Fantasizing is a post looking to uncover some excellent potential buy-low options, free agent pickups and some other trends that can help your fantasy team.
Anze Kopitar – leads the league in points through approx. 10 games. Props to everyone who drafted him or made an early free agent pick up. This guy’s the real deal, the Kings have had high hopes for him ever since they drafted him 11th overall, he’s always had decent numbers but in a deep position like centre it was always hard to use a roster spot with him. If he’s available in your league you’d be morally remiss by not picking him up.
Marian Gaborik – you may have heard rumblings of this guy’s talent but not experienced it as he’s only played what seems like 3 games in the last 3 years. But when he’s healthy he scores like very few in this league. He’s finally free of the defensive minds in Minnesota and obviously loving it. I mean he’s made Vaclav Prospal into a viable fantasy option, that alone should make you a believer. But just as everything seem to be going right, Gaborik left his last game early and missed practice yesterday. Apparently its nothing serious, but if I’m a Gaborik owner I have more than enough reasons to be concerned.
The Red Wings have started surprisingly slow. Has age caught up to them? Is 2 years of playing longer seasons than all but 1 team finally taking it’s toll? Is the real Chris Osgood finally standing up? Is the rest of the division coming to play this year? All interesting ideas and somewhat true but to be sure we’ll have to wait until about the half way point of the season. Last night’s game in Vancouver seemed like a must win for the Wings and they looked much like the Wings of old, overcoming 2 quick Vancouver goals and a goalie change for a 5-4 win. So much for defence..
Why do people have to defend a clean hit by fighting? (asks the masses) It’s part of the game (responds the hardcore) Can we not figure something out that pleases both crowds? Like a steel cage death match in each intermission for anyone who laid a body check? No that’s ridiculous. Why can’t the retaliation to a hard check be another hard check….or better still, a goal. If Cam Janssen hits your team’s superstar, clean or not, how is letting him beat the snot out of you going to send him the message that you can’t take runs at your star players?
Getting concussed is the new hot topic in the league. Keith Primeau was interviewed and wants to inform players when they’re younger the dangers of playing through concussions, and rightly so. But when a player is faced with the decision to play game 7 of the Cup finals or sit and watch his team what do you think they are going to choose?
All early signs point to a Pitt/Wash rematch in the playoffs at some point. YAY! On to the Fantasizing…
Some fantasy buy low options
Ondrej Pavelec (38% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Pavelec was roughed up in his last start but has filled in admirably for the oft-injured Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen had another setback in his recovery and does not appear to be returning anytime soon. Pavelec is going to get the majority of starts along the way and Atlanta is playing well for him. If you need starts, consider Pavelec, 3-2-1 and a 2.78 GAA.
Justin Williams (37% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Playing top line PP with Kopitar has definitely been beneficial for Williams. He has a lot of talent and if he gets the minutes and plays with his current line mates he’s definitely worth a sniff at least for a little while. He’s currently out of the lineup with a nagging injury but should return to the scoresheet soon.
Sam Gagner (31% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Gagner has been promoted to the top line alongside Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky providing plenty of scoring power. The Oilers have been battling a flu outbreak though and have been shut out in two streak games but prior to that, Gagner had 7 points in 4 games. Edmonton will score again.
Jaroslav Halak (30% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Halak is getting the nod for his fifth straight start tonight, and is vying for his 5th straight win. It’s obvious Jacques Martin is looking in Halak’s direction while he’s playing hot. If you are having goalie trouble, see how long you can ride Halak.
Andrew Brunette (26% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – 83 points in 06/07 isn’t that far away and Minnesota is not the defense first team they were last year. He’s playing on the Wild top line with Koivu and Miettinen, so scoring opportunities should be coming a plenty, he’s currently at a point per game clip so far, which is nothing to shake a stick at.
Jamie Benn (15% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Benn has been playing with the Stars’ top liners Morrow and Richards, putting up 8 points in 11 games. Keep in mind that Benn is a rookie and could be a viable option in deeper leagues as he also sees time on the Stars’ first powerplay line.
Marc-Andre Bergeron (12% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Bergeron is a powerplay specialist who will directly benefit from Andrei Markov’s injury. He’ll receive plenty of PP time and with his puck moving ability and nuke from the point he’s definitely worth a look.
Evander Kane (8% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – Filling in for Kovalchuk on the top line, Kane potted a goal against the Sharks. Kane has 5 points on the year but if he sticks on the top line his speed and tenacity will get him plenty of scoring opportunities. Update: Kozlov was given the top line LW role, Kane remains on the third line.
Maxim Afinogenov (6% owned in Yahoo! Leagues) – He’s got a plethora of talent and definitely has a lot to prove after a couple of lackluster years in Buffalo. Although Kovalchuk is hurt look for Afinogenov to pick up some of the slack as Evander Kane looks to take on the brunt of the work in Kovie’s absence.
Low trade value, slow starters:
Olli Jokinen – Slow start for the Finnish Frankenstein, but I’d look to see him pick it up fairly soon. This is a contract year for him and he does play with Iginla.
Ryan Getzlaf – For a big guy this guy has hands as soft as 4 ply toilet paper. He won’t be slumping for long, although his start hasn’t been particularly terrible it has not lived up to the hype just yet. He’s recovering from offseason surgery and should find his form soon.
Vincent Lecavalier – At one point he was discussed as one of the top five in the league. He’s slipped statistically but there’s still mega talent on that team and the numbers will come. Just one goal.
Keep your eye on:
Phil Kessel – He’s due back early Nov. Although the Leafs aren’t the most explosive up front, it looks like they’re finally clicking and you know Kessel will be getting his opportunities early and often. He’s got the shot of a sniper, he should put up at least serviceable numbers.
Marian Hossa – Also slated to be back early to mid November, you might be able to take advantage of an owner lacking some depth as a result from drafting injured players.