NHL

Down to the Wire (Week 3 Recap)

October 25, 2015

Thanks for all getting back to me so quick on the IR question. With 2 votes for “leave it as it is” and 3 votes for “eh, I could go either way”, for this season we’ll leave the IR issue as it is; that is, you can stash them on your bench or drop them to free agency. We’ve seen examples of both so far: Brett is hanging on to Eberle, while Chris dropped Couture to make room for some much-needed scoring.

Obviously there’s some kinks to work out in our first year of running a fantasy league, and adding IR slots is at the top of my list for next year. Also on the list of changes to potentially make: changing from 9 F to 3 LW – 3 C – 3 RW, increasing or decreasing roster size, adding matchup categories, and reducing the number of transactions per matchup.

Right now we can make up to 7 transactions per matchup, which means you can turn over almost a third of your roster in a single week. With only six teams in our league, there are a lot of valuable players in the free agent pool every week, and adding/dropping players depending on your matchup can be a potent way to boost your stats. This definitely benefits teams that pay attention to their lineups, but does it go against the spirit of the game? And what’s the right amount to allow? Is it 5? 3? Let me know what you think is the right amount, and we’ll look at possibly reducing it next season.

We’re seeing both sides so far: Brett leads the league with 16 acquisitions, while Frank is sticking with his drafted team and has yet to acquire a replacement player.

Matchup Recap

Speaking of transactions, we saw a flurry of traffic on the waiver wire following Saturday’s games, as all of the matchups this week were close going into the final day. Even Rhys vs. Brett, despite being 8-2-1 after the Saturday games, was deceptively close, with at least 7 categories with the potential to flip sides.

In the end, Jace extended his winning streak to 3 weeks in a row, squeaking past Chris 6-4-1 thanks to Antti Raanta’s victory against the Flames on Sunday (replacing the scorched husk of Tuukka Rask on Jace’s roster) and Max Pacioretty’s short handed goal on Saturday. Davin cruised to a 7-3-1 victory over Frank due to some solid goaltending from Dubnyk and Fleury. Rhys managed to hang on to small leads in a number of categories to beat Brett 8-3-0, his biggest margin of victory this season.

Jace still holds the best record in the league at 19-10-4, but Rhys is right behind at 19-13-1. Their head-to-head matchup this week will be a doozy. Davin is also close by at 18-11-4, and faces Chris who is at 11-18-4 despite having the hottest goalie tandem in the league. If Chris can start scoring, Davin could be in for a tough week. Finally, Frank (11-19-3) is still looking for his first victory and takes on Brett (11-18-4), who has had a couple of tough matchups following his season opening win.

Best and Worst This Week

Goals – Jace 17 / Chris 9
Assists – Rhys 35 / Chris 14
+/- – Brett +15 / Jace -15
PPP – Jace 17 / Rhys & Chris 9
SHP – Rhys & Jace 1 / everyone else 0
FOW – Davin 207 / Frank 71
ATOI – Rhys 20:52 / Davin 18:16
SOG – Jace 135 / Brett 94
W – Rhys & Davin 4 / everyone else 3
GAA – Chris 1.767 / Brett 2.759
SV% – Chris .9539 / Brett .9048

Once again we’re seeing some consistency in the rankings week over week: Chris is still searching for goals, Davin hits a new low for ATOI, and Brett has yet to hit 100 SOG in a matchup. The funny thing is, each can also be found in the best columns, with Davin leading FOW, Chris owning the goalie stats, and Brett tops in +/-. Looks like these guys have identified their areas of strength, and continue to focus on winning those categories.

Biggest mover this week: Jace’s +/- going from a league-best +17 last week all the way to league-worst -15 this week, a 32 point swing.

Short Handed Points continues to be a rare occurance, with only 2 points collected this week. On the year, Rhys leads with 3, Jace has 2, Davin has 1, and Brett, Chris and Frank are all searching for their first.

Player Showcase

Evgeny Kuznetsov was the fantasy superstar this week, putting up 3 G, 6 A, +5, 1 PPP, 20 FOW and 12 SOG. It was his electric five point night (3 G, 2 A) versus the Oilers that rocketed him into the top 10 in scoring this year.

Last year he put up 37 points in 80 games, good for a .46 points per game pace. It’s all but guaranteed he’ll surpass that number this year, but by how much? Despite Backstrom coming back from injury, Caps coach Barry Trotz liked the way Kuzy and Ovi were playing together, and he’s running with this potent partnership.

Now Kuznetsov is obviously not going to score 5 points a game all year, but as a guy who has been a free agent all year, it’s looking like he could really boost your overall stat line. Oh, and it’s only his second full season in the NHL. Oh, and he’s 23…so he’s not even close to his peak production yet. This guy is gonna be good for a long time.

Watching the Waiver Wire

– There were some surprising names on the waiver wire this week, including Palat, Monahan, Huberdeau, Ladd, Nyquist, and Rask. It looks like some of us are getting an increasingly quick trigger finger when it comes to dropping under-performing players and replacing them with free agents that happen to slot into timely matchups.

– We saw our second waiver claim this week as Rhys picked up Ondrej Palat from Davin.

– Krejci is STILL tops in scoring (well, tied with Benn and Seguin anyway), and yet no one has added him from free agency. Does everyone think he’s way out performing his talent level? Does everyone think the Bruins are due to crash and burn? Is no one interested in adding goals, assists, face off wins and shots on goal to their stats? It’s crazy he’s still a free agent. Or is it…?

– While you can’t really predict who will score goals and assists, you can reasonably assume which players will get lots of ice time. Having a workhorse defensemen like Doughty or Suter is a must, as the ATOI category can make or break your week. For example: in Week 1, Chris beat Brett by 0:20; in Week 2 Chris beat Rhys by 0:11; in Week 3 Jace beat Chris by 0:15. Want to put yourself in a position to win? There are currently 6 defencemen on the market with over 24:00 ATOI. Your best option right now is probably Alexander Edler, with 1 G, 2 A and 17 SOG to go along with his 24:42 ATOI. You could also look at Matt Niskanen at 23:32 with 2 G, 3 A and 1 PPP.

– Mike Hoffman has 4 G and 4 A in only 7 games for Ottawa. Skating on the top line with Kyle Turris and Mark Stone, Hoffman looks to easily pass the 48 points he scored last year in his first full season in the NHL. He’s currently listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury, but with 4 days off until the next game, he could be a great late-week pickup if he gets rested and healthy.

– It’s an bumper crop of high-flying rookies this year with McDavid, Eichel, Domi, Duclair, Larkin and…Artemi Panarin? Chicago’s left winger is a seasoned 23 years old and came over from the KHL to replace Patrick Sharp in Chicago’s top 6. He seems to have adapted quickly to the NHL game, and it remains to be seen if he’ll keep up this blistering scoring pace, currently tied for 2nd amongst rookies.

– After Jace swapped Rask for Raanta, Cam Talbot was the only other goalie pick-up this week. Some good long term options for teams looking to add dependable netminding include Fredrick Anderson who is .938 / 1.86 after 4 games, or even Ryan Miller who, defying all predictions, is .926 / 2.09 after 8 games played.

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