Geek of the Week: Justin Faulk

by Scott Maran on October 9, 2016

Don't shy away from Justin Faulk just because he plays for Carolina.

After doing mock draft after mock draft (after mock draft) to prepare for one of my upcoming fantasy drafts, I started to find myself selecting the same player over and over again. This year especially I’ve been looking to draft a few high-quality defensemen in the middle rounds, but repeatedly found myself selecting Justin Faulk. I’m a big Faulk fan and think he’ll have another good year. But I decided to look closer into him, finding out just how much value he really has.

Plugging in the numbers to my trusty Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, I first looked at Faulk’s value in an average 12-team H2H Yahoo league measuring G, A, PPP, SOG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA, and SO (using Dobber’s projections).
 

 

FHG Rank

Yahoo! Rank

Fantrax ADP

G

A

PPP

SOG

HITS

Sidney Crosby

11

3

4

34

50

29

252

62

Drew Doughty

12

43

48

13

38

20

249

136

Justin Faulk

13

83

90

16

33

20

253

137

John Tavares

14

12

15

36

43

28

271

53

Joe Pavelski

15

10

22

36

38

26

220

123


Despite playing for an offensively anemic Hurricanes team, Faulk is projected to provide the 13th most value out of all skaters in the NHL. Ahead of big names like John Tavares and Joe Pavelski, Faulk provides sneaky good value. Scoring 16 goals and 37 points in only 64 games last year, Faulk would have averaged a whopping 21 goals and 47 points if he played a full season. Not to mention Faulk averaged around three shots a game, dominated on the Hurricanes’ power play, and put up decent hit totals. But despite such great value, Faulk’s average draft position remains surprisingly low. In Yahoo he is only ranked 83rd overall, while in Fantrax he is drafted on average in an even lower spot of 90th overall.

Even though Faulk is still young (he’s only 24 years old), he already has five NHL seasons under his belt and is thought of as one of the premier offensive defensemen in the league. Named as an All-Star for the past two years in a row, Faulk also scored the 12th most points by a defender two seasons ago, tallying 15 goals and 34 assists. So why would Faulk be so undervalued?

I think it has to do with a combination of being on such a low-scoring team and having such atrocious plus/minus numbers. Over the past two years, the Carolina Hurricanes have only scored the 27th most goals in the league in each season, being one of only six teams to fail to record over 200 goals each year. While the Hurricanes did add Teuvo Teravainen over the offseason, they also lost former captain Eric Staal and should once again be at the bottom of the league in terms of goals scored. Add that to the fact that Faulk has been a combined minus-41 over the past two seasons (second-worst in the entire league!) and you could see why some poolies might think Faulk isn’t worth selecting.

However, despite producing at an elite pace on a low-scoring team in the past, Faulk’s plus/minus numbers should be a cause for concern. Heading back to the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, I took a look at what Faulk’s value would be if plus/minus were a category in our fantasy league.
 

 

FHG Rank

Yahoo! Rank

Fantrax ADP

G

A

PPP

SOG

HITS

+/-

Roman Josi

15

57

40

14

47

24

189

58

20

John Tavares

16

12

15

36

43

28

271

53

20

Justin Faulk

17

83

90

16

33

20

253

137

-10

Filip Forsberg

18

49

46

32

37

24

269

111

10

John Carlson

19

56

49

12

43

22

210

70

20


Using Dobber’s projections of Faulk registering a -10 on the season, Faulk still manages to provide the 17th most value out of all skaters. But what if Faulk’s plus/minus numbers don’t improve to a -10?
 

 

FHG Rank

G

A

PPP

SOG

HITS

+/-

Justin Faulk

17

16

33

20

253

137

-10

Justin Faulk – What If

21

16

33

20

253

137

-20


Even if Faulk’s plus/minus doesn’t improve and he finishes somewhere in the minus-20s, he still provides around top-20 value. At around the seventh round in your draft, Faulk could make a great pick for your fantasy team and provide plenty of value to your squad.

To identify more players with great value in your specific league settings, check out Fantasy Hockey Geek to generate custom rankings tailored for you.  Even better, use the Draft Guru tool (included with the Draft Kit) to get advice on the best players available after each and every pick to absolutely dominate your draft.   Head to the Dobber Sports Shop and pick it up today!