I hope everyone was able to emerge victorious in their leagues this year. Sorry for the delay in these posts, but we had some issues on the site. Anyways, over the rest of this week, I'm going to recap the season with a review of my bold predictions and my preseason rankings to see what I got right, what I got wrong, and what I can learn from it for going forward. Once this week is over, I'll be gone for a few months, with a post or two in the summer coming after the draft and free agency. You'll still be able to reach me on Twitter @RazzballViz, or in a comments section that remains unlocked. Anyways, let's look at my preseason bold predictions!
Two teams that have had massive up and downs clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday. The Jets did it by themselves, beating the Wild 3-1 on the back of Connor Hellebuyck. The Panthers clinched because the Penguins had the worst loss of my time at Razzball, losing to the tanking Chicago Blackhawks. Petr Mrazek made 38 saves in a game that made the fans of both teams furious, and a bunch of other fans happy. Now, the Penguins need the Islanders to lose to Montreal tomorrow to make the playoffs. It would be crazy for Washington and Pittsburgh's playoff streaks to end in the same year. Here's a quick rundown of what happened over the last two nights:
We've reached the final week of the regular season, which means the end of the fantasy season. Here's to hoping that you're still playing for your championship. As I've been doing on most Mondays recently, I'm going to give a quick rundown of the week ahead, recent injuries, and general strategy advice. Let's get to it!
The first thing you should do is check whether your league includes the two games on Friday or not. On Yahoo!, the game is included, while on ESPN, leagues end on Thursday. Most other places do include the Friday game, so I'm going to treat this post as if the Friday games are going to count in your league. Colorado, Nashville, Columbus, and Buffalo play on Friday, so obviously drop the value of their players if you're on ESPN.
The Devils have built arguably the best young core in the league. There's a lot of talk about Hughes and Hischier leading the way now, with Nemec and L. Hughes on the way. There's Meier and Bratt also playing a huge role. However, there's another former first round pick making a huge charge in his sophomore season. Dawson Mercer scored a hat trick on Tuesday in the 5-1 win over the Penguins. I had to do a double check because I did not realize this, but Mercer now has 27 goals on the season. I knew he was having a good year, but man, that's a huge jump for the 21 year old. Mercer is a natural center, but with the two former #1 picks in the fold, there's no reason to put Mercer on the third line right now. He's thriving on Hischier's wing, and is definitely worth a middle to late round pick in drafts next season. I'm not sure how much better it will get other than a potential increase in ice time because his skating is below NHL average, but his playmaking in traffic is so good and his compete level is so high that incremental increases help a lot to get into the 70 point range. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We're down to the final two weeks of the season, and I hope that your fantasy seasons are still going. This week has a very strange schedule, so in this post, I'm going to break it down and show the best way to target streaming. Every move on the margin helps! Let's get to it!
Tonight, there are only three games. On Wednesday, there are also three games. There are no games on Friday, and only two games on Easter Sunday. On Tuesday, there are 11 games, there's 14 on Thursday, and the entire league plays on Saturday. It's extremely rare for every day to be all the way on one side of the spectrum. Here are the games that take place on the light days:
In a Pacific Division battle on Thursday, Stuart Skinner stole the show. Against the Kings, Skinner saved all 43 shots he faced in the 2-0 win. We all know about the firepower the Oilers possess, but they made the conference finals last season in large part because of Mike Smith getting hot as he was known to do. The Oilers replaced him with Campbell, but that has been an epic disaster. Skinner has established himself as the clear #1 and will be going into the playoffs. His numbers are that of a #2 in fantasy, and while I do like the 24 year old long term, I don't really see upside past that unless the Oilers completely revamp their defense. That said, for the Oilers to get on a run, they'll need solid goaltending, and Skinner has shown that he's capable of that. He's the goalie of the future and more importantly, the present. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
