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Week 4: 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 Fantasy Insider

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. Multiple positions indicate dual 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.

We're almost one month into the 2016-17 NHL season, and it's hard to ignore how the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets have shaken up the fantasy forward landscape. 

The Rangers are rolling four strong lines and averaging a League-best 4.23 goals per game. The next best team in that department is the Chicago Blackhawks (3.54). The Blue Jackets, fifth in scoring (3.20), have been dominant on the power play (39.3 percent, first in NHL). The next best team with the man-advantage is the Nashville Predators (28.6 percent). 

MORE FANTASY RANKINGS: DEFENSEMEN | GOALIES

These clearly are not sustainable rates of production, but who could blame fantasy owners for rounding up as many Rangers and Blue Jackets as possible in recent days and weeks? If the price is right, sell high on these forwards, especially those on depth lines, to acquire more proven commodities. In the interim, why not benefit from the category specialists from these teams? 

The Rangers have four of the top five players in terms of plus-minus rating in the NHL, with the components of their third line (J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner) and defenseman Nick Holden each sporting a plus-13. Only Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber has a better mark (plus-15). Hayes' Yahoo ownership is rising fast (40 percent), as have the fantasy percentages of J.T. Miller (64) and Jimmy Vesey (52) in recent weeks. 

The one knock on Hayes is none of his 12 points have come on the power play, which will make it tough to sustain this rate of production in his current third-line role. Brandon Pirri (2:42 per game on power play) and Pavel Buchnevich (2:40) rank fourth and fifth among Rangers forwards in power-play ice time behind Mika Zibanejad (2:56), Chris Kreider (2:47) and Mats Zuccarello (2:44). Pirri (C/RW, 11 percent owned, 3 PPP) and Buchnevich (LW/RW, 3 percent owned, 2 PPP) are dual-eligible options with dark-horse potential and should be on your radar in deep leagues. 

A better fantasy add than Hayes right now is Blue Jackets center Alexander Wennberg, who is 20 percent owned in Yahoo despite being tied for the NHL lead in assists (11) and power-play points (eight). He is operating on Columbus' first unit and in a top six role alongside Brandon Saad and Nick Foligno, who re-joined the top 100 forwards this week. Wennberg has done damage on the power play alongside Foligno (six PPP), Cam Atkinson (seven PPP) and defenseman Zach Werenski (five PPP). He also had a strong stretch last season, scoring 21 points in 26 games in the final two months of the regular season. 

Video: Fantasy update with Pete Jensen

 

Trending Up 

Ryan Kesler is the sixth-best player in standard leagues according to Yahoo's performance-based rankings, scoring 10 points with a plus-5, 22 penalty minutes, six power-play points and 27 shots on goal in 13 games. He has been playing in his usual spot next to Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano on the Ducks' second line, and is on the Ducks' first power-play unit with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. That said, it's worth noting center Rickard Rakell has returned to the lineup. His scoring surge could affect the Ducks' line combinations over time, especially with the man advantage. If you sell high on Kesler, be sure to pick up Rakell (C, 26 percent owned), who played on the first power-play unit for much of last season and has three goals, three assists, two PPP and 14 SOG in four games since returning. 

 

Trending Down

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson is no longer playing alongside Nikita Kucherov at even strength, and it hurts his fantasy value even further that Kucherov has snapped out of his early-season funk alongside a revitalized Steven Stamkos. Johnson scored twice Nov. 3 against the Boston Bruins but has gone without a point in four of his past five games. With single position eligibility, a low SOG total (19 in 13 games) and an inferior right wing in Brayden Point, Johnson's fantasy stock has declined significantly. Stamkos and Kucherov are being flanked by Vladislav Namestnikov (C/LW, 5 percent owned), who may be worth a flier in deep leagues if he sticks. 

 

Worth Noting

Some of the NHL's most productive players thus far have a new face on their line this week. Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is now skating with Patrick Maroon (LW, 7 percent owned) instead of Milan Lucic; Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets are flanked by Nikolaj Ehlers (LW/RW, 34 percent owned), and Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist of the Pittsburgh Penguins have been alongside Carl Hagelin (LW, 16 percent). Ehlers warrants ownership in all formats after five points and seven SOG in his past two games, and Maroon deserves deep-league consideration with two goals, one assist, one PPP, and seven SOG in his past three games. Hagelin has four assists in his past three games, but has virtually no power-play upside with such a crowded picture in Pittsburgh. 

Video: EDM@NYI: Maroon nets nice deflection past Halak

 

