Ramblings: Bubble Keeper Week Wraps Up – Ghost, Faulk, Spurgeon, Skjei, Jokiharju (Nov 15)

Ian Gooding


To put a wrap on Bubble Keeper Week, here's some defensemen in my keeper leagues that fit the category of bubble keepers. Previous levels of production and more defensive roles are common reasons that these defensemen are not currently must-owns. As I did yesterday, I'll describe the type of player so that you can transfer the knowledge to your own keeper decisions.

Shayne Gostisbehere (62% owned in Fantrax leagues)

Type of keeper: One-time points league keeper… but no longer

There is a fine line between being a fantasy stud and a healthy scratch when you're both a power-play specialist and a defensive liability. Gostisbehere has experienced both sides of it, as he has ridden the waves of both a 65-point season (2017-18) and a 23-point pace (2019-20). That massive decline in production has also been noticeable in the category that he is most known for – power-play points. Ghost tied for the league lead with 33 PPP in his 2017-18 career season, but he sunk to just 5 PPP in 2019-20.

It won't get any easier for Ghost in 2020-21. The Flyers added another power-play specialist this offseason in Erik Gustafsson, who has been used on the first unit in both Chicago and Calgary. Gostisbehere was a healthy scratch numerous times in 2019-20, so he had been bumped off the first-unit power-play by top-pairing d-man Ivan Provorov. Ghost could still end up on the second power-play unit, but his 5-on-5 play could dictate how often he is in the lineup.

Gostisbehere has fallen out of must-keep territory because of his declining returns over the last two seasons, as well as the unpredictability of the healthy scratches. That's unfortunate, especially if you've paid a significant price to obtain him. A trade from Philadelphia would probably help his value, but his contract (three more years at $4.5 million per) makes it extremely difficult for the Flyers to do. It's worth mentioning that the Flyers have reportedly been trying to shop him, as he might be better off with a fresh start somewhere else. 

Justin Faulk (52% owned in Fantrax leagues)

Type of keeper: One-time roto league keeper… but no longer

During his Carolina days, I often targeted Faulk in multicategory leagues because of his ability to pile up stats in multiple categories, including goals, assists, power-play points, shots, and hits (remember that season when he scored 12 power-play GOALS?) For that reason, Faulk has traditionally had much more value in roto leagues than in points-only leagues. Over the past few seasons and particularly with the move from Carolina to St. Louis, his value in both types of leagues has declined.

In his first season with the Blues, Faulk finished with a career-low 0.23 PTS/GP, which amounted to just 16 points in 69 games. Faulk also failed to finish with 200 shots for the firs