We’re only a few games into the season, and already there are many fantasy general managers who are sweating the slow starts by some of their players.
Of course, you would never be one to panic. However, this is a good time to take advantage of those who are and making a low-ball offer to see what you can get away with.
One key takeaway from this column is that so much can happen in one game that will completely change how you look at a player. A player with one point in four games can get a hat trick and an assist in his next game and all of a sudden is a point-per-game player. Your goal is to get that player before he has that four-point game.
10. P.K. Subban
Truthfully, you can make a list out of just New Jersey players. They’ve played five games, and Taylor Hall has three assists. Nikita Gusev has two goals, while Nico Hischier has two assists. Will Butcher and Jack Hughes are pointless, and Wayne Simmonds has just one point. Both MacKenzie Blackwood and Cory Schneider are winless, allowing 21 goals in five games combined. Subban’s one assist fits right in with a team that has yet to score a power-play goal. The Devils have a lot of new pieces, and it could take a few games before they start to form chemistry.
9. Phil Kessel
If you’re going to make an offer for Kessel, just realize what type of player you’re getting. In the pre-season, Yahoo had projected Kessel for 84 points and 40 power-play points. Yeah, you’re not getting that Phil Kessel. However, a 60-point Phil Kessel is easily attainable. After one point in his first four games, maybe an owner is wary of Kessel’s production and you can grab him for cheap.
A year ago, Barzal had a disappointing season (62 points after putting up 85 as a rookie the previous year), so there is some hope he can bounce back this year. However, a slow start may be frustrating some owners. He has zero goals and two assists in five games so far, and none of those have come with the man advantage. Even more frustrating is that he’s only averaged 1:12 of power-play time this season, and had zero minutes in the game Saturday night against Washington (although the Islanders had just one power play). After a poor season last year and a slow start this year, some have to be frustrated with Barzal. Now’s your time to pounce.
7. Nazem Kadri
Kadri owners breathe a sigh of relief on Saturday night when he scored his first point of the season against Arizona, but it must still sting that he has just the one point in four games. Much was expected of Kadri this season, with many hoping he could bounce back to a 60-point campaign. That could still be on the table, as Kadri is playing on the top power-play unit with some elite players. Thanks to all of the power plays Colorado has accrued in the first four games, Kadri is around 4:30 per game with the man advantage.
It makes sense that general managers may be a little quicker to drop Ghost considering the poor season he had last year, but you shouldn’t jump the gun quite yet. The Flyers have had a tough schedule to start the season. Their first game was in the Czech Republic, before flying back home for their home opener in Philly and then flying to Vancouver for a west-coast road trip. That’s a lot of travel miles for three games into the season. Gostisbehere is still the main option with the power-play, but you may need to wait until the Flyers can get a little rest before Gostisbehere starts to rebound.
5. Timo Meier
If your league counts peripherals, Meier’s slow start hasn’t been that bad. Heading into Sunday night’s game, he was on pace for 262 shots and 148 hits. However, zero goals and one assist looked awful. Scoring a goal Sunday night will help calm some owners. Aside from the shot totals, there are plenty of good signs you can count on him to rebound. Even though he’s on the second power-play unit, San Jose has had so many opportunities that Meier’s ice time with the man advantage is almost a full minute higher than last season, while his overall ice time is almost two minutes higher. He’s getting the opportunities, he’s just not getting the production.
4. Martin Jones
Jones is not a great option in leagues that count anything more than wins, but he’s been a big disappointment so far this season in all leagues. Going into Sunday night’s game against the Calgary Flames, Jones was winless in three starts to go along with a 4.55 GAA and a 0.854 SV %. If you came into the season in a points-only pool expecting San Jose to be a powerhouse and haven’t wavered from that, then Jones is a good pick-up. Like Meier, the price to acquire Jones may be a little bit higher after the Calgary game, but there is still a buy-low opportunity.
Florida was a sexy pre-season pick to be playoff-bound, thanks to hiring coach Joel Quenneville and signing goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Bob has been off to a slow start however, with one win in four games to go along with a 3.87 GAA and 0.882 SV %. If you’re a Bobrovsky owner, there’s no need to panic. October has historically been his worst month. For his career, he has a 30-32-2 record with .906 SV % and 2.86 GAA in October. Compare that to November, when he has a 48-22-8 record with a .924 SV % and 2.27 GAA. This is the time to jump on Bobrovsky owners to snag a number one netminder that will get better as the season goes on.
One of the reasons why Klingberg has been such a great fantasy option over the years is the fact that he is Mr. Consistency. You can count on a minimum 50-point pace from Klingberg. That hasn’t happened this year, as he has just one point in six games, a 14-point pace. There’s no way you should expect Klingberg from finishing the season with just 14 points. He’s still averaging almost 25 minutes a game and almost four minutes on the power play. Many Dallas players have struggled this season, but you can count on a bounce-back for almost all of them.
Fresh off a monster new contract (thanks to the Montreal Canadiens), Aho has had an awful start to the season, with only one empty-net goal and zero assists in six games. Outside of shots (he already has 25), he hasn’t contributed anything to your fantasy squad. Worst still, he’s now on the second power-play unit, which is leading to a full minute less per game of power-play time. This start is the complete opposite of last season, when he picked up points (17 total) in his first 12 games. It would be tough to get Aho, but this will be your best opportunity.
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