Fantasy Roundup: Week 13, Dec. 23-29
In a week interrupted by the Christmas holidays that saw all the NHL teams enjoy a well-deserved three-day break, the injury bug reared its ugly head felling several fantasy relevant players. Some of the most notable players to come out of the break on the shelf were Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis, Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, and St. Louis Blues forward Alex Steen. Others have since been banged up and have been in and out of their respective lineups like David Backes, Jason Spezza, Zdeno Chara, and John Tavares. Then, of course, there are the long-term cases like Malkin, Letang, Wideman, Quick, Franzen, Edler, Crawford, and Bobrovsky, who owners are hoping return to their respective lineups soon. The general rule of thumb is to never part with a valued asset in any format ever, especially keeper formats. So if you drafted Stamkos this season you suck it up and pray he heals quickly. In deep leagues, dealing with injuries to marginal players who have moderate fantasy value (e.g. Scottie Upshall, Michael Grabner, Damien Brunner) it’s pretty safe to cut ties and find other options on the waiver wire. It becomes more of a tough call when dealing with second-tier players (e.g Tomas Hertl, Shane Doan, PA Parenteau). Unless you get the “out for the season” tag, as happened to Dennis Seidenberg recently, it’s crucial to monitor the situation closely. Owners in weekly head-to-head formats have to make a really quick call, but keep in mind there are always more weeks. Owners in season long formats can take their time and should always proceed with caution, eventually dropping a player depends on many factors including the depth of the league, the nature of the injury, and the pedigree of the player. Never panic, it’s a long season.
He’s on Fire!
Wayne Simmonds, PHI F – Last week I was praising the recent play of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, but most recently it’s been Wayne Simmonds who has emerged as the big contributor for the Flyers, largely on the power play. Simmonds scored a pair in each of the Flyers’ wins last week and has scored 6 goals in his last 3 games.
Patrick Sharp, CHI F – Sharp is on pace for a career year which could see him reach the 40 goal plateau for the first time as he is scoring at a point per game clip and is on pace for 82 points which would shatter his previous career high of 71. Sharp lit the lamp in all three of Chicago’s games over the past week including a hat trick on his birthday against the Avalanche.
James Neal, PIT F – After failing to score for three games after returning from a five-game suspension, it appears Neal got his confidence for Christmas as he put up 8 points (4 goals) in 2 games. The injury to Pascal Dupuis has put Neal on a line with Kunitz and Crosby and seems to be working out. Playing alongside Crosby doesn’t tend to hurt one’s fantasy value.
He’s Heating Up
Ryan Miller, BUF G – The poor guy has it rough. He gets assaulted every night and the Sabres are never expected to win, but Miller gives them a chance in every game. He most recently stopped 48 shots against the Caps to earn a shootout win. He’s got 5 wins out of his last 7 starts conceding more than 2 goals only once while facing 30+ shots in all but one of those games.
Craig Anderson, OTT G – The numbers on the season still look pretty bad, but it was a very solid week for Anderson who won both of his starts against stiff opposition. He not only shutout the Penguins, he also held in tough to collect the win against the Boston Bruins who had pummeled the Senators 5-0 the night before. If Anderson can regain the form he had last season, he may be a good buy low option at the moment as he seeks to reestablish his status as the number one goalie in Ottawa.
Phil Kessel, TOR F – A lot has been made about Kessel’s performance with Bozak in the lineup versus with Bozak not in the lineup, but after a five-game slump where he posted just one assist, Kessel has bounced back culminating in a two-goal performance last night against the Hurricanes which also marked Bozak’s return to the lineup. Guess who assisted on both goals.
Cold as Ice
Mike Richards, LA F – Earlier in the year Richards had been manning the point on the power play’s top unit and had been scoring at a near point per game pace. Daryl Sutter has done a lot of line juggling recently which has seen Richards playing on a third scoring line alongside Trevor Lewis and Tyler Toffoli. He’s pointless in 7 games and his minutes are down. He’s also gone a -4 during this current stretch.
Alex Ovechkin, WSH F – No goals in 3 games while firing 24 shots in that time. Don’t worry.
Andrei Markov, MON D – Markov has only one goal in his last 9 games. He also went -4 against the Panthers.