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Week 2: Fantasy top 50 defenseman rankings for 2017-18 lists most valuable standard-league assets for rest of season

by Brian Metzer / Fantasy Correspondent

Each week during the regular season, has you covered with an overview of the fantasy defenseman landscape. With production trends, injury news and top 50 rankings based on performance and upside in standard Yahoo leagues, fantasy owners should use this information as a basis for roster decision-making. 


MORE FANTASY RANKINGS: Top 100 forwards | Top 25 goalies



Mike Green, DET (72 percent owned): Green has been a huge steal for fantasy owners with nine points (one goal, eight assists), four power-play points, a plus-3 rating and 14 shots on goal in six games for the Detroit Red Wings. He's outperforming his Yahoo average draft position (163.4) on Detroit's top pair with Niklas Kronwall and is averaging 2:38 minutes per game on the power play. After being held without a shot on goal in his first two games, he has 14 in his past four, including six Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. His performance is a big reason Detroit is 4-2-0 and scoring 3.17 goals per game.

Olli Maatta, PIT (47 percent owned): Fully healthy, Maatta looks to be playing the offensive game showcased in his rookie season (2013-14), when he set NHL career highs in goals (nine), assists (20), points (29) and SOG (119). He already has seven points (two goals, five assists), two PPP, and 14 SOG in seven games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Maatta is on a five-game point streak and has at least one point in six of seven games this season. He has split time on pairs with Matt Hunwick and Chad Ruhwedel, and is averaging 1:32 of power-play time per game on Pittsburgh's second unit with forwards Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary and defenseman Justin Schultz.

Video: STL@PIT: Maatta laces in shot from the point

Josh Manson, ANA (15 percent owned): The Anaheim Ducks are without Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen because of shoulder injuries, opening up offensive opportunities for others. Their absences have helped Manson gain fantasy relevance; he has four assists, 12 SOG and is plus-4 in six games. Manson is skating on the top pair with Cam Fowler and averaging 22:02 per game. He's not getting regular power-play time, but has a chance to be incorporated into that mix if his even-strength scoring continues.



Ryan McDonagh, NYR: We have already addressed the value of the New York Rangers' forward group in our top 100 rankings this week, and the struggles have negatively affected their defense as well. Kevin Shattenkirk leads New York's defense in scoring with six points (two goals, four assists) in seven games, but is minus-6 so far. The rest of the Rangers defense has combined for six points (two goals, four assists). McDonagh has been particularly quiet with no goals, two assists and 14 SOG. He is skating with Tony DeAngelo on the top pair and seeing time on the second power-play unit, but has taken a big step back fantasy-wise upon taking a back seat to Shattenkirk.

Oscar Klefbom, EDM: Klefbom was a breakout candidate entering the season after scoring 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) and 16 PPP in 82 games for the Edmonton Oilers last season. But he hasn't scored a point through five games (Oilers are 1-4-0), and he'll now be without injured forward and power-play running mate Leon Draisaitl. Klefbom had a strong season debut (plus-3, nine SOG), but is minus-6 with eight SOG in four games since. That said, Klefbom is skating on the top pair with Adam Larsson and getting time with the first power-play unit with Connor McDavid and Milan Lucic, so he has some buy-low fantasy appeal.

Jaccob Slavin, CAR (24 percent owned): It took four games for Slavin to score his first points; he had two assists and was plus-3 in the Carolina Hurricanes' 5-3 win against the Oilers on Tuesday. But he's playing on a separate pair from Justin Faulk, Carolina's other fantasy-relevant defenseman, and is barely seeing any power-play time (0:14 per game). The bulk of Slavin's production last season came at even strength (26 ES points; four PPP, four shorthanded points), so he could be droppable in the coming weeks.



Standard Yahoo categories include goals, assists, plus/minus, PIMs, PPP and SOG for skaters. ... Value has been quantified based on factors including but not limited to past production, defense pairs, power-play usage, team's offseason changes, injury history, age, sleeper, bounce-back or breakout potential, anticipated regression, contract status, Yahoo ADP and overall upside for the rest of the season. ... Any players with day-to-day injury concerns (DTD) are noted. ... NEW - INJ. indicates a player who has returned from injury and rejoined the rankings.

1. Erik Karlsson, OTT (NEW - INJ.)
2. Victor Hedman, TBL (-1)
3. Brent Burns, SJS (-1)
4. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG (-1)
5. P.K. Subban, NSH (+1)
6. Roman Josi, NSH (-2)
7. Duncan Keith, CHI (-2)
8. Alex Pietrangelo, STL (+3)
9. Kevin Shattenkirk, NYR (-2)
10. Dougie Hamilton, CGY (-2)
11. Zach Werenski, CBJ (-2)
12. John Klingberg, DAL (-2) 
13. Drew Doughty, LAK (+1)
14. Kris Letang, PIT (-2)
15. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (+5)
16. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (-1)
17. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF (-1)
18. Shea Weber, MTL (-5)
19. John Carlson, WSH (-1)
20. Mark Giordano, CGY (+1)
21. Aaron Ekblad, FLA (+2)
22. Torey Krug, BOS (-5)
23. Ryan Suter, MIN (-4)
24. Justin Schultz, PIT (-2)
25. Mike Green, DET (NEW)
26. Tyson Barrie, COL (+11)
27. Will Butcher, NJD (+12)
28. Seth Jones, CBJ (+2)
29. Jake Gardiner, TOR (-3)
30. Justin Faulk, CAR (-6)
31. Colton Parayko, STL (-6)
32. Keith Yandle, FLA (-1)
33. Brent Seabrook, CHI (-4)
34. Cam Fowler, ANA (-2)
35. Ivan Provorov, PHI (-1)
36. Charlie McAvoy, BOS (-1)
37. Ryan McDonagh, NYR (-10)
38. Oscar Klefbom, EDM (-10)
39. Olli Maatta, PIT (+7)
40. Jake Muzzin, LAK (+7)
41. Jan Rutta, CHI (-1)
42. Nikita Zaitsev, TOR (SAME)
43. TJ Brodie, CGY (NEW)
44. Jaccob Slavin, CAR (-11)
45. Jacob Trouba, WPG (-9)
46. Jared Spurgeon, MIN (-8)
47. Matt Dumba, MIN (-6)
48. Josh Manson, ANA (+2)
49. Morgan Rielly, TOR (NEW)
50. Nate Schmidt, VGK (-7)

Dropped out: Nick Leddy, NYI; Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS; Mattias Ekholm, NSH

Key injuries: Matt Niskanen, WSH (dropped out); Ryan Ellis, NSH; Sami Vatanen, ANA; Hampus Lindholm, ANA; Alexander Edler, VAN; Andrej Sekera, EDM


READ: Last week's Top 50 defenseman rankings

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