Geek of the Week: Unsung Heroes in Fantasy Hockey

Scott Royce

2021-12-05

Hello again everybody. Hope you all had strong fantasy hockey weeks as we turned the calendar over to December this week. This season feels like it's been zooming along fairly quickly thus far. The Leafs have really picked up their game lately as they sit atop the standings in the East, while out West, the Calgary Flames have been red hot as they have been turning a lot of heads with how they've performed thus far. 

While Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid continue to wreak havoc on opposing teams' defenses, this week I want to give some love to some of the unsung heroes. In roto leagues, you need to get contributions in all categories to field a competitive team that's worthy of winning the league title. Scoring can come in many forms, but finding players who can chip in with the extra peripheral stats like hits and blocked shots can be tricky.  This week I will highlight some great options to help bolster those all-important peripheral stats. Let's take a look!

Brandon Tanev

2021-22 Stats: 24 GP, 8 G, 5 A, 13 PTS, 42 Shots, 86 Hits, 14 Blocks, 14:50 ATOI

Tanev has been one of my go-to guys for a few seasons now in fantasy hockey. He's not flashy, he's not fancy, but provides value in multiple areas. I thought this year he may even breakout into something a bit more considering he is on a young expansion team in Seattle. While he is averaging his highest amount of ice time in his career (14:50), I thought he would maybe see closer to 16-17 minutes a game with a little bit of deployment on special teams.

Currently he only finds himself on the second penalty-killing unit outside of his normal five-on-five duties, but despite that, he makes the most of his time on the ice. He's already buried eight goals this season, which is a nice added bonus. Should he stay healthy I don't see why he couldn't finish the year with 20 goals and maybe 45 points. On its own, the offense isn't enough to warrant him a spot on your roster, but he brings a lot of other things to the table as well.

Tanev has always been known to be a gritty and physical player who isn't afraid to get in "the dirty areas". He has already racked up 86 hits this season which is over 3.5 per game. With most of your fantasy forwards, you are lucky to get one or maybe two. There aren't a ton of forwards that put up those kinds of hit numbers, and usually the ones that do aren’t able to offer you a 45-point upside to boot. 

Tanev is usually good for around one blocked shot per game, though this season he only has 14 through his first 24 contests. While his blocks are slightly down so far, his shot totals are actually the highest in his career so far. His 42 shots give him an average of 1.8 a game, and while that's not groundbreaking by any stretch, it's passable given the hits he gets you. The Kraken have been a curious case so far. While I don't think they will have a miracle run like the Golden Knights did in their inaugural season, I do think they can be a competitive team every night. Tanev is currently rostered in 50 percent of all Yahoo leagues, so there's a chance you could go out and scoop him up. He could be even more useful if his deployment improves over the course of the season, so keep an eye out for that.