Geek of the Week: Matt Dumba

by Scott Maran on December 16, 2018


When you think of the Minnesota Wild, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise come first to mind, especially with the seasons they’ve been having this year. Then usually pops into mind one of Mikael Granlund or Nino Niederreiter, two of the Wild’s top forwards. Yet the real fantasy superstar on the team this year is Matt Dumba, as he’s quietly risen up the ranks to become one of the most valuable fantasy players you can own in multicategory leagues.

Drafted seventh overall and regarded as a top defensive prospect when selected, Dumba started paying dividends for owners in the 2016-17 season. He posted a modest 34 points in 76 games to give him the 108th 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

Johnny Gaudreau

107

13

72

18

43

182

16

9

Matt Dumba

108

13

76

11

23

131

12

96

Boone Jenner

109

13

82

18

16

211

1

216


Despite only recording the 45th most points by a defender that season, Dumba managed to provide just as much value as forwards like Ryan O’Reilly and Johnny Gaudreau. His shots on goal totals weren’t particularly great (yet) but it was clear that a large chunk of Dumba’s value in the future would be coming from his excellence in hits and penalty minutes. Just a small boost to his point totals would easily push him over the edge and into the top 100.

It wouldn’t even take a full year to see this come to fruition, as Dumba’s counting totals exploded in the following season. With 14 goals and 36 assists, Dumba brought in the 48th most fantasy value out of all skaters.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Brayden Schenn

47

38

82

28

42

210

19

154

Matt Dumba

48

37

82

14

36

176

12

136

Alexander Radulov

49

37

82

27

45

217

23

77


But even besides his points, Dumba managed to significantly increase his shots on goal and hit totals. His 176 shots were the 33rd most by any defender while his 136 hits were the 39th most.

With his combination of scoring and peripheral output, Dumba was ranked as one of the 20th best defenseman in fantasy hockey.

And this season he’s only managed to improve his pace, on track to finish with the sixth-most fantasy value out of all NHL skaters.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Brent Burns

5

77

33

4

27

105

12

29

Matt Dumba

6

76

31

12

10

93

12

60

John Carlson

7

74

30

5

30

76

16

20


Even after finishing with an at-the-time career high of 50 points, Dumba’s on track to surpass that with 22 points in 31 games (a 58-point pace). At the rate he’s going, he’s also on pace to shatter his career high in shots on goal, recording three shots per game (which would average out to 246 over 82 games). That’s tied for the sixth most by all defensemen this season, behind only Kris Letang, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Dougie Hamilton, and Roman Josi.

What’s catapulted Dumba to the best of the best though isn’t marginal improvements in categories he’s already excelled at. It’s his improvement in the only other category that he had been slacking in that’s made him a truly dominant fantasy force. Before this season, Matt Dumba was only seeing the third most average power-play ice time out of all Minnesota defensemen, behind Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon. This season, however, he’s finally getting time on the first unit and is seeing almost as much power-play time as Ryan Suter (passing Spurgeon on the depth chart). This has allowed his power-play points to flourish for the first time in his career, evidenced by the fact that he’s already matched his career high in less than half of the season.

Overall there’s not much to be concerned about with Dumba, as he’s consistently improved year after year by continuously upping his game in each category. His goal scoring pace will eventually slow down as his shooting percentage drops from the 13% it’s at now, but that drop in goal scoring could be offset by an expected increase in even-strength scoring (his four even-strength assists is far below his average rate). He’s not the highest scoring defender (or even the highest scoring player on his own team) but Dumba’s value across all categories makes him a force to reckon with in the fantasy world.

Editor’s note: Dumba is currently day to day with an injury after leaving Saturday’s game against Calgary after the first period (twincities.com).