20 Fantasy Thoughts: Who to cut or keep on your roster amid postponements
As game postponements continue to mount, fantasy owners almost certainly have been and will be forced into making some tough roster decisions.
Undeniably, this unpredictable start has been especially difficult to navigate through for those in head-to-head leagues. On a daily basis, managers continue to face a real dilemma: Do I hold onto inactive players? Or does it make more sense to just cut bait completely?
Depending on your level of desperation, brand names should stay, everyone else can go. As a benchmark for the latter, I’d say that any file with less than 60 per cent ownership is fair game to be dropped.
On the contrary, now’s a fantastic time to make a trade with someone whose roster is littered with inactivity. Of course, every situation is different, but it could be wise to capitalize on another team’s misfortunes. It’s time to go discount shopping!
1. Let’s start with a look ahead at next week’s schedule, which, as we know by now, is tentative and subject to change.
Monday: 6 Games
Tuesday: 9 Games
Wednesday: 2 Games
Thursday: 13 Games
Friday: 1 Game
Saturday: 13 Games
Sunday: 3 Games
Total: 47 Games
Seven teams are scheduled to play four times (NSH, NYR, OTT, PHI, TBL, VGK and WSH). For streaming purposes, I like these three schedules the best:
New York Rangers: Mon (NYI), Wed (BOS), Fri (BOS), Sun (PHI)
Waiver Looks: Alexis Lafreniere, Pavel Buchnevich
SN Fantasy Pool: Artemi Panarin 4, Ryan Strome 2, NYR Goalies 3
Washington Capitals: Tues (PHI), Thurs (@BUF), Sat (@BUF), Sun (@PIT)
Waiver Looks: Richard Panik, Zdeno Chara
SN Fantasy Pool: Alex Ovechkin 4, Nick Backstrom 2, WSH Goalies 4
Philadelphia Flyers: Tues (@WSH), Thurs (NJD), Sat (NJD), Sun (@NYR)
Waiver Looks: Erik Gustafsson, Nolan Patrick
SN Fantasy Pool: Claude Giroux 2, JVR 1, PHI Goalies 4
2. Stay away from ANA, ARI, BUF, MIN and PIT – they play just twice.
3. Additionally, the Colorado Avalanche only play once. That means anyone not named Nathan MacKinnon (IR), Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, Cale Makar, Samuel Girard and Philipp Grubauer should be dumped off your roster immediately.
4. Speaking of MacKinnon, the 25-year-old might not miss much game action after all. At this point, he’s being deemed week-to-week. Here are some stop-gap options for you in the meantime: Jonathan Drouin (MTL), Brock Nelson (NYI), Carter Verhaeghe (FLA) and Jordan Staal (CAR).
5. Try acquiring Mike Hoffman. After a slow start with the St. Louis Blues, the 31-year-old has notched three goals and five points over the past five games. Tough to find elite goal-scoring out there.
6. Keep close tabs on Christian Dvorak, Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller. All three have started to cook big-time lately for the Arizona Coyotes. As I mentioned above, light schedule ahead for the Coyotes, so maybe wait a bit to make an add. If anything, there’s some DFS value to be found here.
7. File the following under the monitor category.
The Panthers (6-0-2) are on fire to start the season and it’s not because of Sergei Bobrovsky. In four appearances thus far, the 32-year-old goalie is 3-0-1 with a 3.57 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage.
Not to be outdone, late bloomer Chris Driedger has been making an exceptional case for an uptick in playing time. The 26-year-old, who’s also 3-0-1, has registered a scintillating 1.72 GAA and a .942 SV% to start the season.
8. Take a calculated flier on Nick Ritchie.
Over the past eight outings, the Boston Bruins power forward has averaged a point per game (three goals and five assists), six of which have come via the power play. Without question, Ritchie’s attachment to Boston’s No. 1 PP unit boosts his fantasy value exponentially.
9. Time to sell high on Kevin Hayes. Sean Couturier is on the mend and close to a return from a rib injury.
10. Some streamer looks to consider while Elvis Merzlikins is on the shelf for the Columbus Blue Jackets: Driedger, Jake Allen, Antti Raanta and Brian Elliott.
Also, Matiss Kivlenieks could see a couple stars behind Joonas Korpisalo, too.
11. Need help finding a replacement for the banged-up Zach Werenski? Jaccob Slavin, Noah Dobson, Pierre-Olivier Joseph and T.J. Brodie are decent options. To be honest, the blue line pool under 40 per cent ownership worth exploring is thin right now.
For what it’s worth, Michael Del Zotto will assume Werenski’s PP2 responsibilities.
12. Last thought on Columbus: Jack Roslovic and Cam Atkinson should be on your radar. They’re skating with Patrik Laine 5-on-5. As I indicated last week, I still think Max Domi finds his way with Laine eventually. Be mindful.
13. I’m buying on Ryan Strome. The 27-year-old has four goals and six points in the past six games for the Rangers. When he caught fire last season, he never looked back. More of the same is likely coming.
14. It’s time to move on from both Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba. From a fantasy perspective, they’re not offering much. Let’s say they heat up, you can circle back down the road.
Also, I’d wait a bit longer before determining what to do with the underproducing Alexis Lafreniere.
15. For a variety of reasons, the tough East Division among them, I’m not as bullish as others on the Mika Zibanejad front. In spite of that, there’s still definitely some legitimate buy-low appeal here. Just temper your expectations, Zibanejad played out of this world last season.
16. Take a crack at buying low on Elias Pettersson. Before the season, I viewed the 22-year-old as a top-20 fantasy player. Despite his slow start, I’m still a believer. He’s overdue. There’s no harm in trying, right?
17. If he’s not taken, scoop up Denis Gurianov. With Alex Radulov currently sidelined day-to-day with a lower-body issue, the red-hot, dual-eligible winger will likely move up to play with Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski on Dallas’ top line. Jason Robertson could gain a mini promotion to the top-six as well.
18. Some external Radulov replacements: Anthony Mantha, Evgenii Dadonov and Alex Killorn.
19. I’ve learned the hard way too many times to admit over the past couple seasons – be careful if you’re looking to stream a San Jose Sharks goalie. Trust me when I say this, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Proceed with caution.
20. Hopefully he doesn’t crumble like GameStop stock, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen recently from Jesse Puljujarvi. The 22-year-old winger has three goals over the past two games. Most importantly, he’s been skating with that Connor McDavid guy.