Aloha! It’s Lackeydrinksonme!
It’s the second issue of my weekly long-run streamer column. I’m here to offer some pickups for the short-slate games in the upcoming week, with a focus on putting more players on the ice than your opponent. ESPN has changed everything so I don’t have Games Started data for the new year, but bear in mind that the odds of coming out with a win are strongly related to the number of players you put on the ice.
Out of 580 fantasy matchups I have recorded, teams who put at least 10 more skaters on the ice than their opponents are 65-5-6. Those who have gotten at least 5 more skaters won 62% of the time. This column will focus on getting additional player starts several times a week, especially on days with fewer games, and maximizing player usage so as not to leave points on the bench. If you see a guy you like, pick him up with the objective of getting an extra 2-4 decent starts a week.
The season is still only two weeks old, and if you’re 0-2 it can already feel like an uphill climb. I don’t recommend going for that big trade just yet, but here are some players who might be able to help you for multiple games this week.
Let’s get to it!
Week of 10/15
Calgary Flames: W/F/Su
Probably the best schedule of the week, as each of these days is a surprisingly short slate. Along with the fantasy benefit, it always feels good to be able to watch some hockey and have players going every night.
Elias Lindholm – Owned in around 30% of ESPN leagues and tearing it up this early in the season, Lindholm’s SOG are terrific, and with great TOI (20:43/game) and a terrific role on the power play, Lindholm is a good bet to produce this week and is a fringe hold beyond that.
TJ Brodie – Second on the team in ice time, Brodie has four assists and solid possession numbers. Calgary is talented and takes quite a few shots, so the chances for a few assists stays pretty high, and he’ll be one of only a few viable defensemen playing on multiple short-slate games.
Austin Czarnik – Czarnik is barely owned in ESPN leagues, and despite his reduced TOI has amassed a trio of points and has taken 11 shots, leading to some quality possession numbers. He might be an option for deeper leagues, but if he’s an available you could give him a look.
Monteal Canadiens: M/W/St
Montreal’s schedule is tricky. While I don’t really like options outside of Calgary, Montreal is nice because you could grab skaters for Monday and Wednesday, and then cut them loose for flexibility towards the end of the week.
Tomas Tatar – Tatar leads all forwards in TOI and has a solid role on the power play. He should be available in most leagues, and is worth grabbing for the number of shots he takes and the opportunities he should have on the top line.
Paul Byron – Montreal isn’t the deepest of squads, and Byron lacks any power-play usage. He is taking a ton of shots despite somewhat limited ice time and has collected four points as a result. His elevated level of Hits is a nice plus too, if your league scores them.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Other rookies have had their big game, so why not take a lotto ticket on Kotkaniemi? With 13 minutes of TOI per game and another 2 on the power play, you could plan to keep him for two days just to see what is possible against DET or STL.
Dallas Stars: M/T/F
Dallas has a similarly tricky schedule that you can take advantage of. Grabbing short slate starts on Monday and Friday is nice, and it would be worth it to see if there are any holes that need plugging on Tuesday, be it a specific winger slot or defenseman.
Jason Spezza – More than three minutes of PPTOI/game, Spezza is one of the few names that jumps out for DAL, being owned in only 1.6% of ESPN leagues. With three points in four games, Spezza is in the twilight of his career but playing with DAL’s gunslingers means constant opportunities for a quick power play point or two.
Miro Heiskanen – DAL’s power play is probably all gone, so Heiskanen might be an available option on the second unit with a ton of regular TOI added on. I like Heiskanen’s possession numbers, so he’s certainly worth a look with the intent of freeing up his slot for the weekend.
Tyler Pitlick – Who? Pitlick has 15 minutes of ice time a game and has taken ten shots, resulting in fairly pedestrian Corsi numbers. Playing on a line with Shore and Faksa isn’t flashy, but as a group they have much better possession numbers and with Pitlick centering it up, if you’re looking deep I’d say he’s a fine option to release Saturday morning.
I’m planning on doing a deep dive Wednesday night, so will have an article up then and also a continuation of this series next Monday. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and good luck!!