Top 10 Big-Name Players to Cut Bait On

by Tom Collins on November 21, 2016

The Top 10 players your fantasy squad should cut bait on

 

One of the more popular type of columns that are written has to do with who you should pick up in your league. But rarely do we look at the other side of it: Who should you drop?

Some of the toughest decisions is deciding when you’ve had enough of a certain player. Sure, it’s easy to say that you should drop Matt Beleskey or Anton Slepyshev. But those are common sense. What happens when you have guys that are owned in the majority of pools, or a player with a proven track record? Those decisions are tougher.

Below you’ll find 10 players that you should be willing to drop now. It’s possible their season turns around, but it’s not worth waiting months to find out if you can get better production from another player. Keep in mind that I am focussing on one-year pools for this column, and not keeper pools. Some of these guys are still worthy of keeper spots. But in a one-year pool, there’s no need to hold on to them.

On to the list:

 

10. Dougie Hamilton

I really thought Hamilton could be a 50-point defenseman with the way he finished 2015-16 when he had 17 points in his last 21 games. But it’s starting to look like that was more of an aberration. Combining the rest of last season and this year, he has 35 points in 82 games. And that includes his three points from last night. Hamilton had zero points in his previous 10 games and now has a total of nine on the season. He's still very tradeable, so explore that option rather than go directly to 'drop' mode.

 

9. Jake Muzzin

This choice is for points-only pools. Muzzin owners were very optimistic going into this year after back-to-back 40-point seasons. But like most of the Kings, Muzzin has been a great disappointment. He’s on pace for just 12 points. He still has some value depending on your league settings. He’s on pace for 201 shots, 180 hits and 139 blocked shots. But he’s no longer playing regularly with Drew Doughty at even strength or on the power play.

 

8. Jaroslav Halak

I practice what I preach. I dropped Halak last week in my Yahoo pool — we count wins, losses, goals against, saves and shutouts — and picked up Peter Budaj instead. Halak has just been too awful this year to worry about starting. Granted the whole Islanders team has been horrible. But Halak is supposed to stop pucks. He has a 3.08 GAA, a .905 save percentage and plenty of trade rumours.

 

7. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

He’s only 23 years old, but we should realize by now that RNH will never live up to the billing of a #1 pick. This year he’s on pace for 35 points. His ice time is down about 1:22 a game from a year ago. He’s not used on the top power play and his most frequent line mates are Zack Kassian and Benoit Pouliot.

 

6. Evander Kane

Kane’s poor points total has always been acceptable because he’s been so good in other peripherals. But not this year. He’s on pace for just 10 points and a minus-61, 101 PIM, 132 shots and 162 hits. This is his worst per-game for all those stats. Maybe his numbers improve once guys like Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly are fully healthy. But you never want to rely on a player who needs other players to produce.

 

5. Bobby Ryan

Ryan was droppable before he broke his finger last Thursday night. He simply isn’t worth the headaches in most leagues. He’s on pace for 157 shots, 14 goals, 14 assists and 10 power play points. He’s had no chemistry with Derick Brassard, who was brought in specifically to play with Ryan. And now he’s injured. It’s even worse in cap leagues where his $7.25-million cap hit is one of the worst.

 

4. Loui Eriksson

There were a lot of GMs out there who desperately believed that Eriksson could repeat his numbers from last season. But the numbers could never back that up. Now Eriksson is on pace for just 13 goals, 30 points, a minus-30, nine power play points and a minus-30. There are so many better options out there. You would get the same value out of Michael Ferland, but Ferland would help you with hits. Also worth noting is that Eriksson played with Markus Granlund and Michael Chaput for most of the game on Saturday, and he also played on the second power play unit, away from the Sedin twins.

 

3. Tomas Plekanec

Despite being a Montreal fan, I’ve never been a huge fan of Pleks. He has a tendency to take bad angle shots, needs great-to-elite linemates to pad his point totals and isn’t a great faceoff guy. He also plays centre, so there are plenty of better options out there. This year Plekanec has just one goal and five points in 19 games despite playing mostly with Alexander Radulov, Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher. He’s also been taken off the power play, having no power play time in Saturday night’s game against the Leafs and has only played two minutes with the man advantage in the last five games combined.

 

2. Brian Elliott

I don’t know what you want out of a number one goalie, but Brian Elliott certainly isn’t it. He’s won just three of 11 games this year, has a 3.36 GAA and a 0.882 save percentage. He’s only have four quality starts this year. And he hasn’t played in the four three games as Chad Johnson is showing to be a more capable goalie. Look for Johnson to steal more starts from here on in. It doesn’t look good for Elliott.

 

1. Marc-Andre Fleury

It’s a little surprising that Fleury is still owned in 85 per cent of Yahoo leagues. That’s a lot of poolies holding on to a backup goalie. This is where you need to remember that this column isn’t for keeper leagues. Fleury will probably be a number one goalie next year somewhere, either in Las Vegas or Dallas. But for this year, he’s a backup. He’s started just three of the last 10 games and two of those starts were when the Pens played back-to-back. He’s not worth keeping in one-year leagues.