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 updated through Thursday, October 25
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Dustin Brown, W, Los Angeles Kings (Available in 65 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Although he’s constantly derided as being a plug in the same vein as Milan Lucic (who is a plug,) Brown should be added in any leagues where he’s available – immediately. Last year, Brown put up 28-33 (including 25 PP points) while firing 222 pucks on net and averaging just under three peripheral stats (hit/blk) per game; he’s healthy and playing top minutes alongside Anze Kopitar again, and saw 22:17 in his first game back which also included a goal.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
David Rittich, G, Calgary Flames (Available in 84 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Here’s what Calgary’s ostensible starter Mike Smith has done this season: ten games started with five wins, a .871 save percentage, and five “really bad starts” – starts below .850. Conversely, Rittich has started four times (six appearances) and has a 3W-1L line with a sparkling 0.939 SV% and four quality starts to zero bad starts. Considering they play behind the exact same team, this should speak volumes about the low quality goaltending the Flames are getting from Smith. Rittich should continue to pick up more consistent starts.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Matt Murray, G, Pittsburgh (Owned in 92 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Much like the David Rittich/Mike Smith situation in Calgary, Matt Murray is in danger of getting Wally Pipp’ed after his tough injury issues and poor play to start the season. It never feels good to point to concussions as a possible problem, but through his first six starts – which is a lower number than it should be since he missed time with another concussion – he’s lost twice (fine!) and picked up a shutout (even finer!) but has allowed 21 goals. His save percentage is an ugly-looking 0.893, he’s at -2.977 Goals Saved Above Average, and while he’ll still pick up wins thanks to the offensive side of the Pengui