Fantasy Hockey 2022-23 Week 13: Studs, Duds, and Sleepers

Every Monday, Last Word on Hockey will survey the Fantasy Hockey landscape and select a handful of players to assist in your weekly match. We will attempt to select “Studs” who may be available in your league as opposed to those who we know are already owned by other teams. The “Duds” will most certainly be taken and will serve as a warning when you have “who do I start/sit” questions. The “Sleepers” will be almost exclusively available in most leagues. We will also attempt to have a mix of players that will apply to traditional leagues as well as banger leagues. All ownership numbers are based on Sunday research and may be slightly different at the time of publication. Here are our selections for Week 13:

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Studs, Duds, and Sleepers: Week 13

Studs – Dallas Stars

Roope Hintz

Alongside Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski, Hintz is on pace for a career year. Arguably on the best line in the NHL, he is on pace for a 40-goal season and point-per-game production for the first time in his five-year career. Hintz is actually seeing less ice time this season than in the past two. A true four-line system in Dallas is keeping him fresh; it would seem. He is also being deployed heavily in the offensive zone at 64.1 oZS%. It is no surprise that Hintz is filling up the scoresheet. As of late, he has been unstoppable, with six goals and an assist in his last five games. Five of those points are on special teams too. Fantasy hockey owners are getting great production.

Jamie Benn

Benn lost quite a bit of his fantasy hockey value as the 2022-23 season started. With diminishing offensive production, his value came from banger categories. Those are hard to come by in a Peter DeBoer system that drives possession. Five assists in his first ten games had owners bailing fast. Since then, Benn has had 15 goals and 16 assists in 28 games. He is currently on an eight-game point streak as well. In that stretch, he has three power-play goals, one assist, and a shorthanded assist. This is happening with his lowest ice time since his 2009-10 rookie campaign. Much like Hintz, being kept fresher is paying dividends.

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The Matchups

This week, both of these Stars should be 100% rostered. Three games for the Stars against bottom-third defensive teams. These opponents are also bottom third on the penalty kill, with two in the bottom five. For the third-ranked offence and second-ranked power play Stars, this is a great matchup week for fantasy hockey owners of Hintz and Benn. Almost half of Benn’s points have been from special teams, and Hintz is not far off that number. But the added value of even-strength production from opponents who struggle to limit chances could bring a massive week for both of these skaters.

Duds – Los Angeles Kings

Kevin Fiala

Fiala is having a decent follow-up to last year’s career numbers. At just under a point per game, he is easily leading the Kings in scoring. But things have slowed down for him, even as the Kings have gone on a bit of a run. They have won six of their last eight. However, Fiala has just one goal and four assists in those contests. That includes just two power-play assists on a decent unit. This is not a player who lights up the banger categories, so if he is not scoring, there is little fantasy hockey value for owners.

Drew Doughty

Doughty continues to be the workhorse for the Kings blueline. The minute-eating machine averages almost five minutes more than any other Kings player per game. He also leads all Kings defensemen in points and still has a blistering shot from the point for power play production. Yet his offensive numbers are down quite a bit over career averages. With just one goal and one assist in his last six games, he seems to be as snake-bitten as Fiala. He’s also not the physical presence he used to be, failing to record a hit in three of his last nine games and only one hit in five.

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The Matchups

Both Fiala and Doughty are owned by well over 90% of ESPN and Yahoo fantasy hockey owners. The bad news for them is that it doesn’t get much tougher of a week than what the Kings have upcoming. They play three games against conference leaders (the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars are currently tied for the lead in the Western Conference). Two of the opponents rank top three on the penalty kill. All three are top 11 in goals allowed. All three are top 11 in goals scored. It’s a big test for the Kings, but if they win, it is likely from defensive play, not offensive production. Deploy these players with extreme caution.

Sleepers – Carolina Hurricanes

Antti Raanta

With the injury to Pyotr Kochetkov, Raanta was given four straight starts recently. He struggled a bit in his first two starts but did pick up the victory in both. But Raanta plays better when he plays more and proved that with back-to-back shutouts. He improved to 9-2-2 over the season with a 2.53 GAA. Kochetkov is still considered the number-one goalie in Carolina, but coming off an injury, the coaching staff should be easing him in. That gives the very likely possibility of Raanta starting two games this week, as he has a very hot hand currently.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

It has been a very slow start for Kotkaniemi in 2022-23. But his offensive production is starting to pick up. With a mere seven points in his first 31 games, he has followed that up with five points in his last five games. Two of those are on the power play. He is seeing a full two minutes per game on the power play, which is rising. As a skater whose fantasy hockey value was from the banger categories, those have started to diminish as he focuses more on the offence. This can be seen in his shooting alone. Kotkaniemi has 14 shots in his last six games. He had three total in his previous five games. Things are turning around for him.

The Matchups

For Raanta, if he gets those two starts, it would be against highly favourable opponents. The Hurricanes will play three games this week. Two of the three are bottom five in scoring, and the third is barely mid-pack. For Kotkaniemi, all three are mid-pack defensively and on the penalty kill. For the Hurricanes, their second-ranked defence is currently on a 10-game winning streak. Four of those were shutouts. Raanta and Kotkaniemi could have monster weeks and from a position on your roster normally held for depth. Both are widely available in both ESPN and Yahoo fantasy hockey leagues. If you need some extra depth, look at the Hurricanes lineup, specifically these two.

Have a fantasy question? Have a Mailbag idea you would like to see deeper analysis on? Follow me on Twitter @GromJoshua, or leave a comment for me below.

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