Time for our weekly walk through the players whose ownership levels in fantasy hockey have risen and fallen the most.
Dale Weise, +59%
It’s clear what’s driving his rise. Eight goals and 11 points in 17 games is well above what we expect from Weise. He’s two goals from tying his career-high already. Getting that kind of production off waivers isn’t easy and he’s doing it.
Is this a long-term plan? No. His shooting percentage of 19.1% (16.2% at even strength) is going to come down. But even if he settles around his career average of 11.2%, he could still be scoring at an impressive clip if he’s taking more shots than normal and he is.
He’s taking 10.54 shots and 13.96 shot attempts per 60 minutes of even strength play. Both of those are career-high marks. That’s great and maybe says there’s a chance his incredible season continues. But that will be dependent on him keeping up a pace that’s nearly double his best shot rate historically.
Evidence that he could continue to score at a decent rate this season: He’s never been a significant piece of the team’s power play previously, but he’s getting nearly a minute per game of power play time right now and it’s paid off with him scoring a pair of power play goals. I’m dubious, but he’s not a terrible pick up.
Kyle Palmieri, +53.3%
The former Duck is one of a handful of Devils who are surprising many. Once thought to be a frontrunner for the 2016 Auston Matthews sweepstakes, they’re currently in playoff position and beat the reigning Stanley Cup champions on Thursday.
In 16 games he has six goals and eight assists. It’s impressive and it seems real. He’s been a big piece of the Devils offense and it’s not as though the Devils are scoring a ton of goals and winning these games. They’re playing their traditional low-event hockey and making it work.
Palmieri is the benefactor of solid linemates and good usage on a thinner team than he was on last year, getting paired with Travis Zajac regularly and a rotating third spot that has bounced between Sergey Klaninin and Jiri Tlusty in recent games. He’s certainly roster-able and can be had for cheap.
Notable Riser: Brandon Dubinsky, +28.7
While things aren’t as ugly as they were at the start of the season, things are plenty ugly in Columbus. But their top players are still useful in fantasy. Dubinsky, Ryan Johansen, Scott Hartnell, Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson, these guys have had some value.
Dubinsky is second on the team in scoring with four goals and 11 points. He’s benefitted from the arrival of coach John Tortorella. Since Tortorella’s October 22 bench debut, Dubinsky has three goals and five assists in nine games. He’s a plus-4 despite playing for a team that can’t buy a win. He’s also played at least 19 minutes in six of those nine games, where he only crossed 19 minutes in three of seven games under Todd Richards.
Dubinsky is a good pickup and the struggles of the team don’t seem to be impacting his ability to produce.
Brandon Sutter, -38.6%
Sutter was at the Fallers category before his unexpected absence from Thursday’s game. He has eight points in 16 games, but the points are front-loaded in the season with Sutter posting just one goal and no assists in the last seven games. His ice time has also fallen in that time.
Sutter’s ceiling is low, making dropping him justifiable. When you’ve got guys like Palmieri and Dubinsky on waivers, there’s no reason to roster Sutter.
Connor McDavid, 35.5%
McDavid will be out months with a broken clavicle, and that’s what is driving McDavid’s drop in ownership.
But with the hushed voices way his injury is discussed, you’d have thought he died. There’s a sense that McDavid is out longer than he is. He’ll be back this season and has been a point per game player. If your league has IR or you’re able to stash him a bit and survive, grab him off waivers. It’s worth your time.
Notable Faller: Mikael Granlund, -26.1%
Granlund and Jason Pominville once had some incredible chemistry together. Now, they’re both mired in a rough slump. Pominville can’t buy a goal despite having taken 38 shots since the start of the season. Granlund just hasn’t looked that great.
In addition to their slumps, the Wild’s top line is without Zach Parise. That’s a big loss for Granlund’s fantasy value when you can’t count on Pominville to put the puck in off a Granlund pass, where Granlund’s value is highest.
Granlund started out the season very strong, but it didn’t last. He has no goals and two assists in his last 12 games. In eight of those games he’s taken either one or zero shots.
The hope for people who want to continue to roster him is that he was moved to the team’s top power play unit this year and that seems to be clicking much better than last year when Parise or Marco Scandella are in the lineup. Also, Mike Yeo moved Thomas Vanek to Granlund’s line during the second period of Tuesday’s game. In that game and a half with Vanek, Granlund has assisted on two Vanek goals.
If Vanek continues to produce and the snakebit Pominville can snap out of it, Granlund’s value may be salvaged. He needs scorers on his line because he doesn’t score often and doesn’t take enough shots.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.