Ma tells you what to do with your players - better listen up!
The 2012-13 fantasy campaign has certainly thrown poolies a few curveballs. In a shortened 48-game season, there’s no time to dilly dally or sit and wait to make a decision. Every week that you sit on a decision, you’re essentially burning close to 10 percent of the fantasy season. If you’re after a league title, decisions need to be made promptly! This week we’ll look at a couple of slow and hot starters and my thoughts on what you should do with them.
Corey Perry – RW- Anaheim Ducks
Perry is struggling at the moment with just six points in 12 contests this campaign. The most eye-catching stat is that he’s only registered one power play point, which is very un-Perry-like when you compare it to his history. You can’t chalk it up to a lack of opportunity, as he’s on the ice for 56.5 percent of all Anaheim’s power play chances, so what gives? The answer lies in the shooting percentage. His current shooting efficiency is at a career-low, (by a long shot), of 3.6 percent at the moment, which is over three and a half times lower than his career average prior to this season. Shooting percentage is a bit of a fickle statistic, as a couple of goals here and there could dramatically sway the stat in a different direction.
Maaaasquito Bite: Snipers like Perry tend to get streaky when scoring goals, and get ice-cold when they hit a cold snap. Just hang tough with him, as he won’t stay like this forever. Perry owners should remain status quo, while non-owners should definitely make a play for his services.
Henrik Sedin – C- Vancouver Canucks
Much like Perry, Sedin’s struggles this season mostly lie with the lack of power play production. He’s only managed to post three points on the man advantage. One reason for that might be because the Canucks are struggling on the PP at the moment which is operating at just 17.2 percent efficiency, which is a stark contrast to the 19.8, 24.3 and 20.9 numbers that they’ve posted during the last three seasons. Another link might be because of Daniel’s lack of goal scoring, as his 0.25 goals per game rate is much lower than the 0.42, 0.50, 0.46 rates that he’s recorded in the last three campaigns. Henrik’s assist rate is generally tied with Daniel’s goal-scoring prowess, so when one slumps so does the other.
Maaaasquito Bite: You can’t really abandon ship on a player who has led the league in assists over the last three seasons. The Sedin brothers will be fine once they find their groove again.
Henrik Zetterberg – C/LW- Detroit Red Wings
Zetterberg’s on a tear with 18 points in 12 contests for Detroit. One of the major things that caught my eye was his seasonal splits. In seven home contests Zetterberg has registered a whopping 15 points (2.14 points per game), but in five away games he has just three points (0.6). Zetterberg does have a favourable career home scoring stats compared to the road (as do most NHL players), but not to the extent which has played out this campaign.
Maaaasquito Bite: I’d sell high on him straight away. At the end of the day he won’t finish a 48-game campaign with 72 points. So if you give him the benefit of the doubt and say he finishes the season with 55 points. That would mean 37 points in his next 36 contests, which would probably be obtainable from another player with a “lesser name”. Use his hot start to see if you can improve a couple of areas of your fantasy team.
Dany Heatley – LW/RW –Minnesota Wild
After starting the season with six points in the first five contests, Heatley is mired in an eight-game point-less drought, which has left many poolies reeling. One of the biggest reasons for the slump may be because of a lack of shots on goal as during the first six contests Heatley registered 17 SOG (2.83), but during his slump he’s garnered just nine (1.13). What also doesn’t help the cause is that during the last three contests, he’s been demoted to the second line and away from fantasy stars, Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise, while spending a lot more time with Mikael Granlund and Devin Setoguchi.
Maaaasquito Bite: If Heatley continues to garner “lower quality minutes”, his fantasy numbers will continue to struggle. Until that changes there probably isn’t much hope for fantasy stud-ness for Heatley this campaign.
Drew Doughty – D – Los Angeles Kings
With just four points in 11 contests, DD has also struggled to start the season. He’s an interesting case because I could see two completely opposite lines of thought regarding him. On one hand, the Kings are averaging just 2.27 goals per game, which is almost exactly the same mark as the 2.29 that they registered while hoisting Lord Stanley’s cup last season. So why should we expect anything different from Darryl Sutter and the Kings this campaign? It worked once so why wouldn’t it work again? Can you really expect DD to post “elite” numbers when his team averages just over six points per game? On the other hand, the Kings have had a very road heavy schedule (eight of 11) to start 2012-13, which means that they’ll have a more “favourable” schedule moving forward, which might be the key in jumpstarting the lacklustre offense. From Feb. 23rd to Mar. 25th, the Kings will play 13 of their 16 contests at the Staples Center and 15 of the 16 in Southwest U.S.A., which means that they’ll certainly enjoy some home cooking for a month.
Maaaasquito Bite: I’m completely torn with his status, as now might be a great time to sell the farm to pick up DD for a homerun swing, but it could also be a move that bites you in the bum come April. The decision, I’ll leave to you.
