At some point each season, you need to take stock of your fantasy team and try to figure out who isn’t going to work out anymore.
Now that we are two months into the season, we have a large enough sample size to get a good sense of which players just don’t have it this season. This doesn’t mean they are worthless in keeper pools, but in one-year leagues, it’s time to seriously consider whether these guys are worth even wasting a roster spot on.
While it is quite possible these guys can start to rebound, the numbers so far don’t look good. They are losing power-play ice time, dealing with multiple injuries or in the case of goaltenders, are losing starts.
Here are 10 players that will not rebound from their poor starts.
10. Robby Fabbri
Fabbri is frustrating to own because he spends so much time on the injured reserve list, but the main problem with Fabbri is that when he is healthy, there’s no guarantee he can get meaningful top-six minutes or consistent power-play time. Fabbri is again injured, but will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Plus, the Blues are such a mess that it’s tough to own any St. Louis player. If Fabbri comes back around Christmas, don’t be in a rush to pick him up off the waiver wire or to try to trade for him.
Is it safe to say that Eberle has been one of the most disappointing players of the last seven years? There have been others who have been more disappointing in various seasons, but Eberle consistently disappoints year after year. This year, Eberle has 13 points and is on pace for only 38. One factor working against him rebounding is his ice time. He has been under 15:30 of ice time in six of the Islanders’ last 10 games. It is important to note that his top power-play spot hasn’t changed, but he has no man-advantage points in the last 15 games.
Parayko is one of those players who everyone expects to break out every season, but it has yet to happen. Part of it is opportunity. He doesn’t get the top power-play minutes, and even when Alex Pietrangelo is removed from the number one unit, it’s Vince Dunn who goes into that spot. Parayko is still worth a spot in leagues that count hits and blocked shots, but is not a viable option in points-only pools.
7. Juuse Saros
The problem with Saros isn’t that he isn’t a good goalie; it’s that he won’t get enough games to work through his issues. He’s allowed at least three goals in eight of 13 games this year. Pekka Rinne is the best goalie in the league this year, and Saros hasn’t done anything to prove he deserves more games, meaning he won’t be stealing starts anytime soon. Even his career stats are showing he’s an average goalie.
6. Duncan Keith
At this stage, it’s a matter of how far you believe Keith can rebound. Last year he had 32 points and went scoreless for the first 57 games. This year, he’s on pace for 32 points and is scoreless in 31 games. In 15 games under Joel Quenneville, Keith had seven points, 27 shots, and averaged 22:45 minutes per game (2:34 on the power play). Under new head coach Jeremy Colliton, Keith has five points, 24 shots and is averaging 22:20 per game (1:11 on the power play). While everything is pretty much the same (and underwhelming), the worrying aspect is the decline in power-play time.
It’s hard to imagine many of the Kings’ players bouncing back. Even though Toffoli’s ice time is a career high and he’s a mainstay on the second power-play unit, many of underlying stats don’t paint a pretty picture. His shot rate is the lowest it’s been since he was a rookie in 2013-14, his offensive zone starts are down significantly and is his five-on-five shooting percentage is also down.
4. Jake DeBrusk
Many were hoping for big things from Debrusk this year, but it just hasn’t panned out. Michael Clifford did a great job explaining Debrusk’s season in Thursday’s ramblings. The Coles Notes version: He’s scoring goals, but not picking up assists. He’s also not picking up points on goals scored when he’s not on the ice. Finally, he’s not on the top power-play unit like many envisioned during the summer. When Patrice Bergeron went down with an injury on Nov. 16, Debrusk’s power-play time increased, but he hasn’t been able to pick up a power-play point in those 10 games. He also missed both games on the weekend with concussion syndromes.
The problem with owning Shattenkirk is that he is the prototypical first-half player before suffering a major second-half decline. With him struggling significantly so far in the first half, what can we expect after the all-star break? Let’s not forget that his overall ice time and power play time is down this season, making it difficult for him to rebound. His offensive-zone starts and shots per game are also down.
2. Jeff Carter
It’s always tough when a goal scorer starts to decline, because it is so abrupt. This season could be the first sign of that decline with the 33-year-old Carter. He is on pace for 16 goals, which would just barely eke out last year’s 13 goals. Of course, last year, he hit that amount in 27 games. His shot rate is also down, just under half a shot per game from last year. I mentioned this in the Toffoli section, but it would be best to stay from most Kings for the foreseeable future.
1. Matt Murray
Sure, Murray is on injured reserve, but even when he returns, you can’t trust him on any level. You can’t trust him to stay healthy (he’s missed time with at least nine different injuries since the 2016 playoffs). You also can’t trust him to get wins or put up decent numbers. Almost every stat (goals against average, save percentage, quality starts percentage, winning percentage, etc.) has gotten worse every single season. Maybe the injuries are taking a toll on Murray’s game. He now has a career 2.71 GAA and a .913 SV %.
- Ramblings: An Underrated Star Returns With a Bang, Goalie Controversy Thoughts, Kubalik Kontinues (Jan 20)
- Ramblings: Updates on Schultz and Kahun; Buchnevich; Bjork; scoring rates - January 21
- 21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles
- Top 10 Grit Producers
- Wild West: Post Christmas Trends
- Lining Up - Top lines this season
- Eastern Edge: Unprecedented hot streaks
- Fantasy Hockey Podcast: If You Danault, Now You Know