Hello everyone and welcome in for another article, this time looking into streaming options for the fantasy playoffs in Week 14. I’m going to throw a bunch of names out there and give you potential situations that should make you consider one player over another. First I want to take a second to invite you to join the Apples & Ginos Discord server where you can ask questions and chat with other like-minded fantasy managers on anything fantasy or hockey-related. With that said, let’s get into the streamers of the week.
Where to Start
First, we’re going to start with all the teams who play four games next week. That list is pretty long – 13 teams in total. Next, we narrow it down to teams with two or more off nights to give us our first group of teams to work with. That list is a lot shorter: just Buffalo, Boston, New York (Rangers), Montreal, and Minnesota fit these two criteria. If you want to do this kind of quick analysis for yourself, I fully recommend the 0GAR weekly offnights site which is associated with the Fantasy Hockey Podcast guys. It’s visually appealing and easy to immediately see which teams are playing on what nights. With that said, let’s jump into these five teams.
Best Streamers on Best Streaming Teams
You have a pretty good chance of owning whichever Sabres’ forward you want, with Sam Reinhart (39% owned), Victor Olofsson (35% owned), and Casey Mittelstadt (18% owned) all widely available. For now, I’d rank them Reinhart > Olofsson > Mittelstadt, but all three are viable options for points and power play points as the three together represent the PP1 forward line for Buffalo. I wouldn’t expect big numbers from any of them, but that Friday/Sunday split (missing the heaviest day of the week on Saturday) is fairly enticing for anyone with an already-Saturday-heavy lineup. If you need a bangers option, the best available is probably Colin Miller (1% owned), but honestly there are probably better options available to you. As for the goalies… no. Just no.
The obvious forward options here are Nick Ritchie (18% owned) and Craig Smith (44% owned), albeit for different reasons. Ritchie has somehow maintained his PP1 role despite the Taylor Hall addition, while Smith has been running wildly hot (10 points in his last 7 games). I’m having a tough time buying in on either one, but Smith averaging a mere 14 minutes a game, putting up substandard chance generation rates, and getting demoted back to the Krejci line recently has me fully out on him right now. Ritchie is a consistent hits producer at least with that power play upside, but his scoring upside is heavily capped playing on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk. The most intriguing option on the team is clearly new addition Mike Reilly (17% owned), who has stepped directly into Matt Grzelcyk’s PP1 QB role and produced instantly. While Grzelcyk’s return does seem to be imminent, Reilly is worth running out there as long as he’s got the spot. I don’t believe that Reilly will maintain the role over Grzelcyk and therefore I haven’t been as attracted to Reilly as others thus far. Jeremy Lauzon (1% owned) is a certified bangers stud seeing big minutes for the Bruins and he’d be a top priority for me this week if I needed hits and blocks.
New York Rangers
The obvious choice here for many would be Colin Blackwell (11% owned), who has four points in his last two games, but I’m not as high on him as others; he’s not producing much shot volume despite his place on the Panarin line and PP2 and the Rangers have played several other wingers in that spot over the course of the year with success. He’s certainly an option while he remains on that line, but I’d rather Reinhart for example. Jacob Trouba is a terrific bangers option getting PP2 time who is mostly owned (51% owned) in competitive leagues, but it doesn’t hurt to go check. For a lesser-owned bangers option seeing the same PP2 deployment check out K’Andre Miller, who is averaging 22:21 of ice time over his last five games with solid shot volume and fills out those aforementioned bangers cats very nicely. On the goalie side, the Rangers have a mid-week back-to-back against the Flyers that should be an advantageous place to play Alexandar Georgiev (20% owned).
Honestly this is a horrible team to look to for streamers. They don’t seem to have much of a team identity, the coach is divvying up minutes very equally among three and even four lines at times, and it’s sometimes hard to figure out which power play unit is the top unit. None of the Canadiens are hot right now either in point production or underlying stats, so I’m adopting a hands off approach here. It’s likely that one or two of Jonathan Drouin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, or Phillip Danault will have a nice week, but good luck figuring out which one that will be. Alexander Romanov (10% owned) is the best bangers option that’s widely available, and Corey Perry (3% owned) is another look in deep banger leagues given his power play deployment.
There are two rules of thumb when choosing Wild streamers: who is playing with Kirill Kaprizov and who is playing with Kevin Fiala? You also get bonus points for being on the PP1 unit alongside both of those two studs. Unfortunately the only player to meet both criteria is the wildly (heh) unappealing Victor Rask (1% owned), who is well known in fantasy hockey circles for being generally terrible at hockey. Mats Zuccarello (23% owned) is playing on Kaprizov’s line and is hot right now (shooting 40% in his last five games with a 100% individual points percentage), so you could probably do worse than the Zuc this week. Jared Spurgeon (40% owned) remains the best Wild player to stream/add as the sole defenseman on the PP1 unit, but his play of late has been unspectacular to say the least. That said, the Wild get two games versus the Coyotes, one against the Kings, and one against the Sharks this week so they avoid both Vegas and Colorado and should be in line for a few extra goals as a result. Kaapo Kahkonen (40% owned) should get at least one game this week against an inferior opponent given the Friday/Saturday back to back.
Other Teams to Target
Another streaming strategy I like to look at is anyone playing an early-week back to back where I can get two quick games and then flip to a player with 3 games Thursday-through-Sunday to get a nice five-game week out of my streaming spot. Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, and Tampa Bay fit that bill this week, and I’m particularly interested in Nikita Gusev (6% owned) given his current top-line top-PP deployment and early week B2B versus Columbus.
Pittsburgh gets three games versus New Jersey this week (albeit all on heavy nights) plus a Sunday tilt against Boston, so if Jared McCann (43% owned) is still somehow available that’s a really good look. Same goes for Jason Robertson (47% owned) who should be owned but if not, gets four straight versus Detroit this week which should have everyone salivating. New Jersey has the same schedule as Pittsburgh, so Jack Hughes (39% owned) should be owned in every league given his very impressive chance generation (10th in iCF/60 over his last five games) and opportunity (20:18 ATOI in those five). Linemate Yegor Sharangovich (3% owned) is a very viable option as well given his similar 18:52 ATOI. Rookie Ty Smith has quietly re-assumed the PP1 QB role in New Jersey and his SCF/60 ranks 19th in the league over his last five games which is certainly worth a look.
Philadelphia only plays three games this week but they all come from Thursday onward including that hawt Friday/Sunday, making them an ideal team to target late in the week. Watch your waiver wires as even the more commonly rostered guys could be dropped given their lack of games early in the week.
That’s all for this one folks! Make sure you follow Apples & Ginos on Twitter or join the Apples & Ginos Discord server for more content and to ask any fantasy hockey questions you may have.
Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!
Advanced stats credit: Natural Stat Trick
Title photo credit: Jared Silber – MSG Photos