The fantasy hockey season is hours long and the time gets away from you quickly. This article will give you a calendar of all NHL games, which could be helpful for scheduling your DFS lineups during the week.
The “espn fantasy forecaster” is a tool that allows users to create custom fantasy hockey leagues. It uses the ESPN API to retrieve data on players and teams, which can be used for creating custom leagues.
We’ve all been in that situation. Faced with a full slate on a busy Saturday, daily adjustment leagues are forced to make difficult choices about who to play and who to sit. The NHL’s propensity of releasing uneven regular-season schedules – 14 games one day, two the next, etc. – can be aggravating for both die-hard fans and fantasy managers.
Sure, there’s player quality, matchup strength, and other aspects to consider, but points will be left on the bench anyway. While such decision-making is par for the course in fantasy, it may nonetheless be aggravating.
So why not maximize the FPG-potential of your fantasy assets by playing to the schedule’s feast or famine rhythm? Some teams, as is customary, play more often on non-scheduled evenings than others. I computed which teams are scheduled to participate on such so-called slower evenings from Nov. 19 until the season ends on Apr. 29 by setting the threshold at seven games – when more than half the league is inactive.
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There’s a lot of inconsistency. The Nashville Predators only appear on nine of these lighter days, compared to the red-hot Anaheim Ducks (more on them below). As a result, there’s a case to be made for rostering Ryan Getzlaf above Matt Duchene in ESPN’s regular game if you want to ice the most balanced team possible on any given day and maximize value. Just to give you an example. In light of that, here’s a fantasy tour of a few teams that often play when others don’t.
One crucial note: As on Nov. 18, this applies to the NHL regular-season schedule. Other COVID-related postponements (e.g., Ottawa Senators) may still cause games to be shuffled about.
Winnipeg Jets: With less-concentrated activity on 26 days, the Jets are one of many Western Conference teams to watch for calendar-friendly fantasy potential. Nate Schmidt, a defenseman who is rostered in 32.8 percent of ESPN.com clubs, is proving to be a significant asset in leagues that award blocked shots as well as scoring. Schmidt, who is widely available, leads Winnipeg’s blue line in power-play points with six.
Every night throughout the season, Barry Melrose and Linda Cohn will provide a postgame analysis and highlight program. ESPN+ is the place to be.
After being benched numerous games due to the league’s COVID-19 regulations, Blake Wheeler (92.8 percent) would be worth pursuing in a trade. Wheeler’s fantasy managers, who have been irritated by the forward’s sluggish post-COVID warmup, may be ready for a change. The points will arrive soon for Winnipeg’s captain, who is on a line with a red-hot Kyle Connor. Mark Scheifele, meantime, has scored a goal in each of his last two games, indicating that he is back on track. As top-six assets with outstanding fantasy backgrounds, both Wheeler and Scheifele are expected to bounce back before the end of the season. The Jets have won three in a row, going 7-1-2 in their previous ten games.
Colorado Avalanche: According to my calculations, the Avalanche play on 24 days between now and the end of the season, when fewer than half of the league is active. This enables players like Nathan MacKinnon (when healthy), Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog to score great fantasy points without having to compete for a roster place with another valued commodity.
But forget about the Avs’ heavy hitters, who are heavily rostered throughout the ESPN landscape. In Colorado, there’s a backup forward fantasy group worth keeping an eye on, headlined by Nazem Kadri and his seven-game scoring run. Kadri is averaging 3.66 fantasy points per game after scoring four goals and nine assists on 21 shots. The tenacious second-line center, who leads his club in power-play scoring, is only rostered in 37.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues. That’s incredible. In deeper fantasy competition, linemates Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin, who have just recently returned to play, are also possible alternatives. If Samuel Girard is available on the blue line, he should be grabbed as soon as possible.
Anaheim Ducks: As if fantasy managers didn’t already have enough reasons to root for the Ducks this season. Troy Terry is finally emerging as a legitimate scoring power, while youngster Trevor Zegras is garnering new attention with four goals in his previous two games. A reinvigorated Getzlaf already has five more assists (17) than he had all of last year.
On the blue line, veteran defenseman Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk are humming along, while goaltender John Gibson is on a seven-game winning streak, enabling backup Anthony Stolarz to pick up the lone victory during Anaheim’s perfect run stretching back to Halloween. And, as has been customary over the years, the Ducks compete on less-often scheduled days more frequently than others, with a total of 24 light-booked dates between now and the conclusion of the season. As a result, players like Getzlaf (55.4 percent), Fowler (57.5 percent), and top-line winger Adam Henrique (46.0 percent) may be available for fantasy purposes while other teams are idle. Gibson, who is now a top-five goaltender option, is still available in roughly 40% of ESPN.com leagues. Zegras (19.9%) is now anchoring a second scoring line with Sonny Milano and is worth keeping an eye on, if not rostering outright, in deeper fantasy leagues.
New York Rangers: The Rangers, like the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference, play an excessive amount of games on off days. In fact, between now and Dec. 22, when less than half of the league is active, Gerard Gallant’s team competes 10 times out of the total of 23. They’re also often included on eight-game slates. There’s no better time than now to add fantasy-friendly New York skaters to your squad.
While stars Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Chris Kreider are almost certainly gone – and good luck prying goaltender Igor Shesterkin away from a rival GM – a few under-the-radar assets are available. Ryan Strome (74.7 percent) might be free in shallower leagues if he centers a scoring line alongside Panarin. After missing the first four games of the season due to COVID regulations, the 28-year-old has a goal and four assists (plus-four) in his last four games. In ESPN standard leagues, it equates to an average of 2.0 fantasy points per game. Why don’t they count on lighter evenings when everyone else is off? Kaapo Kakko (6.6 percent) had a goal and an assist in each of his last two games, indicating that he is on the verge of breaking out in preseason. In deeper leagues, the second-overall draft pick (2019) might be worth a bet if this trend continues, battling with Panarin and Strome.
Forwards with the Vancouver Canucks Regardless of who is in charge of the squad or who is on the bench, Elias Pettersson (96.7 percent) and Brock Boeser (80.1 percent) will not be able to continue to struggle. Competing for the Vancouver Canucks, another Western Conference team that sees more frequent action on lighter evenings, the club’s finest skaters will have many of opportunities to improve their game on days when few other teams are engaged. I get that there isn’t much to like about what this Vancouver team is doing right now, but they can’t keep playing like this for much longer. Examine the market for what a disgruntled manager could be willing to give up in exchange for Petterson in particular. However, I’d hold off on bringing in goaltender Thatcher Demko until there’s a definite evidence of life on the B.C. coast.
The following teams are planned on 13 or fewer lightly-scheduled (seven or less) days between Nov. 19 and Apr. 29 on the other extreme of the heavy-action spectrum: Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, and Nashville Predators are among of the NHL’s most popular teams.
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