Jarome Iginla – RW –Calgary Flames
Iggy has certainly shown no pop this campaign, as he’s off to one of his slowest starts of his NHL career with just six points in 10 contests. One positive is that he’s still not lacking confidence in shooting the puck as he’s still averaging 4.1 SOG per game for the Flames. The drawback is that he’s connecting in only 2.4 percent of his shots, which has really hampered his production this season. Much like Perry, Iginla is a sniper and players with that type of skillset tend to get in hot and cold streaks fairly easily. Look for him to inch closer towards the 13.3 career shooting percentage that he had prior to this season.
Maaaasquito Bite: Grab him and grab him now!
Mark Streit – D– New York Islanders
Streit was one of my favourite under-the-radar picks heading into this season. Over the course of the last four seasons, he’s averaged 53.5 points, 46 penalty minutes, 27 power play points along with 162.8 shots on goal per season. He’s off to a bit of a slower start this campaign as he has only registered six points along with 21 SOG in 12 contests. The plus side is that Streit is garnering the second most power play ice-time (5:11) among all blue-liners in the league. To make that even brighter, the Isles are currently tied with Washington for fourth in the league in terms of PP efficiency (operating at 25.5 percent), which will certainly help Streit in the offensive department.
Maaaasquito Bite: The minus-nine rating hurts, but if you can handle taking a hit in that department, he could be a top fantasy own come April. Definitely make a play for his services in your leagues.
Thomas Vanek – LW– Buffalo Sabres
You probably don’t need me to tell you what to do with Vanek. 23 points in 13 games is a ridiculous pace. He won’t finish the season with 84 points. Heck, his career-high is 84 points in which he accomplished that in 82 games, he won’t be able to do that in half the contests. You need to sell him for as much as possible without expecting to receive the moon.
David Clarkson – RW–New Jersey Devils
Clarkson has always had that sniper aspect to his game. It’s just that in the past few seasons he was relegated to more of a third-line checking role for the Devils, which really hid the sniping talent. This season has been a complete 180, as Clarkson is finally receiving a ton of power play ice-time for the first time of his career (4:05, 60.5 percent of the Devils’ PP opportunities), so he’s taken the ball and running with it. It would probably be a bit much to expect him to continue his torrid sniping pace (0.69 goals per game), but he’s certainly been given enough opportunity to finish with 20-25 goals come April.
Maaaasquito Bite: Toss a few lines out there to see what type of trade value you can receive in moving Clarkson, if the price isn’t right then keep him, but if you’re getting a solid offer, then move him to the highest bidder.
Erik Karlsson – D–Ottawa Senators (editors note - this column was published prior to Karlsson's injury on Wednesday night).
Here are the numbers pre and post the Jason Spezza injury.
With Spezza’s injury, Karlsson has received more “opportunities”, but those opportunities might be of lesser quality because of Spezza’s absence. The points-per-game has certainly taken a hit.
Maaaasquito Bite: Karlsson does maintain “big name” status due to his performance last season, so if you’re in a league of “name watchers”, it might be a smart play to toss his name out there with the tag line of “I don’t really want to move Karlsson, but…” and see what you can land in return.
Craig Anderson – G–Ottawa Senators
Anderson is tied for first in wins (seven), first in goals against average (1.36), and first in save percentage (.956), which is pretty crazy given that the Sens traditionally aren’t a very strong defensive team. The Sens play eight of their next 12 contests on the road, which could sway Anderson’s stats in the negative direction.
Maaaasquito Bite: Toss a few lines out there to see what type of trade value you can receive in moving Anderson. If the price isn’t right then keep him, but if you’re getting a solid offer, then move him to the highest bidder.
Jon Quick – G – Los Angeles Kings
If you read the blurb on Doughty, then you’ve probably got the jist of what I’m going to say about Quick. The Kings had a very road heavy schedule to start the season, which probably threw Quick’s start of season routine out of whack. Add that to the fact that he had back surgery in the off-season, so it’s not surprising to see him struggling to start the season. One thing to keep in mind for Quick is that he posted a dazzling 1.71 goals against average along with a .936 save percentage in his home starts last campaign. With 13 of 16 games from Feb. 23rd to Mar. 25th at home, Quick should rebound nicely.
Maaaasquito Bite: Quick owners should stand pat, while others should definitely make a play for him.
In case you’ve missed it, I’ve decided (with a few of my fellow Dobberities) to toss my hat into the fantasy hockey ring and start a new pet project.
Basically, I’m developing a fantasy hockey news app, which will be available in the Apple iTunes store (under review, finally…) and is currently available in the Android market.
Essentially, it’ll cover daily fantasy news, plus the most comprehensive coverage of “fantasy advice” available on the web (very similar to what you just read in this column).
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