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Week 5: 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.

When you're more than a month into any season, you can start gauging which players have vastly exceeded fantasy expectations. If any of these players carry unsustainable trends, a worthwhile strategy is to cash in on their high standing by selling high via trade. 

MORE FANTASY RANKINGS: DEFENSEMEN | GOALIES

We already went through some buy-low options last week so here's a look at some sell-high candidates among forwards. Whether it's because of a high shooting percentage, present or future lineup changes or little to no career track record, these players may have maximized their production early on and could have trouble replicating such high performance-based rank over a full season. Capitalizing on their inflated stock could land you a player more equipped for the long haul, especially one who has started slow.

 

Artem Anisimov, C, CHI 
Current Yahoo rank: 17

Anisimov, who has never scored more than 44 points in a single season, is better than a point-per-game player thus far (17 points in 15 games) and is shooting at an unsustainable rate (30.8 percent). There has been a ton of line shuffling for the Chicago Blackhawks this season, with the most-recent revision pitting Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the same line and Anisimov on the second unit with Artemi Panarin and Marian Hossa. The fact that Panarin and Kane were the top point pair in the NHL last season and Anisimov was barely fantasy relevant has to be concerning, so selling high for a slumping center like Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals) or Ryan Johansen (Nashville Predators) would be a great course of action.

 

Jonathan Marchessault, C/LW, FLA
Current Yahoo rank: 30 

Marchessault has been the fantasy breakout player of the season to this point, scoring at least one point in 10 of his 15 games, totaling 14 points with outstanding peripherals (plus-5, five power-play points, 47 shots on goal). The problem is that his frequent linemates, Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr, have not been nearly as productive as last season alongside left wing Jonathan Huberdeau, who's out until after the New Year because of Achilles surgery he had on Oct. 13. Even with Huberdeau still out, Marchessault has already been moved to the second line with Vincent Trocheck and Reilly Smith; Jussi Jokinen is now on the top line. Once Huberdeau returns, it should put a dent in Marchessault's even-strength and/or power-play usage and production. Marchessault is shooting nearly double (17 percent) his rate of last season (8.6).

Video: Fantasy Focus with Pete Jensen

 

Michael Grabner, LW/RW, NYR 
Current Yahoo rank: 51 

Grabner has lit up the scoreboard, scoring eight goals in his past eight games. He's tied for second in the NHL with 10 goals behind Winnipeg Jets rookie Patrik Laine (11), and is finally resembling the finisher he was as a rookie in 2010-11 (34 goals). That said, regression is inevitable for Grabner and the New York Rangers, with the speedy forward shooting 27.8 percent (career average: 12.3). He's on the cusp of the performance-based top 50 rankings, but will have a hard time sustaining this scorching start considering he doesn't play on the power play and is occupying a third-line role.

 

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Trending Up

Laine, as mentioned, appears on track to exceed 30 goals in his first season. He has been even better than advertised, and some may not be surprised to see such a smooth transition from a player who was renowned for his performance against professionals in international competition. That said, not many people could have expected Mark Scheifele to be tied for the NHL lead in scoring with Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars (20 points apiece) through the first month of the season. Scheifele, who was on NHL.com's fantasy breakout list to start the season, has been a fixture with Laine for most of the season, and had a nice string of games alongside Nikolaj Ehlers (LW/RW, 62 percent owned) as well. Ehlers was moved to Blake Wheeler's line Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings, but the Jets offense is soaring (2.88 goals per game, 10th) and the Scheifele-Laine duo has quickly become the most coveted in fantasy hockey.

 

Trending Down

Dylan Larkin was poised for greater production after the departure of Pavel Datsyuk to the Kontinental Hockey League, but has not taken any steps forward, especially on the power play. His usage with the man-advantage has increased (2:38 per game compared to 2:02 as rookie) and he has five goals on 51 SOG, but has one assist and one PPP to show for himself after 16 games. He's in position to bounce back on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist, but is not on the Detroit Red Wings first power-play unit. His plus/minus is also a far cry (minus-7) from what it was last season (plus-11). He's dual eligible in Yahoo and is only 20 years old, so fantasy owners should either buy low or keep the faith that Larkin will make strides over the course of the season. But with one point and limited category coverage in his past five games, his stock is falling.

 

Worth Noting

- The highest-ranked player affected by Yahoo's latest position eligibility updates (Nov. 11-13) is Alexander Radulov of the Montreal Canadiens (+LW/RW). Radulov and Alex Galchenyuk have found chemistry as linemates since Montreal shook up its top six, prompting a big jump in this week's rankings. Other notable forwards who gained a position are J.T. Miller (New York Rangers, C/LW/+RW), Rickard Rakell (Anaheim Ducks, C/+LW), Joonas Donskoi (San Jose Sharks, +LW/RW) and Radulov's other linemate Paul Byron (LW/+RW). 

- Jonathan Drouin is nearing a return from an upper-body injury. The fantasy breakout candidate has seen his Yahoo ownership dip to 69 percent this week, so he could be available in a shallow league ahead of his potential return during the Tampa Bay Lightning's five-game road trip, which began Monday with a 4-0 rout of the New York Islanders. The 21-year-old has five points (three PPP) and an encouraging SOG volume (30) in 10 games, and should offer coveted exposure to Steven Stamkos and/or Nikita Kucherov in many situations once he returns. 

- Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild will be a game-time decision Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. He had six points and his usual high SOG volume (28) through eight games prior to sustaining the lower-body injury that has sidelined him since Oct. 27. Parise should slot in nicely next to the cohesive combination of Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle on the Wild's top line. Activate Parise now in all formats. Staal, 32, is having a resurgent season in Minnesota with 13 points in 14 games and is worth adding in all formats (42 percent owned).

Video: MIN@PIT: Staal slams home rebound to take the lead

 

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TOP 100 Fantasy Forwards

These rankings were last updated Nov. 15

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

Dropped out: Alex Killorn (C/LW, TBL), Paul Stastny (C, STL), Richard Panik (LW/RW, CHI), Leon Draisaitl (C/RW, EDM) 

Just missed: Patrick Eaves (RW, DAL), Sebastian Aho (LW/RW, CAR), Robby Fabbri (C/LW, STL), Henrik Zetterberg (C/LW, DET), Teuvo Teravainen (LW/RW, CAR), Brock Nelson (C/LW, NYI), Chris Kunitz (LW, PIT), Kyle Turris (C, OTT), Nazem Kadri (C, TOR), Travis Zajac (C, NJD)

Key injuries: Jack Eichel (C, BUF), Patrick Sharp (LW/RW, DAL), Jonathan Huberdeau (LW, FLA), Thomas Vanek (LW/RW, DET), Bryan Little (C, WPG), Jiri Hudler (C/RW, DAL)

 

READ: Last week's Top 100 forward rankings

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