All fantasy owners need help in the short term AND the long term. The Looking Ahead feature identifies one player to plug into lineups in the short term, a second to invest in for the long term, a third to bench for the coming week, and a fourth who will struggle to meet expectations for some time. All players discussed are selected based on their upcoming schedule. Stats in this article updated through November 15th       

The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)

Jakub Vrana, LW, Washington (Available in 92 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Vrana should go under the Building Block section given what an extreme talent he is, but Caps’ coach Barry Trotz has yo-yo’ed the rookie up and down the lineup already. The reason to pick him up now – even with Washington’s lighter schedule – is that he’s finally playing alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov (and TJ Oshie). He produced immediately with that line, scoring two goals on five shots against Ottawa; he also has shown he can produce no matter where he sits in the lineup, putting up 4G-4S on 52 SOG in his other 21 games.


The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)

Kevin Fiala, LW, Nashville Predators (Available in 94 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With Nashville having a great upcoming schedule, the time is now to grab Fiala before his value is shown to the rest of the NHL. The young Swiss forward looked great in the playoffs for Nashville last year before breaking his leg (2G on 12 shots in five games) and has carried that over this year: 2G-11A in 20 games, but since the Kyle Turris trade, Fiala has put up six of those 11 points in only six games. He’s also fired 18 shots in those six games, and should stick alongside Turris and Craig Smith for the foreseeable future.


The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)

Bryan Little, C, Winnipeg (Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – For having Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine as his main linemates Little’s stat line is incredibly disappointing: 2G-7A with only 25SOG and only two of those assists coming on the power play. He’s currently averaging a full three minutes less than his peak years in Winnipeg – he averaged 17:33 last year but 19-20 the five preceding years. With Mathieu Perreault back from injury `to take away even more PP time Little’s value is slipping even as Winnipeg’s schedule picks up.


The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)

Alex Wennberg, C, Columbus (Owned in 36 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – There’s a good argument to be made about keeping Wennberg around given his underlying stats – specifically, in salary cap or keeper leagues – but his value these days is lower than it’s ever been. Wennberg is currently injured, but with the play of Nick Foligno/Pierre-Luc Dubois/Brandon Dubinsky at centre, Wennberg’s role is getting more and more tenuous; to date in his 18 games played, Wennberg has only 1G-8A, and for a low-volume shooter his ceiling is limited if the points aren’t coming.


Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

Nashville – With seven games during this stretch – only one being a back-to-back – and the emergence of secondary scoring since acquiring Kyle Turris, Nashville owners should be rejoicing. The Preds face some very high-event teams in Carolina, Anaheim, Chicago, and Dallas. After scoring 23 goals in their past 6 games, this team is red hot.

Montreal – Sitting 28th in Goals For, Montreal has been a disappointment so far, but it’s not for lack of trying: they’ve fired 828 shots in 23 games (36/game), best in the league. Shooting only 6.4% as a team isn’t sustainable given some of the talent they have, and with games against Buffalo, Ottawa, and Detroit (twice in a home-road split) they should find the back of the net again. Good time to buy Habs players!

Winnipeg – The Jets also have seven games upcoming, with only one back-to-back on their Friday/Saturday West Coast swing. They have some soft games against Ottawa and Detroit as their highlights, but on volume and the talent of their big guns, should be rolled out without looking back.


Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

Washington – The Capitals are disappointing in that they FINALLY reunited Backstrom and Ovechkin, just to have the lightest part of their season upcoming (bye week excepted). Washington does get the advantage of hosting four of their five games, but they all come against very tough competition in Los Angeles, San Jose, Columbus, Chicago and Toronto.

Detroit – The Red Wings have only five games in this period and have struggled offensively for most of November, an 8-2 win against Calgary aside. Their schedule isn’t the toughest – no back-to-backs and two games against Montreal – but on volume and games against Los Angeles and Winnipeg, ‘Wings players should be used with caution.

Carolina – Although their shots are finally starting to click, Raleigh’s team will need to “rally” during this stretch; the ‘Canes also have five games, as they face the suddenly incredible-defensively Columbus and have a road-home back-to-back (NYR-FLA). They also get Nashville at home, which is no picnic.

