Believe it or not, we’ve now reached the midway point of the 2010-11 season. With dynamic young rookies leading the way, the opening 40 games of the campaign have seen some incredible things. Oilers Fantasy Hockey has been the beneficiary of the action, as the young club finds its way through some expected growing pains in the process.
All things considered, the ride has been exciting.
There’s no time to rest, however. As we now begin the downhill portion of the season, emphasis on progress is now at the forefront. Each game is crucial as you look to make a charge up the leaderboard, with the schedule beginning to dwindle as the 2011 calendar eyes April in the distance.
That’s where I come in. The goal of each Fantasy Forecast is to help introduce a new element of strategy for the upcoming week. Salary amendments and the planned attack based on carefully studied observations is done to provide you with all you need to know before making your all-important game-night selections. Game LeaderboardSeason LeadersPlayer StatsNot a member? Sign up!IT HAPPENS TONIGHT
No more than one hour following the completion of tonight’s game, the salaries of this week’s highlighted players will be amended, while last week’s players (Hemsky, Paajarvi, Cogliano) will be reverted back to their standard cap-hits. Here are this week’s salary amendments:
KURTIS FOSTER ($2M > $3M)
Far too often, players are chosen based on their statistical numbers rather than their Fantasy totals. In the case of Kurtis Foster, the underlying numbers have been the defenceman’s greatest benefit so far this season. With only three goals and 11 points on the season to his credit, most would assume that Foster’s Fantasy game has suffered as well.
With only a $2 million cap-hit, however, Foster is consistently providing some of the most reliable numbers on the team. With having firmly established his placing in the top ten, there are a few reasons why:
In a game that weighs all the various statistical categories, Foster has excelled in a number of areas not directly related to goal-scoring. While his shooting percentage has suffered, Foster’s 99 shots on goal are second only to Taylor Hall
(111) on the season. In addition, playing the big-body defensive role, Foster has accumulated 57 hits and 43 blocked shots on the season.
All three have provided incredible value for a player that, on the surface, is having a less-than-spectacular season. With that in mind, Foster’s unheralded play will earn him a raise this week. Even with the increase in salary, the absence of top defenceman Ryan Whitney
could potentially make room for Foster in your lineup. THEO PECKHAM ($1M > $2M)
In sticking with the theme of rearguards, Theo Peckham
has become a regularly featured player in the Fantasy Forecast. With only a $1 million cap-hit to his name, Peckham has easily been the season’s greatest value and will continue to produce, regardless of the cost.
Peckham is in a similar position to Foster, although with few opportunities offensively to spark his totals. For the bruising blueliner, his gains have always been made elsewhere. Much like Foster, hits and blocked shots have been the most notable categories, as Peckham has collected 100 and 66 respectively in these areas.
With one of the more respectable plus-minus totals on the team, in addition to the aforementioned defensive qualities, Peckham has quickly made a name for himself.
While offensive numbers can sometimes run dry with certain players, you can expect the same physical output and defensive intensity that Peckham brings on a nightly basis. With the raise to Foster due to his defensive play, Peckham will also receive an increase to make your decisions a little more difficult on the blueline. TOM GILBERT ($4M > $3M)
Tom Gilbert has played well since Ryan Whitney
went down. He’s been called upon as the team’s new top gun, playing the minutes and accepting the responsibilities that his former partner had been taking on.
The Oilers have, however, made a few changes on the blueline since the influx of injuries began taking place. Both Jeff Petry
and Taylor Chorney
have entered the fold; two offensively minded defencemen that can handle the additional minutes and should be given an opportunity on the powerplay.
Rather than eating all the minutes on his own, chances are the ice-time will be balanced across the defensive corps; helping to alleviate the pressure on one player as the team works through its injury situation.
With others stepping up and receiving raises in the wake of strong defensive play, Gilbert’s cap-hit will be scaled back to a more manageable level this week.
With three defencemen all within a similar pay scale for the upcoming week, the test of strategy is on display for all to see. Choose wisely, as your game-night decisions on the blueline could be the difference between a successful or detrimental week for your point-totals.