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Fantasy Hockey 2022-23 Week 18: Studs, Duds, and Sleepers

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Photo Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

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 18:

2022-23 Fantasy Hockey Studs, Duds, and Sleepers: Week 18


Vincent Trocheck

In the two games since the New York Rangers acquired Vladimir Tarasenko, they have scored 12 goals. As I touched on a few days ago, the fantasy hockey value could be tremendous, but not from where most would think. The value would come from the shuffling of lines. Enter Trocheck. The line of Trocheck/Artemi Panarin/Jimmy Vesey was unstoppable on Saturday. With four goals in literally a tick over five minutes of ice time, the balanced offence that the Rangers now have should scare the entire Metropolitan division. The consistent “banger value Trocheck” now has fantasy hockey owners giddy. He is now an offensive weapon not to be ignored. With points in three straight, and five of his last seven, expect continued value.

The Rangers will face three bottom-half defensive teams this coming week. All three will be on the road, but that is not a concern for Trocheck. His production numbers are considerably better away from Madison Square Garden. He also picked up his first power play point in quite a while two games ago. Again, the benefit of having Tarasenko to spread out the offence. Two of the opponents for Trocheck this week rank bottom third on the penalty kill, including the league’s worst Vancouver Canucks. Fantasy hockey leagues have him rostered in 81% and 71% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues, respectively. This might be the right time to grab him up if he is there.

Dylan Larkin

In an odd scheduling twist, the last three opponents Larkin has faced will be the first three opponents he faces this week. That is good news for fantasy hockey owners. Larkin has been very productive as of late for the struggling Detroit Red Wings. For fantasy hockey owners, it has been even better. With points in eight of his last ten and five power-play points, he has been one of the hottest forwards as of late. He is also shooting more effectively, with at least four on goal in five of the last six. All of this figures to continue this coming week for fantasy hockey owners.

The three opponents he will face, again, just happen to also be the three Trocheck will face. That would be bottom-half defensive teams and two bottom-third penalty-kill teams. Last week, he had points against them all and three of them on the power play. That is good enough reason to be on the lookout for Larkin on the wire. Moreover, Detroit will give you a bonus game on Saturday against the Seattle Kraken. Larkin will face the worst two penalty kill teams in the league this coming week. Look for the Red Wings leading power-play scorer to add a few more tallies for you. ESPN has him pretty well locked down, but only 81% of Yahoo fantasy hockey leagues show him rostered. If he is there, you need him.


Patrice Bergeron

After their torrid start to the year, the Boston Bruins have finally found adversity. Losers of four in five (one in overtime) have coincided with a team struggling to score. A bump in the road of course, and good to have now before the playoffs, but it is affecting fantasy hockey owners. Bergeron is one of those that has left a lot to be desired. He currently has no points in the last five games, and in two of those, he registered a lone shot. He still provides value on the dot as one of the best in the business, but only winning you a category is not going to win you a match. He will snap back, just like the Bruins, but it may not be this week.

Three games this week for Bergeron and two on the road. The opponents are stingy defensively, with all three ranking in the top 12. They are also all top 11 on the penalty kill with two of them top four. This is bad news for Bergeron who has a single power play assist in his last 11 games and only five total points in the same span. He is essentially completely rostered in both ESPN and Yahoo fantasy hockey leagues. If faced with roster decisions, Bergeron is probably one you could sit.

Marc-Andre Fleury

It has been a tough year for Fleury. His 2.98 GAA is his highest since his last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Likewise, his .902 Sv% is the lowest since his 2005-06 season. That has been bad news for a Minnesota Wild team that is clinging to a playoff spot with 30 games to play. For fantasy hockey owners, it has been a steady decline in ownership for a few weeks. Two great starts before the All-Star break gave some owners hope. However, two straight losses allowing eight goals on 59 shots have shot that. For those fantasy hockey owners who still roster him, this week is a warning for you.

Four games on the slate for the Wild this week. It has been pretty standard that the Wild alternate starts, so assume he gets two games. His counterpart Filip Gustavsson has been the better of the two, so also assume Fleury gets the “easier” starts. It may not matter, as all four games are at home where Fleury has been much worse. If he also gets the Saturday Matinee game, be very careful there as well. He has been abysmal in day games. ESPN has him rostered in just over half of leagues, but Yahoo has him at 92%. In either league, all fantasy hockey owners should proceed with extreme caution.


Anthony Cirelli

Sometimes you just have to ride the hot hand. Cirelli fits this category and is virtually available to everyone. Cirelli missed the start of the season and took a while to get his legs under him once back. The month of January saw his ice time begin to rise and shooting percentage creep back to career levels. With five points in his last two games, he may have it all figured out and looking to surpass last year’s production. Cirelli does not offer much in the way of banger categories which is why his ownership numbers are low. But for those who need an emergency spot filled, consider this:

Cirelli will face the 25th-ranked defence in the Arizona Coyotes. The other two opponents of the week are much better, however, Cirelli just played the Colorado Avalanche and had two assist with a power play point. A late-week game against the Vegas Golden Knights will be the first meeting of the year between the two teams. This is the iffy game for Cirelli, but if he continues his confident play in the other games, anything from here is a weekly bonus. He is rostered in 8% of both ESPN and Yahoo fantasy hockey leagues. Looking for someone to cover the week for you? This is intriguing.

Alexis Lafreniere

Ending with another Ranger player, Lafreniere is a sleeper pick who was already on fire before the Tarasenko trade. Currently, he sits with points in seven of his last eight games. Fantasy hockey owners of his (the few that there are) have been using him in banger leagues as a fairly stout hit machine. But now he is scoring, adding assists, and building chemistry with Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko. In Saturday’s contest, no three forwards played more minutes together than those three. This speaks to the confidence the coaching staff also has in the trio. Here is why you should too:

I do not need to go over the matchups again. They are very favourable, as mentioned twice already before. It is some of the same opponents from last week, and Lafreniere had points in all those games. The additional value is that every game is on the road. Lafreniere has a much higher production number away from home. He also has the fourth most road assists on the Rangers. His current four-game point streak may very well hit seven. His fantasy hockey ownership is very low in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues. This is a great place to look if you need injury coverage or replacement for underperformers.

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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