That was quite a week in Oil Country, wasn't it? A three-game road trip appeared to suck the life out of Fantasy Hockey players everywhere when the team fell in two consecutive shootout losses to the Flames and Blue Jackets respectively.
But that's where things turned around; both for the team and for those counting on an offensive outburst in Oilers Fantasy Hockey. A thumping to the Stanley Cup champions in their own barn provided the lift that everyone needed. Suddenly things were positive as the Oilers returned home to Edmonton without a regulation loss on the trip; collecting four out of a possible six points.
Things can change so quickly around these parts. And they have. Game LeaderboardSeason LeadersPlayer StatsNot a member? SIGN UP!
Hopefully you were able to capitalize on the strong offensive showcase the Oilers displayed on Friday night in Chicago, because there were plenty of points to be collected. With the team allowing four goals, there were also plenty of points to be lost as well. I would assume, since all participants read the Fantasy Hockey Forecast on a weekly basis (or so I'm led to believe), that most were on the winning side of Friday's 11-goal fury.
|Kurtis Foster |
What's becoming abundantly clear as we continue into another week of action is that the importance of variety in your lineup. Some players excel in different areas and can provide a lift for your point totals when other things may not be going so well.
That's the beauty of such a format. You really need to be cognizant of who's providing your team with the best mix in all the statistical categories. Not only does this increase your totals, it also protects you against a poor performance in one area.
Unless, of course, said player has a bad evening in all statistical categories. While this is possible, the chances of it happening with certain players is slim. Make a smart decision with variety in mind and you could be looking at an incredible week points-wise.WHO ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
This three-game road trip revealed some interesting things about some of the more attractive players in the lineup. Faceoffs continue to play an integral role in the point-totals of the team's centermen. Generally speaking, it takes a hot offensive night to overcome a poor faceoff outing which, unfortunately, has become somewhat of a regular occurance with a few of the Oilers' more dangerous offensive forwards.
But since we're talking about players that cover all the statistical categories, make a strong push for these players in your lineup this week:
Kurtis Foster: Edmonton's most experienced off-season signing has been a solid addition for both for the team on the ice and for any Fantasy Hockey roster. Foster's time on the powerplay means he's getting his chances to produce with the man advantage; he's not afraid to shoot the puck. Defensively, he's willing to impart his physical will when called upon.
In addition, Foster's shot-blocking ability has helped contribute to some more sound defensive coverage which has helped boost his Fantasy point-totals in the process. With just a $2 million cap hit, Foster is a bargain player that can produce in almost every area that you need him to.
Taylor Hall: It's safe to say at this point that Taylor Hall has arrived. Of course, his overall play prior to getting his first goal was still very good, but now he's beginning to get his offensive numbers to back up his earlier play.
|Taylor Hall scores his first NHL goal vs. Columbus last week. |
With confidence abound and a hot stick in tow, Hall looks as confident as ever and will want to continue his offensive production into this week's action. At a $4 million cap hit, Hall has always been quite an investment for your team, but now could be an excellent time to start utilizing his availability. You can bet he'll be racking up the points this week vs. Vancouver and Detroit.
Shawn Horcoff: Playing alongside some skilled youngsters has helped, but Horcoff has started his season off as well as anyone could have hoped. He's making smart decisions with the puck and is manufacturing some excellent plays that have been cashed by winger Jordan Eberle.
While Horcoff's faceoff numbers have been hot and cold so far through 2010-11, at the very least you can expect his efficiency rate to hover around 50% for most of the season. Combined with constant offensive production,
this won't be enough to hurt his point-totals. Horcoff is definitely an investment with a $6 million cap hit, but his early numbers are backing his play and making him look like a smart pick as we head into week five.
Although he's coming off his best game of the season, which could potentially bring about some automatic value, Andrew Cogliano hasn't been able to produce at a consistent rate yet this season.
|Andrew Cogliano could be poised for a break-out week. |
Having said that, his game vs. Chicago could definitely provide the speedster with some confidence moving forward. He's consistently played with linemate Gilbert Brule, and new addition Dustin Penner could provide some much needed offensive zone stability and responsibility to that unit.
Penner hasn't had the greatest of starts for for the Oilers this season, but his efficiency in the offensive zone can't be denied. He's a difficult man to move off the puck and can work the cycle well, effectively creating space for his teammates. That's the kind of player that Cogliano needs on his line to continue creating a more pressured offensive attack.
Is it Cogliano's time to break out? I'm not saying he will or won't, but his latest game indicates that he's developing some chemistry with his newest linemates and playing his best hockey of the season. At a cap hit of just $1 million, he's a player that could most certainly pay dividends at the end of the week.SEASON STATISTICS Top 10THE BIGGEST MOVERS
Normally I would save this section for a slim2001
shout-out as he continues to hold the lead over the pack, but this week I'm going to focus on something a little different. This week's most impressive gainer on the pack has to be the user that goes by the affectionate handle of urbandaddy
Rather than try to decipher exactly what his name means, I'd rather just give him a shout-out for such an incredible week. An amazing 237 points against the Blackhawks helped rocket him into the second place position with his eye now on the leader.
Only 39 points separate him from the leader, and the rest of the race is equally as interesting. It should be exciting to see where things stack up next week with another important week of games ahead.
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com