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TOP 100 Fantasy Forwards 

These rankings were last updated Nov. 8 

1. Patrick Kane, RW, CHI (SAME) 
2. Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH (SAME) 
3. Sidney Crosby, C, PIT (SAME) 
4. Connor McDavid, C, EDM (SAME) 
5. Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS (SAME) 
6. Steven Stamkos, C, TBL (+2) 
7. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL (-1) 
8. Claude Giroux, C, PHI (-1) 
9. Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT (SAME) 
10. Jamie Benn, LW, DAL (SAME) 
11. Tyler Seguin, C, DAL (SAME) 
12. John Tavares, C, NYI (SAME) 
13. Jakub Voracek, LW/RW, PHI (+1) 
14. Corey Perry, RW, ANA (+2) 
15. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL (+6) 
16. Brad Marchand, LW, BOS (+1) 
17. Artemi Panarin, LW, CHI (+7) 
18. Mark Scheifele, C, WPG (+8) 
19. Wayne Simmonds, RW, PHI (-4) 
20. Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA (-1) 
21. Patrik Laine, LW/RW, WPG (+6) 
22. Auston Matthews, C, TOR (-2) 
23. Taylor Hall, LW, NJD (SAME) 
24. Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG (-6) 
25. Phil Kessel, RW, PIT (+4) 
26. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY (-13) 
27. Nicklas Backstrom, C, WSH (+6) 
28. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS (+10) 
29. Matt Duchene, C/RW, COL (+6) 
30. Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS (+2) 
31. William Nylander, C/RW, TOR (+9) 
32. Jonathan Toews, C, CHI (+13) 
33. Logan Couture, C, SJS (-11) 
34. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WSH (-9) 
35. Nathan MacKinnon, C/RW, COL (-5) 
36. Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT (+12) 
37. Anze Kopitar, C, LAK (-9) 
38. Alexander Steen, LW/RW, STL (-1) 
39. Ryan O'Reilly, C/LW, BUF (SAME) 
40. Aleksander Barkov, C, FLA (-9) 
41. Joe Thornton, C, SJS (-7) 
42. Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL (-6) 
43. Jonathan Marchessault, C/LW, FLA (+7) 
44. Milan Lucic, LW, EDM (-1) 
45. Alex Galchenyuk, C, MTL (+7) 
46. Jeff Skinner, LW, CAR (+1) 
47. Jordan Eberle, RW, EDM (-5) 
48. Tyler Toffoli, C/RW, LAK (-7) 
49. Artem Anisimov, C, CHI (+9) 
50. Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL (+9) 
51. Filip Forsberg, LW, NSH (-5) 
52. Mika Zibanejad, C/RW, NYR (-2) 
53. Alexander Radulov, RW, MTL (+7) 
54. Kyle Okposo, RW, BUF (-3) 
55. James Neal, RW, NSH (SAME) 
56. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (+5) 
57. Mike Hoffman, LW, OTT (+6) 
58. Daniel Sedin, LW, VAN (-1) 
59. Ryan Kesler, C, ANA (+12) 
60. Sean Monahan, C, CGY (-16) 
61. Ryan Johansen, C, NSH (-8) 
62. Rick Nash, LW/RW, NYR (+8) 
63. Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW, TBL (DTD) 
64. Jason Spezza, C/RW, DAL (DTD) 
65. Marian Hossa, RW, CHI (+7) 
66. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL (-4) 
67. Brayden Schenn, C/LW, PHI (-2) 
68. J.T. Miller, C/LW, NYR (+11) 
69. Alexander Wennberg, C, CBJ (+25) 
70. Richard Panik, LW/RW, CHI (-6) 
71. Max Domi, LW, ARI (-5) 
72. Jeff Carter, C, LAK (-5) 
73. Brandon Saad, LW/RW, CBJ (+3) 
74. Gustav Nyquist, LW/RW, DET (-6) 
75. T.J. Oshie, RW, WSH (+2) 
76. Mats Zuccarello, RW, NYR (+6) 
77. Vincent Trocheck, C, FLA (+1) 
78. James van Riemsdyk, LW, TOR (+3) 
79. Leon Draisaitl, C/RW, EDM (-5) 
80. Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA (DTD) 
81. Mitchell Marner, C/RW, TOR (+15) 
82. Jimmy Vesey, LW, NYR (+3) 
83. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG (NEW) 
84. Travis Konecny, C/LW, PHI (+3) 
85. Victor Rask, C, CAR (-12) 
86. Dylan Larkin, C/RW, DET (-11) 
87. Nick Foligno, LW/RW, CBJ (NEW) 
88. Derek Stepan, C, NYR (NEW) 
89. Tyler Johnson, C, TBL (-9) 
90. David Backes, RW, BOS (-7) 
91. Henrik Sedin, C, VAN (-7) 
92. Paul Stastny, C, STL (-2) 
93. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJD (-5) 
94. Kevin Hayes, C/RW, NYR (NEW) 
95. Marcus Johansson, LW/RW, WSH (SAME) 
96. Rickard Rakell, C, ANA (NEW) 
97. Tomas Hertl, C/LW, SJS (-5) 
98. Alex Killorn, C/LW, TBL (-7) 
99. Jaden Schwartz, C/LW, STL (-1) 
100. Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ (NEW) 

Just missed: Chris Kunitz (LW, PIT), Nazem Kadri (C, TOR), Sam Bennett (C, CGY), Eric Staal (C, MIN), Sam Reinhart (C/RW, BUF), Robby Fabbri (C/LW, STL), Henrik Zetterberg (C/LW, DET), Travis Zajac (C, NJD), Patrick Maroon (LW, EDM), Patrick Eaves (RW, DAL), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C, EDM) 

Dropped out: Mark Stone (RW, OTT), Darren Helm (C, DET), Charlie Coyle (C/RW, MIN), Tanner Pearson (LW, LAK), Loui Eriksson (LW/RW, VAN) 

Key injuries: Jack Eichel (C, BUF), Zach Parise (LW, MIN), Patrick Sharp (LW/RW, DAL), Jonathan Huberdeau (LW, FLA), Thomas Vanek (LW/RW, DET), Bryan Little (C, WPG), Evander Kane (LW, BUF), Jiri Hudler (C/RW, DAL), Brock Nelson (C/LW, NYI), Jussi Jokinen (LW, FLA), Jesse Puljujarvi (RW, EDM)

 

READ: Last week's Top 100 forward rankings

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