Geek of the Week – Jason Demers

by Terry Campkin on November 15, 2015

With John Klingberg likely unavailable in your fantasy league, there's another Stars' d-man that you can turn to.

In most leagues, finding enough quality defensemen to fill out the D slots on your roster can be one of the hardest things to do over the course of the season. Usually you can get one or two good scoring defencemen relatively easily, but by the time you get to your fourth (or even fifth and sixth) D slots, the pickings can be very slim – there just aren’t enough scoring D out there. Today I am going to talk about a potential up-and-coming rearguard playing for the Stars. No, I don’t mean the obvious fantasy darling John Klingberg … I mean perennial waiver-wire rider Jason Demers.

Jason Demers has always been a borderline fantasy player with some upside, but he has never cracked 40 points, and in fact only broken the 30-point barrier once, in 2013-14. In that season he started to get some opportunities with the Sharks and actually went through a stint in late December to March where he scored 19 points in 30 games (a 52-point season pace). That outburst started to look like a flash in the pan when Demers started the next season with only three points in 20 games and Demers was jettisoned out of San Jose for another former Geek of the Week, Brenden Dillon.

This season, Demers has started off hot with 10 points in 15 games (55-point pace), but he is still unowned in about half of all Yahoo! leagues. Let’s run a Yahoo! standard league (12 teams, 2 RW, 2 LW, 2 C, 4 D, measuring G, A, +/-, PPP, PIM, SOG) in Fantasy Hockey Geek and see where Demers stands:

Rank

Player

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

28

Torey Krug

0

10

0

10

39

6

29

Jason Demers

4

6

7

19

24

2

30

Ryan Suter

2

12

1

6

30

5

 

As you can see, Demers is currently the 29th most valuable player in the entire league amongst other large name defencemen, which is even more impressive when you consider that he missed two games of production due to suspension. Looking inside the numbers, it isn’t hard to see why Demers is helping his fantasy owners so much.

The aforementioned 55-point pace is great if not elite. Only six NHL defencemen had 55 points or more last season. It is debatable whether or not he can keep up that pace (more on that later), but his current production is helping his value skyrocket.

Demers’ value is also being inflated by his current +7 rating which is currently bettered by only 11 NHL defencemen.

The final thing that is helping Demers’ value is his peripherals. With 24 shots in 15 games, he is on a 131-shot pace which is decent for a defenceman, and with 19 penalty minutes in 15 games he is contributing there as well. I was skeptical about the penalty minutes because I don’t remember Demers being a big penalty minute guy with San Jose, and I know he racked up a bunch in one game this season. But looking back since his trade to the Stars, Demers has 82 penalty minutes in 76 games…or about a penalty minute per game, which is good output for a productive defenceman and a large enough sample size to make me a believer.

So why is Demers only owned in 53 percent of Yahoo! leagues? My guess is that it’s just a team perception effect. Casual fantasy players out there just don’t think of Dallas the way they do a Pittsburgh yet, despite the fact that the Stars have almost doubled the Penguins in scoring this year. My hypothesis is backed up by the fact that Olli Maatta (with his four points) is currently more widely owned than Demers. If Demers played for the Penguins, I believe that the public would be MUCH quicker to react to his outburst. Yet since he is on Dallas, a lot of people have yet to catch on. Make no mistake, though, this Dallas offence is for real. They are going to put a ton of pucks in the net this year, and Demers will have a career year because of it.

I won’t get too crazy with Demers, as he is sure to slow down from his current pace. His four goals come with a shooting percentage that is about triple his career average. Also when you consider that his career high is +19 and that no defenceman in the NHL did better than +27 last season, it would not be fair to assume that Demers can keep up his current pace which would put him at +38 by year’s end. I do believe his current shot and penalty minute rate to be sustainable and I do believe in Dallas as a top-notch offensive squad. So what does that mean for Demers? I put my personal 82 game outlook into the what-if tool on Fantasy Hockey Geek to find out:

Rank

Player

G

A

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

33

Jason Demers – What If?

9

33

20

80

131

11

 

I have Demers for 42 points and 80 penalty minutes. Entering that into FHG’s what-if tool, you can see that achieving those stats in a league of this format would put Demers as the 33rd most valuable player in the pool! These projections are my own and you may not agree with them. But if I am correct, Demers’ solid production from the backend combined with his ability to chip in with penalty minutes from time to time would put his value higher than rearguards like Brent Seabrook, Matt Niskanen and Mark Streit – all of whom are more widely owned than Demers.

Jason Demers is really starting to come into his own, playing a larger role on a Stars team with a blossoming offence. FHG shows us that Demers’ well-rounded nature makes him a player with very high fantasy potential. Act today and take advantage of that potential before it’s too late. If he is on your waiver wire, you need to snatch him up immediately, but if you are in a league where he is already owned, see if you can get him on the cheap since your opponent likely didn’t give up much themselves to acquire Demers. I would send out offers for Demers as though he were about the 80th-90th best player in the pool and hope to gain some of the upside upon acquiring him. If you don’t agree with my projections which are admittedly bullish, then put your own Demers projections into the what-if tool on FHG and see what his value would look like…then use that information when formulating trade offers in your league.