After an exciting weekend of football playoffs, it’s time to put our heads down and manage the tar out of the (for many of you) last five weeks of the fantasy hockey regular season. These last few weeks can be make-or-break, so think about making that trade or setting free that underperforming player. Many NHL teams are coming into or coming off their bye weeks, so this week is also one of the weirdest for scheduling.
As you might know by now, my managing style and what I discuss in my advice column is maximizing games played and putting more skaters on the ice that your opponent. I use data pulled from my own league as well as the two RCL’s to give this idea some supporting data, so let’s jump in.
Using the Active Stats tabs from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s, I’ve compiled a table of every matchup we’ve played this year (weeks 14-15 will be added next week). Out of 580 data points, managers who have played ten or more skaters (as of the end of week 13) than their opponents are 65-5-6. 65 wins, 5 losses, 6 ties. Even 5 more players on-ice than your opponent moves your meter considerably closer to the Wins column (from a coin-flip to winning 62% of the time). Yes, some teams might have better players, or might put up more points (G+A), but nothing correlates more accurately to a Win than the difference of games played between teams. Points, goalie starts, you name it… the bottom line is, you want to put more decent skaters on the ice per week than your opponent, and wins will follow.
To wrap that up, this column isn’t for spot-streams, it is for grabbing players on Monday or Tuesday and having them play on short-slate days in order to maximize player starts.
A side note is that micro-managing your lineup this way means fewer counting stats left on the bench. An opponent I played had Dylan Larkin sitting when he got a SHP, which is a total waste you cannot get back. When I play, I rarely, if ever, have a player on the bench accumulating stats.
In order to give Razzball readers a potential plus-6 or plus-8 skaters on the week of 1/8, I’m going to cover the three teams with an optimal schedule to grab additional starts. This is an interesting week with a ton of teams only playing one or two games, so be sure to look at your own team and plan accordingly.
Week of 1/15
Because of the ASG, some leagues have a longer matchup, but I’m going to stick to doing week-to-week streams.
Teams to target:
Anaheim (M, W, F, Su) and Montreal (M, W, F, St)
Anaheim: The Ducks have an excellent week for streaming, as they play on every shorter-slate day. With Anaheim looking to stay in the playoff hunt, I expect their role playing guys to turn up the heat down the stretch. Hampus Lindholm is a good place to start- available in ¾ of ESPN leagues, he has great possession numbers and is riding a nice hot streak. I liked Andrew Cogliano this week, but unfortunately he’s suspended, so we’ll look at Nick Ritchie, who is well behind on expected goals but also contributes in hits and penalty minutes. No time like the present to regress towards the expected goals mean! Finally, Ondrej Kase has solid possession and has done a lot with the TOI he’s been given- if you’re in a deep league he is a terrific add for 2-3 games.
Montreal: The Habs are kind of an offensive dead zone, but you can take a gander at Brendan Gallagher, who takes a ton of shots and can stack up hits and PIM on the side. Artturi Lehkonen is the other player I might consider, with time on the penalty play, very solid Corsi For, and a ton of room to make up some goals.
I see a pair of very promising back-to-backs this week that you can take advantage of if you’re streaming goalies. Aaron Dell is having an awesome season, and San Jose is back-to-back M/T and St/Su. Two starts from the second best backup currently playing? Yes please. Also worth a long, smoldering look is Carter Hutton– the Blues don’t have any back-to-backs, but with five games before the break my vote is that they give him one or two of those to keep the rust off. Keep an eye on starting goalies for Hutton- STL faces Ottawa twice and Arizona once over the next two weeks.
I’ll post a follow-up about the short week before the weekend, but I’ll let you know it will likely be on players from Calgary, Chicago, and Toronto, so definitely inquire if anyone is sitting on your waiver wire and you’re thinking about picking him up for a game or two.
That’s it for now. I’ll be watching this thread as much as I reasonably can all week, so if you have questions that you want an arbiter for, I will chime in (and will work to give you the best information I have). I am sure Viz and Reid will also pop in every so often.
Good luck this week!!