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Week 14: Fantasy top 100 forward rankings for 2016-17

NHL.com lists most valuable standard-league assets during regular season

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

All season long, NHL.com 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.

In many fantasy formats, having players with games in hand past the halfway mark of the season can give you a huge advantage against your competition. With the NHL's condensed schedule after the World Cup of Hockey 2016, the League-mandated five-day breaks have created an interesting dynamic in head-to-head fantasy leagues.

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: MIDSEASON AWARDS | TOP 50 DEFENSEMEN

Entering Tuesday, nearly two-thirds (19 of 30) of teams have played at least 44 games. Players from any of the teams with games in hand can be useful, but the ones whose teams have already had their "bye week" are especially intriguing.

Here are some forwards owned in no more than 20 percent of Yahoo leagues that play for teams with games in hand on more than half of the League. Remaining bye weeks have been included for reference.

 

CAROLINA HURRICANES (Games played: 43; Bye: Feb. 12-16): You've heard plenty about the upside of Sebastian Aho (LW/RW, 20 percent owned) and Teuvo Teravainen (C/LW/RW, 15 percent), but another line has surfaced for the deep, possession-savvy Hurricanes. Since the return of Elias Lindholm (C/RW, 4 percent), his line with Jordan Staal (C/LW, 19 percent) and Brock McGinn has been dominant. Lindholm has points in each of his three games back, totaling one goal, four assists, a plus-3 and nine SOG. Staal has seven points in his four-game point streak, and McGinn has seven points in his past three games.

 

NASHVILLE PREDATORS (Games played: 43; Bye: Feb. 13-17): Mike Fisher (C, 19 percent) is one of the most underrated fantasy players in the League. He's just outside the top 100 overall in Yahoo (103rd) and is second on the Nashville Predators with 11 power-play points. He has at least a point in six of his past nine games, and is still not even owned in 20 percent of leagues. In addition to power-play help, he provides penalty minutes (40) and hits (78) for fantasy owners in such leagues.

Video: NSH@COL: Fisher nets pretty backhand goal on break

 

BUFFALO SABRES (Games played: 43; Bye: Feb. 20-24): Adding Sam Reinhart and/or Evander Kane still makes a ton of sense in many formats, but fantasy owners in deeper leagues should have their eyes on Tyler Ennis (C/LW/RW, 4 percent owned), who returned from injury with a bang on Monday. He scored 19 seconds into the game, a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars, and played on a line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo. His inclusion in the lineup should further boost a Sabres offense that started slow but has broken out for 23 goals in seven games since the start of the new year.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (42 games played; already had bye): It's understandable to steer clear of inconsistent Islanders forwards Brock Nelson (C/LW, 14 percent) and Anders Lee (LW, 14 percent), but there is no explanation for Josh Bailey (LW/RW, 7 percent) having such a low ownership percentage. Bailey, who plays alongside John Tavares at even strength and on the power play (seven PPP), scored a goal Monday against the Boston Bruins and has five points in his past three games. He's New York's second-leading scorer (29 points) behind Tavares (32) and is six points ahead of their third-leading scorer (Nelson, 23). Even after the Islanders fired coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday, Bailey should remain in the top six and power-play equation.

 

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (41 games played; already had bye): The Maple Leafs' rebuild is way ahead of schedule, and the components of their three strong lines should be on every fantasy owner's radar. Tyler Bozak (C, 11 percent) and Connor Brown (RW, 6 percent) are underrated members of their top nine who deserve greater fantasy recognition. Bozak ranks fourth among Maple Leafs in points per game (0.74), and has done enough damage with the man advantage lately to be on our waiver wire watch this week. Brown has received the splash effect of playing on a line with Auston Matthews, scoring 11 points (two PPP) in his past 10 games.

Video: TOR@OTT: Bozak takes advantage of Ryan's turnover

 

OTTAWA SENATORS (41 games played; already had bye): The well-known forwards in the Senators' lineup are owned in most leagues, but Zack Smith (C/LW, 6 percent) is scratching the surface again as a second-half sleeper. He had 25 points in his final 32 games last season, and looks to be on a similar track this season with 12 points and a plus-10 in his past 13 games. He's been consistent of late at even strength alongside Mark Stone and Derick Brassard, and has three points in four games since returning from an abdominal injury earlier this month.

 

Elite teams with games in hand: Columbus Blue Jackets (42 games played; bye: Feb. 20-24), Minnesota Wild (42 games played; bye: Feb. 22-26), Pittsburgh Penguins (43 games played; already had bye)

Teams out of contention with games in hand: Arizona Coyotes (43 games played; already had bye), Colorado Avalanche (41 games played; already had bye)

 

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Worth Noting

-- Mika Zibanejad (C/RW, 40 percent owned) is scheduled to return to the lineup for the New York Rangers in their home game against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. It will be his first action since Nov. 20, when he sustained a broken fibula. He skated with Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich (LW/RW, 7 percent) at practice Monday and saw reps on the second power-play unit. Zibanejad had 15 points (five PPP) in 19 games, and Buchnevich has assists in each of his first two games back to give him 10 points in 12 games.

-- Anthony Mantha (LW/RW, 37 percent owned) isn't the only trending Detroit Red Wings forward these days. Andreas Athanasiou (C/LW, 3 percent owned) has played frequently with Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek on Detroit's second line, and Mantha has kept his spot alongside Henrik Zetterberg on the first unit. Athanasiou has four goals, three assists, 19 SOG and is plus-7 in his past six games. He and Mantha are seeing time on the power play as well in an effort to spark the Red Wings' underachieving man-advantage units (11.5 percent, worst in NHL).

-- Mikael Granlund of the Wild gained tri-eligibility (C/LW/+RW) in Yahoo's latest positional update. Ranked 48th overall based on standard-category performance, Granlund has been one of the most valuable fantasy players since Dec. 7; he has 21 points (four on power play) and is plus-16 in his past 18 games. He's somehow only owned in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues (66 percent).

Video: CBJ@MIN: Granlund tucks home Spurgeon's pass for PPG

 

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Top 100 Fantasy Forwards

These rankings were last updated Jan. 17

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

Dropped out: David Backes (RW, BOS), Kyle Turris (C, OTT), Viktor Arvidsson (LW/RW, NSH), Michael Grabner (LW/RW, NYR), Teuvo Teravainen (C/LW/RW, CAR), Sebastian Aho (LW/RW, CAR), Patrick Sharp (LW/RW, DAL)

Just missed: Jason Zucker (LW/RW, MIN), Mike Fisher (C, NSH), Mikael Backlund (C, CGY), Tyler Bozak (C, TOR), Josh Bailey (LW/RW, NYI), Connor Brown (RW, TOR), Nino Niederreiter (LW/RW, MIN), Vincent Trocheck (C, FLA), Tanner Pearson (LW, LAK), Pavel Buchnevich (LW/RW, NYR)

Key injuries: Steven Stamkos (C, TBL), Patrik Laine (LW/RW, WPG), Aleksander Barkov (C, FLA), Tyler Toffoli (C/RW, LAK), Brendan Gallagher (RW, MTL), Jonathan Huberdeau (LW, FLA), Max Domi (LW, ARI), Tomas Hertl (C/LW, SJS)

 

READ: Last week's Top 100 forward rankings

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