Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that Auston Matthews had the most memorable rookie debut since Mario Lemieux: four goals in one game. Even crazier is that he’s still not owned in as many fantasy leagues as Alex Steen.
Obviously Matthews isn’t going to score in every single game, much less score four times in every single game, but he is still available in a decent amount of fantasy leagues so you should drop whatever you’re doing short of saving lives, whether it’s hunting ISIS in the State Department or bagging groceries at Shop Rite, and make sure he’s not available in your league. Add him. Oh and Patrik Laine is available in even more leagues. He may not have had the debut, but get him too.
Matthews is obviously the fantasy star just a couple days into the 2016-17 NHL season, but just showing how small of a sample size we currently have, do you know who the number one and two players in fantasy are right now? Number one is a really good player and number two will have most fans very confused.
They’re Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak respectively. Marchand is owned in 99% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues, but Pastrnak is only owned in 58% of leagues, and is skating with Marchand and David Backes, who’s filling in for Patrice Bergeron. If he stays on that line once Bergeron returns, all bets are off on how many more points Pastrnak will pick up just by playing alongside Boston’s two best forwards and World Cup linemates.
But aside from looking at forwards playing on higher lines than they previously have with better linemates, it’s obviously hard to get any kind of read on anyone so far. Rookies like Matthews stand out too, but Fabian Brunnstrom had one memorable start and he might as well be playing on the moon now.
Ben Bishop had a mediocre outing last night, but unless he strings together a bunch, there’s no reason to think Andrei Vasilevskiy is going to steal his crease. Frederik Andersen, John Gibson and Petr Mrazek can’t possibly be as bad as they played in their openers going forward, or they’re going to be in the ECHL. Even Cam Ward won’t be that bad. But if Cam Ward’s voluntarily on your team, you’ve got bigger problems.
On the opposite side of the coin, Antti Niemi isn’t going to become Dominik Hasek this year. Al Montoya may be lucky if he plays 20 games for Montreal with Carey Price back. Roberto Luongo won’t face the Devils’ anemic offense every game.
The only advice I can credibly give you this week is to not overreact to anything but the amount of ice time someone is getting. That’s why Pastrnak is my add of the week, while the only draftee I can recommend to drop is probably Cam Ward since there’s no way he should be on your team anyway.
Bishop will be fine. Gibson will be fine. Mrazek will be fine. Taylor Hall will score a bunch of points. Steven Stamkos will score more goals than Adam Cracknell. Auston Matthews won’t score 200 goals. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a one game overreaction sprint like fantasy football can be.
Starting next week, once a week’s games are concluded, I’ll also be including results and analysis of the official AATJ fantasy league, so get excited for that. Ben Bishop is not helping me so far.