The Oilers are peaking at the right time, as they've gone from battling for a playoff spot to battling for the Pacific Division. It started with a 5-4 win over the Coyotes on Monday, before a dominating 7-4 win over the Golden Knights on Tuesday. The man leading the way was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who continued his career season. RNH had a goal and an assist on Monday, before following that up with a goal and four assists with two shots against Vegas. That brings RNH up to a whopping 96 points (35+61), blowing away his previous career high of 69 points. 96, much nicer than 69. McDavid and Draisaitl justifiably get most of the attention surrounding the Oilers, but the impact that RNH has made this season can't be understated. Adding a third 100+ point player to the mix is insane, and Edmonton has as good of a set of forwards as there is in the league. They're a bit light on games the rest of the way, but their schedule is among the softest in the league, so look for the studs to continue to crush. As for where RNH will rank next season, that's an extremely difficult question to answer. I have to expect some regression, but how much? Given the mediocre shot rate, I assume I'll have RNH towards the bottom of the top 50? If he's only a PPG guy, there's plenty of value but it would be a bit underwhelming compared to other guys in his range i.e. his floor is lower. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
We've reached the final three weeks of the season, with every team having 8-10 remaining games. Unlike last season, there are plenty of races to be decided, both for the playoffs and the lottery odds, which makes things much more interesting. In this post, I'm going to give some additional schedule info to pair with the Playoff Manifesto, along with some injury news. This is a reminder that now is not the time to hold anybody that is going to miss multiple games. Volume is everything, and you can't afford to hold anyone missing games. Two games from say, Marchand, isn't as good as four games from someone like Verhaeghe. Be aggressive. Anyways, I'll start with the injuries before looking at the schedule. Let's get to it!
I don't know how many people have watched Eastbound and Down, but every time there's a game with huge implications, I just want to yell " a f***ing showdown!" Monday had Kings vs. Flames, a crucial battle, and the Flames had their door blown off. The Kings went up 4-0 in the first, and ended up smoking the Flames 8-2. Despite the blowout, there wasn't a lot of headliners for the Kings, but the one was Adrian Kempe. Kempe had two goals and an assist to bring him up to 34 goals and 21 assists, ready to set a career high in both. Their schedule isn't ideal, but Kempe has played himself into a level where he's worth holding regardless. Let's take a look at the last two nights:
As we rapidly approach the end of the season, we've reached the point where your leagues are about to be decided. In roto leagues, it's very straightforward to finish the season. You need to max out your starts and be sure to target the categories that you can move up in the standings. In head to head leagues, everything your team achieved over the first five months gets thrown out the window once the playoff starts. Today, I'm going to highlight some key things that you need to do in order to maximize your chances of winning. Let's get to it!
We found a new level of ridiculousness on Thursday night. The Canadiens were in Florida and they managed to tie the record for the most goals in a first period in modern NHL history, and they did it in barely over 13 minutes! Both Montreal goalies allowed 3+ goals in the first 13 minutes, and Sergei Bobrovsky allowed goals on the first three shots he faced. My god. The Panthers ended up winning 9-5 to keep pace in the Eastern playoff race. The only player who made more than two points was Matthew Tkachuk, who had a goal and three assists to keep up his torrid pace. Thanks Aleksander Barkov for not getting three points when I pick him in the three point challenge! Anyways, Florida is battling hard for a Wild Card spot, so expect their studs to get all of the minutes they can handle. For playing all games against Eastern teams the rest of the way, Florida's schedule is fairly soft, so expect it to come down to the wire. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
This year couldn't be going any worse for the Columbus Blue Jackets. A horrible record, terrible injuries to key players, and dreadful goaltending have sunk them from the beginning. Now that they're in the Bedard race, their fans probably aren't even happy that they won on Tuesday night. Their prize free agent signing, Johnny Gaudreau, dominated the game with two goals and three assists, plus six shots on goal. That brings him up to 62 points in 64 games, a far cry from last season, but not a complete disaster. The question isn't about what to expect from Gaudreau for the rest of this season, but going forward. He turns 30 in the summer, but I'm not expecting drop off in the short term. Can he approach 100 points again? I have my doubts, but if Columbus is lucky enough to get Bedard, it can't be ruled out. Bedard would be the perfect compliment, and Fantilli wouldn't be a bad consolation prize. I was lower on Gaudreau than consensus so I don't have any of him this year, but there's always a chance that with his talent, he makes a huge difference over the last month. Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
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