Looking Ahead: Kerfoot Moves To Top Line

by Adam Daly-Frey on March 1, 2019


All fantasy owners need help in the short term AND the long term. The Looking Ahead feature identifies one player to plug into lineups in the short term, a second to invest in for the long term, a third to bench for the coming week, and a fourth who will struggle to meet expectations for some time. All players discussed are selected based on their upcoming schedule.

Most stats updated through Wednesday, February 27

The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)

Alex Kerfoot, W, Colorado Avalanche (Available in 95 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With the Avs’ great schedule over the next two weeks, Alex Kerfoot is in a great position to contribute as a fill-in, and should be available in most leagues as he’s only 5% owned.

Kerfoot has been the beneficiary of Colorado splitting up “the Big 3”, as Kerfoot has slid into Gabriel Landeskog’s spot on the top line alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. In his past four games (since the switch), Kerfoot has put up 1G-3A with five shots on net, and has played two full minutes above his season average in those games. While it’s a small sample, Colorado grabbing points in all of those games bodes well for keeping the lines as they are, which means Kerfoot should hold value over the next few games. Beyond the top-line duties, he also slots into the second power-play unit.

The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)

Ryan Donato, W, Minnesota Wild (Available in 83 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – His ownership has already jumped 12% this week on the back of his six points (1G/5A in four games since getting traded to the Wild, but he’s still not owned nearly as much as he should be.

Donato’s playing top power-play minutes with Minnesota although only third line minutes at even strength, but he’s averaging 15:19 since the move, and he’s firing the puck a ton: 23 shot attempts already (5.75/game) with 11 getting to the net (2.75). While Donato’s true shooting talent probably isn’t the 20.1% he hit last year in his rookie campaign with Boston, it’s probably closer to the 12-15% he shot in college and the AHL than the 8.1% he’s hit in his 38 combined games this season.

He’s a prospect with a ton of pedigree given a great opportunity in Minnesota, and is a must-add in keeper leagues, and he should contribute greatly in one-year leagues (especially salary cap ones).

The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)

Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles Kings (Owned in 85 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Shooting 13.6% on the year – a full 1% higher than his career average – hasn’t been enough to make Kopitar relevant this season. He’s put up only 17G-27A on the year and is on pace for the second-worst season of his career after his best season last year.

Kopitar’s normally a possession darling but this season has a dismal 46.63% CorsiFor% and has been even worse at home at 44.91%, which is a decent signpost of the slow erosion in the quality of his play – this is a 10% drop over last season. At 31, Kopitar’s best years are behind him, but on a dismal Los Angeles team that’s got nowhere near the star power of earlier seasons, that degradation has happened a lot quicker than expected. He’s still a fantasy asset, but keeper owners should definitely be rid of him and season-long owners should keep him to the side with the light schedule the Kings have upcoming.

The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)

Alex Tuch, W, Vegas Golden Knights (Owned in 35 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The addition of Mark Stone to the Golden Knights is a great hockey move, but it’s a heavy price for Alex Tuch owners as Tuch’s value has plummeted post-trade. Tuch went from playing on a second line with Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty (or Brandon Pirri) and top power-play minutes, to the second PP unit and the third line with Cody Eakin and a revolving door of wingers.

In his time away from Stastny at 5v5 (433m without vs. 339m with), Tuch sees a noticeable drop in his shot attempt rate, shot on goal rate, scoring chance rate, and high-danger chance rate – although the on-ice shooting percentage goes up, so his actual GF/60 rate drops slightly. With 24 of Tuch’s 43 points coming with one of Stastny or Pacioretty, his role change is more impactful than for most players. With so many of Vegas’ wingers signed long-term, consider moving Tuch in keepers if you have a late trade deadline.

Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

Florida – In their past ten games, Florida has scored a whopping 37 goals, and that includes getting shutout by Dallas. Their top-six have been clicking extremely well, and their power play has scored in two of their past three games. The Cats will get to play Carolina, Ottawa, Minnesota and Detroit at home, and Pittsburgh and Boston on the road.

NY Islanders – After dealing with the return of John Tavares, the Islanders get a whack of home games to start off March: Washington, Philadelphia (twice!), Ottawa and Columbus all visit Brooklyn and Long Island, which means four very enticing home games against bad defensive teams. Beyond those five games, the Islanders also take a quick trip to Ottawa, which is another scheduling gift. Lock in the Isles’ big guns and don’t look back.

Colorado – The Avs have scored 23 goals in their past five games since breaking up the big 3. With four wins and an OT loss in those games, and get to face some of the dregs of the NHL. Home games against Detroit and Buffalo are the real highlights, but the Avs will also play Anaheim and Dallas on the road. Beyond those easy pickin’ games, Colorado will also play a road game against San Jose and home to Carolina.

Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

Los Angeles – In their past five games, the Kings have scored just eight goals, and brought their losing streak to NINE games. Beyond the lack of scoring, which is vaguely expected on a team of Anze Kopitar and a bucket of pucks, the Kings have had trouble defensively as well with 21 goals allowed in those same five games – which rules out any value Jonathan Quick or Jack Campbell would have.

Nashville – The Preds made some strong moves at the deadline in shipping out Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartman to bring in Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds, but they won’t be seeing much ice time to kick off March. Nashville plays road games at Minnesota, Winnipeg and Anaheim, and home games against Carolina and Minnesota. Wait for some clarity on their line combinations, and wait for their light schedule to clear up.

