Geek of the Week: Rising Up Part 1

by Scott Maran on October 7, 2018


Throughout most of September we had been taking a look at players that DobberHockey had projected to fall down the rankings. But what about the players projected to increase in value? Here I’ll be taking a look at players who are looking to bounce back this season and improve on the value they provided last season. All projections are based on a standard 12-team Yahoo league measuring goals, assists, shots on goal, power-play points, and hits.

William Nylander (2017-18: 178th, 2018-19 projected: 87th)
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

2017-18

172

-4

82

20

41

184

12

21

2018-19

141

-2

75

19

41

175

21

22


His current contract situation aside, William Nylander only provided the 172nd most fantasy value last year according to Fantasy Hockey Geek. Despite tying for the 66th most points in the NHL, Nylander’s lack of hits and power-play points hurt his potential value, as it didn’t make him stand out amongst the other players who fell in a similar point range. Players scoring around 55 points with almost no peripherals are a dime a dozen, and even though Nylander is superbly talented, that didn’t really translate into great fantasy value. His average shot rate didn’t help either, as he finished outside the top 100 in most shots by NHL skaters. In leagues that record stats other than goals and assists, owning Nylander was nothing special.

There are plenty of promising signs for a surge in value though. First, there’s the obvious expectation of a breakout season. An extremely talented 21-year-old on a team surrounded by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and more has tons of potential, so expecting to see an increasing in his counting stats is very reasonable. But secondly, Nylander’s high even-strength totals and low power-play points give him an easy path to boost his power-play point totals and in turn his fantasy value. Even if we don’t project Nylander to finish with a large increase in points, his fantasy value will still significantly increase from the power-play points alone.

Based on DobberHockey’s projections, Nylander can rise 31 spots up the rankings compared to last year if he posts 21 power-play points. That’s not an insignificant jump, but for a top-six forward it’s far from an unreasonable amount. If Nylander scored 21 power-play points last season, that would have only been tied for the 53rd most by any NHLer skater. If Kyle Okposo and Mika Zibanejad can record 21 power-play points, it should definitely be in reach for Nylander. This season may be the year where Nylander’s fantasy value finally starts approaching his real-life value.

Cam Atkinson (2017-18: 182nd, 2018-19 projected: 81st)
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

2017-18

182

-7

65

24

22

231

10

32

2018-19

81

16

76

30

32

232

22

37


The only reason Cam Atkinson found his way on this list is because of a fractured foot that caused him to miss a significant number of games. If he played in a full 82 games, he would have certainly posted a much higher FHG Value. But even in the 65 games he did suit up for, Atkinson followed up his career year with another solid performance. His 24 goals and 22 assists would have put him on pace for 58 points in a full season and his average shots per game were the highest it’s ever been in his career. Now that he’s proven that he’s not just a one-hit wonder, expect another solid year from Atkinson in the 2018-19 season.

JT Miller (2017-18: 89th, 2018-19 projected: 48th)
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

2017-18

89

15

82

23

35

143

18

124

2018-19

48

36

82

27

45

137

25

133


The big winner from a fantasy standpoint from last year’s Ryan McDonagh trade had to be JT Miller, as he’s now in the best position to produce offensively in his career. While the Rangers were never as bad as they were towards the end of last season throughout Miller’s career, up until this point he had never got the chance to play with legitimate superstars. That all changes with Tampa now though, with Miller getting an opportunity to play alongside Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. This alone should do wonders to his fantasy value, as we saw Miller’s offensive potential in limited action with the Lightning. In only 19 regular season games Miller posted 10 goals and eight assists. While he won’t continue shooting 22.2% with Tampa, we saw with Vladislav Namestnikov that playing with Kucherov and Stamkos has its perks.

Last year Miller already provided a lot of value, ranking as the 89th most valuable forward according to Fantasy Hockey Geek. But on the Lightning, DobberHockey projects Miller to rise all the way up to 48th overall, finishing with 72 points in the season. And that’s with Miller only finishing with 137 shots. Even though his three-year average has been 136 per season, Miller averaged 2.38 shots per game in his brief 19 game stint with the Lightning last year. If he can keep up that pace throughout the season with his new team, he should end up with closer to 200 shots, only increasing his value further.