Your extended-play streamer column is here. I hope your fantasy weeks went well, and that you maximized games played and put more skaters on the ice than your opponent. I’m a big believer in accountability, and will be following up on the data I am collecting, and how the previous weeks have panned out. Because I write these over the weekend, matchups are still occurring, so I will use data from the previous completed week, pulled from my most competitive league as well as the two RCL’s.
During the week of 12/4, we had 17 matchups across three leagues. The managers who put more players on the ice than their opponent went 10-6, or 10 wins, 6 losses. Two of those losses were because the manager did not play a minimum number of goalies. One of the fewer-skater wins was me, at -1 (48 to 49) skaters, another was also in my league at -1 (42 to 43). We had three managers play more than 60 skaters, one of which was the team that lost because they didn’t play goalies. The largest GP difference was Every Day I’m Byfuglien from RCL 2, who played a superb +23 skaters (55 to 32), tied for the greatest difference out of my 465 data points.
What I’m going to keep from column to column is this paragraph: out of 465 data points, managers who have played ten or more skaters than their opponents are 50-5-5. 50 wins, 5 losses, 5 ties. Even 5 more players on-ice than your opponent moves your meter considerably closer to the Wins column. 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 skaters on the ice per week than your opponent, and wins will follow.
A side note is that micro-managing your lineup this way means fewer counting stats left on the bench. An opponent I played recently 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.
So, in order to give Razzball readers a potential plus-8 or plus-12 skaters in a week, here is my weekly column indicating what teams you should grab free agents from, and some players who might be available in your leagues.
Week of 12/18
Teams to target:
Anaheim, Boston, Columbus, Philadelphia: 4 games (NHL is off on Sunday and basically every team plays Saturday)
With the holidays here, there are some streaming dilemmas. We are looking at essentially a six-day week, which creates some cramped schedules with only four teams playing four games. Of these four, PHI is the most attractive, as they play on both the short Wednesday and the short Friday.
Anaheim: Some players you might want to consider are Andrew Cogliano and Antoine Vermette. Both are behind in their expected goals and have solid peripherals. I’m not a fan of the Duck’s offense, but if you’re in a deep league they might be worth a look- of the two, I’m higher on Cogliano.
Boston faces Buffalo on Tuesday. With that in mind, David Backes might not be the most fun to watch, but he’s a solid contributor currently owned in 15% of ESPN leagues. Backes is well behind in his expected goals and has great Corsi numbers. I also really like Danton Heinen, who is putting together a solid rookie campaign- I just wish he would shoot more.
For Columbus: Oliver Bjorkstrand takes a ton of shots for his limited TOI. Josh Anderson is available in 2/3 of ESPN leagues and has a terrific shot rate, on top of being right where he is expected to be with goal scoring.
For Philadelphia: Scott Laughton and Radko Gudas are multi-category contributors who are both behind on expected goals. For counting stats, they might serve to fill some holes, and because of PHI’s prime scheduling I might take a ‘flyer’ on either of them.
Calgary: 2 games, Wednesday (3 games) and Friday (4 games)
Normally I’m not going to recommend teams with fewer than four games, but CGY has games on the short-slated days, meaning you could grab players on Tuesday and expect to snag 4 or 6 starts on your hapless opponent. Sam Bennett, Michael Frolik, and Jaromir Jagr could be nice fill-ins- nothing feels better than to have skaters going when your opponent isn’t doing anything!!
As a note, I’m grabbing Laughton, Jagr, and Backes, and we’ll see where it goes!
That’s it for now. I’ll be watching this thread 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!!