Geek of the Week: Josh Anderson Has Big-Time Fantasy Value

by Scott Maran on January 20, 2019

 

In a season defined by the massive increase in scoring, those at the top of the leaderboards have dominated the deadlines. Yet there are plenty of players who have been making waves in the fantasy world through other means. Despite his seemingly modest production, Josh Anderson has grown to be a big-time fantasy producer in leagues that count peripherals like hits. He’s somewhat silently put up immense value this season and may have an even higher ceiling in years to come.

First, let’s look at the raw stats. Anderson grades out exceptionally well according to the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, providing the 30th most fantasy value out of all skaters (in an average 12-team Yahoo league measuring goals, assists, shots on goal, power play points, and hits).
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Brayden Point

29

51

47

29

31

121

20

22

Josh Anderson

30

50

47

15

7

127

2

119

Jack Eichel

31

50

44

16

34

177

13

38


In leagues counting plus/minus, he ranks even higher at 21st overall, right in between Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

HITS

Steven Stamkos

20

66

47

24

30

0

146

22

48

Josh Anderson

21

66

47

15

7

13

127

2

119

Sidney Crosby

22

66

43

20

36

18

125

14

50


Anderson’s excellent number of hits combined with his decent offense output puts him in a special group of players that can provide both points and peripherals. Out of all NHL players, Anderson’s 119 hits are the 21st most in the league. Yes, his point totals are a bit low compared to most high-valued forwards (153rd out of all forwards) but it’s balanced in part by his strong goal totals. His 15 goals are a much more respectable 74th most out of all forwards and put him on pace for 25 by the end of the season. Similarly, his low (basically non-existent) power-play totals are buffered by his above average shot metrics (53rd most shots in the league).

So why such a surge in value? Last year Anderson was only the 117th highest valued skater according to Fantasy Hockey Geek.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Leon Draisaitl

116

8

78

25

45

194

11

40

Josh Anderson

117

8

63

19

11

188

4

109

Mika Zibanejad

118

8

72

27

20

212

21

92


Anderson’s basically scoring at the exact same pace as last season, but what’s helping him a lot this year is the huge increase in scoring across the league as a whole. As points become easier to come by, it’s stats like shots on goal and hits that hold more potential. While there are over 40 players averaging a point-per-game, there are only six players in the league who have at least 100 hits and .30 goals per game. Players who can provide both a little bit of scoring while picking up the slack in relatively harder categories become more valuable.

Not to mention Anderson has seen his individual rate of peripherals go through the roof. In 16 less games Anderson has already surpassed his hit totals from last year and is on pace for 221 shots by the end of the season. We didn’t factor it into the Fantasy Hockey Geek analysis, but Anderson’s also kept his penalty minutes strong too, racking up 44 through 47 games this year.

Should we expect this to continue though? Is Anderson just getting lucky?

If anything, I’d bet on Anderson’s value increasing before it decreasing. Most of his value is fueled by contributions he has more control of (it’s easier for him to maintain a high rate of hits than an unsustainable amount of points). He’s also been able to do this by scoring at a perfectly sustainable rate with less-than-ideal linemates and very little power-play production.

He has been situated in a spot in the Blue Jackets’ top-six (averaging 16 minutes of ice time per game), but most of that ice time has been spent on the second line with Nick Foligno and Boone Jenner. They’re both two perfectly fine players, but I don’t think anyone would mistake them for Artemi Panarin or Cam Atkinson. A total of 45 percent of Anderson’s even-strength ice time has been with that line, while in comparison only 4 percent of his even-strength ice time has come with Panarin. If Anderson were to ever be put in a better scoring role, we could see his value really take off.

Coincidentally, look which big-name Blue Jackets’ forward is becoming an unrestricted free agent next season. Things can easily change in the coming months, but if Artemi Panarin really does leave the club, it could create a huge hole that Anderson could in part fill. And if Anderson doesn’t get that opportunity, you should still be more than happy receiving the value that he’s currently providing.

Overall, jump on the Anderson train while you still can. This is across all possible leagues (so including formats where he probably shouldn’t be owned) but Anderson is only owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues and 54 percent of Fantrax leagues. If you can manage the slight sacrifice in points, Anderson can provide significant value across all the other common categories.

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