We have definitely come to the point of the NHL season when the schedule is arguably the most important factor to track going forward.
Default head-to-head leagues are into the second week of the playoffs, with the championship all that remains after this week. Points and rotisserie leagues don’t have to sweat the nuances of that schedule, but the pressure created by minimal games really puts a strain on the value.
While season-long success can still inform decision-making, the most important question for a fantasy player is: What have you done for me lately?
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Take the cases of Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin for the New York Islanders. For the season as a whole, Varlamov is sixth among all goaltenders for fantasy points while playing 63 percent of the team’s crease share. Sorokin is 15th in the league for fantasy points and captured just 37 percent of the Isles’ crease share. If you take this perspective, Varlamov is the goaltender you want for the stretch run.
But that’s not true.
During the past month, Sorokin has closed the gap and become the better fantasy goaltender. Since March 19, Sorokin is ninth in the NHL for fantasy points and has captured a 55 percent crease share, while Varlamov ranks 27th for fantasy points with a 45 percent crease share.
Clearly Sorokin is the better choice right now. While the cream tends to rise to the top over a longer period of time, there isn’t enough left in the NHL schedule to back Varlamov as the play and allow for the law of averages to take over. And that’s if you wanted to argue that Varlamov was the better goaltender overall, which may not be the case here as Sorokin comes into his own.
The same idea can be applied to all players. With that in mind, and a focus on the schedule that remains, the rankings are going to get a little crazy going forward. These are true “rest of season” rankings, so we must take into account the differing schedules and lean into recency bias for fantasy scoring.
So who has hit some turbulent times recently?
David Pastrnak, W, Boston Bruins: We start with Pastrnak to show that just because a player is cooling off, doesn’t mean they can’t still be elite. With 2.3 fantasy points per game (FPPG) on the season, but just 1.5 FPPG during the past month, the drop-off here is pretty significant. And with 7.5 fantasy points in his past three games, think for a second how bad it was before last week? But those last three games are a sign Pastrnak is back in the saddle. With the acquisition of Taylor Hall, the team has stopped toying with separating Pastrnak from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. We can put the past month behind us and expect an elite finish from most of the Bruins offense – which is a good thing, as 13 remaining games is the most outside of the Vancouver Canucks or Los Angeles Kings.
James van Riemsdyk, W, Philadelphia Flyers: What started as a scorching hot season, faded into just average and has now become waiver-wire fodder. Posting just 0.9 FPPG for the past month has helped drive van Riemsdyk’s overall FPPG down to 1.7. With just 11 games left, we can go ahead and drop him.
Nazem Kadri, C, Colorado Avalanche: The trouble really started when the Avs removed him from the role of fourth forward on the power play (with Joonas Donskoi taking over). On the season, Kadri’s 1.5 FPPG appears respectable enough and he’s still rostered in 60 percent of ESPN leagues. But during the past month, he has only managed 0.8 FPPG as the Avalanche scoring has remaining concentrated at the top of the lineup. Ditch him.
Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks: With 1.6 FPPG for the season and 0.9 FPPG for the past month, Couture has been slipping a lot. And I mean a lot. On March 12, Couture was scoring 2.3 FPPG and projected to finish among the top 10 in the league for fantasy points. He should definitely be on benches and, in a pinch, could be dropped for someone that has been putting up points lately.
Tyler Toffoli, W, Montreal Canadiens: And injury in late March seems to have burst the Toffoli scoring bubble. Posting an elite 2.0 FPPG for the season, he’s managed just 1.3 FPPG since coming back in early April. He still has the potential to pop off for a bunch of goals, and the Habs have 13 fantasy games remaining, so I’m more hesitant to drop Toffoli.
On the other side of the coin are some players still available in more than half of ESPN.com leagues that have shot through the roof for FPPG during the past month.
Connor Brown, W, Ottawa Senators: Quietly and with minimal fanfare given the state of the team, Brown has become among the fantasy elite this past month. Only Brad Marchand has more goals in April. And he’s getting fantasy bonuses to boot: Two of his nine goals this month have been on the power play and two of them have been shorthanded. And Brown is doing this while not getting consistent top-six minutes for the team. The Sens only have 10 games left, but perhaps you can still get on board with Brown. He has 2.6 FPPG during the past month.
Alex Goligoski, D, Arizona Coyotes: While his 1.7 FPPG for the season just barely gets on the fantasy radar, Goligoski has contributed 2.5 FPPG during the past month. That ranks him only behind Adam Fox, Alec Martinez and Mark Giordano on a per-game basis through that span.
