We’re at the halfway point of the season, and by now, you’ve probably had to deal with some sore points on your roster.
Thanks to injuries or a tough season, you’ve had players that are struggling and you’re fed up with waiting for them to finally come through. So, you’ve been scouring the waiver wire looking for a player that helps turn your misfortunes around. Well, you’re in luck. There are still plenty of options out there that can help you in your quest for a championship.
Below are 10 players who are owned in less than 30 per cent of Yahoo fantasy leagues as of yesterday that are either in the middle of a hot streak or have the potential to go on one.
10. Oliver Bjorkstrand, 16 percent owned
It's not too often that one would make the recommendation to grab a player who is on the IR, but if you have a spot on your injured reserve list, it could be a smart move. That way, you pick up Bjorkstrand, stash him on your IR and then pick up another player until Bjorkstrand starts playing again later this month. Before he went down with a back injury, his power-play time was a minute higher per game than last year, and his overall ice time was up almost five minutes a night. He had 23 points in 36 games and was on pace for 27 goals – and he tallied 17 points in 17 games prior to suffering the injury. He was also on pace for almost 280 shots, which would have crushed his career high of 163.
9. Craig Smith, 12 percent
Smith is one of those guys you pick up to take advantage of a hot streak. Before Sunday night’s game against Anaheim, Smith had six goals and nine points in his last nine games to go along with a plus-five, 16 PIM and 34 shots. However, his ice time is still hovering around 11 minutes a night and he gets a minute of power-play time per game, so know this hot streak can cool down quickly. If you decide to pluck Smith off the waiver wire, just be ready to drop him as soon as that cold streak begins.
8. Ben Chiarot, 26 percent
If it's peripheral categories you are missing, then Chiarot is your man. Playing with Shea Weber on the top defensive unit, Chiarot’s ice time is five minutes higher per night than a year ago and he’s played at least 25 minutes a night in 12 of his last 17 games. In 42 games this year, he has 27 PIM, 87 shots, 106 hits and 79 blocked shots, to go along with a plus-5. He’s going to remain in his spot alongside Weber, so it’s safe to assume he’s going to finish with 150 shots, 200 hits and 150 blocked shots.
7. Nick Suzuki, 11 percent
Sukuzi has nine points in his last eight games, but let’s focus on his ice time. Thanks to the injuries in Montreal, Suzuki has been getting plenty of playing, playing 20 minutes in each of his last four games. He's also been getting more power-play time as well. As long as he is on the top like with Max Domi, he should be rostered. However, while it remains to be seen where Ilya Kovalchuk is going to fit into this team, he shouldn’t be a threat to Suzuki’s spot.
6. Jake Virtanen, 13 percent
I will admit that I was one of those who never believed that Virtanen would ever be a decent fantasy option, especially after a poor world Juniors in 2016. Virtanen has been awesome, especially over the last month. In his last 17 games, he has six goals, 15 points, 10 PIM, 34 shots, five power-play points and 30 hits. The power-play points are high considering he only averages one minute per night with the man advantage, but ride the hot hand while you can.
5. Tanner Pearson, 29 percent
Is there anyone more underrated in fantasy hockey right now than Pearson? Pearson has 24 points in his last 24 games, and he’s never gone three games without a point. That’s a crazy, and consistent, hot streak that more fantasy hockey general managers should be taking advantage of. During the 24 games, Pearson also has 50 shots, seven power-play points and 38 hits. He’s played mostly with Bo Horvat and is averaging just over 16 minutes per night. He also has seven power-play points despite averaging just 1:29 with the man advantage.
4. Christian Dvorak, 20 percent
It feels like Dvorak is just on the cusp of being the next big fantasy surprise. Since Taylor Hall has moved to Arizona, Dvorak has been on the ice for about 88 per cent of Hall’s five-on-five ice time. Dvorak hasn’t been able to capitalize, with just two goals and four points in those nine games, but he has taken 25 shots. He’s also been on the top power-play unit during those games as well. With that usage, it’s just a matter of time before he breaks out.
3. Chandler Stephenson, two percent
A week ago, he was at zero per cent owned, so at least a couple of people are starting to take notice of what he can do now that is in Vegas. Since he was traded to the Golden Knights at the start of December, he has five goals, nine points, plus-11, eight PIM, 19 shots and 17 hits in 16 games. More importantly, he is playing with Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty and is having success there. He is also one of the few players that has triple eligibility and can slot in as a centre, right wing or left wing in Yahoo leagues.
2. Zach Hyman, 24 percent
There are plenty of reasons to trust Hyman’s recent hot streak, which has seen him post eight goals and 13 points in his last 15 games. To start, if he’s not on a line with John Tavares and Mitchell Marner, he’s on a line with Auston Matthews. He’s shooting the puck quite often, with 38 shots in those 15 games. He’s also averaging just under 19 minutes a night. The only thing possibly holding him back is the lack of power-play time.
1. Elvis Merzlikins, 26 percent
A week ago, Merzlikins was owned in just two percent of Yahoo pools. Thanks to an injury to Joonas Korpisalo, that has been bumped up to 26 per cent. He's been excellent since becoming the number one guy, but it's only been three games, so it's a small sample size. Columbus is playing some weaker teams this week (against the Kings, Ducks and Sharks), and has four games in the next six days, so he’ll probably play three games this week. If he continues to do well, he could steal Korpisalo’s number one spot
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