Looking Ahead: Wilson a Great Immediate Pickup

by Adam Daly-Frey on November 16, 2018

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 Wednesday, November 15

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

Tom Wilson, W, Washington Capitals (Available in 58 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – It never feels good recommending a player like Tom Wilson, but after getting his suspension reduced to only 14 games and scoring in his first game back, Wilson is a great short-term pickup – especially in leagues that count peripherals like hits and PIM. Playing alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov will always help point production and Wilson managed 14G-21A while spending the bulk of his time there last year, but he also added 123 SOG, 51 blocks, 250(!) hits and 187 PIM. He’s a short term pickup because he’ll no doubt get suspended again before the year is out, but for now grab him if he’s still available.

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

Louis Domingue, G, Tampa Bay Lightning (Available in 70 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With the fractured foot injury to Andrei Vasilevskiy, Louis Domingue will be Tampa Bay’s starter for the foreseeable future, and should be owned across all leagues. His 5v5 save percentage is a little ugly at 0.883, but Domingue faces an average shot distance off 37.8 ft (per NaturalStatTrick) – Tampa Bay’s stout defensively and Domingue should be able to pile up wins if nothing else, as he’s shown with three wins in five starts so far.

Honourable mention: Brandon Montour

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

Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets (Owned in 93 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – It’s no secret that John Tortorella has long had a history with putting players in his “doghouse,” but it was never expected that Werenski – who put up 37 points in 77 games last year while playing 22:35/game – would be put into that doghouse. Unfortunately for Werenski owners, Werenski’s ice time has taken a massive hit recently: while he topped out at 25 minutes against Anaheim earlier this month, since then he’s had games of 18, 13, 19 and 14 minutes. He’s a -4 on the year and has been putting points up (11 in 18 games so far) but his value is taking a big hit right now.

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

James Neal, W, Calgary Flames (Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – I usually try to stick to players above 50%-ownership, but Neal needs to be addressed now to get him down to his rightful spot in the 5-7% range. This season, Neal has put up a paltry 3G-1A in 18 games, while playing 15:36 a night in a third-line and second-power play unit role; Neal is putting the puck on net at about the same rate per 60 minutes as he’s done in the past, but he’s averaging 0.5 SOG less on a per-game basis thanks to that diminished ice time. He’ll improve over his current shooting percentage of 7.1, but can safely be dropped in all formats.

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

Washington – The Caps are currently battling some injury woes, but with six games between the 16th and 28th – four of which should be ripe for offensive production – they’re still a team to focus on. Washington will only have one back-to-back during this stretch, where they face Colorado and Montreal on the road, but have enticing games at home against Chicago and Detroit and on the road against the Rangers and Islanders.

Buffalo – With 22 goals in their last five games and the top line clicking on all cylinders, the Sabres are extremely hot right now and have a pretty solid schedule through the end of the month. Four of the seven games the Sabres will play in this period come on the road – against Winnipeg, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Detroit – but they only have two back-to-backs and also play the Flyers, Habs and Sharks.

Los Angeles – They’re dead last in Goals For this season and just traded away Tanner Pearson for the defensive-minded Carl Hagelin, but it’s hard to ignore the Kings’ upcoming schedule: at Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis and Vancouver, and home to Colorado, Vancouver (again) and Edmonton. Beyond Chicago, those are some pretty enticing games and the main Kings should be able to get some pucks in the net.

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

Columbus – The flu bug is hitting the Blue Jackets’ locker room – taking down Riley Nash, Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin on Thursday night – but beyond that, CBJ have a terrible schedule between the 16th and 27th; at Carolina, a home/road split against Toronto, at Pittsburgh on the second half of a b2b and at Detroit. For a team that’s struggling and some poor coaching, shelve your Jackets for now.

Arizona – The Coyotes are in the midst of a five-game homestand, and will play four of their five games in this period at home; that’s about the only thing going in their favour, with starter Antti Raanta still hurt and their games coming against the Bruins, Golden Knights, Avalanche, Flames and Wild (the home game.) Arizona is just a touch ahead of the Kings in terms of Goals For, ranked 29th.

Minnesota – While they’ve been scoring fairly consistently, the Wild make this list thanks to the lack of games they play: home to Buffalo, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Arizona should see more pucks go in for them – in addition to a road game in Chicago (second-half of a b2b) – but Wild can be ignored for now.

