I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, wonderful time with family and friends, and solid New Year’s Eve plans lined up. Your extended-play streamer column is here, albeit a little reduced due to the holidays. We’re on the downhill stretch for most fantasy seasons, and for most leagues this is a short week.
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 don’t have access to my desktop right now, but the abbreviated version of what I want to reiterate every thread is this:
Out of 480 data points, managers who have played ten or more skaters (as of 12/18) 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. This column isn’t for spot-streams, it is for grabbing players on Monday or Tuesday and keeping them all week, 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 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-6 or plus-8 skaters on this short week (week of 12/25), I’m going to review teams that are playing on the two shortest-slate days (Thursday and Saturday, 7 and 6 games respectively).
Week of 12/25
Teams to target:
Boston, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Vancouver, Washington. (out of these, I like Florida the most)
Boston: If you still have David Backes available in your league, you might want to pick him up, as he is still behind on expected goals and is getting decent minutes. Dalton Heinen is a ton of fun, and could easily take advantage of a shaky Senators goaltending situation on Saturday. Finally, Jake DeBrusk takes a ton of shots and is trending right down the line- definitely worth a look.
Florida: The options are limited, but with games against PHI and MON I’m taking a look at Radim Vrbata and Mike Matheson. Both have underwhelming possession numbers, but are considerably behind in expected goals. If you’re in a deep league and lacking starts on Th/St, I might take a chance.
LA Kings: Alec Martinez is playing well and is available in 50% of ESPN leagues, but everything says he has to cool off at some point. Nick Shore and Derek Forbort are middle-of-the-road with peripherals, but both are behind on expected goals. LAK is slim pickings.
Montreal: I’m not sure who I would touch on this offense. They take a ton of shots but have a terrible shooting percentage. As a side note, if you’re a Max Pacioretty owner, he is way, way behind where he is expected to be on scoring. I’d hold. After that, Charles Hudon and Artturi Lehkonen pop off the page, both have solid Corsi numbers and we can expect their luck to break with the amount of shots being taken.
Vancouver: Thomas Vanek is owned in 14% of ESPN leagues and is beginning to heat up. I’m also a big Alex Edler fan, but if you’re only grabbing a player for two games he might just end up being too wild card-y to pay off. With the Canucks playing CHI and LAK this week, I might avoid this one as well.
Washington: Jakub Vrana takes a ton of shots and has solid possession numbers. In that same vein Lars Eller has solid peripherals but is about two goals behind where he is expected to be. Eller also sees a little more ice time and contributes in more categories. Finally, I grabbed Dmitry Orlov for a spot start last week and am holding onto him.
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. I hope this is helpful, and happy new year!!
Good luck this week!!