Look to Mikko Rantanen for a Short-Term Boost

by Adam Daly-Frey on February 10, 2017 | (0 Comments)

All fantasy owners need help in the short term AND the long term. The Looking Ahead feature identifies one player to plug into lineups in the short term, a second to invest in for the long term, a third to bench for the coming week, and a fourth who will struggle to meet expectations for some time. All players discussed are selected based on their team’s upcoming schedule. 

 

The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)

 

Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado (Available in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Since riding shotgun with Nathan MacKinnon over the last five games, Rantanen has finally shown the potential in the big leagues that he flashed last year, scoring 24G-36A in 54 AHL games. It’s taken the former 10th overall pick a little while to get acclimated to the NHL, but in a top-line role his production is starting to come and should be capitalized on immediately. The Finn has picked up 5G-1A in his last five games – including a hat-trick – while firing 11 shots on goal. Colorado has a great schedule this month, and after that hat trick don’t expect Rantanen to move down in the lineup. At only 4% owned in Yahoo leagues, pick him up as soon as possible.

For a safer pick, consider looking at Alex Steen who now has 12 points in 10 games on a new-look Mike Yeo Blues team – available in 22% of Yahoo leagues.

 

The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)

 

Frank Vatrano, LW, Boston (Available in 98 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Vatrano’s value comes from mostly from linemate projections – if he retains a top-6 role under new coach Bruce Cassidy remains to be seen, but Vatrano did practice on the first line – but it also comes as an extremely under-owned player with excellent SOG peripherals.

This season, Vatrano’s already fired 59SOG in only 21 games, a shooting pace that puts him in the top-45 in the league; some players that are currently hitting that pace are Phil Kessel, Filip Forsberg, and Jonathan Drouin. On a Boston team that as a team is shooting only 7.42%, it’s no fault of Vatrano’s that added point production hasn’t come in droves yet. Expect that to regress through the second half, as last year there was only one team that didn’t crack 8%: the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7.63%.

As long as Vatrano continues to skate alongside either Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci, more points will start coming quickly for the diminutive winger. Vatrano also skates on the power play, switching between the first and second units under now ex-coach Claude Julien. He’s played 45 minutes with the extra attacker and has 5.3PP Pts/60.

 

The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)

 

Ryan Ellis, D, Nashville (Owned in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues) – The cushy ice time for Ryan Ellis has come to an end with the return of Roman Josi; in the games Ellis played without in the lineup, he picked up 3G-3A and 26SOG in 10GP. During that stretch, Ellis only dipped below 22 minutes of ice time once, and pushed over the 25 minute mark five times.

Ellis has been spending most of his time paired with Matt Irwin, and has been atrocious from a #fancystat perspective in that time: since January 10th, Ellis hasn’t been a positive CorsiFor player, which is telling given Nashville’s 5th-best team Corsi ranking. For fantasy purposes, he’s a great keeper player – although an expansion-draft victim possibility – and for shorter term use can easily pick up where he left off if one of PK Subban, Josi or Mattias Ekholm go down with an injury.

 

The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint, even over the long haul)

 

Patrick Sharp, LW, Dallas (Owned in 57 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Here are some Patrick Sharp facts:

  • He’s 35 years old
  • He has 0 power-play points on the season (6G-6A-12Pts at EV)
  • He’s a minus player on a Dallas team that can’t stop the puck
  • He’s averaged 0.6PIM/Game and 0.64Hits/Game through his career (for leagues that care)
  • He’s a third-line winger

If any of those “fun” facts aren’t enough to deter Patrick Sharp ownership, here’s one more to consider: more than half his points on the year have come in only three games (3 vs LA, 2 vs BUF, 2 vs NYR).

For leagues that keep track of peripheral stats, SOG is about the only thing going Sharp’s way; through 28 games he has 81, which is a 200+ SOG pace over a full year, one of the few things about Sharp that hasn’t steeply declined yet. Unfortunately for Sharp owners, there’s a young player mentioned above that can fill that SOG role but with more point potential - Frank Vatrano.

