Fantasy Hockey: Maximizing games for a playoff push
The only thing approaching faster than the fantasy hockey playoffs is the fantasy hockey trade deadline. Time is running out to finalize moves, whether through trade or free agency, to put you in the best possible position on the stretch.
Whether you’re currently battling for a playoff spot or already planning your parade, maximizing games played is one of the best ways to give yourself an edge over your competition. Below, we take a look at which teams to avoid and which teams to target for fantasy owners on the periphery or outside of the playoff picture, trying to make a last-ditch push.
Determine your start date
Depending on your league settings, you’re probably four or five weeks away from the start of the playoffs, either from week 23 or week 24. That being said, there isn’t much of a gap for matches played based on start. week. Teams to target and avoid mostly remain the same regardless of when your playoffs are scheduled. But for your convenience, here’s a breakdown of the games played leading up to the two potential start dates.
Teams to avoid
The Seattle Kraken
In the four weeks leading up to a Week 23 playoff start date, the Kraken will only play 10 games. No other team plays under 12. Even in the deepest leagues, it will be hard to justify holding Seattle players during that four-week period. There aren’t too many big-owner Seattle players, so it shouldn’t be too hard to part with them. If you are able to exchange them, do so quickly. If not, feel free to replace them with someone on the waiver thread.
The Penguins enter this long stretch with just five games over the next two weeks, all against top-tier opponents. They will face Tampa Bay, Florida, Vegas and Carolina twice. If you’re already against the wall, two bad weeks could be enough to knock you out of the playoffs altogether.
The Penguins have quite a few high-end fantasy players. If you own a player like Sidney Crosby (99%), Jake Guentzel (99%), Kris Letang (99%), Bryan Rust (87%) or Evgeni Malkin (86%), don’t be afraid to throw in a few offers to see if you can improve your schedule. Keep in mind that these players are extremely valuable and shouldn’t be dropped just to earn a few games played. Make sure you get equal value in return, possibly from an owner who can handle the tough schedule or is completely unaware of it.
Teams to target
New York Islanders
No team has played fewer games than the Islanders, so it should come as no surprise that no team is playing more than them by the fantasy hockey playoffs. The problem here is that the Islanders don’t have too many attractive players. Their keepers will likely share the heavy workload, making other goalscoring options more viable even during this busy time. Noah Dobson (39% owned) and Mathew Barzal (78%) are both prime players to target, whether through trade or free agency. Dobson has eight points (2G/6A) in his last 11 games while Barzal has been on fire with 28 points (8G/20A) in his last 27.
Deeper leagues can take a look at Kyle Palmieri (5%) as he was recently moved to the front line alongside Barzal and has scored four goals in his last five games, as well as 14 shots and 14 hits . After registering just seven points (1G/6A) in his first 29 games, he looks set to have a much more productive conclusion to the season.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights are the only other team to have played 15 games before Week 23, but should be approached with a little more caution as they are already near the top of the league in games played and are seeing their schedule shrink in the coming weeks. following. However, if your goal is strictly to make the playoffs and then roll the dice once you get in, Vegas has plenty of players to target.
Max Pacioretty (98%) and Jack Eichel (91%) make good trade targets as fantasy owners might be keen to find more stable options in light of recent events. Eichel has only played four games after returning to action for the first time in almost an entire year and owners may still be skeptical although early results are very promising. Alongside him is Pacioretty, who looks four points (3G/1A) younger in the four games they’ve played together after scoring just two points (0G/2A) in his previous seven. Pacioretty has managed just 11 shots in his last eight games, but there’s no reason to believe that 1.4 shots/game pace will continue as he’s averaged 3.3 over the course of the game. of her career.
Other players to consider: Alex Pietrangelo (98%), Shea Theodore (96%), Jonathan Marchessault (83%)
Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild
The Kings and Wild have identical schedules, playing 14 games leading up to a Week 23 playoff start date and 18 games for Week 24. Aside from obvious targets like Anze Kopitar (93%), Drew Doughty (90%), Kirill Kaprizov (99%) and Mats Zuccarello (75%), there are plenty of more widely available options that are viable to help you on your playoff push. Matt Boldy (35%) is still available in the majority of leagues.
If you’re desperate for goalie starts, Cal Petersen (36 per cent) has started 10 of the Kings’ last 18 games after playing as a back-up to Jonathan Quick for most of the season and should see his workload the most. heaviest of the year over the next few weeks. .
In the deeper leagues, look at Trevor Moore (9%), who is quietly on a spectacular run. In his last 20 games, he’s averaged over 17 minutes of ice time, 2.8 shots per game, and totaled 21 points (5G/16A). He plays regularly alongside Viktor Arvidsson (47%) and Philip Danault (22%), who are on terrific runs themselves and also make effective additions down the straight.
If you own a player on one of the teams that play 12 games and fight for the playoffs, consider trying to trade with someone who owns a player from the Islanders, Golden Knights, or a 14 games. For example, if you own Tomas Hertl (85%) and can trade for someone like Barzal, the extra three or four games played in such a short period of time can make a big difference in improving your chances of catching the ground. standings before your playoffs. There’s no point keeping a player who can help you in the playoffs if you get knocked out before you’ve had that chance. Remember, once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen.