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 Wednesday, January 23rd
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Bryan Little, C, Winnipeg Jets (Available in 84 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With the schedule being so unappealing, there isn’t much in the way of quick fill-ins this week, but Little should be available and the ability to put up a couple points in a pinch until reinforcements come off their byes.
Little is ostensibly the Jets’ second-line centre between Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine, but the Jets have been rolling out their bottom three lines fairly equally recently. While that may seem like it would hurt Little’s production, it allows Little, Laine and Roslovic to face lesser competition – which helps explain Little’s three goals and two assists in his last five games.
Little plays both on the penalty kill and the second power play so he’ll still see ~16 minutes per night, and at only 16% on Yahoo! he’s a no-cost fill-in.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Frank Vatrano, W, Florida Panthers (Available in 77 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Did you pick up Vatrano when I suggested it back in late October? If not, don’t fear, he’s still available in the bulk of leagues, and he has even more upside now than in the early days of the season.
Since getting the call to play alongside Aleksander Barkov on the first line, Vatrano has been piling up the points: five goals and four assists in the seven games with Barkov. In leagues that track shots on goal, Vatrano is immensely valuable: in those seven games, he fired 27 shots on net (3.85/game, a full shot more than his season average); Vatrano has always been a volume shooter, and he’s currently sixth in the league in shots per 60 at 5v5 (min. 300 minutes).
Vatrano is seeing just over 14 minutes a night with second unit power play minutes, but he did crest 16 and 18 minutes in two of his past three games. His trend arrow is pointing all the way up, and it’s nice to see him flourishing in a top-line role; he’s not much of a name, so he can probably be picked up for a song in leagues where he is owned.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim Ducks (Owned in 76 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Since Christmas, Getzlaf has managed to score one