 

Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

 

Buffalo – The Sabres play six times from February 11th to the 19th, against some of the weakest competition in the league: Colorado (30th overall), St. Louis (5th-worst GA), Vancouver (27th overall), and Toronto (23 GA in their last six). With the second-best PP unit in the league at 22.98% and an average of 32.7SOG/Gm in their last 10, expect some high-scoring games from the Swords.

 

New York Islanders – Since firing Jack Capuano mid-January, Isles captain John Tavares has been reignited to the tune of 11 points in nine games. That was part of a 6W-3L run for the team that saw them score 33 goals (3.6/Gm), and they broke past 34SOG in all but two of those games. They’ll play some weaker defensive clubs in Colorado and Toronto during the next half of the month, part of a seven-game stretch between the 10th and the 22nd.

 

Colorado – It’s true that the Avalanche have been as close to an AHL team as it gets this season, with a historically bad points percentage as a team to go along with the worst Goals For in the league. That being said, the Avs have come out firing their last two games – scoring 5 against the Jets before popping 4 behind Carey Price – and on volume alone (seven games in the next 12) make for a good team to target. The caveat here is that Colorado’s depth is atrocious, so only target the top-6 studs.

 

Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

  

Boston – Having (stupidly) fired Claude Julien after losing to the Maple Leafs, Boston only gets two games - against Vancouver and Montreal - between February 10th and 18th before going on a tough west coast swing starting against San Jose on the 19th. It’s tough to project how they’ll do under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, but in two practices so far the first line of Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak has been broken up in two different ways. Keep expectations low.

 

Chicago – Although the ‘Hawks have some easier matchups on paper in the next 12 days, they only play four times in that period. That includes a road back-to-back going from Winnipeg to Edmonton, and then their bye week before playing the Oilers again. Chicago is yet to beat the Jets this season, allowing 14 goals against in four games while only scoring five.

 

Montreal – After four straight losses where they scored a total of three goals, Montreal takes on Arizona tonight before getting only four games in the next 12 days. That includes a home-road back-to-back against St. Louis and then Boston, two teams that are wild cards after firing their coaches. The Habs mini-slump has them only taking 23.02SOG/game versus 32.85ShotsAllowed/Game, a porous 41.2 SF%.

 

Friday, February 10 to Thursday, February 16

Best Bets

Minnesota 4.52  - four games –Home TB & DET & ANH & DAL

Buffalo 4.27 - four games – At TOR & OTT, Home VAN & COL

Winnipeg 4.26 - four games – At PIT, Home CHI & TB (b2b) & DAL

New York Islanders 4.11 - four games – At OTT & TOR, Home COL & NYR

Dallas 3.96  - four games – At NSH & WPG & MIN, Home CAR

Steer Clear

Washington 1.00 - one game – Home ANH

Carolina 1.14 – one game – At DAL

Los Angeles 1.26 – one game – Home ARI

Anaheim 1.52 – two games – At WAS & MIN

Florida 1.71 – two games – At NSH & SJ

Saturday, February 10 to Friday, February 17

Best Bets

Colorado 4.94 - five games – At NYI & NYR (b2b) & NJ & BUF & CAR (b2b)

Pittsburgh 4.29 - four games – At ARI & CBJ, Home VAN & WPG

Buffalo 4.27 - four games – At TOR & OTT, Home VAN & COL

Columbus 4.20 - four games – Home DET & NYR & TOR & PIT

New York Islanders 4.11 - four games – At OTT & TOR, Home COL & NYR

Steer Clear

Chicago 0.90 - one game – At EDM

Washington 1.00 - one game – Home ANH

Tampa Bay 1.14 – one game – At WPG

Los Angeles 1.26 – one game – Home ARI

Boston 2.05 - two games – Home VAN & MTL (b2b)

