Eight Players Primed for a Second Half Surge

Chris Liggio

2018-01-05

 

Now at the halfway mark for the regular season we can paint a clear and concise picture of how each and every one of our fantasy players are performing for fantasy purposes. Some good, some mediocre and some downright disappointing, there is hope though for some that started off in sluggish fashion and look poised to reward you for your patience in the second half. Me myself I’ve had some underperforming assets indeed, but I remain steadfast in my ownership of most for I can see the light on the horizon in hopes of better performances ahead. Let’s see if any of you are all too familiar with the following cases.

 

Jack Eichel/Rasmus Ristolainen/Kyle Okposo

 

Because they’re all Buffalo Sabres it makes sense to just cover them together. This team as a whole could really make a case for this article but let’s focus in on some core pieces and how they are faring in more recent times. For starters, if you are not already aware Eichel is finally firing on all cylinders where the month of December saw him pot eight goals and eight assists in 13 games played while putting the rubber on net 49 times in that timeframe. As a whole though it may not seem by their record, the Sabres have put together more consistent play behind a quietly solid Robin Lehner. With Eichel’s recent surge he is now on pace for his first 70-plus point season with a healthy dose of shots and if you count PIM he is also on pace for around 55 minutes with 26 minutes currently under his belt.

 

Ristolainen owners have had their head buried in their hands for some time but since returning from injury the uncontested blue line pillar is seemingly coming to life with back to back performances where he posted a goal and an assist. In the past 12 games played we’ve also seen his peripheral production bounce back to where we’ve come to expect of him with 27 shots, 33 hits and 22 blocks in that time. Though two games are not enough to say he’s back there is no denying the Sabres are playing more consistent, competitive hockey and if they’re going to have a shot Ristolainen will have to be a focal point. Though from a point production standpoint this season will be a letdown either way he is still on pace for 200-plus hits and a respectable 185 shots from the back end.

 

Kyle Okposo is slowly but surely rounding into form with two goals and five assists in the past 10 games played and this surely plays a major factor in the improved play of the Sabres. Okposo started the season off quite slow with only two assists in the first 10 games played but since late November he has been a steadier producer with four goals and seven assists in the past 18 games played though he’s not to be mistaken for a stud. Nonetheless with his top six deployment and spot on the primary power play unit alongside Eichel and Ristolainen, look for the improved play on his part to continue in the second half. Okposo is sitting on 31% ownership in ESPN leagues so if in need of a slight shake up on your roster he is more than worth at least the speculative add.