Fantasy Hockey: Week 15 Impressions

fantasy hockey; San Jose Sharks season; 2019-20 San Jose Sharks
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - MAY 15: Brent Burns #88 and Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks talk against the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center on May 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The first full week of 2020 in fantasy hockey is behind us. In Yahoo! standard leagues, we’re only eight weeks away from the start of playoffs. Maximizing weekly schedules, matchups, and streaming options is paramount. Let’s take a look back at what Week 15 had to offer. As always, comment below or reach out to me on Twitter (@jkj0787) to berate advice or ask questions! Last week’s impressions are here.

Note: For the sake of consistency, Yahoo! standard leagues are the baseline for all rankings and ownership rates.

Week 15 Fantasy Hockey Impressions

Who’s Hot

Sharks Biting

It’s been a long time coming: San Jose Sharks defence duo Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson are finally providing fantasy hockey owners with consistent performances. Both have been two of the most valuable players in the whole league for Week 15. Burns had two goals and an assist, but also added a lot of shots, hits, and blocks. He has 11 points over his last 12 following an 11-game pointless streak. Karlsson, on the other hand, has points in five straight. The peripherals are still lacking, but he has three power-play points over that span as well.

Blueshirt Blueliner

New York Rangers defenceman Anthony DeAngelo had one of the best games in fantasy hockey history at the position – the 24-year-old netted a hat trick, two assists, seven shots, two power-play points, and even chipped in a block on Thursday. In the game prior he had two assists as well, with one on the man advantage. Overall, a stellar week for the youngster.

Promising Pen

Success and opportunity go hand in hand, and Dominik Kahun is capitalizing on his opportunities for Pittsburgh Penguins. Kahun had 37 points all of last year but is already up to 26 this season. After a goal and an assist in the first game of the week, he followed up with three helpers on Friday. Despite the scoreless output Sunday, Kahun should stay slotted on the top line alongside Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust, and that makes him a must-own. Only eight percent owned at the moment.

A New Hab

Ilya Kovalchuk has rocketed back into fantasy relevancy with his first week for the Montreal Canadiens. Owners who took the risk on the veteran because of a four-game schedule were handsomely rewarded – Kovalchuk registered points in three of the four and provided a nice mix of shots, hits, and even blocks. A goal and three assists from a streamer are about the best you could ask for. As long as injuries provide him top minutes, he should continue to provide some value. Kovalchuk is 22 percent owned.

Devil Duo

Look no further than the New Jersey Devils if you’re in need of a spark. Blake Coleman got a shoutout last week, and he deserves another this time around – Coleman scored twice and racked up a boatload of shots and hits. He’s on pace for 28 goals, 248 shots, and 250 hits. Another Devil to look at is centre Nico Hischier, who has taken a while to finally break out this season. Hischier has six goals and four assists in his last eight games and 14 points over his last 16. Coleman is still out there in over half of Yahoo! leagues, while Hischier is available in two-thirds.

Dual Threat Forward

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is on quite a run. The veteran now has 30 points in 41 games with 12 of those coming in his last nine. Nugent-Hopkins is seeing 20 minutes per night lately and had three goals and two assists this past week. With six goals in his last eight, he’s looking more like the guy who tallied a career-high 28 goals last season. The dual-position eligibility is nice, too.

Who’s Not

Sinking Sen

Ottawa Senators breakout stud Anthony Duclair has hit a snag; the 24-year-old hasn’t scored a goal in seven games and only has two assists over the span. Before that stretch, Duclair had 11 goals in his previous nine. It’s not necessarily time to panic, but it’s discouraging to see his shot totals dip as much as they have.

Not-so-Golden Knight

William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights is slumping. Hard. And his pointless streak is up to seven games. His overall numbers still look okay: 10 goals and 23 assists. He wins some faceoffs, but if he isn’t getting points then there’s little else he offers. Three shots are about the most you can expect on any given night, and the power-play points are few and far between.

Coyote Ugly

At times, Arizona Coyotes winger Clayton Keller has looked great, and other times he’s totally invisible. Keller only has three points in his last nine games, and over that span here are his shot totals each game: one, zero, one, two, five, one, three, one, two. Aside from a two-goal, five-shot game, he’s put up a bunch of nearly useless performances of late.

