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Week 4: Fantasy top 50 defenseman rankings for 2017-18

NHL.com lists most valuable standard-league assets for rest of season

by Brian Metzer / NHL.com Fantasy Correspondent

Each week during the regular season, NHL.com 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

 

TRENDING UP 

Shea Weber, MTL: The Montreal Canadiens struggled to score for most of October with 12 goals in their first eight games. Their drought negatively affected many of the fantasy-relevant players on the roster, especially Weber, who had no goals, two assists and was minus-5 in the eight-game span. But the Canadiens look to be back on track with 18 goals in their past four games, and Weber has seven points (two goals, five assists) with a plus-1 and 17 shots on goal in the span. Weber now has nine points (three goals, six assists), two power-play points and 38 SOG in 12 games skating on the Canadiens' top pair alongside Victor Mete and first power-play unit with forwards Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Drouin.

Nick Leddy, NYI (43 percent owned): Leddy dropped out of the top 50 defenseman rankings earlier this season, but is back in the mix after six points (one goal, five assists), a plus-4, two PPP and 14 SOG over his past five games. Leddy had a season-high eight SOG at the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 26 and is a huge reason the Islanders have scored 16 goals over their past three games. He's skating with Johnny Boychuk on the top pair and also averaging 3:40 per game on the first power-play unit with forwards John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal. Leddy started slow last season as well (10 points in first 23 games), but bounced back for an NHL career-high 46 points (11 goals, 35 assists) in 81 games. The Islanders power play started 2-for-33, but has gone 5-for-10 over the past two games.

Video: NYI@MIN: Leddy strikes on a fluttering chance

Vegas Golden Knights defense: The Golden Knights are dealing with injuries to their top three goaltenders, but the scoring contributions from their defensemen have helped them jump out to an 8-3-0 start. Brad Hunt (2 percent owned), Colin Miller (11 percent) and Nate Schmidt (5 percent) each has been fantasy-relevant this season, and Shea Theodore (24 percent owned) joins the group after being recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Monday. Theodore led AHL defensemen with 11 points (five goals, six assists) in eight games and could be a significant fantasy addition considering he scored eight points (two goals, six assists) in 14 games for the Anaheim Ducks in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Miller has a six-game point streak totaling eight points (two goals, six assists) and six PPP, and Hunt has seven assists (five PPP) in six games this season. Theodore should be your biggest fantasy priority from this group, considering he could cut into the power-play time of Hunt (4:02 per game), Miller (3:56) and/or Schmidt (3:21) moving forward.

 

TRENDING DOWN

Zach Werenski, CBJ: Werenski has six points (three goals, three assists) and a high shot volume (34 SOG) in 12 games this season, but has struggled over the past two weeks. The 20-year-old defenseman has no goals and one assist over his past six games, and the Blue Jackets power play has gone 2-for-19 in the span. Werenski was held without a shot in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 28. But fantasy owners should remain patient with the second-year defenseman, who finished 11th among fantasy defensemen as a rookie (91st overall in Yahoo).

Mark Giordano, CGY: The Calgary Flames went 4-2-0 in their first six games, and Giordano had three points (one goal, two assists; two PPP) and solid peripherals in the span. The Flames have gone 2-4-0 in their next six games, and Giordano's shot total has dipped significantly (21 SOG in first six; eight SOG in past six). Flames defenseman TJ Brodie (3:52) has seen much more power-play time per game than Giordano (2:22), and the latter is falling short of his Yahoo average draft position (76.7; rank: 177th).

Olli Maatta, PIT: Maatta was a fantasy stud over the first two weeks of the season, scoring a goal in his first game before a six-game point streak from Oct. 7-20, totaling seven points (one goal, six assists) and three PPP. But he has been held without a point in each of his past five games and is minus-3 over the span. The Penguins' struggles at even strength have hurt his fantasy value; they have scored 17 5-on-5 goals through 13 games this season. This has led to some shocking plus/minus totals, none bigger than Kris Letang's minus-14 in 13 games. Even before Justin Schultz (concussion) returns, Maatta could be droppable in standard fantasy leagues.

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TOP 50 DEFENSEMAN RANKINGS

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.

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

Dropped out: Nikita Zaitsev, TOR; Jacob Trouba, WPG; Jan Rutta, CHI; Michael Del Zotto, VAN; Josh Manson, ANA

Key injuries: Justin Schultz, PIT - dropped out; Matt Niskanen, WSH; Cam Fowler, ANA; Ryan Ellis, NSH; Alexander Edler, VAN; Andrej Sekera, EDM

 

READ: Last week's Top 50 defenseman rankings

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