New Jersey – This is breaking the typical rule of “volume makes a difference”, as the Devils play seven times through the first two weeks of March – this is the most games teams can see in a two-week stretch – but with so many injuries, New Jersey is a glorified AHL team and has next-to-no value. They’re missing Miles Wood, Taylor Hall, Jesper Bratt and Kyle Palmieri and have traded away Brian Boyle and Marcus Johansson, so the only remaining values are Nico Hischier and…Travis Zajac? Blake Coleman? It’s barren. Skip them.

March 1 to March 7

Best Bets

FLA 4.22 – Away PIT BOS- Home CAR OTT

NYI 4.195 – Away OTT- Home WSH PHI OTT

NYR 4.19 – Away DAL DET- Home MTL WSH

ANH 4.1525 – Away ARI – Home VGK COL STL

COL 4.0575 – Away SJS ANH DAL- Home DET

Steer Clear

WPG 2.6075 – Away CBJ TBL – Home NSH

NSH 2.7025 – Away WPG MIN – Home MIN

NJD 2.8925 – Away BOS – Home PHI CBJ

CHI 2.9125 – Away LAK SJS – Home BUF

PHI 2.94 – Away NJD NYI – Home WSH

March 2 to March 8

Best Bets

FLA 5.165 – Away PIT BOS – Home CAR OTT MIN

MIN 4.555 – Away CGY NSH TBL FLA- Home NSH

ANH 4.2575 – Away ARI – Home COL STL MTL

OTT 3.905 – Away TBL FLA NYI – Home NYI

CBJ 3.9 – Away NJD PIT – Home EDM WPG

Steer Clear

NSH 1.8 – Away MIN – Home MIN

PHI 1.9425 – Away NYI – Home WSH

VGK 2.2575 – Away – Home VAN CGY

SJS 2.31 – Away – Home CHI MTL

NJD 2.6975 – Away BOS WSH- Home CBJ

March 3 to March 9

Best Bets

NYI 4.3 – Away OTT – Home PHI OTT PHI

COL 4.2625 – Away ANH DAL – Home DET BUF

ANH 4.2575 – Away ARI – Home COL STL MTL

NYR 4.1375 – Away DAL DET – Home WSH NJD

VAN 4 – Away VGK EDM – Home TOR VGK

Steer Clear

MTL 2.66 – Away LAK SJS ANH – Home

STL 2.66 – Away ANH LAK SJS- Home

PIT 2.75 – Away CBJ- Home FLA CBJ

NJD 2.7925 – Away WSH NYR- Home CBJ

CAR 2.8025 – Away BOS NSH- Home WPG

March 4 to March 10

Best Bets

BOS 4.32 – Away PIT- Home CAR FLA OTT

LAK 4.0575 – Away ARI ANH- Home MTL STL

ANH 4.0475 – Away ARI – Home STL MTL LAK

CGY 4 – Away VGK ARI – Home TOR VGK

FLA 3.9575 – Away PIT BOS – Home MIN DET

Steer Clear

NSH 2.205 – Away – Home MIN CAR

PHI 1.9425 – Away NYI – Home WSH

SJS 2.205 – Away – Home MTL STL

CHI 2.1525 – Away DAL – Home BUF

MIN 2.66 – Away NSH TBL FLA – Home

March 5 to March 11

Best Bets

COL 4.62 – Away DAL – Home DET BUF CAR

NYR 4.1425 – Away DAL DET EDM- Home NJD

NYI 4.1425 – Away OTT – Home OTT PHI CBJ

BOS 4.32 – Away PIT – Home CAR FLA OTT

TBL 4.1 – Away TOR- Home WPG MIN DET

Steer Clear

BUF 2.0425 – Away CHI COL – Home

NSH 2.205 – Away – Home MIN CAR

MTL 2.66 – Away LAK SJS ANH – Home

STL 2.66 – Away ANH LAK SJS – Home

NJD 2.7925 – Away WSH NYR – Home CBJ

March 6 to March 12

Best Bets

CGY 4.0525 – Away VGK ARI – Home VGK NJD

ANH 4.0425 – Home STL MTL LAK NSH

DET 4.005 – Away TBL FLA MTL- Home NYR

SJS 3.9625 – Away MIN WPG- Home MTL STL

ARI 3.9375 – Away CHI STL- Home CGY LAK

Steer Clear

NSH 2.1625 – Away ANH- Home CAR

CAR 2.85 – Away NSH COL – Home WPG

NJD 2.85 – Away WSH NYR CGY- Home

MIN 2.855 – Away TBL FLA – Home SJS

LAK 2.9025 – Away ARI ANH – Home STL

March 7 to March 13

Best Bets

EDM 4.515 – – Home VAN TOR NYR NJD

NYR 4.2375 – Away DET EDM VAN- Home NJD

CHI 4.1525 – Away DAL TOR- Home BUF ARI

DET 4.005 – Away TBL FLA MTL – Home NYR

SJS 3.9625 – Away MIN WPG – Home MTL STL

Steer Clear

VGK 2.0425 – Away VAN CGY – Home

PHI 2.1525 – Away NYI – Home OTT

NSH 2.1625 – Away ANH – Home CAR

STL 2.8075 – Away LAK SJS – Home ARI

CAR 2.85 – Away NSH COL – Home WPG

 

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