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Week 6: 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



Justin Schultz, PIT (78 percent owned): Schultz has scored at least one point in three of four games since returning from a concussion, and had a power-play assist in a 5-4 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. It's worth noting Schultz is seeing nearly as much power-play time (3:32 per game) as Kris Letang (3:57) since returning. The Penguins have been lethal with the man-advantage (24.6 percent; fifth in NHL), scoring at least one power-play goal in 14 of their 20 games. Forwards Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin are among the League's best in power-play points, and Schultz should continue to benefit from their company; he has three PPP in 14 games after 20 PPP in 78 games last season.

Oscar Klefbom, EDM (69 percent owned): The Edmonton Oilers have been a huge disappointment in fantasy and reality this season, but Klefbom has finally seen a production spike with their improved play lately. In the Oilers' 8-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday, Klefbom had his best fantasy output of the season with one goal, one assist, a plus-3 and three SOG in 20:14 on their second pair and first power-play unit. He has still yet to ignite on the power play (two PPP in 18 games), but it's at least encouraging that three of his six points this season have come over his past three games. He ranks fifth among defensemen with 58 SOG and remains an appealing buy-low candidate in fantasy.

Deryk Engelland, VGK (7 percent owned): It's hard to ignore what Engelland is doing offensively with the Golden Knights, especially in deeper fantasy leagues. The 35-year-old has four points (one goal, three assists) and seven SOG over his past four games and nine points (two goals, seven assists), 25 SOG and a plus-8 in 17 games on the season. He has added value in leagues that count hits (29) and/or blocked shots (31). He's paired with Brayden McNabb and is averaging 19:17 per game. He doesn't play much on the power play, but has emerged as a valuable category specialist.

Video: VGK@TOR: Engellend blasts a game-tying goal




Brent Burns, SJS: The San Jose Sharks defenseman, drafted first at the position on average in Yahoo, has no goals on 65 SOG, is pointless in five straight games and has seven assists in 16 games. He leads all defensemen in SOG, but even his performance in that category has dipped compared to his first 16 games last season (14 points, 75 SOG). The Sharks haven't scored a power-play goal in their past four games and rank 25th at 15.6 percent, barely any regression compared to last season (16.7, 25th). Burns was a great 5-on-5 player last season, leading all defensemen with 50 even-strength points, so fantasy owners need to hope his shooting percentage reverts back to normal over the final three-quarters of the season. He's been at 6.9 percent or better in each of the past three seasons since moving back to defense.

Brent Seabrook, CHI (70 percent owned): Like many of his Chicago Blackhawks teammates, Seabrook started the season on a high note; he had three points (one goal, two assists) in a 10-1 win against the Penguins on opening night. But he has no goals and three assists over his next 17 games, a scoring drought that is making him droppable in shallow leagues. His bounce-back candidacy the rest of the way depends on whether Chicago can find the right forward line and power-play combinations. Seabrook is playing big minutes, averaging 21:49 overall with 3:00 per game on the power play, but the Blackhawks power play is fourth-worst in the League at 14.3 percent. If Chicago's offensive staples Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith turn their seasons around, Seabrook should be along for the ride.

Ivan Provorov, PHI (57 percent owned): Provorov looked like a must-own player when he scored five points (one goal, four assists) over a three-game span from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30, but he hasn't been able to maintain that production since Shayne Gostisbehere returned from injury. Provorov has gone scoreless in six straight games to start November. He is averaging 1:56 of power-play time per game (24:35 overall), but the Flyers' first power-play minutes go to Gostisbehere, limiting Provorov's fantasy ceiling. Provorov is still worth owning in deep and/or keeper formats, but there may be more-productive defenseman options on the waiver wire in standard leagues.



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 injury concerns (INJ.) are noted.

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

Dropped out: Shea Theodore, VGK; Tim Heed, SJS, Brad Hunt, VGK

Key injuries: Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF - dropped out; Ryan Ellis, NSH; Cam Fowler, ANA; Andrej Sekera, EDM


READ: Last week's Top 50 defenseman rankings

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