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2014 Fantasy Teams to Target (and Teams to Avoid)

by chewy 28. August 2014 06:19

Ready to shake off the summer slumber and get to work on your draft prep yet?  First step: Figure out which teams to target and which teams to avoid.  Let's get to it then. 

 

Teams to Target in 2014:

 

1.       Colorado

The Avalanche surprised most last season, charging down the mountain from the first puck drop to be a dominant force in the West and a fantasy gold rush.  Nobody should be surprised to see that continue in year 2 of the Roy Regime.  From MacKinnon, Duchene, Landeskog and Iginla up front, to Barrie and Johnson on the back end, and throw in a rising O'Reilly, the goals will flow freely in Denver this year.  Get a piece of this action early and often in your draft.

 

2.       Pittsburgh

It seems redundant to list the Penguins as a team to target in fantasy circles.  It has been that way since about 1984.  The new front office may be reforming the image of this squad for better Spring results, but you still can't go wrong with Crosby, Malkin and a host of adequate complimentary wingers to finish those passes.  The addition of Ehrhoff more than offsets the loss of Niskanen on defense, and a full season from Letang could land him back in the Norris party.

 

3.       Philadelphia

The Flyers took their time getting started last season, but finished among the best in the NHL.  I'll avoid grabbing for the obligatory Giroux jokes and say that he remains a top 3 fantasy option, making Voracek and anyone else that finds their way to his line worth drafting.  The fantasy-worthy options stretch into the third line in Philadelphia.

 

4.       San Jose

Who cares about the playoffs, right?  Just keep picking Sharks for their regular season success and you'll be a happy drafter.

 

5.       Los Angeles

The evil-opposite of the Sharks don't care a lick about the regular season.  Nonetheless, with 3 lines of top end offensive talent, including a slew of first and second year speedsters, you should keep the Kings on your radar.  Look for potentially monster seasons from the likes of Kopitar, Carter and Gaborik.  Doughty is due for a big fantasy campaign as well.

 

6.       Chicago

Like LA - The Hawks like to spread it around and get the wins.  Some of their top names will be overrated and overdrafted as they approach the back end of their career.  Don't overreach for anyone on this squad, but if the value is there come draft time, there should be about 10 Chicago players going off the board in your draft.

 

7.       Dallas

My surprise pick for fantasy explosion this season is coming out of Texas.  The top line may be the best in hockey this season.  The Stars have quickly transformed to a to a resurgent powerhouse over the last several seasons.  Don't expect much from the defense crew.

 

8.       Tampa Bay

With two Calder runners-up last season, and strong Calder favorite in Drouin this season, the Bolts are building a fantasy power from youth.  And then there's potential MVP Stamkos.  Hedman continues his slow ascent to the elite on D.

 

9.       Edmonton

This has to be the year Edmonton finally breaks through, right?  They could have 3 forwards in the top 10 by the end of the year.  And 2 more in the top 50.

 

10.   Minnesota

In any other division, Minnesota would be a clear favorite to finish first.  It won't come easy, but they will give the big 3 a run for their money.  Along the way, look for some very solid fantasy options to emerge, including the obvious (Parise, Suter, Pominville, Vanek), and the not so obvious (Grandlund, Niederreiter, Coyle).  If they could ever get a full year's work out of a goalie, one of them may emerge as a top 5 option in net.  All around, this is a solid, rising Wild squad.

 

 

Teams to Avoid:

 

1.       Nashville

The only coach they've ever known has moved on, leaving the team seeking a new identity.  Perhaps that is reason to hope that this team could finally turn a history of sweet defensive prospects into fantasy meaning.  The roster up front gives little hope for 2014 relevancy.

 

2.       New Jersey

When your only viable fantasy option is 42, you have no viable fantasy options.  Even Schneider will struggle to find wins.

 

3.       Phoenix (I mean, Arizona)

Defense first.  If he has a C or W next to his name, look elsewhere.

 

4.       Buffalo

Nothing to see here.  Move along.

 

5.       Florida

The Panthers seem content to throw silly money at average players, just to meet the salary floor.  Many of these guys could do well if paired with elite talent; however, given their location, they will see their totals dive down.  A handful of promising youngsters give a slight glimmer of hope on the horizon.

 

 

 

 

 

Hold On Jack -- Fantasy Preseason is Almost Upon Us

by chewy 21. August 2014 08:07

We're just a couple weeks out from Labor Day, which marks the unofficial start to fantasy hockey pre-season.  We've been hard at work making our preperations for delivering all the fantasy info you need to dominate your draft.  Here's a rough idea of what you should expect over the coming weeks:

Offseason Recap

Quick hit through the fantasy hockey-relevant headlines you missed while vacuuming your pool this summer.

Power Rankings

To get yourself grounded, it helps to get your mind around which teams will do well this season, and which teams have entererd (or lingered in) the dreaded "rebuild mode".  This is particularly critical when it comes to choosing goalies.

Goalie Rankings

Speaking of goalies, our official goalie rankings will available in about a week.

Defense Rankings

We traditionally follow that up rather quickly with our Defense picks.

Offense Rankings

Do I need an explanation?

Fantasy Breakdown

Armed with our final draftlist, you'll be prepared to configure your own (for free) right here.  We'll follow that up with focused articles on: Breakout Players, Rebound candidates, Sleepers, Gambles, Busts and other clever ways of putting a label on someone who makes more money than you. 

