Fantasy Hockey Top-10: Sell-High Players
Probably the toughest thing to do in fantasy hockey is to sell high.
It sounds simple in practise, but fantasy general managers get attached to players performing at their peak. After all, that means they are putting fantasy points up for you, so why trade them at that stage?
However, if you don’t sell high, then you’re selling low. Erik Karlsson is a perfect example. When he came back from injury and had 17 points in 11 games, very few poolies were considering trading him. Then Karlsson went pointless in 10 games, and all of a sudden, he is being dealt for considerably less than what the GM could have gotten three weeks prior.
Below are 10 players that are at their sell-high peaks. Just as a heads up, I’m not advocating you need to trade these guys. It’s that their values will never be higher and this could be the best time to maximize your return. If you can’t get a fair return, hold on to them until you do.
10. Dustin Brown
Brown was drafted in just three per cent of Yahoo leagues but is now owned in 81 per cent of them. There are plenty of reasons to believe his bounce-back season will begin to falter, but as long as he’s playing 20 minutes a night with Anze Kopitar, there’s no way to be sure. This is the best time to sell high in one-year leagues as his value can’t go any higher but it can definitely drop. If you own him in a keeper league, do you trust him enough to use a keeper spot on him for next year?
9. Kristopher Letang
It may be strange to think about selling high on Letang considering almost every stat suggests he is a buy-low candidate. He has a low PDO, five on five team shooting percentage and personal shooting percentage while having positive offensive zone starts and corsi for percentage. His 0.71 points per game is his second-lowest of the past seven seasons. The main reason to consider him a sell high is the simple fact that he is healthy. Trade him before he misses 10 to 40 games with some sort of injury. If you can turn his healthy (so far) season into someone who is pretty much guaranteed to play all 82 games, you have to at least consider it.
8. Kyle Turris
Turris has been on another level since being dealt to Nashville. In 17 games as a Pred, he has 17 points, eight PIM, nine power-play points, 23 shots and is a plus-7. However, he is only averaging 16:34 a game. At this stage, you have to ask yourself what is more likely: That Turris can finish with 70-plus points while pacing 0.93 points per game, or the fact he’s only reached 60 points once in his seven-year career and has never paced more than 0.78 points per game? Go with the latter.
Lundqvist is a sure bet for his 12th-straight season with at least 30 wins (minus the lockout 2012-13 season). He picked up his 16th win on Saturday night against the Bruins, and has won eight of his last 11 games. However, he turns 36 in March and is on pace for 71 games played. That’s a lot of games for an older goalie. Expect his starts to get dialed back as the season wears on.
6. Pekka Rinne
Rinne’s situation mirrors Lundqvist’s. Rinne is also 35 years old, and is on pace for 64 starts. Only Martin Brodeur and Miikka Kiprusoff have started more games at the age of 35 or higher. The biggest difference between Rinne and Lundqvist is that Rinne has a highly-touted goalie chomping at the bit to be the top dog. At some point, Nashville will have to roll with Juuse Saros. Rinne is having a great season after years of mostly being a good goalie. I’d be loathe to trade him in one-year pools, but would certainly look into it in keeper pools.
Voracek is one of those guys that is tough to peg. Is he an 80-point guy like he was in 2014-15? Or is he more the 55 to 65-point player that has been in three of the last four years? Voracek is currently on pace for 103 points, which is insane. He’s right in his prime years and has a positive corsi for percentage despite starting in the offensive zone only 44 per cent of the time. History has shown us that Voracek isn’t a consistent 80-point guy.
4. Evander Kane
Some of the writers have written about Kane being a sell-high for a couple of weeks. Because of injuries and cold streaks, Kane hasn’t topped 45 points since 2011-12. He’s now at 30 points. He’s an unrestricted free agent next summer and since Buffalo is so terrible, Kane may be dealt before the trade deadline. With his new squad, there’s no guarantee he plays 20 minutes a night and odds are his linemates won’t be as talented as Jack Eichel.
3. Anze Kopitar
For the past couple of years, I’ve always listed Kopitar as a good buy-low option. Now that he’s have a renaissance year, it’s time to sell high on the Kings captain as he’s on pace for 41 goals (his career high is 34) and 94 points (he’s only ever hit 80 points once in his career). His shooting percentage is eight points above his career average of 12.4 per cent. Maybe he keeps up this pace all season (some players hit career highs in their 30s) but it could be more of a gamble to keep him than to deal him.
2. Josh Bailey
Bailey is on pace for 22 goals, 99 points and 42 power play points. He’s not going to come close to hitting any of those marks. He’s only 16 points off matching his career high. Most telling is that his points-per-60-minutes is 4.0, the third-highest mark in the NHL. To put that 4.0 number into context, last year’s highest points-per-60-minute players with at least 1,000 minutes played were Evgeni Malkin (3.74), Sidney Crosby (3.58), Nikita Kucherov (3.55), Connor McDavid (3.46) and Nicklas Backstrom (3.45). That’s elite. Bailey is not an elite player.
Stamkos is one of those guys where you trade quality for quality. Don’t be fooled into taking two or three lesser pieces. As I mentioned at the start, I’m not advocating that you need to trade Stamkos. However, this could be the best opportunity to improve your squad. He had 35 points in his first 19 games, but has just eight points in the past 13 games. You can still sell a fellow GM on the fact Stamkos is on pace for 108 points. Although he’ll fall 20-plus points short of that mark, sell if you can get an elite return.
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