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.
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Jack Campbell, G, Los Angeles Kings (Available in 52 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – As Jonathan Quick yet again has injured himself, it’s up to Jack Campbell to carry the load for the Kings until Quick returns, and he’s shown himself out extremely well: through three starts, he’s picked up two wins, one shutout, and only four goals allowed with a 0.966 save percentage. Taking the “Martin Jones” role, Campbell’s increased his value exponentially in the short term, but he’s also shown he’s a strong fill-in and could take more workload off Quick than expected when Quick returns.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Warren Foegele, W, Carolina Hurricanes (Available in 95 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – An extreme Calder darkhorse candidate, Warren Foegele is off to an incredible start in Raleigh: 3G-1A in four games, playing 16:05 a game alongside Jordan Staal and Justin Williams. That line has been a dominant force possession-wise, putting up a 73% CorsiFor together and scoring 3.89 goals/60. They’ve taken 75% of shots, 73% of scoring chances, and 72% of high-danger scoring chances, so expect them to stay together for a while yet.
His college and junior bonafides don’t scream goal-scorer, but in his rookie AHL season he did put up 46 points in 73 games, and in his two NHL games last season he also grabbed three points.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Oliver Bjorkstrand, W, Columbus Blue Jackets (Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – While Bjorkstrand isn’t owned much at all across Yahoo! Leagues, he’s always been a popular player in the Dobber and deeper fantasy communities. There’s no question about his talent level, with 40 points in 82 games last season as a 22-year old playing 14 minutes a game, but so much of his skill relies on line mates and special teams; getting Torts’ed to the fourth line of the Jackets is too crushing to expect any production from. He’s still a guy to keep an eye on if the Jackets’ top-six see injuries or trades.
The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)
James Neal, W, Calgary (Owned in 55 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Heading into the season, there was a lot of excitement over how Neal would look on the top line of Calgary alongside Johnny Hockey and Sean Monahan; unfortunately for Neal owners, that hasn’t exactly taken shape, with Neal relegated to just 16 minutes of TOI – a drop of a minute per game over last year – and playing with third/fourth-liners at even strength. Neal doesn’t even have the luxury of playing with the Flames’ studs on the power play, as the top unit has been clicking already this season with Elias Lindholm in that top spot.
(At only 42% owned, Lindholm would be a good pick-up)
Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)
Winnipeg – In a stretch that’s weirdly quiet for most teams, the Jets get to play six times between the 13th and 24th, with every game coming at home. They have some matchups against some very porous teams defensively, which should bode well for the fantasy-relevant Jets: Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto are the highlights there, but they also see time against Carolina, Arizona and St. Louis.
Tampa Bay – After having only played twice in the opening stretch of the season, Tampa get six games this period, half coming at home and half on the road, with only one back-to-back (at Minnesota followed by Chicago.) Unfortunately, they’re not all positive matchups, but a home game against Detroit and a road game in Chicago should see some high-scoring out of the Lightning players; Tampa’s other games come against Columbus, Carolina and Colorado (sadly on the road.)
Minnesota – Finally putting their scoring together last game against Chicago, scoring more than one for the first time in their three games, the Wild should be able to keep that train rolling with a good schedule. Although they have two of the dreaded road-home back-to-backs – at Nashville followed by home to Arizona, and at Dallas followed by home to Tampa – they’re one of the stronger schedules based on volume.
Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)
Ottawa – Playing all four of their next games at home – in front of 7-to-10 thousand bored fans – the Sens should have a very tough time. While Dallas isn’t exactly stingy defensively, the Sens’ other opponents are the Kings, Bruins, and the remarkably-good defensively Canadiens.Just on volume alone, Ottawa players should be avoided.
Columbus – The Blue Jackets’ top line should always be rolled out, but with Columbus having only four games in this next stretch, it’ll be tough to get production; the Jackets have four days off between games against Tampa and Philadelphia, and also play Chicago and Arizona.
Vegas – Having not won a game in regulation since Imagine Dragons opened a Stanley Cup Finals game for them, the Golden Knights have struggled to open the 18-19 season. They’re yet to top two goals scored in a game – especially egregious given how high-scoring October NHL games are – and only play four games during this stretch, although three of the four come at home where they should find more success. Their games come against Philly, Buffalo, Anaheim and Vancouver.