Capped: Selling High (2016)
This week's Capped discusses some of the over-performing players and how to sell them for what they are worth.
We are over a month into the season now, and there have been plenty of nice surprises for lucky fantasy teams. However, those who were quick on the waiver wire draw, snagging players like Jonathan Marchessault, Mitch Marner, Alex Wennberg and Sam Gagner, may not call it luck. The early breakouts are now evident to see, but the next step is to know what to do with them. Fantasy pools can hardly be won this early in the season, but a couple of the right sell-highs at this point can really make a difference later on. Every case will be different, but some of these players are looking a lot riper than others to be dealt away from your team before things go bad.
Taking a look at the Capfriendly website, they have a section that sorts players based on cost-per-point. Most of these players are on entry level deals, but the ones that aren’t will be the ones that were the best early season waiver wire players. Below are the top four players from that list on standard contracts.
Jonathan Marchessault (LW) – Florida Panthers
Contract – $750,000
Cost per point – $41,667
When top players go down with an injury, generally someone gets a little boost as they fill in the ice time, but Marchessault is taking this to a whole new level. When Jonathan Huberdeau went down with a lacerated Achilles tendon, Marchessault was viewed to be the one who would get the slight bump in stats by playing alongside Aleksander Barkov. It turns out, that it is now Marchesssault carrying the line with the slightly struggling Barkov.
Though Marchessault has slowed down recently, he is still one of the best bargaining chips this early in the season. Only Connor McDavid and Artemi Panarin are costing less per point, and Marchessault is doing this without any outrageously lucky numbers. Marchessault is showing that even when Huberdeau returns (which won’t be until January at the earliest), he has earned a spot in the top six forwards, and maybe even a permanent spot on the top power play. Even with the firing of head coach Gerard Gallant, Marchessault’s deployment didn’t change for the first game. He actually saw a slightly higher percentage of the available power play ice time last game. We can take from all of this that Marchessault is one of the best bargains in the league at the moment, and if you are to trade him it should be for a solid return, as he shouldn’t see his production drop off completely.
Sam Gagner (C) – Columbus Blue Jackets
Contract – $650,000
Cost per point – $50,000
Sam Gagner so far this season seems to be the poster boy for opposites of Marchessault, making him an immediate sell if you own him. Taking a look at Gagner’s numbers, he has a high PDO luck metric and an astronomical personal shooting percentage that is almost double his career norm. Starting 55% of his shifts in the offensive zone hasn’t hurt either, so it will likely be all downhill for Gagner from here.
This is one of those situations where it may just be best to put him up on the block for a few days, and fish around on the underperforming veterans, and then ship him off with for the best offer. There is no way that he keeps this kind of production, so sell high while you can before his production comes crashing back down to reality. Even with the miniscule salary that Gagner has, there is very little upside for the rest of the season, and it is worth putting that money to use elsewhere.
Jordan Martinook (LW) – Arizona Coyotes
Contract – $612,500
Cost per point – $68,065
Martinook is in the final year of his second contract, and he is making his best effort to show he is worth a little more on the next one. There is a little bit of good luck that is propping his numbers up slightly, but even with this, he still has a good chance to crack 35 points, as well as producing well enough in the hits, blocks, shots and penalty minutes departments. In addition, he produces face-offs with winger eligibility, which is a bonus in leagues that count the stat.
Despite Arizona constantly shuffling their forward lines, Martinook has regularly been seeing over 16 minutes of ice time, so we can expect his production to remain constant. For this season, he makes a great bargain in points leagues, and an even better one in multi-category leagues. However, Martinook likely isn’t the best kind of player to be selling, even in deeper leagues, because with 10 points in 21 games played, he is still managing to fly under the radar, as he is only owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues. At this point, hold on, and enjoy the bargain. It may even transition into future years, as his next contract is very unlikely to exceed $2 million per year.
Patrick Eaves (RW) – Dallas Stars
Contract – $1,000,000
Cost per point – $62,500
The 32-year-old Eaves did what he does every time he gets placed with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn; tantalized us with production. Mind you, I could probably put up a few points too as the third member of a line with Seguin and Benn. They are just that good. Of Eaves’ 15 points so far this season, he has one without Seguin on the ice. At this point in his career, we know what we get from Eaves. He is a bargain price when he plays, but he has never played a full season in his career. Unfortunately for Eaves and his owners, he has been off that line for the last few games.
Eaves has gone cold over those last few games, but is still playing with Spezza and Sharp. It might be best to hold him for now, wait for the inevitable line shuffling in a few games, and then try selling him from there. He shouldn’t be hard to sell either. Eaves brings some cross-category production, and has been racking up over 2.5 shots per-game, while his career average hovers a little under two. That in combination with him shooting 15.5% is part of the reason for the higher production, and why he makes for a good sell as soon as he gets placed back on that top line. He is on pace to almost double his career high of 20 goals that he set 11 years ago, and that just won’t happen. He has been a nice pick up to this point in the season, but it’s better to get out a little earlier than a little later.
Thanks again for reading, and I hope you can all get into the holiday shopping groove with some nice sell-highs and buy-lows. Otherwise, a hot start from a few players can lull you into a false sense of security, and your playoff hopes can disappear faster than an NHL head-coaching job.
As always, comments and questions are welcome.
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