– Your Weekly Fantasy Hockey Breakdown
Each Monday, we’ll take a look at the past week in fantasy hockey. Specifically, we’ll dive into which players are heating up, which players are cooling down, players to target on the waiver wire, and an update on fantasy-relevant injuries. From week to week, a lot can change in a player’s fantasy outlook due to line combinations, injuries, or just a simple tweak in their game and we will have you covered.
James Neal – VGK (LW/RW)
After going five straight games without a point, James Neal appears to be back to the form he’s maintained for the majority of the season.
In his last three games, he’s recorded four points (two goals, two assists), including 17 shots on goal. The veteran will continue to be a key feature in the Vegas Golden Knights offense, playing on the top line and top power-play unit. With 23 points in 29 games this season, you can continue to feel comfortable starting him in all formats.
Keith Yandle – FLA (D)
Other than a recent six-game span where he only recorded two points, it’s been an overall solid season for Keith Yandle, especially the last week. In his last three games, Yandle’s tallied an impressive six assists, three of which came with the man-advantage. He continues to quarterback the Florida Panthers top power-play unit, as well as playing big-time overall minutes. He’s now up to 19 points in 29 games this season and is proving to be one of the better fantasy options from the blue line.
Corey Perry – ANA (RW)
With the absence of Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry has been relied upon to produce more offensively, and, although he has struggled at times, he’s had no problem finding the scoresheet of late. After a six-game span where he recorded just one assist, Perry’s exploded, tallying five points (two goals, three assists) in his last four games. With the return of both Getzlaf and Kesler drawing nearer, Perry’s fantasy outlook will continue to see an upward trend, making him much more reliable.
Cam Atkinson – CBJ (RW)
What’s wrong with Cam Atkinson? It’s a question all his fantasy owners are asking after the breakout campaign he put together last season.
After recording 62 points last season, Atkinson currently sits at just nine points through 25 games, which includes going pointless in his last six games and being designated a healthy scratch on Saturday. Perhaps being a healthy scratch will ignite a fire in him and he’ll return to last season’s form. But until that happens, his fantasy owners will no doubt remain frustrated.
Mikko Koivu – MIN (C)
After getting off to a nice start for the Minnesota Wild, Mikko Koivu’s production has disappeared over the last couple weeks. He’s now gone seven straight games without registering a single point, after tallying 15 points in his first 21 games. Given that he remains on both the top line and top power-play unit, there’s no doubt the points will follow, especially with the Wild’s potent man advantage. Koivu could go off at any point, so benching him would be a mistake. Just temper your expectations for now.
Mike Green – DET (D)
The start to the 2017-18 season was actually exceptional for Mike Green. He was one of the leaders in fantasy scoring for defenseman. But how quickly things can change. In his first 19 games of the season, Green recorded an impressive 18 points but has notched just one point in his last 10 games. His recent move down to the second power-play unit from the first unit may have a slight effect on his production, but certainly not this extravagant. He remains on the top pairing and continues to see heavy minutes, so he’s likely to get back on track. But unfortunately, for his owners, it’s hard to know when.
Waiver Wire Targets
Gabriel Landeskog – COL (LW – 49% owned)
Apparently, Gabriel Landeskog’s two points in his first two games back from suspension weren’t enough to gain the attention of owners, as he’s still available in over half of fantasy leagues. That needs to change.
He’s now up to 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in 24 games this year, and likely won’t be slowing down. He’s playing big-time minutes, both five-on-five and on the power play, and also plays alongside Nathan MacKinnon, who’s having a career year. Landeskog needs to be owned.
Adam Henrique – ANA (C – 49% owned)
After being listed here last week, Adam Henrique’s ownership has risen 12 percent, but he’s still available in more than half of all leagues. Since being traded to the Anaheim Ducks, he’s been on absolute fire, tallying six points in his first five games. The question remains whether his production will increase or decrease with the return of Getzlaf and Kesler, due to ice-time and power play usage, but he’s no doubt worth an add in most formats to see what happens when they return from injury.
Alex DeBrincat – CHI (RW/LW – 46% owned)
Somehow, Alex DeBrincat’s ownership has only risen five percent from last week. The outstanding rookie currently sits at 21 points through 30 games this season and continues to see big-time minutes, both even-strength and on the power play. DeBrincat’s proven he can produce at the NHL-level, and as long as he continues to see heavy minutes, he definitely needs to be owned in more leagues. If he’s available in your league, don’t make the mistake of passing on him.
Tyler Johnson – TBL (C – 46% owned)
Being moved to the first line with Steven Stamkos should be enough convincing to add Tyler Johnson. But in case it’s not enough, he’s got the points to back it up too. Through 29 games this season, Johnson’s up to 18 points (six goals, 12 assists), including seven points in his last four games. The Tampa Bay Lightning have one of the most potent offenses in the NHL, so if you have the chance to add a piece of it, do so now.
Reilly Smith – VGK (RW/LW – 43% owned)
Although he continues to assault the scoresheets, Reilly Smith is still owned in just 43 percent of leagues. That’s way too low. He currently sits at 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 29 games this season, and shows no signs of slowing down. He remains a key cog in the Vegas Golden Knights offense, an offense that’s had no trouble scoring goals. If he’s available in your league, why wouldn’t you add him?
Jeff Carter – LAK (Ankle)
After being cut by a skate in the LA Kings game on Oct. 18, Carter is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Recent reports say he could be out until February, and reportedly isn’t even close to resuming skating.
