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 January 17th
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Jordan Oesterle, D, Chicago Blackhawks (Available in 84 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Had the Blackhawks not been on bye last week, Oesterle was going to be featured here. With the ‘Hawks favourable upcoming schedule, now is the time to grab the ex-Oiler. All the 25-year old d-man has accomplished so far since moving on from Edmonton: averaged 20:52 through his first 20 games (no less than 21:24 in his last five games), grabbed a first-pairing spot alongside Duncan Keith, and took over the PPQB spot on what should be a strong offensive unit. He’s put up 39SOG in those 20 games, with 3G-7A (shooting 7.7% which will regress a touch), and is an excellent mid-season add for the next few weeks.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Timo Meier, LW, San Jose (Available in 96 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Meier is currently sporting the 12th-highest iCF/60 out of forwards with more than 200 5v5 minutes (18.44/60), and has a plum lineup spot beside the Two Joes. Unfortunately, Meier is relegated to secondary power play minutes – which explains his only having two PPP – so that will hurt fantasy owners that play in leagues that track that, but Meier is averaging 2.57SOG/Gm and has put up 8G-5A-13Pts to date this season. His ice time has started to jump up since the year turned over, and he collects the odd peripheral (hit/block) as well. Given his opportunity, Meier should have a great second half.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida (Owned in 74 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Ekblad in points-only leagues is almost a non-