 

To quote the immortal Phil Bourque -- "Buckle up, Baby!"

Waiver Wire - Week 18

by chewy 4. February 2014 05:41

Just a couple games left before we break for Sochi.  Here are a handful of potential free agents to consider before shutting down until March.

 

OFFENSE

 

Gustav Nyquist (DET)

While Detroit has struggled to find their way through key injuries, Nyquist has stepped it up.  He has 8 goals in his last 8 games, along with 4 assists during that stretch.  His ice time has steadily climbed, as he has become the go-to guy for the Wings.

 

Antoine Vermette (PHO)

It's tough to get too excited about Vermette.  In 9 NHL seasons, he has rarely emerged as a viable fantasy option.  However, it's tough to ignore what's going on this season in Phoenix.  Vermette has topped 20 goals already, and has contributed 8 tallies in the last 9 games.

 

Mikael Backlund (CGY)

The Flames have been rolling for the past couple of weeks, thanks in large part to the offensive contributions of Backlund.  He has now registered 2 points in each of the last 4 games for Calgary.

 

Tyler Johnson (TB)

With Stamkos threatening a return soon, we may see a diminished role for the Tampa rookie, but he has emerged as a serious talent over the past month.  Johnson has 17 points in his last 19 contests.

 

 

DEFENSE

 

Tyson Barrie (COL)

It has been tough trying to find value at the defensive position at this point in the season, but Barrie's 5 game point streak is worth notice..

 

Dougie Hamilton (BOS)

Hamilton has struggled with various injuries in his sophomore season, but is looking good right now.  He has goals in two straight games and is being counted on in key situations for the Bruins.

 

 

Waiver Wire - Week 16

by chewy 21. January 2014 06:42

We've got just a couple weeks of fantasy action to go before falling into the Olympic slumber.  Don't miss your opportunity to upgrade your roster and prepare your team for the final push before playoff season creeps up.

 

While the wire is typically highlighting lesser known talent, this week there are a number of fantasy veterans who had falled off in recent years or months.  Some of these veterans have turned up the heat in recent weeks:

 

OFFENSE

 

Ryan Clowe (NJ)

The PIMs have dried up a bit, but he's seemed to regain his old scoring touch.  9 points over his last 7 games for the Devils.

 

David Legwand and Mike Fisher (NAS)

The Predators have come back from the dead offensively in January, and the two centers have been leading the cause. Over the past 4 games, Legwand has piled up 7 points, along with a healthy plus-minus and PIM contribution.    Fisher has been even better, with 14 points in 13 games.

 

Brad Richards (NYR)

Another back from the dead?  8 points in 7 games has the up and down veteran back on the upswing.

 

Scott Hartnell (PHI)

Over the last month, Hartnell has been producing at over a point-per-game.  Teaming up with Schenn and Simmonds, the 2nd line in Philly has been on fire.

 

Nazem Kadri (TOR)

Kadri and the Leafs have awoken in the past week.  He has 5 points in his last 3 games. 

 

Brad Marchand (BOS)

Marchand was written off by many for a horrid start to this season.  His ice time and production have steadily crept back in recent weeks.  He has been scoring goals consistently, talling 9 in his last 13 games.  He is capable of being a top 20 fantasy option.

 

 

DEFENSE

 

Andrej Meszaros (PHI)

It's been a few years since Meszaros was a significant fantasy factor.  With 9 points in the last 7 games, he has my attention.

 

 

GOALIES

 

Darcy Kuemper (MIN)

Trying to predict the goalie situation in Minnesota is a bit painful right now.  Backstrom has fallen out of favor.  Harding's health is a mystery.  In steps Kuemper to win 4 of 5 starts, including a shutout.  Not a long-term solution, but you may be able to ride him to the Olympic break.

 

Waiver Wire - Week 5

by chewy 5. November 2013 05:47

OFFENSE

 

Paul Stastny (COL)

A few years back, Statsny seemed poised to enter the upper echelon of fantasy forwards.  He struggled mightily over the past couple of seasons, causing many to forget about him altogether.  At age 27, coming into his prime, he seems to be creeping back up the charts.  He has 7 points in his last 7 games.  Given Colorado's emergence this season, it seems wise to collect him on your roster and hope the trend continues.

 

Kyle Turris (OTT)

Turris won't be available much longer out there.  Paired with Bobby Ryan, he has been racking up the assists this season, leading him to 14 points in 14 games thus far.

 

Derek Stepan (NYR)

Many owners gave up on Stepan after his hold out and horrendous start.  With a hat trick this weekend, perhaps he is ready to reemerge as a fantasy option.

 

DEFENSE

 

Kris Russell (CGY)

With Mark Giordano on the shelf, Russell has stepped in nicely and put up five points over the last four games.  Russell has shown streaks of relevancy before, so you shouldn't necessarily see this as a fluke.  If you're desperate for D, snag him now.

 

Radko Gudas (TB)

Depending on your league's scoring system, you may want to give serious consideration to the guy with a  funny name in Tampa.  He has been popping in points while amassing substantive amounts of penalty minutes.  A good mix coming from a position that tends be overlooked.

 

GOALIE

 

J.S. Giguere (COL)

Given the uncertainty regarding Varlamov's future legal status, it's wise to consider adding this old-timer to your squad.  He has been solid is limited action before and certainly has a history of fantasy greatness on his resume.

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