Andre Burakovsky – WAS (Thumb)
Burakovsky returned to the Capitals lineup on Dec. 8 against the New York Rangers.
Ryan Getzlaf – ANA (Upper Body)
Getzlaf is expected to return to the Ducks lineup on Monday after recovering from a fractured zygomatic bone.
Ryan Kesler – ANA (Hip)
Kesler remains on track to return around Christmas time.
Zach Parise – MIN (Back)
Parise underwent successful back surgery on Oct. 24 but is expected to be sidelined at least two months. He’s resumed skating, and is progressing nicely in recovery.
Scott Hartnell – NSH (Lower Body)
Hartnell is expected to return to the Predators lineup at some point this week.
Marc-Andre Fleury – VGK (Concussion)
Fleury was activated off of IR on Sunday, and is set to return to the Golden Knights lineup.
Artturi Lehkonen – MON (Lower Body)
Lehkonen was placed on IR on Nov. 18 after suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 11 against the Buffalo Sabres. No timetable has been set for his return.
Richard Rakell – ANA (Upper Body)
Rakell returned to the Ducks lineup on Dec. 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Antti Raanta – ARI (Upper Body)
Raanta returned to the Coyotes lineup on Dec. 9 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Evgenii Dadonov – FLA (Shoulder)
Dadonov was expected to miss four-to-six weeks, but began skating again on Saturday, which is just two weeks into his recovery. His return should be before his expected timeline.
Kyle Palmieri – NJD (Foot)
Palmieri suffered a broken foot on Nov. 20 against the Minnesota Wild. He was placed on IR and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks. He was recently seen skating on his own.
David Perron – VGK (Upper Body)
Perron returned to the Golden Knights lineup on Dec. 8 against the Nashville Predators.
Jakob Silfverberg – ANA (Upper Body)
Silfverberg is expected to return to action Monday night.
Corey Crawford – CHI (Lower Body)
Crawford returned to the Blackhawks lineup on Dec. 8 against the Buffalo Sabres.
Cam Talbot – EDM (Upper Body)
Talbot suffered an upper-body injury on Nov. 28 and was placed on IR on Nov. 30. He’s expected to miss at least two weeks. He skated before the Oilers practice on Saturday, and head coach Todd McLellan said he’s getting closer.
Jared Spurgeon – MIN (Groin Strain)
Spurgeon will miss at least two weeks after suffering a groin strain. His earliest return will be mid-December.
Jonathan Drouin – MTL (Lower Body)
Drouin returned to the Canadiens lineup on Dec. 9 against the Edmonton Oilers.
Ryan Johansen – NSH (Undisclosed Injury)
Johansen suffered an undisclosed injury on Dec. 3. He was placed on IR Dec. 8, but is still considered day-to-day.
Mika Zibanejad – NYR (Concussion)
Zibanejad suffered a concussion on Nov. 24 and is out indefinitely. He has skated three of the last four days, so a return could come this week.
Matt Murray – PIT (Lower Body)
Murray suffered a lower-body injury on Nov. 27 and is considered week-to-week. He participated in practice Saturday with no restrictions, so a return could be near.
Tyler Bozak – TOR (Illness)
Bozak returned to the lineup on Dec. 6 against the Calgary Flames.
Hampus Lindholm – ANA (Upper Body)
Lindholm was placed on IR Dec. 7 with an upper-body ailment, and is reportedly not close to returning.
Erik Johnson – COL (Undisclosed Injury)
Johnson suffered an undisclosed injury on Saturday and is considered day-to-day until more information is released.
Aleksander Barkov – FLA (Upper Body)
Barkov suffered an upper-body injury on Dec. 7 and missed the Panthers game on Saturday. However, he’s expected to return to the lineup Tuesday night.
Roberto Luongo – FLA (Lower Body)
Luongo is expected to miss multiple weeks with a lower-body injury suffered Dec. 4. No definitive timeline for his return has been set.
Patric Hornqvist – PIT (Head)
Hornqvist took a puck to the head in Saturday’s game and is considered day-to-day after not returning to the game.
Justin Schultz – PIT (Lower Body)
Schultz suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 6 and is expected to miss approximately two weeks.
Alex Pietrangelo – STL (Undisclosed)
Pietrangelo suffered an injury blocking a shot on Dec. 9, and went on to miss the Blues game Sunday. He’s still considered day-to-day.
Jaden Schwartz – STL (Ankle)
Schwartz suffered a serious ankle injury on Dec. 9 and is expected to miss at least six weeks.
Auston Matthews – TOR (Head)
Matthews was struck in the head in the game Dec. 9, and would go on to miss Sunday’s contest against the Edmonton Oilers. He’s not expected to miss much more time.
Sven Baertschi – VAN (Face)
Baertschi took a puck to the face on Dec. 9. He’s considered day-to-day until he’s been evaluated further.
Bo Horvat – VAN (Ankle)
Horvat suffered a fractured ankle on Dec. 5. He’s considered week-to-week, without any specific timetable for a return.
TJ Oshie – WSH (Upper Body)
Oshie suffered an upper-body injury on Dec. 4, and is set to miss his third straight game Monday. He’s still considered day-to-day.
I’ve been writing for over three years and have work published by the Calgary Herald, National Lacrosse League, Hard Knocks Fighting and The Weal at SAIT. Although I’ve covered many different topics as a journalist, sports writing remains my main passion and strength.