Craig Smith, W, Boston Bruins: Hall was the missing puzzle piece to give the Bruins a second line of attack and Smith is reaping the windfall. Scoring 1.9 FPPG this past month (compared to 1.4 FPPG on the season), Smith’s game has elevated even further since Hall’s arrival at the trade deadline. In four games with Hall as his linemate, Smith has 2.1 FPPG.
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And finally, an interesting case that pushes into both envelopes we are considering here.
J.T. Miller, C/W, Vancouver Canucks: On paper, his FPPG has dropped through the floor, but that’s arguably due to the Canucks only playing four games in the past month. So setting aside the drop in FPPG, Miller (and all Canucks) still have massive appeal because of how many games the team will still play for fantasy purposes. Sixteen of the team’s 18 games will still count before the ESPN fantasy season comes to a close on May 13. If the COVID schedule impact has left you with lots of wiggle room in your max games played at any position in your league, fill that spot with a Canuck. Have a hole on defense? Tyler Myers and Travis Hamonic (or even the suspended Alexander Edler). Have a spot up front? Tyler Motte or Tanner Pearson. Need a goaltender? Braden Holtby will play a ton because of the tightened schedule.
Quick case study
Roope Hintz, W, Dallas Stars: The spotlight has shone on a few different emerging players during this fantasy season, but I think it has missed Hintz — to our detriment. Early in the season, he was available as a free agent in 56 percent of ESPN leagues. But even as recently as March 30, he was still available in 27 percent. But Hintz has been a major factor this season and his breakout could be a very big deal for future seasons.
To contextualize his place right now for fantasy production, fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60) does a good job of really distilling talent for fantasy hockey; a few of the heavy body-checkers will sneak onto the list due to their minimal minutes, but for the most part the leaders in FPP60 as the who’s who of the league.
Among skaters averaging at least 12 minutes per game, Hintz ranks eighth in FPP60. The only players ahead of him are Auston Matthews, Vincent Trocheck, Connor McDavid, Brad Marchand, Nathan MacKinnon, Max Pacioretty and Alex Ovechkin.
Now consider that the Stars have been without Tyler Seguin all season and without Alexander Radulov for the vast majority of it. This team could be even better on offense and the 24-year-old Hintz is going to be at the very center of it next season.
As the rankings, games remaining are built into this “rest of season” list, so you will see some rankings that look funky at first. Remember that teams range from nine remaining games all the way up to 16, so we have a wide range of outcomes to consider for counting stats.
Is Mike Smith the third-best goaltender for fantasy hockey? Big picture, no, but right now for the rest of the season, yes. He’s been red-hot, getting 82 percent of the crease share for the past month and the Oilers have 12 games left.
Is Bo Horvat really a top-20 play? In a whole season, never, but right now for the rest of the season, absolutely. Never mind the 16 remaining fantasy games, Horvat has averaged 2.7 FPPG since the start of March.
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Keep those two major questions in mind: What’s the schedule? What have you done for me lately?
Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Zach Hyman, Jack Eichel, Filip Forsberg, Jaroslav Halak, Patrik Laine, Kirby Dach, Calvin Petersen, Kevin Labanc, Oliver Wahlstrom, Jacob Markstrom, Rickard Rakell, Wayne Simmonds, Adam Boqvist, Eric Staal, Keith Yandle, Brandon Tanev, Robby Fabbri, Jonathan Bernier Adin Hill, Frederik Andersen, Anthony Cirelli, Viktor Arvidsson, Gabriel Vilardi, Calle Jarnkrok, Luke Kunin, Jeff Skinner.
