Friday, September 25, 2009

Fantasy Hockey Forwards - Sleepers & Busts

It's crunch time! With the season less than a week away, most of you will be drafting your teams in the coming days. Now that you've had a chance to catch a few preseason games and see how your favorite players are going to be utilize, you can begin to start ranking your players. But are you drafting certain players too high? and expecting way more than they will deliver? In this edition, I will give an overview of some sleepers & busts for forwards that may influence your draft rankings.

Sleepers are players you may not have considered drafting or are players you were going to draft in the later rounds but may consider moving them up. Busts are players that you probably shouldn't consider drafting, are injured, or are players you were going to draft way earlier than you should be.


David Backes - RW - (STL): Daivd Backes amassed 54 points and 165 PIM last year. 11 of those points came off the PP. Backes can provide both offensive, PP, and PIM points and may fly under the radar. Backes' production last season is no fluke and I see him having many more seasons with the same type of production.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - LW - (MIN): Pierre-Marc Bouchard just two years ago tallied 50 assists, and even though he had a dip in production last year. He is slated to be paired up with Mikko Koivu and newly acquired Martin Havlat on the first line and should see those assists return this year.
Derick Brassard - C - (CBJ): Derick Brassard had a productive yet shortened rookie season last year scoring 10 goals and 25 points in just 31 games. He is slated to center the first line with Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius, which should allow him to rack up plenty of points.
Dustin Brown: - RW - (LA): Dustin Brown had 6 GWG and 18 PP points last year. Although he had a slight dip in total points last year, Brown should rebound nicely and continue being a solid PP producer.
Claude Giroux: - C - (PHI): Claude Giroux amassed 27 points in just 42 games last year, with a full season at the NHL level, Giroux should be able to provide quality numbers for fantasy owners and also see some time on the PP.
Kyle Okposo - RW - (NYI): Kyle Okposo scored 9 PP goals last year in just 65 games. Okposo will be a force on the Islander PP and will get plenty of opportunities. With John Tavares at center, Okposo should be able to dish off some points on a nightly basis. Okposo should be a consideration if available late.
Devin Setoguchi: - RW - (SJ): Devin Setoguchi had a breakout year last year in his first full season in the NHL. Setoguchi tallied 22 PP points and was also a +16. Setoguchi will be paired with Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley which will definitely contribute to his point total. Setoguchi is definitely someone to consider taking a bit earlier than originally thought.
Steve Stamkos - C - (TB): Steve Stamkos had a dismal rookie showing last year. However he was playing on a horrible Tampa Bay team, and was very under-utilized for the beginning of the season. Stamkos improved his play the second half of the season and with the Lightning making some improvements in the offseason, look for Stamkos to have a breakout year this year. Because of his showing last year, many may not feel him draft worthy.
Eric Tangradi - LW - (PIT): Eric Tangradi will start the season in the minors, but in his first preseason game, he played on a line with Sidney Crosby and tallied a couple of points. Tangradi is projected to play with Crosby in the future and if this was a glimpse of things to come, then it could be a bright one for this youngster. Tangradi may be a good last pick or someone or you may just want to keep an eye on to pick up on waivers if an injury were to occur on the Penguins.
Thomas Vanek - LW - (BUF): Thomas Vanek scored 40 goals last season with 1/2 of them coming off the power play. Vanek will be trying to lift the Sabres to the playoffs this year and with that should continue to produce like last year. Vanek may fly under the radar and should be considered if available.


Jeff Carter - C - (PHI): Jeff Carter is ranked to go in the first round in auto-drafts, this is based on last year's performance. His 46 goals and 83 points were impressive, but most of these were accumulated in the first half of the year before he fizzled out. Carter is someone you should consider drafting, but just not in the first round, so if you are auto-drafting make sure you adjust.
Patrik Elias - LW - (NJ): Elias will be out 3-6 weeks from groin surgery. Adjust him in your rank. Don't expect the same production from him as last year.
Marian Gaborik - RW - (NYR): The injury prone Gaborik could have a breakout season, but with his health as an uncertainty, Gaborik should not be drafted so high, with other players out there with more certain point production.
Marian Hossa - RW - (CHI): Hossa is coming off of surgery and is slated to be out of action until around mid December. Hossa will contribute offensively but you should draft someone that can contribute immediately and wait to grab Hossa later.
Joffrey Lupul - RW - (ANA): Lupul had a 50 point season last year with the Flyers, but now that he's on the Ducks, Lupul may be moved down to the 3rd line or may have to switch wings to play on the top 2 lines. In any event, this may affect his point production as well as his PP time, because the Ducks have more than enough people to fill those roles.
Keith Tkachuk - LW - (STL): Tkachuk's production has been declining over the years and isn't the offensive power he used to be. The Blues now have a lot of talent upfront which will limit the opportunities for Tkachuk.
Todd White - C - (ATL): Todd White's 73 point production last season was a fluke, so don't expect the same from him again this year. He will again be in 30-40 point range again and should not be counted matching his point total from last year.
Nikolai Zherdev, Jiri Hudler, & Sergei Federov - (N/A): For those of you who auto draft, make sure and remove them from the list because they are no longer in the NHL.

Next time, I will run through some Sleepers & Busts for defensemen.
Until next time: I'll keep you posted... Between The Pipes

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