Looking Ahead: Finding Fiala

Adam Daly-Frey

2020-02-21

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, February 19

The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)

Kevin Fiala, W, Minnesota Wild (Available in 63 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – It took Fiala a while to find success in Minnesota, with 11 points (five goals and six assists) in his first 20 games, but his past 20 games have seen him pot seven goals and 11 assists. Even better, Fiala's first two games under new coach Dean Evason saw the diminutive winger play season-highs in ice time (19:26 and 21:35).

Fiala's been a volume shooter in his young career (8.04 shots/60 last year, 9.26/60 in 2017-18) and that's borne out with the Wild this season as well, as he's taking 9.79 shots/60 this year which is good for 37th-best in the league among forwards with 500+ minutes. Like the increased point production over the back half of his season, Fiala's also been shooting more over the second half of his year: 37 shots in his first 20 games (just 1.85 per game), 66 in his past 20 (3.3/game).

Playing in the 1A/1B top-6 of the Wild is a great spot – Fiala gets to play with Eric Staal and Zach Parise both at even strength and on the power play – and with the Wild's fantastic upcoming schedule, he should be added immediately but will pay dividends over the rest of the season.

The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)

Kevin Hayes, C, Philadelphia Flyers (Available in 81 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Even with the Flyers' weak schedule the rest of this month (see below), the Flyers have still only played 60 games this season which is as much or less than every team in the Atlantic and below average for the league, which means Hayes can pay dividends later in the year – and he will pay dividends.

With the Flyers' having shifted their lines around over the season, Hayes has gone from a third-line shutdown role – playing behind Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux at center earlier this year – to a second-line scoring role against weaker competition. That new role has paid divid