Top 10 Waiver Wire Pickups (March, 2020)
Even though the trade deadline may be done in most fantasy leagues doesn't mean you can't improve your squad for the stretch drive.
In leagues with a waiver wire, there are still plenty of good options out there. You just need to be willing to scour the wire to find some of the players who have been lighting it up lately.
Don't just assume these guys are not available in your pool. After all, Dustin Byfuglien is still owned in 25% of Yahoo pools, and KHL defenseman for the past two seasons, Klas Dahlbeck, is owned in 11%. These players are taking up roster spots on someone's squad, which slightly improves the chances you can find help on the wire.
All the players on the list below were still available in at least two-thirds of Yahoo leagues as of Sunday evening. For those with deep rosters, I included three players that are available in at least 85% of leagues. Note that all of the statistics are before Sunday's games.
10. Joel Eriksson Ek, 2%
One of the biggest criticisms of the Wild the last few years is that they simply don't play their young guys enough. That is changing a little bit this year, and you've been starting to see JEE benefit from it over the last few weeks. Since Feb. 7, Eriksson Ek has four goals and seven points in 12 games to go along with a plus-eight, 22 shots and 14 hits. As an added bonus, if your league counts faceoffs, he has 77 wins in those 12 games.
9. Alec Martinez, 29%
Martinez has put up excellent numbers since moving to Vegas, but don't expect that to last much longer. However, it's good to pick him up and keep him in your lineup until he cools off. In five games with the Golden Knights, Martinez has six points, is a plus-five with eight shots and one power-play point. On the plus side, he's been excellent for banger leagues with eight hits and 18 blocked shots in those five games.
8. Adam Henrique, 31%
Henrique has been one of the quietest hottest players of the past month. In his last 11 games dating back to Feb. 7, he has eight goals and 13 points in 11 games. During that same span, he is also a plus-five, has 32 shots, 13 hits and three power-play points. He seems to have found some chemistry with Nick Ritchie (nine points in those games).
7. Andrew Mangiapane, 12%
Mangiapane has been an excellent surprise this season, but especially over the past dozen games or so. Without any power-play time, he's spent most of the season on the second line with Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk. Since Feb. 10, Mangiapane has seven goals and 11 points in 11 games to go along with a plus-eight, 25 shots, 11 hits and one power-play point. He'll continue to get his time on the second line, so he's definitely rosterable in most leagues.
6. Alex Stalock, 27%
Ignore Sunday night's game. You need to rush to the wire to grab Stalock before your opponents do. His ownership rose 11% from Saturday to Sunday, thanks to him starting back-to-back games last Thursday/Friday, allowing only one goal total in both games. Since the start of February (and before Sunday night), Stalock has started seven of the Wild's 10 games, going 7-1-1 with a 1.76 GAA and .932 SV %.
5. Duncan Keith, 13%
Erik Gustafsson played his last game for the Hawks on Feb. 16. After that, he was a healthy scratch until he was dealt to the Flames at the trade deadline. Since then, Keith has been brought back up to the top power-play unit. In the last six games, all without Gustafsson, Keith is averaging almost 5 minutes of power-play time per night and 26:39 overall. In that span, he also has seven points, 16 shots, five power-play points and 11 blocked shots. He's getting the usage and the opportunity.
4. Mikael Granlund, 31%
I am one of the many fantasy general managers that gave up on Granlund this season. After struggling mightily last year after being dealt to Nashville, many of us were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Then he started this season with four points in 17 games, and if you listened hard enough, you could almost hear the sound of him hitting the waiver wire in many leagues. Granlund then had 11 points in his next 22 games. Better, but still not worthy of being picked up. However, since Jan. 16, he's been a completely different player, with 10 goals and 14 points in 19 games to go along with 45 shots, 16 hits and 18 blocked shots. He only has four power-play points, but is on the top power-play unit. His ice time has also been shooting up, going from 16:30 to in the first 19 games to about 19 minutes in the last 19.
3. Zach Hyman, 31%
I find one of my more successful strategies in hockey pools is to go after linemates of elite players that can give you similar production at a much cheaper cost. After all, you can get J.T. Miller for a lot cheaper than Elias Pettersson. The same holds true for Hyman. Let's exclude his first 10 games of the year when he was getting back in the groove after surgery last spring for a torn ACL. Since Dec. 4, he has 19 goals and 34 points in 37 games while playing with Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner. In that timeframe, Matthews is the only Leaf with more goals and a better plus-minus than Hyman. That's impressive enough on his own, but even more so when you remember he's not on the top power-play unit with those stud players.
2. Kailer Yamamoto, 28%
Yamamoto has missed the last three games with an ankle injury, causing many fantasy general managers to drop him outright (his ownership rate dropped 13% on the weekend). The word is he could be back for Monday's game against Nashville. The Oilers play four games over the next six days, so if he is back, that's great and provides lots of extra value for this week. Yamamoto has been excellent since being called up to the big leagues at the end of December, with nine goals and 21 points in 21 games. It's almost a sin that he is available in so many leagues.
1. Juuse Saros, 32% owned
I've mentioned Saros name in several columns lately, but it bears repeating. Saros has completely taken over the Nashville net, starting 10 of the Preds last 13 games (and coming in relief in one of them). Before Feb. 4, Saros was 7-8-4 with a 3.17 GAA and a 0.894 SV %. Since Feb. 4, Saros is 7-3 with a 2.33 GAA and a .930 SV %. His overall numbers don't look that great, but you can't ignore how excellent he's been in the past month. By picking up Saros, you're getting a number one goalie on a team fighting to make the playoffs.
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