Fantasy Hockey Top-10: Disappointments for 2017-18
Every fantasy season is going to have its own set of disappointments.
Some disappointments are injury related. Other disappointments come from trading away an underperformer before he breaks out. But the most common disappointment is when your draft day darlings turn into duds.
Most of the drafting disappointments is because you reached too early for a player. Below are 10 players that have been getting plenty of love this offseason that I believe will be disappointing for fantasy general managers.
Backstrom has always been an elite player but there’s a lot of question marks when it comes to the Capitals this year. What if Alexander Ovechkin does go to the Olympics? That’s at least nine games missed during the Olympics, more if he gets suspended for his going. What type of distraction will that be for the Capitals? If Ovi is allowed to play, would Backstrom be allowed to represent Sweden? Aside from the Olympics, can the soon-to-be 30-year-old Backstrom and the rest of the Caps survive the loss of several key pieces? There’s too many questions and not enough answers.
9. Jonathan Marchessault
Put me in the camp of not being a big believer of Marchessault. A lot of things had to go right for him to hit 51 points last year. But he could be a second-line winger in Vegas, with James Neal, Reilly Smith, David Perron and Alex Tuch battling him for ice time (not to mention longshots Cody Glass or Nick Suzuki making the squad and playing as a winger). Vegas will struggle to score and I wouldn’t count on Marchessault as being the guy to lead this squad.
8. Mitch Marner
Many poolies believe the Leafs are ready to take the next step forward, but I believe they’ll actually due for a step back. The Leafs were extremely lucky last year with injuries. Their top 11 point-getters missed a combined 10 games. Nine of those games came from two players. You can’t expect that same type of luck again this year. A couple of their players will also hit sophomore slumps, and I expect Marner to be one of those.
There are plenty of positive signs when it comes to Galchenyuk and a potential for an excellent season. But there’s even more warning signs. It hurts that the Montreal coaches don’t trust him as centre on a squad that is bereft of top-line centre talent. I thought it would change with Claude Julien, but Galch found himself on the fourth line down the stretch and in the playoffs. There’s no reason to believe those things will change this year.
Shattenkirk has an excellent 2016-17 season, but he will not repeat that and will probably wind up with 45 or less. The best thing to do with Shattenkirk to draft him as a 50-point guy but trade him before the halfway mark of the season. In his last four years:
2013-14: 31 points in the first 40 games, 14 in the last 41
2014-15: 35 points in 40 games, nine in the last 16 (injury season)
2015-16: 27 points at the 40-game mark, 17 in his next 32
2016-17: 26 points in his first 40 games, 30 in his last 40
Despite the hot starts, only in a contract year did he break the 50-point mark. Expect him to return to his old ways with the Rangers.
Hopefully fantasy GMs came to their senses in the weeks after Darling was traded to Carolina. Many are anointing Darling as the next great goalie and believe he can lead Carolina to fantasy relevance again. But remember that Darling will be playing in front of one of the league’s youngest defenses, has a career 75 games of experience (all with the powerhouse Blackhawks) and has never played more than 32 games in a season. Also, Carolina loves Cam Ward and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a time-share, especially with the Hurricanes having 18 back-to-back games this year.
4. John Carlson
Just like teammate Backstrom, Carlson could be another guy who would be impacted if Ovechkin decides to bolt for the Olympics. Away from that storyline, is Carlson really the right guy to lead the Caps power play? He hasn’t been above 16 power play points in the past three seasons despite Ovi and Backstrom routinely hitting 25-plus. He had an excellent 2014-15 with 55 points overall but that’s been his only significant campaign. Let someone else reach for Carlson.
3. Tyson Barrie
Barrie just came off a disappointing season and fantasy general managers should brace themselves for another one. The Avalanche are a mess and there’s still rumours that the team could deal Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. That takes away even more offense. Barrie will be lucky to get to 40 points and his plus/minus is going to be awful.
There seems to be a lot of love for Vasilevskiy, but let’s wait until we see what he can do with the pressure of carrying a team before anointing him as the next elite goalie. Vasilevskiy appeared in 50 games last year and posted a 23-17-7 record with a 2.61 GAA and a .917 SV %. Those numbers are adequate, but I’ve seen some people believe Vasilevskiy will be a top-five goalie this year. If you draft him based on those projections, you’re in for a world of hurt.
1. Matt Murray
Yes, Murray can get to 40 wins easily this season if he can stay healthy. But the biggest concern with Murray has been staying healthy (which makes him the perfect fit in Pittsburgh). Murray missed time with four different injuries in a 12-month span, starting with a head injury to start the 2016 playoffs, to a broken hand and a lower-body injury last season, and then another injury in the playoffs that cost him a couple of rounds. You can’t trust his health.
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