Odds are, if you are like me, you don’t ask yourself, “What third liner can I pick up in my fantasy league today?”. The rash of injuries league-wide has forced many of our teams’ IRs to look like hospital waiting rooms. Though many of the star players are on their way back, or have already come back, there are still some fantasy surprises to be picked up in deep leagues. As the Sabres writer for Daily Faceoff, I will highlight the Sabres’ Surprises.
Mike Grier’s name is not synonymous with fantasy hockey success. A tremendous role player, Grier has just two seasons of 35+ points. That does not mean he cannot be a valuable contributor for a couple week period. If you are thin on RW right now, try grabbing Grier off the waiver wire. Lindy Ruff put occasionally-invisible Thomas Vanek on a line with the gritty grinder and the team has flourished with the strength of that line. Tim Kennedy, a former 6th round pick is centering the line, and has overachieved nicely.
Over the past three games, Grier has two goals, two assists, a +5, and 10 SOG.
Lindy Ruff is a tinkerer, though, and that means that the window of opportunity on Grier may be short lived. Buffalo plays five games over the next seven days, including four at home, so try to cash in on Grier while that line is hot.
Obviously somebody in your league has Thomas Vanek. But, if you are participating in a daily player pool, give Vanek a lot of consideration on Saturday night against the Rangers. Vanek has 13 points in 15 games career against the Rangers. Also, as mentioned above, the Sabres play four of the next five at home. Vanek has 15 of his 18 points this season at home, and with the clicking of the Vanek-Kennedy-Grier line, it’s a good time to focus on Vanek in your player pools.
If Tyler Myers is still sitting in the waiver pool, then I have no idea what you, or the others in your league, are doing. Myers has five assists over his last three games and a +4. If you want to talk about clutch, take a look at Myers by-period splits. I know the Sabres have owned third periods this year, but Myers has 10 of his 14 points this season in the final 20. With home games against New Jersey, Washington, and Chicago next week, the Sabres will probably have to win games in the third period.
Be wary of Ryan Miller this week. I know he has been the shining star of goaltenders for the better part of three weeks now, but this week’s upcoming schedule is not in his favor. Five games in seven days including a back-to-back next weekend against Chicago and the Rangers. With Lalime conditioning in Portland, Miller will play the next five without a doubt. If you have a more favorable matchup on Monday night, give it a shot because Miller is 5-8 lifetime against New Jersey. He’s 8-3-2 against the Rangers, 2-0 against Chicago, and 9-4 against Washington.
One Last Tidbit
While this is a Sabres piece, I also cover the Jackets and strongly advocate a pickup of Kris Russell. With Klesla out and Anton Stralman looking worse by the minute at even strength, Russell’s going to see a lot of ice time and a lot of offensive chances. He managed to only be -1 in last night’s Jackets debacle at home against Toronto, and Russell has two very favorable matchups coming up against Colorado and Florida.
Good luck, players!