Week 5 NHL Fantasy Preview

Week 4 presented us a lot of challenges for NHL Fantasy hockey. We saw 4 teams around the league play 0 games while an additional 2 teams played only once. This was very challenging for Fantasy GM’s and rightfully so. It’s more important than ever to be planning for upcoming weeks the remainder of your week at hand.

Some star players around the league were essentially absent last week. GM’s who drafted Jack Eichel with one of their first picks in redraft or keeper league formats likely felt the frustration of playing from behind all week long unless they bolstered their lineup with teams projecting to have a large amount of games played.

Many GM’s also saw a challenge presented in the form of goalies and their minimum games played scenario. For those in that boat the weekend saw a group of sub par goalies being quickly picked up and dropped on hopes they would see their last game played on the week. Keeping yourself out of this situation going forward is going to be important.

COVID-19 News + Notes

In week 4 from Monday – Sunday weeks a total of 12 NHL games were postponed. Buffalo, Minnesota, New Jersey and Philadelphia had the entire week off as a result while Washington and Colorado only got 1 game in and that took until Sunday. Looking into week 5 we see that currently the New Jersey Devils vs Boston Bruins game for Monday Feb 15th is the only game noting a postponement. Lets hope that it stays that way but be prepared to pivot should additional players from teams who saw COVID-19 hits over the past week become impacted to the point of games being postponned.

The key’s to the COVID-19 impact in the 2021 Fantasy Hockey season are likely to come in the form of rescheduled games where teams see their schedule go from playing 2-3 games per week and jump to potentially 4-5 games. Stay tuned to the schedule as we will focus on the opportunities in the weeks to come!

Games per day

Unfortunately we have to expect these numbers to change as teams see postponements arise due to COVID-19 protocols. The schedule this week only poses 1 heavy day where GM’s may have to consider players to start / bench and that falls on Saturday as it typically does.

  • Monday – 10
  • Tuesday – 6
  • Wednesday – 5
  • Thursday – 10
  • Friday – 4
  • Saturday – 13
  • Sunday – 4
Teams playing 4 games this week
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • Calgary Flamess
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Dallas Stars
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Nashville Predators
  • NY Islanders
  • NY Rangers
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Washington Capitals
  • Winnipeg Jets
Teams playing 2 games this week
  • Boston Bruins
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Vegas Golden Knights
Players to Add in the week

Tyler Johnson (C, RW) TBL9% Owned

Johnson is coming off a 2G game against the Florida Panthers and plays them again Monday evening. Johnson has been elevated into Anthony Cirelli’s(week to week) spot centering the 2nd forward line for TB and also plays the point on PP2. Johnson has 3 games played this week. I recommend adding Johnson ahead of his Feb 18th matchup with Dallas and looking to capitalize on his opportunity while Cirelli is out. Consider this a streaming play.

Joe Thorton (C,LW) TOR14% Owned

If you’re looking to get ahead of the trending plays grab Joe Thorton.He has 4 games this week with and has been practicing on L1 for Toronto with Mitch Marner and Austin Matthews. Thorton brings a veteran’s advantage to the Leafs top unit. Look for him to produce some assists dishing the puck off to Austin Matthews. Need another reason to put him over the top for you this year? He centers the top PP unit for Toronto which ranks 3rd in the NHL in PP% at 34.1%.

Players to Drop this week

Alex Tuch (LW,RW) VGK25% Owned

Tuch has 4G and 6A on the year, these are decent numbers from a fantasy perspective. I want you to pivot off of Alex Tuch and come back to him after this week. VGK play only 2 games this week and Tuch’s roster spot could be turned into 4 games played with the balance schedule that presents itself this week. I expect his ownership % to fall closer to the 15-20% mark as this week progresses. Keep him in the back of your mind for the coming 3 weeks afterwards where Vegas plays 4x per week.

Joel Farabee (LW,RW) PHI46% Owned

On the year Farabee has 6G and 6A and is a +6. These aren’t stats we are looking to get away from due to a lack of production. Again we’re looking to get off of him, if you haven’t already, given that he only plays twice this week. Farabee is a target we can look towards adding in the middle of week 6 when Philly see’s their schedule take a turn with some high projection opponents like Buffalo, NYR and into the follow week with Pittsburgh.

Lopsided Matchups

The 2021 NHL season has many teams playing back to back games as well as a lot teams being locked into baseball type series. We want to focus on the lopsided matchups to understand gaining a predictive edge in Fantasy. We’re recommending pairing some of your add drops on the week with the teams in good spots ahead.

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs(11-3-1) – The leafs play 4x on the week including 3 games against the woeful Ottawa Senators(3-12-1). Adding Maple Leafs players this week should set you up for an increase in production as well as a projected bump in your players +/- categories. This includes a back to back on Wednesday/Thursday which will allow Freddy Anderson to get a rest and Michael Hutchinson to draw in for the injured Jack Campbell. Toronto ranks 3rd in the NHL in GF with 53 on the season while Ottawa ranks 30th in GA having allowed 64.
  2. Winnipeg Jets(8-5-1) – The Jets get Edmonton and Vancouver on the week and play 4 games in total. Both Edmonton and Vancouver have played high scoring games to date this year and have given up a lot of goals. Vancouver has given up 67 to be exact and Edmonton 52. This is good for 31st and 29th place respectively in the NHL. The Jets rank 7th in GF with 47 on the season while also spreading the scoring out extremely well across their top 3 Forward lines.
Fantasy Tip of the week

I hope you’ve been following along in this section and have seen a benefit come from the points we’ve gone over to date. Last week we looked to set ourselves up with an understanding of our projection on the week by tallying up our games played and that of our opponents. This week we are going to talk about trying to stretch out our total games played using our add/drops strategically over the course of our week.

  • First off we need to identify how many add/drops our leagues allow per week. This ranges from 3 to unlimited in weekly formats.
  • Secondly we need to identify the swing fringe players in our lineups. Maybe its that goalie you picked up to get in that last start the weekend prior or maybe you trailed your opponent in hits by 6 heading into and chose to pickup a Ryan Reaves type player to compete in that category. Regardless, these players and roster spots are key to our ability to maximize GP.
    1. We are going to use San Jose’s schedule for this week and select Kevin Labanc as our player example. Labanc and the Sharks(5-7-1) play Monday against Anaheim(6-6-3) followed by two road games vs St Louis (9-4-2) on Thursday and Saturday that week.
    2. Assuming Labanc doesn’t score a hat trick on Monday night we will drop him from our team after his game is played and add a player who’s team has a lot of action left in the week.
    3. After dropping Labanc we are going to add a player from the Washington Capitals who play 4x between Tuesday and Sunday. The player is somewhat irrelevant but I’m going to recommend you scout your FA list for Jacob Vrana as an extra tip.
    4. This roster spot is now pretty going to become very effective for us because it will produce us 5GP in 7 days. Regardless of the players who you choose to do this with, the effect is tremendous across a large sample size.
  • I recommend assigning 2-3 roster spots to this type of usage and ignoring the names of the players who fill them throughout the course of the year. By doing so, you will constantly out pace your opponent in games played per week and setup for constant victory.

A special thanks goes out this week to Dan Hampton plus a few friends and followers who contributed to this week’s article with some input and advice that would help drive results for this week’s content. Thanks for reading along this week and I look forward to seeing you again in week 6!

-Dave Carey

Follow me on Twitter @87_Carey and @fantasymarksmen

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