October Fantasy Hockey Review: Hot Starts and Failed Predictions

    We’re about one month in to the NHL season- the year’s still fresh and many players are just getting into the swing of things. There’s some repeat offenders at the top of the rankings, and some new surprise performances from players starting out hot. For the sake of transparency, I’m going to try and determine how I possibly went wrong with almost every single one of my selections in the 2016-2017 Blue Steam Fantasy Hockey Preview (which you should still read by the way), and take a general look back on October’s fantasy performers.

    Shea Weber has brought his cannon to the Montreal Power Play.

    Shea Weber has brought his cannon to the Montreal Power Play.

    Yes, you might have noticed my fantasy picks for this year featured in the Blue Steam preview have not yet gone according to plan. Most embarrassingly, my scorching personal attack on Shea Weber and the Montreal Canadiens franchise has backfired, with Weber currently sitting 9th overall in Yahoo Fantasy Rankings (#62 pre-draft). The second star of the month made me look exceptionally dust, posting 10 points in 10 games in October and bringing his hammer of a slap shot to the Montreal Power Play. While I may have missed the mark on Weber, there’s been a lot of shocking fantasy performances by the top 30 players this month.

    The top of the fantasy leaderboards for forwards and defensemen for October was a bit of a crapshoot. With usual studs Ovechkin (77th overall in Yahoo Leagues) and Jamie Benn (137th overall in Yahoo Leagues) off to slow starts, there are a few new faces at the top of the rankings. Jakub Voracek has bounced back well after a slow year in 2015, posting 5 G’s and 5 A’s through 11 games. Him and Claude Giroux are back to doing damage as one of the best duos in the league, contributing to a red hot offence in Philly.

    Perhaps the biggest bombshell this October has been Artem Anisimov’s performance. Anisimov has slotted in well with Kane and Panarin, and now leads the league in both goals and assists after being an off the radar selection (246th pre draft ranking). Be wary of owners trying to ship him off for a more established asset, with a shooting percentage of 35%, Anisimov is a clear candidate to cool off. Other players off to unsustainable starts include Jimmy Vesey (6 Goals on 30% shooting) and Alex Killorn (6 goals on 26% shooting). Ride them while you can but avoid committing long term- if this was the world of dating, consider these players a one night stand.

    My Top Ten Fantasy Forwards
    Name Yahoo Rank G A Shots Power Play Points
    Patrick Kane 1 5 11 41 4
    Jakub Voracek 3 6 7 52 4
    Artem Anisimov 2 8 9 24 4
    Nikita Kucherov 8 4 11 26 7
    Steven Stamkos 5 7 7 45 5
    Tyler Seguin 16 6 7 50 6
    Connor McDavid 15 5 9 35 5
    Corey Perry 11 4 9 37 6
    Claude Giroux 33 3 11 33 8
    Artemi Panarin 7 5 8 32 4

    To the delight of all Leaf fans, one of our own players was a top fantasy performer for the month of October, with Willie Nylander taking Yahoo’s 10th overall ranking after a 188 pre-draft rank. The kid posted 4 G’s and 7A’s, and produced some beautiful vine material. Willie was just one part of an impressive month for Leafs rookies. I can only expect that this isn’t the last time we see a Leaf win the rookie of the month award this season (but sadly I’ve been wrong before).

    There were some major surprises fantasy wise for the month of October. While my pre-season picks might not have hit the mark, I rest assured knowing the season’s young. Avoid over reacting to stars off to a slow start, keep your eye out for free agents on the up and up, and trust me- Shea Weber will start blowing it soon enough.

    Check out some top free agent adds below.

    Top free agent pick ups

    LW Nick Foligno (53% Owned in Yahoo Leagues)
    C Alexander Wennberg (19% Owned in Yahoo Leagues)
    RW Mitchell Marner (40% Owned in Yahoo Leagues)

    D Mark Streit (32% Owned in Yahoo Leagues)
    G Andrei Vasilevsky (36% Owned in Yahoo Leagues)