This is the 10th fantasy post. Congratulations to me. I can't believe John hasn't pulled the plug yet, but I thank him for keeping it going (or simply forgetting to tell me it's over) and I thank you for reading.
Last week the New York Rangers had just 1 game, which was odd. Because of that, I realized that these articles could benefit from a quick list of which teams have 2 games (or 1, which I don't think will happen again this season) and those that have 4. Here that is:
Two Game Teams: Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Minnesota, Nashville
Four Game Teams: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver
This wasn't a big week for single player performances, but there were a few standouts. These are those few.
* Brad Marchand - 4 Goals (2 PPG, 1 GWG), 2 Assists (1 PPA), 13 Shots, 17 PIM
Shooting. Scoring. Scrapping. This is a pretty epic stat line. He has points in 6 straight since his two game injury absence, including 5 Goals and 4 Assists. He also has 24 shots over that stretch. He's as hot as you get.
** Taylor Hall - 2 Goals, 5 Assists (2 PPA), 8 Shots, +5
Taylor Hall was a huge factor in my come from behind win in the AAtJ league, where I'm now 3-0 (no big deal). I truly think Hall can do this type of damage on the reg, as they say. He's very good at this sport.
*** Ryan O'Reilly - 1 Goal (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 5 Assists, 10 Shots)
I wouldn't be surprised if O'Reilly did most of this damage on a lot of people's benches. I picked him as the 3 star ahead of Jamie Benn (1 GWG, 4 Assists [1 PPA, 1 SHA], 6 Hits) because Benn only had 5 shots. Plus, O'Reilly was actually a Buffalo Sabre skater who ended the week at a +3. That's a feat unto itself.
Rankings: Like I said above, no forwards have been on the list twice, so all 4 number 1 stars are tied with 3 points (Gabriel Landeskog, John Tavares, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brad Marchand).
* Brent Burns - 2 Goals (1 SHG), 1 Assist (PPA), 14 Shots, 7 Blocks
This is a great example of why he's a fantasy stud when he's on the blue line. 14 shots and a shorthanded goal by a defenseman is gravy.
** Roman Josi - 4 Assists (2 PPA), 13 Blocks
Assists and blocks are this guy's thing, and while that's all he really did this week, he did them phenomenally well. This moves Josi into a 4 point tie with P.K. Subban for 1st place in the defensemen stars category.
*** John Klingberg - 1 Goal, 3 Assists (1 PPA), 5 Blocks
He earned the 3 star almost by default. There really weren't a lot of exceptional performances on the blue line this week.
Rankings: 4 Points - P.K. Subban, Roman Josi
3 Points - Francois Beauchemin, Torey Krug, Brent Burns
* Marc-Andre Fleury - 2 Starts, 2 Wins, 1 Shutout, 0.50 GAA, .982 SV%
He did everything you could possibly ask of your goaltender en route to his 2nd appearance on the 3 stars list (3rd Star in Week 2). He is now tied for 2nd place in the goalies category with Martin Jones.
** Frederik Andersen - 4 Starts, 1 Win, 125 Saves, 2.27 GAA, .933 SV%
There were several goalies with better GAAs and SV% this week, but getting 4 starts in a single week is rare and he was pretty good in them despite just the 1 W.
*** Jaroslav Halak - 2 Starts, 1 Win, 1 Shutout, 0.96 GAA, .957 SV%
He had a good week despite just 2 starts, but ending the week at .500 cost him the 2 star.
Rankings: 5 Points - Carey Price
4 Points - Martin Jones, Marc-Andre Fleury
Jason Zucker (LW-MIN) - Last 2 weeks - 7 Games, 3 Goals, 4 Assists (1 PPA), 25 Shots, 11 Hits
All of his goals and 2 of his 6 season total assists came in the last 7 days. He's just 23-years-old, so he may be finding his game at the NHL level. Keep an eye on him, but don't get too excited yet. He's a LW, and that is a fairly deep position.
Leon Draisaitl (C-EDM) - 2 Games - 3 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 2 Assists (1 PPA), 7 Shots
I'm not saying you should get this guy, but keep an eye on him. He's a talented skater and has been on fire since being called back up. He's especially intriguing if he continues to skate on the 2nd line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Frans Nielsen (C-NYI) - Last 2 weeks - 7 Games, 5 Goals (1 PPG, 1 SHG), 3 Assists (1 PPA), 20 Shots
I mentioned Anders Lee, an Islanders center, in this section in the week 2 post. Well, here's another one for you to keep an eye on. Nielsen scored 4 goals this week, including a shortie against our beloved. He also put 13 shots on net. This guy streaks like this a lot, so consider him while he's doing it, but remember that he is one of many successful centers. I mean, depending on how things are going, he sometimes isn't even the 3rd best center on his own team, let alone your fantasy team.
Mike Condon (G-MTL) - Since Price's injury - 2 Starts, 2 Wins, 1.50 GAA, .941 SV%
He's filling in for the injured Carey Price, so if you have Price, sign this guy immediately. You're going to need him for at least the next week. I just grabbed him in the AAtJ league. Even if you just need a goalie to fill in for a short time, he's a terrific candidate.
Cody Franson (D-BUF) - This week - 4 Games, 2 Assists (1 PPA), 10 Shots
I mentioned him last week, but I just wanted to update you that he's still playing well. It might be officially time to add him as your 4th or 5th defenseman.
Joel Ward (RW-SJ) - This week - 3 Games, 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 7 Shots
He's also still playing well and is seeing a lot of ice time (almost 19/game this week). Plus, he's a RW.
DEVILS FANTASY VALUE
Kyle Palmieri (RW) - This week - 3 Games, 2 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 2 Assists (2 PPA), 7 Shots, 5 Hits
I actually added him to my category league team. He probably won't last long on my roster, but he's clicking really well with Travis Zajac and he's 2nd on the team in shots with 29 (Mike Cammalleri leads with 34). Between Palmieri and Adam Henrique, I think Palms is the better talent, despite him being owned in only 23.6% of leagues on ESPN.
Travis Zajac (C) - 3 Games, 2 Goals (2 PPG), 1 Assist (1 PPA), 4 Shots
He saw an ownership boost of 52.9 this week on ESPN (from 11.3% to 64.2%). This uptick seems a little rash after just 1 week of success. With a simple click of the mouse, or a simple query to a Devils fan, you can learn that he doesn't have a history of offensive awesomeness and isn't worth owning.
Adam Henrique (C) - This week - 3 Games - 0 anythings
That's right. He had zero points this week and just 4 shots in 3 games. He's somehow owned in 100% of the leagues on ESPN, but just like I said last week, he'll be back on the junk heap soon enough.
Feel free to comment below if there was anything I missed this week or to simply gush about how great I'm doing and how I've improved your fantasy team tenfold (1 fold per post I've written).