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.
Stats updated through Thursday, October 25th
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Vince Dunn, D, St. Louis Blues (Available in 93 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – He got sat quite a bit in the Blues’ comeback loss to the Jets on Monday night and only ended up on the ice for 14:56, but Dunn is still playing PP1 on a potent unit and is averaging more than two shots per game. In six games, Dunn is already up to three goals and five points on 19 shots and is even getting (some) peripherals with 14 combined blocks/hits and four PIM. As long as he’s still on PP1, he’s a viable fantasy option and should be owned.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Ryan Kesler, C, Anaheim Ducks (Available in 83 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – If your league tracks plus/minus, maybe Kesler shouldn’t be owned given how many shots and chances the Ducks are giving up every night, but he should definitely be picked up in non-points-only leagues. He collects peripheral stats at a great clip – 22 combined hits/blocks in only eight games, takes 10+ faceoffs/game – and has a good floor in terms of shots on goal; Kesler has picked up 3G-1A in eight games and is starting to look more like the pre-injury version of himself.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay (Owned in 99 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – DO! NOT! DROP! STAMKOS! (just getting that out of the way.)
Stamkos’s value at this time is definitely a concern though, as he’s been relegated to playing a shutdown-esque role with Brayden Point and Yanni Gourde; he has only 1G-3A through eight games and will obviously bounce back, and shopping him right now would be asinine given Stamkos’ value is the lowest it’s been since his rookie year, but he should probably be benched until you start to see his shooting form come back – or if he gets his Nikita Kucherov back.
The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)
Nick Leddy, D, NY Islanders (Owned in 39 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Leddy is a lot like Aaron Ekblad and Alex Pietrangelo, in that he’s getting tons of ice and just doing absolutely nothing with it. Did you know Leddy was the lone defenseman on PP1? You wouldn’t by looking at his stats, as he’s currently got a line of 0-0-0 on four shots through seven games; he does accrue peripherals, but Leddy’s lack of point upside and the heavy breathing coming behind him from Ryan Pulock (or Johnny Boychuk) makes Leddy a hard sell.
Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)
Tampa Bay – It’s not the easiest schedule by any stretch given the Lightning have two b2bs in this period, but from the perspective of easy opponents, Tampa’s got some doozies: Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal are the most attractive games they’ll play, but they also play games at Vegas and Arizona, and home games against New Jersey and Nashville. With seven games, rolling out Vasilevsky/Kucherov/Hedman for this stretch will be a must; Louis Domingue should see some time as well with the two back-to-backs.
Calgary – Calgary remains on this list for a second week in a row, as the Flames have six games between the 26th and November 7th, with three coming at home. They do have one back-to-back against Toronto and then Buffalo, but with those games in addition to games against the defensively-hapless Blackhawks and Ducks – as well as games against Washington and Colorado – the top-6 of the Flames should be scoring in bunches.
Ottawa – Starting tonight, the Sens start a string of seven games up to November 7th, with only one b2b in that stretch. Unfortunately, four of the games come on the road – at Colorado, Vegas and Arizona to start, and one additional road game against the Sabres – but with Ottawa surprising offensively and scoring three or more in seven of their eight games, you can safely roll out Sens.
Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)
Florida – The Panthers seem to be on some sort of mini-bye for Halloween, as they play on Oct 27th, November 1st, and November 2nd – and that is it for this period. There’s not much else to say about the Panthers and that awful schedule, but one thing to note for the future is that Boughner has been shifting his lines around quite a bit from game to game except for the Barkov line. They play the Devils and the Jets twice, on a home/road back-to-back – that they have a schedule as wide open as they do and still have a home/road split is insane.
Los Angeles – There are some things going in favour of the Kings over this next stretch, namely their opponents: the Rangers, Flyers, Blue Jackets and Ducks, but also all four games for LA come at home. At the same time, the Kings have scored more than two goals only twice in ten games this season and with only four games in the next stretch, they’ll be hard-pressed to improve that by much regardless of opponent.
Boston – The Bruins also only have four games between the 26th and Nov. 7th, with two at home against Montreal and Dallas, and two road games at Carolina and Nashville. All four of those teams are strong possession teams and offer some of the hardest matchups the Bruins will see this month, and with all the injuries on the back-end that Boston currently has, those games will play tough.
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