Fantasy Hockey Week 22 Preview
As the fantasy playoffs continue to roll along, the field of GMs who are all-in gets shallower and shallower. That means even with the rash of injuries lately, there should still be relevant streamers on your waiver wire. Especially because 15 (!) teams play four games in week 22 and five have two or more off-nights on their schedule. More teams, more players, fewer people targeting them – a win/win/win!
Just a quick note – the Blues and the Ducks are playing their make-up game Wednesday, March 11th, so both have 4-game weeks that may not be reflected in original schedules.
Here are some of the other teams you should be targeting with plush schedules this week.
Tyler Ennis – Since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators, Ennis hasn’t done much in the scoring department. However, that does not mean the opportunity hasn’t been there. Two of his most common linemates, in the seven games he’s played for the Oilers, have been Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. He’s racked up 13 shots and 19 hits in that time while averaging 14:23 TOI. The forward lines for Edmonton are currently in a blender but Ennis is a good bet to stick in the top-6.
Zach Kassian – Well, well, well, look who is out of the doghouse and back on the top line. Kassian is a great player in a bangers categories league, as he rarely has a game with less than two hits, and he shoots the puck at a relatively steady rate as well. His PIMs have been on a hiatus since his suspension but expect those to pick back up soon. As long as he is playing next to McDavid, he is worth rostering. If he’s not, there is probably a category filler with a better schedule on the wire.
Adam Larsson – This suggestion is based purely on league settings. If you need blocks and hits, Larsson is your guy. He rarely shoots. As for not point totals, it’s more luck then skill. He only has 35 PIMs this season, so he’s not going to win you that category. Over his last five games though, 15 hits, 11 blocks, and 1 assist. Not too shabby. At five percent owned in Yahoo! leagues, he’s definitely out there.
Vladislav Namestnikov – Last week, I thought for sure Namestnikov wouldn’t stick on the top-line, but suggested a pick-up anyway. So I was right and wrong… yay? Either way, you should definitely pick him up for this week if he’s still out there. While Mikko Rantanen remains out and Andre Burakovsky is battling mysterious upper- and lower-body injuries, Namestnikov is making the most of his opportunity. Since moving to the top line he has three goals on only five shots. Shooting 60 percent isn’t sustainable, but he also has 7 hits, 5 blocks, and 8 PIMs over those same 5 games. While he is getting the TOI, he is a multi-category contributor.
Tyson Jost – Jost enjoyed a good week last week getting two PP assists along with 2 PIMs, 8 SOG, 4 hits, and 2 blocks. It’s not a line that will win you a week single-handedly but if he can be a steady-Eddy and have a repeat performance, Jost will be a solid pickup.
Erik Johnson – With Cale Makar being sidelined, Sam Girard has taken the top PP spot for the Avs. So why wouldn’t you pickup Sam Girard? Because he has done nothing with the spot. Meanwhile, without the same PP deployment, Johnson has four SOG to Girard’s five and three points to Girard’s one. Not to mention his peripheral stats are much better. Johnson is also rocking a 60 percent IPP right now so this output can’t be counted on going forward, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Avs try him on the top PP soon if Girard doesn’t start to contribute there.
Connor Brown – Ahh, I love when the Senators have a good week because it seems like nobody cares! People, these are still NHL players who can contribute to your fantasy team. Connor Brown has 6 points (5G 1A) in his last 10 games and gets the shots to back it up – 28 over that same period. He plays around 20 minutes a night and roughly half of his team’s PP. Is it a really bad PP? Third worst! Is that because they play Connor Brown for half of it? Maybe! But they keep sending him out there so that’s an opportunity for you to collect on some points.
Mike Reilly – As much as they’ve tried, the Sens can’t play Thomas Chabot for literally all the minutes. That being the case, Reilly is the PP2 defenseman and he’s been solid. He’s not a going to fill all of your peripheral categories but he gets plenty of shots and has six points in his last 10. In a league the counts +/-, all Senators are a risk but Reilly is a great D-man for a points league.
Nikita Zaitsev – Speaking of peripherals, Zaitsev has seen an uptick in his TOI recently and is now comfortably around 23:00 minutes per night. What are you getting in those minutes? Hits, blocks and now shots and points apparently. Three points and 8 shots over his last five to go along with the customary 14 hits and 9 blocks.
Linus Ullmark – It’s tough to recommend Sabres lately considering their 6-game losing streak but they play two off-nights and have a goalie that has a chance to be a game-changer so why not? You may, or may not, remember Ullmark was having a very good 2019-2020 season and an extremely good January before he was injured. His .914 SV% and 2.72 GAA for the season should hold steady in a goalie categories league. If he can get back to January’s .928 SV% where he had a goals saved above expected of 1.74, he could have a significant effect on your playoffs.
Jeff Skinner – Kreuger and the Sabres finally broke after 57 games. Reuniting Skinner and pointless-in-7-games Jack Eichel to try to spark their star center. It was able to produce six shots for Skinner and 3 for Eichel, but no points. Oh, rumor has it Eichel is nursing some sort of core injury. A strange situation indeed. But no matter! Skinner could be a good grab this week, especially if Eichel magically heals and they reignite their chemistry from last season. Even if they don’t convert, you can at least count on Skinner for a ton of shots.
Best of the Rest
Week 22 Conclusions
So it’s another action-packed week. As always, I hope this preview gives you some insight on your roster moving forward. Some of these guys have already made their way onto my rosters so when next week comes we will either be basking in the glory together or wallowing in our tears. Either way, tune in for another preview!
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