November 16 to November 22

Best Bets

LAK 3.9525 – Away CHI NSH STL – Home COL

DAL 3.9475 – Away NYI NYR PIT – Home BOS

VGK 3.9 – Away EDM CGY ARI – Home STL

BUF 3.6625 – Away WPG MIN PIT – Home PHI

STL 3.6475 – Away VGK SJS NSH – Home LAK

Steer Clear

PHI 1.99 – Away BUF – Home TBL

DET 2.0475 – Away NJD – Home BOS

CBJ 2.09 – Away CAR TOR – Home

ARI 2.1 – Away – Home BOS VGK

SJS 2.1 – Away – Home STL EDM

November 17 to November 23

Best Bets

NJD 4.605 – Away CAR – Home DET MTL NYI

MIN 4.3525 – Away CHI – Home BUF OTT WPG

PIT 4.2525 – Away OTT BOS- Home BUF DAL

NYR 4.205 – Away PHI- Home FLA DAL NYI

CAR 4.095 – Away – Home CBJ NJD TOR FLA

Steer Clear

CHI 2.655 – Away WSH TBL- Home MIN

COL 2.66 – Away ANH LAK ARI- Home

TOR 2.84 – Away CAR CBJ- Home CBJ

WPG 2.8975 – Away VAN CGY MIN- Home

DET 2.9025 – Away NJD WSH- Home BOS

November 18 to November 24

Best Bets

DAL 5.05 – Away NYI NYR PIT COL- Home OTT

VGK 4.95 – Away EDM CGY ARI – Home CGY SJS

WSH 4.4525 – Away MTL NYR- Home CHI DET

NYI 4.405 – Away NYR NJD – Home DAL CAR

CAR 4.2 – Away NYI- Home NJD TOR FLA

Steer Clear

ARI 2.1525 – Away – Home VGK COL

CBJ 2.855 – Away TOR PIT- Home TOR

EDM 2.9025 – Away SJS ANH – Home VGK

OTT 2.9025 – Away MIN DAL – Home FLA

NSH 2.945 – Away STL – Home TBL STL

November 19 to November 25

Best Bets

WSH 4.4525 – Away MTL NYR – Home CHI DET

LAK 4.31 – Away STL – Home COL VAN EDM

FLA 4.195 – Away OTT TBL CAR – Home CHI

TBL 4.1625 – Away NSH – Home FLA CHI NJD

BUF 4.1525 – Away PIT DET – Home PHI MTL

Steer Clear

EDM 2.66 – Away SJS ANH LAK- Home

MIN 2.1525 – Away – Home OTT WPG

CBJ 2.855 – Away TOR PIT – Home TOR

CHI 2.66 – Away WSH TBL FLA – Home

COL 2.86 – Away LAK ARI – Home DAL

November 20 to November 26

Best Bets

WSH 4.405 – Away NYR NYI- Home CHI DET

NYI 4.2475 – Away NYR NJD – Home CAR WSH

NYR 4.1525 – Away PHI – Home NYI WSH OTT

FLA 4.2525 – Away TBL CAR – Home CHI NJD

NJD 4.0625 – Away TBL FLA- Home MTL NYI

Steer Clear

MIN 2.1525 – Away – Home OTT WPG

CHI 2.66 – Away WSH TBL FLA – Home

EDM 2.66 – Away SJS ANH LAK – Home

VAN 2.66 – Away ANH SJS LAK – Home

WPG 2.755 – Away CGY MIN STL – Home

November 21 to November 27

Best Bets

LAK 4.4525 – Away VAN- Home COL VAN EDM

WSH 4.405 – Away NYR NYI – Home CHI DET

MTL 4.3525 – Away NJD BUF – Home BOS CAR

BUF 4.3475 – Away DET – Home PHI MTL SJS

TBL 4.305 – Away – Home FLA CHI NJD ANH

Steer Clear

STL 2.7975 – Away NSH – Home NSH WPG

EDM 2.8125 – Away ANH LAK – Home DAL

CGY 2.8975 – Away VGK ARI – Home WPG

CBJ 2.9975 – Away PIT DET – Home TOR

MIN 3.2025 – Away – Home OTT WPG ARI

November 22 to November 28

Best Bets

FLA 4.395 – Away CAR – Home CHI NJD ANH

SJS 4.1525 – Away VGK BUF TOR- Home VAN

DAL 4.0525 – Away COL EDM CGY- Home OTT

TOR 3.9575 – Away CBJ – Home PHI BOS SJS

DET 3.9525 – Away WSH – Home BUF CBJ STL

Steer Clear

MIN 2.0475 – Away – Home WPG ARI

VAN 2.65 – Away SJS LAK – Home LAK

WPG 2.75 – Away MIN STL – Home PIT

EDM 2.8125 – Away ANH LAK – Home DAL

CHI 2.855 – Away TBL FLA – Home VGK