We have survived many calamities this early fantasy hockey season but now comes the next January edition of “Chutes And Ladders”. Riding the fortunes of a fantasy hockey team can be a lot like the original Milton Bradley game. There are enough twists and turns to drive any normal person crazy. So imagine what it is like for the average hockey fan who takes on a fantasy hockey league.
As 2012 is now upon us as well as Week 14 in fantasy leagues, it is time to first reveal our Fantasy Player Of The Week.
Player Of The Week……
Congratulations to Jamie Benn on winning this week’s Fantasy Player Of The Week. The Dallas Stars forward tallied seven points and that included four goals on the week. More importantly for Dallas was that Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder also produced at a sustained rate (Eriksson had seven points also). The question now becomes can the Eriksson-Benn duo continue in Week 14? That will be something to keep an eye on. If you are looking into fantasy bottom lines, this could be the time to ride high on the hog with Dallas and their top line.
Now it is time to take a look at a few new injuries that seem to be popping up in fantasy circles……
Beware the injuries……..
The situation has calmed somewhat but the fantasy GM in me just cringes in horror still. Yes this is only a game but literally with so many crippling injuries, treading water is the best medicine. Here is the latest from the injury front….
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) — The nicest way to say this is the following. When Crosby skates, we will let you know. Until then, file it from your memory and just keep him firmly stashed on your IR. This has the potential to be season ending honestly so just be aware of it. There is no new news here so expect the same old same old.
Mike Green (Washington Capitals) — Green actually played in parts of two games last night and almost as we suspected, went right back on the injury list with the same groin injury once again. If you are in a one year league, Green should be dropped immediately. If you are in a keeper league, stash him away until further notice.
Jonas Hiller (Anaheim Ducks) — It just seems that Hiller cannot catch a break at all. He made a save last night against Columbus then did not look right for the rest of the period. He was pulled out and is officially listed as day to day with a lower body injury. Coach Boudreau believes he will be back in very short order but keep an eye on this anyway.
Andrei Markov (Montreal Canadiens) — When guessing if Markov is going to play, we suggest consulting a psychic first. While this is no laughing matter, the knee injuries and setbacks have just sent anyone who still owns Markov into a land of confusion. Our suggestion would be he is at least three to five weeks away minimum and the possibility exists that this season is indeed done.
Simon Gagne (Los Angeles Kings) — Gagne is currently on the IR with concussion like symptoms and with his previous concussion history, it may be awhile before he comes back. Yes simply Gagne is likely out until the All-Star Break barring a miracle and this could potentially linger beyond. Just proceed with extreme caution here!
Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) — Duchene will be out another three or four weeks with a knee injury. Duchene was honestly having a below average fantasy season (by his standards). Maybe the injury will allow him to have a nice second half push. Expect him back around the first week of February. In the meantime, scour the waiver wire as always. It is ironic that Ryan O’Reilly leads the team in scoring. No one expected that.
James Wisniewski (Columbus Blue Jackets) — Wisniewski is injured again with a broken ankle that will keep him out at least a minimum of 6 weeks. His 17 points in 29 games is nice but that -18 is an eyesore that cannot be ignored. Stash him on your IR until about mid-February.
Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks) — Sharp was injured last night very late in the first period and now will miss 3-4 weeks with an upper body injury that WILL NOT require surgery. This is important to note. In the meantime, put him on the IR and try to at least supplement your forward production.
Derek Roy (Buffalo Sabres) — Roy will be out for an indefinite amount of time with an arm/shoulder injury suffered on Saturday against Winnipeg. This is yet another situation to keep an eye on in a year full of injuries to vital fantasy players.
There are other injuries but these are ones that impact fantasy rosters the most at the moment.
Here are the ladders…….
These are for the players who have seen their values shoot up in Week 13. Some are waiver wire pickups but most are not. January often brings out the best and worst in fantasy weeks and then there is the All-Star Break which creates its own headaches.
Semyon Varlamov (Colorado Avalanche) — Clearly Varlamov was excellent in net last week with two very good starts and a 0.48 GAA and a .984 save percentage. Varlamov won twice (both games on the road) and stopped 58 of 59 shots. Defeating LA and Chicago would qualify as high quality wins and maybe just maybe Varlamov is getting that “consistent touch” needed to be a starter in the NHL.
Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings) — When your team plays it close to the vest, one has to be on top of their game no matter how few the opportunities are faced. Quick went 1-1-1 despite only giving up two goals in the last seven days. That 0.66 GAA and .965 save percentage was too good to ignore in fantasy circles. Quick should get a rest Monday Night before resuming action on Thursday. Adjust your lineups accordingly.
Honorable Mention: Zach Parise (NJ), Henrik Zetterberg (DET)
Let’s slide down a few chutes……
Steve Mason/Ilya Bryzgalov (Columbus/Philadelphia) — Honestly the two goalies are one in the same. The only difference is one plays on an awful rudderless team and the other plays on a semi-contender. Both have sub .900 save percentages, got shelled on Sunday Night, and have caused their teams a respective heartburn that cannot be quashed. If you dare even start either of these goaltenders on Week 14, one may want to consider undergoing an MRI on the brain.
Jonas Hiller (Anaheim Ducks) — When it all goes bad, it just all gets worse. Hiller has really only had about one good effort for every four which does not do any good for fantasy owners. Worse, with some good goalies struggling mightily, it creates a situation where Hiller owners may be stuck. This is not all on the Ducks and their lack of team defense, their goalie has seriously cracked and some of it could be partially because of the medication he is not allowed to take for his vertigo. The lower dosed form I am guessing does not seem to work as Hiller gave up three or more goals in nine of his last 12 starts. Add in a new injury that is only day to day and you have the recipe for another Week 14 where Hiller should not be apart of your fantasy plans.
Travis Zajac (New Jersey Devils) — We probably should have put him in the injury bin but honestly he did very little even when he came back and that is why we are placing him in the chutes. Zajac has produced virtually zero since coming back from his Achilles injury. Let’s say this in the nicest way. Bench him until further notice and why did you not draft Adam Henrique why you had the chance?
Dishonorable Mentions: Paul Stastny (COL), Jaromir Jagr (PHI)
Well that wraps it up for this week. Good luck and hopefully January keeps rolling for everyone out there. Do not forget to follow us @TheProgramBTR for all your fantasy hockey questions and more. Thanks again for reading.