November 24th to November 30th

Best Bets

MIN 4.415 – Away STL WPG – Home COL VGK

NSH 4.2575 – Away STL CAR – Home CHI VAN

CGY 4.2475 – Away DAL COL – Home TOR ARI

EDM 4.2 – Away BUF BOS – Home ARI TOR

MTL 4.1375 – Away DET- Home BUF CBJ OTT

Steer Clear

CAR 2.855 – Away CBJ – Home TOR NSH

STL 2.8875 – Home NSH MIN ANH

BUF 2.9025 – Away MTL – Home EDM TBL

PHI 2.9025 – Away PIT – Home NYI SJS

WSH 2.945 – Away TOR – Home TBL LAK

November 25th to December 1st

Best Bets

WPG 4.1475 – Away SJS COL – Home MIN VGK

MTL 4.1375 – Away DET – Home BUF CBJ OTT

FLA 3.9475 – Away NJD NYR – Home CHI SJS

VGK 3.9 – Away ARI MIN WPG- Home DAL

CHI 3.9 – Away FLA NSH – Home ANH DAL

Steer Clear

WSH 1.895 – Away TOR – Home LAK

BOS 2.0475 – Home EDM TBL

DAL 2.09 – Away VGK CHI

CAR 2.7075 – Away CBJ NYR- Home NSH

TOR 2.74 – Away CGY EDM – Home WSH

November 26th to December 2nd

Best Bets

NSH 4.305 – Away CAR – Home CHI VAN ANH

MTL 4.19 – Away DET – Home CBJ OTT DET

EDM 4.1525 – Away BOS CGY- Home ARI TOR

CHI 3.9 – Away NSH DAL- Home ANH DAL

FLA 3.895 – Away NJD NYR CAR- Home SJS

Steer Clear

WSH 1.8375 – Home LAK CBJ

COL 2.205 – Home WPG NJD

NYI 2.2575 – Home VAN OTT

DET 2.745 – Away MTL- Home LAK MTL

STL 2.75 – Away MIN- Home ANH LAK

November 27th to December 3rd

Best Bets

CHI 4.845 – Away NSH DAL – Home ANH DAL LAK

WPG 4.2425 – Away COL – Home MIN VGK OTT

DAL 4.2325 – Away VGK CHI COL- Home CHI

MTL 4.19 – Away DET – Home CBJ OTT DET

ARI 4.1425 – Away EDM CGY VGK- Home NJD

Steer Clear

NYI 2.2575 – Home VAN OTT

BOS 2.095 – Away PHI – Home TBL

DET 2.745 – Away MTL – Home LAK MTL

NYR 2.1525 – Home FLA CAR

STL 2.75 – Away MIN – Home ANH LAK

November 28th to December 4th

Best Bets

NSH 4.3575 – Home CHI VAN ANH BOS

DAL 4.2325 – Away VGK CHI COL – Home CHI

ARI 4.1425 – Away EDM CGY VGK – Home NJD

CGY 4.3575 – Home TOR ARI EDM PHI

VGK 4.01 – Away MIN WPG – Home DAL ARI

Steer Clear

NYR 2.1525 – Home FLA CAR

PIT 2.2 – Away BUF – Home BUF

MIN 2.31 – Home VGK STL

ANH 2.66 – Away STL CBJ NSH

DET 2.745 – Away MTL – Home LAK MTL

November 29th to December 5th

Best Bets

WPG 4.4425 – Away COL DET- Home VGK OTT


MTL 4.3475 – Away DET – Home OTT DET STL

NSH 4.2575 – Away DAL- Home VAN ANH BOS

DAL 4.09 – Away CHI COL – Home CHI NSH

Steer Clear

TOR 2.0425 – Away EDM VAN

EDM 2.0475 – Away CGY – Home TOR

PHI 2.0475 – Away CGY – Home BOS

SJS 2.66 – Away FLA TBL WSH

OTT 2.8025 – Away MTL NYI WPG

November 30th to December 6th

Best Bets

NSH 4.2575 – Away DAL – Home VAN ANH BOS

CGY 4.2575 – Away TOR- Home ARI EDM PHI

DAL 4.09 – Away CHI COL – Home CHI NSH

VGK 3.9575 – Away MIN WPG – Home ARI ANH

WSH 3.885 – Home LAK CBJ SJS CHI

Steer Clear

NYR 1.9575 – Away PIT – Home CAR

TBL 2.0475 – Home SJS NYI

STL 2.6075 – Away MIN MTL – Home LAK

SJS 2.66 – Away FLA TBL WSH

OTT 2.85 – Away NYI WPG ANH