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, January 23
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Mikael Granlund, W, Nashville Predators (Available in 80 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Although he’s sitting at only 16 points through 41 games, Granlund offers some upside over the next few weeks given the Predators’ schedule (see below) and Granlund’s role on the team; Granlund has been playing on the “second” line for Nashville, but with the big line of Filip Forsberg–Ryan Johansen–Viktor Arvidsson now broken up, Granlund’s line (with Forsberg and Matt Duchene) has the most scoring upside as a full unit.
At 5v5, the line of Granlund-Duchene-Forsberg have a 61% possession rate, a scoring rate of 4.03 goals per 60, and are generating a whopping 16 high-danger chances per 60 – all phenomenal metrics. That hasn’t yet translated to points for Granlund unfortunately, but a large part of that is that Granlund is only picking up a point on 50% of the goals scored while he’s on the ice. That rate is a career low – he was above 70% in five of the seven (full or partial) seasons he spent with the Wild – and should see a bounce-back. Granlund is after all a player who is coming off seasons of 69, 67 and 54 points.
Granlund gets power play time (albeit on the second unit), has seen an increase in TOI/game under new coach Jon Hynes, and gets enough hits/blocks/shots to not be a detriment in peripheral leagues. He makes a great short-term replacement for guys with poor schedules (Alex DeBrincat, etc.) or guys who will be suspended for missing the All-Star game (Alex Ovechkin), and is free to add in most leagues.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)