Sunday, February 12 to Saturday, February 18

Best Bets

Buffalo 4.47 – four games – At OTT, Home VAN & COL & STL

Minnesota 4.41 - four games – Home DET & ANH & DAL & NSH

New York Islanders 4.21 - four games – At TOR & NJ, Home COL & NYR

Vancouver 4.20 - four games – At BUF & PIT & STL, Home CGY

New Jersey 4.20 - four games –Home SJ & COL & OTT & NYI

Steer Clear

Boston 0.89 – one game – Home MTL

Chicago 0.90 - one game – At EDM

Washington 1.00 - one game – Home ANH

Tampa Bay 1.14 – one game – At WPG

Carolina 1.26 – one game – Home COL

Monday, February 13 to Sunday, February 19

Best Bets

Pittsburgh 4.38 - four games – At CBJ, Home VAN & WPG & DET

Vancouver 4.36 - four games – At PIT & STL, Home CGY & PHI

Ottawa 4.36 - four games – At NJ & TOR, Home BUF & WPG

Buffalo 4.32 - four games – At OTT, Home COL & STL & CHI (b2b)

New Jersey 4.26 - four games – At NYI, Home COL & OTT & NYI

Steer Clear

Boston 0.81 – one game – At SJ

Montreal 1.26 - one game – Home WPG

Nashville 1.57 - two games – At MIN & CBJ (b2b)

Washington 1.95 - two games – At DET & NYR (b2b)

Chicago 2.04 - two games – At BUF, Home EDM

Tuesday, February 14 to Monday, February 20

Best Bets

Pittsburgh 4.38 - four games – At CBJ, Home VAN & WPG & DET

Vancouver 4.36 - four games – At PIT & STL, Home CGY & PHI

Ottawa 4.36 - four games – At NJ & TOR, Home BUF & WPG

Buffalo 4.32 - four games – At OTT, Home COL & STL & CHI (b2b)

St. Louis 4.30 - four games – At DET & BUF, Home VAN & FLA

Steer Clear

Boston 0.81 – one game – At SJ

Montreal 1.26 - one game – Home WPG

Nashville 1.57 - two games – At MIN & CBJ (b2b)

New York Rangers 1.79 - two games – At NYI, Home WSH

Washington 1.95 - two games – At DET & NYR (b2b)

Wednesday, February 15 to Tuesday, February 21

Best Bets

Los Angeles 4.35 - four games – At ANH & COL, Home ARI & FLA

St. Louis 4.30 - four games – At DET & BUF, Home VAN & FLA

Pittsburgh 4.27 - four games – At CBJ & CAR, Home WPG & DET

Ottawa 4.21 - four games – At NJ & TOR & NJ, Home WPG

New York Islanders 4.14 - four games – At NJ & DET, Home NYR & NJ (Rd-Hm b2b)

Steer Clear

Boston 0.81 – one game – At SJ

Dallas 1.86 – two games – At MIN, Home TB

Washington 1.95 - two games – At DET & NYR (b2b)

Montreal 2.16 - two games – At NYR, Home WPG

New York Rangers 2.68 – three games – At NYI, Home WSH & MTL

 

Thursday, February 16 to Wednesday, February 22

Best Bets

Los Angeles 4.35 - four games – At ANH & COL, Home ARI & FLA

Pittsburgh 4.27 - four games – At CBJ & CAR, Home WPG & DET

Ottawa 4.21 - four games – At NJ & TOR & NJ, Home WPG

New York Islanders 4.14 - four games – At NJ & DET, Home NYR & NJ (Rd-Hm b2b)

Anaheim 4.13 - four games – At ARI, Home FLA & LA & BOS

Steer Clear

Boston 1.71 – two games – At SJ & ANH

Dallas 1.86 – two games – At MIN, Home TB

Calgary 1.95 - two games – At VAN & NSH

Columbus 2.00 - two games –Home PIT & NSH

Montreal 2.16 – two games – At NYR, Home WPG

 

You can follow me on Twitter @adalyfrey for any season-long or daily questions.

 

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