Fantasy Top-10: Players With a Tight Projection Range

by Tom Collins on October 1, 2018

 

Forecasts are a funny thing. You look at so many players and so many projections, and you have to judge which ones you want to believe.

Then there are players where it doesn’t matter what you believe, they all predict the same thing.

Last week, we looked at 10 players who have wide-ranging projections. This week, I thought we would look at the flip side and see who the experts are all predicting the same things from.

I looked at 272 players from 13 forecasters. Of those 272, 31 players had a range of 10 points or less.

 

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It would be easy if I was just looking at players that were expecting to get 15 points as there won’t be much variance there. However, the players on this list are fantasy-relevant players who will be drafted in almost every pool. 

Below are the top 10 players with the lowest-ranging projections. The number after the name is the difference between the maximum and minimum projections of the 13 forecasts I looked at.

 

10. Paul Stastny: 8-point difference in projections

Stastny was one player who I thought was going to be all over the map. He’s going to a new team, and sometimes people fall in love with the romantic idea that a new team automatically means huge success. (Forget about the effect of playing with Max Pacioretty, as Dobber's was the only guide that would have been updated after that deal went down.) However, the experts were probably looking at recent history. In five of the past seven seasons, Stastny has produced 0.6 to 0.67 points per game. This year, eight of 13 experts are expecting him to reach that 0.6 points-per-game mark (about 49 points).

 

9. Mattias Ekholm: 6

Of all 272 players, Ekholm was the only player to have a points projection ranged of six points or less. The projections range from 29 to 35. Only one forecaster had him at 35 and none had him at 34. Remove that higher one, and the range actually drops to four. Which is really insane. It will be fun at the end of the season to see if the prognosticators got this one right.

 

8. Kevin Shattenkirk: 7

The prognosticators are saying Shattenkirk will score between 38 to 45 points. At about the halfway point of this season, all these projections will look completely off base as Shattenkirk will be on pace for 55-60 points. However, this has been his M.O. for years, a hot first half followed by a massive regression in the last 40 games.

 

7. Oscar Klefbom: 8

The prognosticators aren’t as high on Klefbom as I am. No one projects Klefbom to reach 40 points this year. In fact, the majority of projections have him finishing in the low-30s. Most forecasts would have been released before training camp and Evan Bouchard making the Oilers. Even with Bouchard on the team, Klefbom will get first — and numerous — cracks at being the Oilers’ top power play quarterback. 

 

6. Viktor Ardvisson, 9

A few weeks ago, I listed the top 10 most-likely under-the-radar players to reach 70 points for the first time. In the comments, I briefly mentioned that Nashville was tough to peg as no one ever gets 70 points on that squad (only three players have ever done it, and none since 2007-08). That could be why the experts all have Ardvisson finishing somewhere between 55 to 64 points. Or maybe it’s the two straight seasons of 61 points.

 

5. Roman Josi: 8

Forecasters have him in that late 40s/early 50s point-production numbers. Looking at Josi’s numbers, you can see a big shift in the past two seasons. I’m not sure if it is a coincidence, but since P.K. Subban arrived, Josi’s numbers have declined. In the two years pre-Subban, Josi had 55 and 61 points. In two years post-Subban, he’s had 49 and 53 while his power play production has decreased as well. Even his blocked shots are down significantly. However, in the last two years, his shots have also raised considerably from 201 and 198 pre-P.K. to 217 and 253 after.

 

4. Shayne Gostisbehere: 9

It’s kind of funny the short memories fantasy hockey general managers can have sometimes. This time a year ago, people were concerned about Ghost after a subpar sophomore season, concerned if he would be usurped by Ivan Provorov. Then he finished fourth in defensemen scoring and all of a sudden, poolies are high on him again. Only one projection has Ghost finishing with 65 points again, but everyone else is pretty close.

 

3. Mike Hoffman: 8

It’s interesting that Hoffman’s projections are all so tight together considering how all over the map the rest of the Panthers’ forwards are. A lot of that has to do with the team’s power play, as no one seems sure how it is going to break out. In fact, as Ian Gooding mentioned in the Sunday ramblings, the Panthers experimented with a five-forward power play in the preseason and say they might try it again. Hoffman slotted on the first or second power-play unit will play a big role in his points total, but everyone seems to be predicting between 54 and 62 points for the former Sen.

 

2. Mikael Granlund: 8

While only a couple of predictions has Granlund hitting a career high of at least 70 points (including Dobber), everyone seems to believe that he’ll once again be close to what he’s averaged the last couple of years. And with good reason. Granlund gets top-line minutes and is productive on the Wild’s top power play. My biggest concern with his is that he doesn’t shoot the puck enough and doesn’t play with elite linemates.

 

1. Auston Matthews: 9

This is the one that surprised me the most. In general, elite players will have wide-ranging projections as there will be a few that will invariably go crazy with too high a guess, or want to buck a trend and go too low. That’s how you wind up with Evgeny Kuznetsov having a point range of 33. Matthews is on the other end of the scale. Everyone is projecting Matthews to hit a career high, but Dobber and TSN’s Scott Cullen show the most restraint with 77 points. It amazes me that someone didn’t have Matthews at 90 points considering how hyped the Leafs offense has been this summer.