Fantasy hockey top-250 rankings
1. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (C1)2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G1)3. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (LW1)4. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (C2)5. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (RW1)6. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Col (LW2)7. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G2)8. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (C3)9. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (C4)10. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (C5)11. Vincent Trocheck, C, Car (C6)12. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (LW3)13. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D1)14. Mike Smith, G, Edm (G3)15. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (LW4)16. Bo Horvat, C, Van (C7)17. Alec Martinez, D, Vgs (D2)18. Cale Makar, D, Col (D3)19. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D4)20. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (C8)21. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D5)22. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (C9)23. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (LW5)24. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (RW2)25. Max Pacioretty, LW, Vgs (LW6)26. Cam Talbot, G, Min (G4)27. Dougie Hamilton, D, Car (D6)28. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (LW7)29. David Perron, RW, StL (RW3)30. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D7)31. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (C10)32. Jack Campbell, G, Tor (G5)33. Ryan O’Reilly, C, StL (C11)34. Taylor Hall, LW, Bos (LW8)35. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (RW4)36. Mitch Marner, RW, Tor (RW5)37. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (C12)38. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (RW6)39. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G6)40. J.T. Miller, C, Van (C13)41. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D8)42. Mark Stone, RW, Vgs (RW7)43. Devon Toews, D, Col (D9)44. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D10)45. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D11)46. Jeff Petry, D, Mon (D12)47. Esa Lindell, D, Dal (D13)48. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ari (D14)49. Ryan Strome, C, NYR (C14)50. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Chi (LW9)51. Robin Lehner, G, Vgs (G7)52. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Min (LW10)53. Kevin Fiala, C, Min (C15)54. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D15)55. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (C16)56. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D16)57. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (C17)58. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR (RW8)59. John Klingberg, D, Dal (D17)60. Jared McCann, LW, Pit (LW11)61. Shea Weber, D, Mon (D18)62. Colton Parayko, D, StL (D19)63. Brent Burns, D, SJ (D20)64. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D21)65. Alex Iafallo, LW, LA (LW12)66. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (LW13)67. Vince Dunn, D, StL (D22)68. Ryan Graves, D, Col (D23)69. Jason Robertson, LW, Dal (LW14)70. Anthony Mantha, RW, Wsh (RW9)71. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Mon (RW10)72. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (LW15)73. Andrei Svechnikov, LW, Car (LW16)74. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (RW11)75. Justin Faulk, D, StL (D24)76. Dustin Brown, RW, LA (RW12)77. Martin Necas, C, Car (C18)78. Craig Smith, RW, Bos (RW13)79. Jordan Staal, C, Car (C19)80. John Tavares, C, Tor (C20)81. Mathew Dumba, D, Min (D25)82. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgs (D26)83. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G8)84. Sean Couturier, C, Phi (C21)85. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (C22)86. David Krejci, C, Bos (C23)87. Ivan Provorov, D, Phi (D27)88. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G9)89. Mike Hoffman, LW, StL (LW17)90. Tyson Barrie, D, Edm (D28)91. Chris Driedger, G, Fla (G10)92. Petr Mrazek, G, Car (G11)93. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (C24)94. Anton Khudobin, G, Dal (G12)95. Alex Goligoski, D, Ari (D29)96. Shea Theodore, D, Vgs (D30)97. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (RW14)98. Patrick Kane, RW, Chi (RW15)99. Tyler Myers, D, Van (D31)100. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, StL (RW16)101. Connor Murphy, D, Chi (D32)102. Adam Larsson, D, Edm (D33)103. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (LW18)104. Brandon Montour, D, Fla (D34)105. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (G13)106. Connor Brown, RW, Ott (RW17)107. Josh Anderson, RW, Mon (RW18)108. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (D35)109. Evander Kane, LW, SJ (LW19)110. Tomas Tatar, LW, Mon (LW20)111. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D36)112. Tyler Motte, LW, Van (LW21)113. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D37)114. Philipp Grubauer, G, Col (G14)115. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (RW19)116. Travis Hamonic, D, Van (D38)117. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D39)118. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (LW22)119. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D40)120. Joshua Norris, C, Ott (C25)121. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, NYI (C26)122. Joel Edmundson, D, Mon (D41)123. Ondrej Palat, LW, TB (LW23)124. Samuel Girard, D, Col (D42)125. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buf (D43)126. Torey Krug, D, StL (D44)127. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (C27)128. Yanni Gourde, LW, TB (LW24)129. Jonas Brodin, D, Min (D45)130. Tristan Jarry, G, Pit (G15)131. Josh Morrissey, D, Wpg (D46)132. Brayden Point, C, TB (C28)133. Sam Reinhart, RW, Buf (RW20)134. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Wpg (C29)135. Ryan Pulock, D, NYI (D47)136. Tyler Seguin, C, Dal (C30)137. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Fla (RW21)138. Matt Grzelcyk, D, Bos (D48)139. Adrian Kempe, C, LA (C31)140. Nate Schmidt, D, Van (D49)141. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (LW25)142. Jeff Carter, C, Pit (C32)143. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Min (RW22)144. Jake Muzzin, D, Tor (D50)145. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (RW23)146. William Nylander, RW, Tor (RW24)147. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (C33)148. Martin Jones, G, SJ (G16)149. Alexander Edler, D, Van (D51)150. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Wsh (C34)151. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Min (C35)152. Jaccob Slavin, D, Car (D52)153. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Car (G17)154. Tom Wilson, RW, Wsh (RW25)155. Nick Foligno, LW, Tor (LW26)156. Kevin Lankinen, G, Chi (G18)157. Nico Hischier, C, NJ (C36)158. Scott Mayfield, D, NYI (D53)159. Travis Zajac, C, NYI (C37)160. Brett Pesce, D, Car (D54)161. Phil Kessel, RW, Ari (RW26)162. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Vgs (G19)163. Nick Bonino, C, Min (C38)164. Andre Burakovsky, LW, Col (LW27)165. Carter Verhaeghe, C, Fla (C39)166. Seth Jones, D, Cls (D55)167. Pavel Zacha, C, NJ (C40)168. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Cgy (LW28)169. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Fla (LW29)170. Chandler Stephenson, C, Vgs (C41)171. Frank Vatrano, LW, Fla (LW30)172. Andrew Copp, C, Wpg (C42)173. Zach Parise, LW, Min (LW31)174. Vitek Vanecek, G, Wsh (G20)175. Nikita Zaitsev, D, Ott (D56)176. Morgan Rielly, D, Tor (D57)177. Joonas Donskoi, RW, Col (RW27)178. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Phi (D58)179. Nick Ritchie, LW, Bos (LW32)180. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D59)181. Dmitry Orlov, D, Wsh (D60)182. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D61)183. Jordan Binnington, G, StL (G21)184. William Karlsson, C, Vgs (C43)185. Jesper Bratt, RW, NJ (RW28)186. Kyle Palmieri, RW, NYI (RW29)187. Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI (G22)188. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (RW30)189. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (D62)190. P.K. Subban, D, NJ (D63)191. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buf (D64)192. Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Wsh (C44)193. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cgy (LW33)194. Josh Manson, D, Ana (D65)195. Brian Dumoulin, D, Pit (D66)196. Jake Virtanen, RW, Van (RW31)197. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgs (LW34)198. Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Nsh (LW35)199. Corey Perry, RW, Mon (RW32)200. Jordan Eberle, RW, NYI (RW33)201. Ryan Suter, D, Min (D67)202. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Edm (RW34)203. Alex Tuch, RW, Vgs (RW35)204. Adam Lowry, C, Wpg (C45)205. Nino Niederreiter, RW, Car (RW36)206. Jaden Schwartz, LW, StL (LW36)207. Brock Nelson, C, NYI (C46)208. Nazem Kadri, C, Col (C47)209. Ryan McDonagh, D, TB (D68)210. Andreas Athanasiou, LW, LA (LW37)211. Nikita Gusev, LW, Fla (LW38)212. Drake Batherson, C, Ott (C48)213. Phillip Danault, C, Mon (C49)214. Ryan Hartman, RW, Min (RW37)215. Joel Farabee, LW, Phi (LW39)216. Maxime Comtois, LW, Ana (LW40)217. Thatcher Demko, G, Van (G23)218. Miles Wood, LW, NJ (LW41)219. Ben Chiarot, D, Mon (D69)220. Jakub Voracek, RW, Phi (RW38)221. David Savard, D, TB (D70)222. Timo Meier, RW, SJ (RW39)223. Erik Cernak, D, TB (D71)224. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Ari (D72)225. Braden Holtby, G, Van (G24)226. Ryan Ellis, D, Nsh (D73)227. Anthony Beauvillier, LW, NYI (LW42)228. Nick Leddy, D, NYI (D74)229. Anthony Duclair, LW, Fla (LW43)230. Denis Gurianov, LW, Dal (LW44)231. Mikael Backlund, C, Cgy (C50)232. Claude Giroux, LW, Phi (LW45)233. Justin Schultz, D, Wsh (D75)234. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (C51)235. Conor Garland, RW, Ari (RW40)236. Logan Couture, C, SJ (C52)237. Mikael Granlund, LW, Nsh (LW46)238. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (C53)239. Victor Olofsson, RW, Buf (RW41)240. James van Riemsdyk, LW, Phi (LW47)241. Alex Killorn, LW, TB (LW48)242. Alex Galchenyuk, LW, Tor (LW49)243. Jordan Greenway, LW, Min (LW50)244. Nick Schmaltz, C, Ari (C54)245. Jordan Kyrou, C, StL (C55)246. Tanner Pearson, LW, Van (LW51)247. Carey Price, G, Mon (G25)248. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G26)249. Jason Zucker, LW, Pit (LW52)250. Casey DeSmith, G, Pit (G27)
Published: 2021-04-22 20:39:10
Tags: #Fantasy #hockey #rankings #Week #update