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The Week in Fantasy: Trends are a formin’

Let’s check in on how the NHL fantasy landscape is shaping up through 15% of the season

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The number two ranked fantasy hockey player through the first 15% of the season is Patrick Kane. That’s not unexpected. He won the Hart Trophy last year. Number one is Jakub Voracek. Number there is Mark Schiefele. Those are weird but they’re really good players. Just not that good.

Artem Anisimov is fifth. This is 2016 election crazy now.

Most teams have played twelve or thirteen games going into the weekend, and while the sample size is still small, we’re through almost four full weeks of fantasy hockey here. Those weeks are shaping if not making or breaking your season. There are players who are greatly exceeding expectations (Anisimov, etc.) and those we want to throw down a flaming garbage chute (hello, my beautiful goalie Ben Bishop).

So who can you really believe in at this point and who should you sell high on? Who’s going to come back? That’s what I’m here for folks. Even though I’ll probably be wrong about 95% of the time. I was right about Auston Matthews but oh so wrong about pretty much everything else as you’ll see in the AATJ fantasy standings.

Let’s start with our former Ranger buddy, Mr. Anisimov. He has 17 points so far. That’s great! Unfortunately, he’s scoring on 33% of his shots on goal. That’s uh not quite sustainable. Even half that many for him probably isn’t sustainable. So it’s definitely a mirage, at least on the goal front, so I’d definitely think about selling high. And the Blackhawks won’t be this hot all year, so the assists could take a nose dive, relatively, as well.

Patrick Laine looks like the second coming of Alex Ovechkin and he may well be that, but the goals aren’t going to continue at this rate. He’s scoring on 25% of his shots. He’ll still score upwards of 30, but he’s not going to have a 2006-07 Ovechkin season here. Matthews on the other hand, only has two goals since opening night but is only shooting around 11%. He looks like he could find a way to score just as many as Laine this year at that rate with more assists. I’d take Matthews for the future, but Laine looks like the surer bet as this likely will balance out more over their careers than in 80% of a season just because of the start.

Shea Weber is the ultimate sell high candidate. He’s not going to score 30 goals in this declining phase. He’s not going to keep that ridiculous +/-. Trade him. Yesterday. P.K. Subban, while you’d clearly NEVER think to compare the two, has gotten off to a much worse fantasy start, along with his team. But over the stretch of the season, I’d take P.K. since his offense will likely clearly eclipse Weber’s as the teams level off in opposite directions.

Ryan Kesler isn’t going to keep this up. He hasn’t done this since 2010-11. Nazem Kadri is shooting 23% and not generating assists. Marian Hossa is a Hall of Famer, but only put up 33 points last year. Sell him based on current production and his name recognition. Alexander Wennberg didn’t suddenly become Ron Francis out there. He’s dining out on that 10-0 hilarity.

On the other side, Connor McDavid is for real, obviously. Voracek could put up upwards of 70 easily. Schiefele will come down to earth but playing in Winnipeg’s top 6 will generate points somehow. Subban will rebound because he’s P.K. Subban. Jamie Benn can’t be much worse, so he’s a good buy low candidate. Vladimir Tarasenko will score at a higher percentage of shots.

If Benn can’t be worse, Johnny Gaudreau really can’t be. He got off to a slow start with the late signing presumably and has a horrible +/-, which means nothing as to how he’s really playing. Buy low for when his shooting percentage rises above 6%. Evgeny Kuznetsov can’t be this bad either. He scored more points than Ovechkin last season and is shooting almost just 5%. He’ll get better. He’s too talented not to.

As for goalies, Bishop can’t keep being this bad. Tampa won’t trade him until he gets better and they can sell at his perceived real value, so Andrei Vasilevskiy is handcuffed until this. Bishop is going to play based on track record and will get a chance to work out of this.

On the other hand, Carey Price isn’t the best goalie of all time by far here. He won’t keep up that .953 save percentage, so prepare for a dropoff, even if he’s the best in the league. Pekka Rinne too has been as good as he can be in terms of save percentage, but the rest of his team dependent stats are way down, so he may be a good buy low candidate for when the team rebounds.

Jake Allen will get wins if nothing else and one of Winnipeg’s goalie tandem has to get wins somehow at some point. Same deal in Carolina and Calgary even if they’re bad. Petr Budaj is on a good team so he’s generating wins and good GAA now, and his save percentage stands at .919, but eventually you’d have to think he’ll play like Peter Budaj again.

As for the Devils, Damon Severson is playing fantastically and is still free to pickup in pretty much every fantasy league. Go grab him now. Defenseman who score like him are at worst a 3/4 starting option. Taylor Hall is putting up almost his exact preseason ranking and his goal scoring will go up, as he’s shooting at under 10%. And Cory Schneider is Cory Schneider and possibly the best goalie in the league not named Cary.

AATJ Fantasy Standings

Add of the week

The Blue Jackets are exceeding expectations and playing really well. They’re inflated based on the 10-0 win, but Alex Wennberg and Nick Foligno are quality players even if not as good as their stats indicate.

Drop of the week

Anisimov. Trade him while there’s time. His injury is just going to make it come down faster.

Devils fantasy player of the week

Mike Cammalleri now has three goals and ten penalty minutes. He finally looks like owning till he gets a bruise, then cut him.