Grounded Flyer

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk‘s bipolar season is starting to look more just like a bad one. He’ll string together either some awful runs or good ones, and we’re in the midst of another awful run. Eight games now without a point, a minus-six rating, and not many shots. Directly prior to this was a 14-point stretch over 13 games, including three straight two-point games. At this point, JVR is worth a stream at best, and that’s only if the pickings are slim. The inconsistency isn’t worth a roster spot.

Goalie Notes

Shutouts

Shutouts piled up this week, and Tampa Bay Lightning starter Andrei Vasilevskiy had two of them. The rest belonged to Semyon Varlamov, Ben Bishop, Petr Mrazek, James Reimer, Elvis Merzlikins, and Juuse Saros. Mrazek and Reimer pitched their shutouts on consecutive nights. Merzlikins continues to look like the guy many thought he could be entering the season; turns out, all he needed was consistent chances.

The Good

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne scored the first goal of his likely Hall of Fame career on Thursday. It was a gorgeous empty-netter from behind his own net. Rinne has had a rather terrible season in goal, but something like this just warms your heart. Rinne became the 12th goalie in NHL history to be credited with a goal, and only the seventh to score one himself (the others were own goals by the opposing team).

The Tampa Bay Lightning are back. Andrei Vasilevskiy is back. The Devils snapped Tampa’s 10-game win streak Sunday, but their backup goalie was in net. Vasilevskiy himself is 8-0-0 in his last eight, allowing only 13 goals and posting a .946 save percentage. Back-to-back shutouts means he can try for number three in a row against the lowly Kings. If you bought low, congratulations. If you sold, hopefully your return lessens the sting.

One of the biggest surprises in goal this year is the recent breakout of Sharks netminder Aaron Dell. The 30-year-old has been a middling backup his whole career, but the starting job is his now that Martin Jones has fallen completely off the grid for fantasy hockey purposes. Dell has been the main man since December, going 5-3-2 in 12 appearances, allowing only 25 goals in that stretch. In his last two, he allowed only a single goal in each game. Dell is only 11 percent owned – you could do much worse right now.

Another lesser-owned backup getting the bulk of starts lately is Calgary Flames veteran Cam Talbot. The 32-year-old had a rough time last season whether it was with Edmonton or Philadephia, but he seems to have found his stride in Calgary. He started and won all three of Calgary’s games, stopping 102 of 107 shots. Winning each of his last four has forced David Rittich to the bench for now. Talbot is 17 percent owned, so give him a look if you’re lacking goalie production.

St. Louis Blues starter Jordan Binnington racked up three wins in fantasy hockey Week 15 and only allowed five goals in the process. The matchups were nice – the Sharks, Sabres, and Rangers – and Binnington didn’t disappoint. That’s now 22 wins, a 2.47 goals-against-average, and a .917 save percentage. He’s tied for the most wins with Vasilevskiy.

The Not So Good

Week 15 was not kind to Marc-Andre Fleury owners. No wins and seven goals allowed in only two appearances. Dating back to his last eight outings, Fleury is 4-3-1 with an ugly .872 save percentage. There’s next to zero chance Fleury isn’t the workhorse all season long, but his play recently has been very inconsistent. The Knights are good enough to get him wins no matter how bad he plays, at least – he has six in his last 10.

Maple Leafs starter Frederik Andersen lost all three of his starts this past week, giving up 10 goals as well. Sunday against Florida, Andersen was yanked after allowing four goals on 12 shots. It was the second time he got pulled in the past three games. Not much else to say other than it was a terrible week for his owners.

Anaheim Ducks starter John Gibson started the season looking like a Vezina frontrunner, but playing for a bad team has caught up with him. Gibson has allowed four goals in four of his last five outings. For Week 15, he made two appearances and gave up six goals – needless to say, he didn’t earn a win. Wins have been elusive, as he only has five in his last 15 games.

Washington Capitals starter Braden Holtby‘s numbers have dropped into the fantasy hockey ugly zone – a goals-against-average over 3.00 and a save percentage under .900. In his last six games, Holtby has a 1-5-0 record and a .832 save percentage. He hasn’t won consecutive starts since the first week of December, which is shocking considering the team he plays for. Meanwhile, Ilya Samsonov continues to impress when given the chance.

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