On the eve of a light week, you’re going to need every advantage to get a leg up on your competition. Whether you’re looking to remain on the top of your league, or fighting your way up the standings, every bit helps to go into a light week. Jakob Silfverberg and Mikko Rantanen highlight the notable players this week, with some attention paid to potential breakouts and watch list-ers. So without further adieu…
Fantasy Hockey Weekly: Light Week’s Eve
Ownership: 36% in Yahoo, 51% in ESPN
After a slow start of the year, Jakob Silfverberg looks like he is finally coming alive. The return of Ryan Kesler has been kind to Silfverberg. He has six points in six games since Kesler returned to the Anaheim Ducks line-up. He has always been a high volume shooter which has led to an 8.8% career shooting percentage. Last year, however, he scored a career-high 22 goals at 10.1% shooting. He sits at 11 goals and 10.6% shooting through 38 games this season. He seems sure to hit a third straight 20-goal season this year, with potential for more should his shooting percentage continue to climb.
Ownership: 53% in Yahoo, 51% IN ESPN
It’s never easy to find roster-able defensemen half-way through the year. At about 50% ownership, Provorov isn’t guaranteed to be available in your league but there is a good chance. A three-point night this past week was followed up with another assist Saturday afternoon and a goal Sunday afternoon. He now has eight goals and 11 assists on the year, but his peripheral stats make him a must-have in banger leagues. He will always be behind Shayne Gostisbehere on the Philadelphia Flyers second power-play unit and limiting his offensive potential somewhat. Regardless, he is a very talented defenseman who could become a standout if he finds some consistency. Provorov is a great watch list add in points leagues, but an even better depth defenseman in leagues that score hits and blocks.
Ownership: 48% in Yahoo, 54% in ESPN
After missing five games with a foot injury, Nino Niederreiter scored a hat-trick against the Buffalo Sabres in his return to the Minnesota Wild lineup. He now has 13 goals and six assists for 19 points in 31 games this year. Injuries have limited the number of games so far, but when healthy Niederreiter is a good depth player, especially in banger leagues. His 120 hits last season was a career low, but a career-high 57 points more than made up for it. With dual wing eligibility, he is a streaky, versatile player to fill out a lineup. He has a new spot alongside Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund and will look to find more consistency through the second half of the season. A four-game week makes him a great free agent pick up for the coming week.
Ownership: 63% in Yahoo, 74% in ESPN
Nathan MacKinnon has been absolutely on fire through the first half of the season. It’s too late to jump on him, but Mikko Rantanen has been almost as impressive as of late. While MacKinnon has been tearing the league apart, Rantanen has been riding shotgun with 14 points in his last nine games. He sits at 41 points in 41 games, a strong improvement on his 38 point rookie season last year. His ownership has risen 10% in the past day, so grab him while you can. MacKinnon looks poised to have a real breakout year and Rantanen should be his wingman on the Colorado Avalanche.
Ownership: 2% in Yahoo, 2% in ESPN
Anthony Duclair’s disappointing time in Arizona looks like it may be coming to an end. This week he formally requested a trade out of Arizona as he has been an occassional healthy scratch. After a decent 44-point rookie season, Duclair has struggled to produce with only 30 points in 91 games in the past two seasons. He has nine goals and six assists in 33 games this season. He has scored in back to back games since requesting the trade, hopefully improving his value and chances of finding a new home. If he lands on a better team with stronger linemates, he has the skill to reestablish his fantasy relevance. He is not worth owning at the moment, but maybe place him on your watch list keep an eye on him.
The January 8-14th week is an odd one for the NHL as 13 teams play only one game. So if you are looking for streamers to take advantage of a light week, Carolina, Calgary, Chicago and Minnesota play four games each next week. Those four teams will also help with goalie stats as they each play back to back. Picking up one of these back-up goaltenders could offer a great advantage in winning your goaltending matchup next week.