats.

Video: EDM@OTT: Draisaitl banks in puck from behind the net

-- Yahoo's latest position eligibility update affects Cammalleri (LW/+RW), Tomas Tatar of the Detroit Red Wings (LW/+RW) and rookie Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks (+LW/RW). Meier (3 percent owned) was recalled by the Sharks on Dec. 15 and earned a promotion to the top line with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton three games ago. He had one assist and four SOG against the Red Wings on Saturday, giving him two points and 31 SOG in 10 games. He's one of three players, along with Patric Hornqvist (Pittsburgh Penguins) and David Backes (Boston Bruins), averaging at least 2.5 SOG per game and 2.5 hits per game, and just might see a scoring spike if he sticks on the top line. 


Top 100 Fantasy Forwards 

These rankings were last updated Jan. 10 

1. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (SAME) 
2. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (SAME) 
3. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (SAME) 
4. Patrick Kane, RW, CHI (SAME) 
5. Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH (SAME) 
6. Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT (SAME) 
7. Auston Matthews, C, TOR (+1) 
8. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (-1) 
9. Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS (SAME) 
10. Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI (SAME) 
11. Tyler Seguin, C/RW, DAL (SAME) 
12. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI (SAME) 
13. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (+1) 
14. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (+2) 
15. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT (+2) 
16. Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ (+3) 
17. Claude Giroux, C, PHI (-2) 
18. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (+7) 
19. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (+3) 
20. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (+3) 
21. Jack Eichel, C, BUF (+3) 
22. Ryan Kesler, C, ANA (+4) 
23. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (+5) 
24. Alexander Radulov, LW/RW, MTL (+5) 
25. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (-4) 
26. John Tavares, C, NYI (-6) 
27. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS (+3) 
28. Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM (+3) 
29. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (-2) 
30. Eric Staal, C, MIN (+2) 
31. Jeff Carter, C, LAK (+2) 
32. Nick Foligno, LW/RW, CBJ (+3) 
33. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG (+4) 
34. Mitchell Marner, C/RW, TOR (+12) 
35. Alexander Wennberg, C, CBJ (-1) 
36. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (+14) 
37. Mike Hoffman, LW, OTT (+1) 
38. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (+1) 
39. James van Riemsdyk, LW, TOR (+18) 
40. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WSH (+13) 
41. Ryan Johansen, C, NSH (-5) 
42. Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW, TBL (+7) 
43. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (-2) 
44. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (DTD) 
45. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, PHI (+10) 
46. Jeff Skinner, LW, CAR (+5) 
47. Kyle Okposo, RW, BUF (+5) 
48. Mark Stone, RW, OTT (+4) 
49. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (-2) 
50. Logan Couture, C, SJS (-3) 
51. Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (NR - INJ.
52. Milan Lucic, LW, EDM (-8) 
53. Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW, BUF (NR - INJ.
54. Taylor Hall, LW, NJD (-12) 
55. Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA (+1) 
56. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (+2) 
57. Artem Anisimov, C, CHI (+7) 
58. Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH (+1) 
59. Jason Spezza, C/RW, DAL (+7) 
60. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (+1) 
61. Nazem Kadri, C, TOR (+18) 
62. William Nylander, C/RW, TOR (-7) 
63. Zach Parise, LW, MIN (+7) 
64. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (+1) 
65. Tyler Johnson, C, TBL (-5) 
66. Matt Duchene, C/RW, COL (-4) 
67. Robby Fabbri, C/LW, STL (SAME) 
68. Anthony Mantha, LW/RW, DET (+9) 
69. Charlie Coyle, C/RW, MIN (+5) 
70. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (+1) 
71. Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR (+2) 
72. Rickard Rakell, C/LW, ANA (-9) 
73. Jordan Eberle, RW, EDM (-5) 
74. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN (-5) 
75. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (-3) 
76. T.J. Oshie, RW, WSH (DTD) 
77. Derek Stepan, C, NYR (-1) 
78. Mikael Granlund, C/LW, MIN (-1) 
79. Sam Reinhart, C/RW, BUF (+4) 
80. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, CGY (+16) 
81. Jakob Silfverberg, RW, ANA (+2) 
82. Sam Gagner, C/RW, CBJ (+4) 
83. Evander Kane, LW, BUF (-2) 
84. David Backes, RW, BOS (NR - INJ.
85. Victor Rask, C, CAR (SAME) 
86. Kevin Hayes, C/RW, NYR (+7) 
87. Bryan Little, C, WPG (-3) 
88. Alexander Steen, LW/RW, STL (+1) 
89. Marcus Johansson, LW/RW, WSH (+1) 
90. J.T. Miller, C/LW/RW, NYR (+1) 
91. Conor Sheary, LW/RW, PIT (+1) 
92. Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW, NSH (DTD) 
93. Teuvo Teravainen, C/LW/RW, CAR (+1) 
94. Sebastian Aho, LW/RW, CAR (+1) 
95. Mikko Koivu, C, MIN (+3) 
96. Patrick Sharp, LW/RW, DAL (+3) 
97. Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW, DET (SAME) 
98. Kyle Turris, C, OTT (+2) 
99. Patrick Maroon, LW, EDM (NEW
100. Michael Grabner, LW/RW, NYR (NEW

Dropped out: Jaden Schwartz (C/LW, STL) 

Just missed: Bo Horvat (C, VAN), Thomas Vanek (LW/RW, DET), Jason Zucker (LW/RW, MIN), Justin Williams (RW, WSH), Mikael Backlund (C, CGY), Jonathan Marchessault (C/LW, FLA), Mike Fisher (C, NSH), Tanner Pearson (LW, LAK), Vincent Trocheck (C, FLA), Nino Niederreiter (LW/RW, MIN) 

Key injuries: Steven Stamkos (C, TBL), Patrik Laine (LW/RW, WPG), Jamie Benn (LW, DAL), Alex Galchenyuk (C, MTL), Aleksander Barkov (C, FLA), Tyler Toffoli (C/RW, LAK), Rick Nash (LW/RW, NYR), James Neal (RW, NSH), Mika Zibanejad (C/RW, NYR), Brendan Gallagher (RW, MTL), Jonathan Huberdeau (LW, FLA), Max Domi (LW, ARI), Andrew Shaw (C/RW, MTL), Tomas Hertl (C/LW, SJS)


READ: Last week's Top 100 forward rankings

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