It’s time for another look back at the week that was in the world of fantasy hockey. It feels a little crazy to think how close the fantasy playoffs already are, yet here we are. In Yahoo! standard leagues, there are just four regular-season weeks remaining. If you aren’t tracking player trends on a near-daily basis, you could cost yourself a playoff berth.
Last week’s impressions are here. My Twitter (@jkj0787) is always open – please feel free to DM or tag me with any questions! Also, be sure to check out my new Friday-Sunday split series each week. There, I’ll look ahead to the teams that play both Friday and Sunday – ah, those beautiful off-nights – and whom you should target for your various streaming needs. Look for that to drop sometime midweek.
Note: For the sake of consistency, Yahoo! standard leagues are the baseline for all rankings and ownership rates.
Week 18 Fantasy Hockey Impressions
St. Louis Blues defenceman Colton Parayko (41 percent owned) has largely been fantasy hockey irrelevant in his career. Deep banger leagues were the only place you would see him rostered. Yet, he’s erupted with goals in three consecutive games and four total in that span. Parayko possesses one of the best slapshots in the game and is finally putting it to good use. The goals will not keep this pace, but he will certainly score more if he continues to shoot three or four times a night as he has since returning from injury.
Another defenceman providing some late-season offensive spark is Jake Gardiner (10 percent owned) of the Carolina Hurricanes. Dougie Hamilton was on his way to being a Norris Trophy finalist before a major injury. Gardiner has more opportunities now, and he is delivering. He has five assists in his last four games, three of which have come on the power play.
Yet another defenceman you could take a look at is Damon Severson (12 percent owned) of the New Jersey Devils. Yes, P.K. Subban still remains a total bust, while guys like Severson are pushing him aside. He’s on quite a run for a defender – two goals and four assists as part of a six-game point streak. Four power-play points, solid shots and blocks, and he even had 12 penalty minutes in a single game recently.
Chicago Blackhawks rookie Kirby Dach (four percent owned) is rocking a five-game point streak in which he has six points total. In those five games, Dach is averaging over 17 minutes of ice time and seeing top power-play deployment. His line is flanked by Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane.
Another hot rookie is Philadelphia Flyers forward Joel Farabee. Though he missed the last two games due to illness, he has four goals and two helpers in his last six. He has spent most of his time lately with Sean Couturier, who is red hot as well.
It took over half a season, but Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski is finally putting together some consistent hockey. Over his last five games, Pavelski has four goals and two assists. Four of those points were power-play points. Make no mistake, it’s been an atrocious year for his owners, but at least things are looking better at this point. Buy low? Sell high?! You could spin it either way in negotiations, honestly.
Montreal Canadiens rookie Nick Suzuki (23 percent owned) is playing great hockey these days. The 20-year-old is slightly over a point-per-game in his last seven, posting two goals and six assists. He’s hovering around a couple hits a game in that span and even tossing in a block or two.
Carolina Hurricanes veteran Justin Williams isn’t producing much after a hot start to his resurrected career. Williams is logging bottom-six minutes and is scoreless in four straight. Maybe once he gets his feet under him some more things will improve, but don’t make this guy a steady roster option right now.
For the most part, Jonathan Toews has had a great season. Many saw last season as a fluke, and he started off this season by proving that to be true (two points in his first 11 games). Then he went on a hugely consistent tear of 42 points in 39 games. But now he’s only got one point in his last five. Given the prior body of work, you shouldn’t be too concerned.
Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson is not having a good season. At all. Last year he put up 34 goals and 48 points in 58 games. This year he has 22 points in 42 games. Over his last 16 games, he has just four points. Nashville as a whole is not very good for fantasy hockey purposes, so buying low is probably unwise.
A Pair of Sens
All those insane minutes are probably the reason why Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot is having a down season. As the heir-apparent to Erik Karlsson, Chabot had 55 points in just 70 games last season. As for 2019-20, Chabot is down to 30 points in 55 games (45-point pace). He has just six points in his last 15 games and is scoreless in four straight. Maybe brighter days are ahead, though; his shooting percentage (3.5 percent) is significantly lower than his previous two seasons.
Anthony Duclair is another arctic-cold Senator. The first-time All-Star netted 21 goals before the break – he has exactly zero since. It’s been 17 games and counting, and he’s only had four assists and inconsistent shot totals in that span. It’s unsafe to hold onto him, as much as it hurts to say.
What a week for shutouts. Elvis Merzlikins and MacKenzie Blackwood both had two in a row, and Merzlikins carried a third straight into the third period. The rest of the crop of just one shutout apiece were as follows: Antti Raanta, Brian Elliott, and Tuukka Rask. It was kind of a shutout from Sergei Bobrovsky, except he lost in overtime so it doesn’t count.
Can’t ask for anything better from MacKenzie Blackwood. Two shutouts in both of his starts this week. Four goalies won three games, but fantasy hockey owners will take two shutouts in two starts each and every week. Don’t look now, but New Jersey is on a six-game point streak.
Is Elvis Merzlikins the greatest goalie in the league right now? He’s certainly playing like it. He almost won three games – almost all shutouts – but allowed two third-period goals Saturday and didn’t get much offensive support. In his last nine, Merzlikins is 8-1-0 with an utterly ridiculous .962 save percentage. The beginning-of-the-year Elvis is dead and buried.
Andrei Vasilevskiy won three more games this week. He’s now 29-9-3 on the season, winning 19 of his last 22 starts. In that time he’s also sporting a .932 save percentage. It was a bumpy start, but there’s no looking back now.
Philipp Grubauer had about as good of a week as anyone could hope for. He won all three starts and gave up a single goal in each. Dating back to his last 10, Grubauer is 7-2-1 with a respectable .916 save percentage.
Rookie Igor Shesterkin keeps on keepin’ on. He won both of his starts this week and has won five of his first six career starts. Shesterkin looked especially good Sunday night, stopping 42 of 43 shots.
The Not So Good
The Vancouver Canucks are slipping, and Jacob Markstrom is too. His owners got spoiled with 11 wins in 13 appearances before his current three-game losing streak. In those three losses, he has allowed 13 total goals.
Braden Holtby continues to play terribly, and he gave up seven goals in his most recent start. It’s tough to imagine a world where Ilya Samsonov doesn’t see the lion’s share sooner rather than later. Holtby is 5-9-0 in his last 15 outings. If a 33 percent win percentage in that time doesn’t bum you out, his .864 save percentage surely will. He’s a total fantasy hockey liability at this point.
Jordan Binnington eeked out a win this week but still has allowed at least three goals in seven consecutive starts. He has only won two of those. Hopefully, he can right the ship before the fantasy playoffs start. Things are looking somewhat dire, though. Entering the season, there was talk as to what a full season of being a no. 1 goalie would do, and maybe we’re seeing the answer play out right in front of us.
Yes, it was only one start this game week, but it was horrific. Petr Mrazek got shelled for six goals against the Blues on 26 shots. Mrazek allowed four in his previous start, bringing his grand total to double digits in his last two. That’s…not good. James Reimer started the other two games for Carolina this week, so keep an eye on how that shakes out.