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It’s playoff time in fantasy hockey which means hard decisions need to be made for the stretch run. Do you ditch the player who held your roster together only to fade when you needed him most? Do you grab that risky young talent who’s getting more ice time now that his team’s out of playoff contention?
Here’s all the latest to help you win your week.
TEAMS TO TARGET
Even with their playoff hopes quickly fading, the Sens have put the league on notice with their high-end offense. With a 5-2 win against the Panthers on Monday, they’ve now scored 15 goals in their past three games, and that scoring binge should continue. After hosting the Flyers on Thursday, the Sens will face their toughest opponent of the week in the Leafs, but note the season series is 1-1-1 with an average of seven goals scored per game. If they can get over the Leafs, another easy matchup awaits with a visit to Columbus on Sunday.
Besides the usual top-tier options in Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle, there will be plenty of scoring opportunities for Shane Pinto, who scored Monday, and also for Derick Brassard, who plays with Pinto on the power play. Also note that with Jakob Chychrun injured, Jake Sanderson is quarterbacking the top power-play unit while Thomas Chabot and Erik Brannstrom share duties on the second unit.
The Flyers have a very favorable schedule this week with three of their four opponents playing on the second half of a back-to-back. The Habs (Tuesday), Sabres (Saturday) and Penguins (Sunday) will all face the Flyers after playing the night before. That also means the Flyers may face as many as three backup goalies this week, not counting Thursday’s game against the Sens, who are carrying their third and fourth-string goalies at the moment.
The Flyers spread out their scoring, but lately, their best performers have been Owen Tippett and Joel Farabee, who play on a line centered by Noah Cates. Tippett and Farabee have scored eight goals each in March to lead the team, and Tippett has put 46 shots on net, averaging more than four per game and 13 more than the next-highest total from Scott Laughton.
TEAMS TO AVOID
The Jets look tempting because they have a roster with some big names and face struggling teams in the Sharks and Red Wings this week. However, the Jets have been in a bit of a freefall lately going just 5-5-0 in their past 10 games. Kyle Connor has only one goal in 13 games in March. Top center Mark Scheifele and Norris candidate Josh Morrissey are a combined minus-25. The Jets are so desperate for a spark that they’re planning on deploying Vladislav Namestnikov, who has scored just eight goals this season, on a scoring line with Scheifele and Wheeler. With only three games scheduled, the Jets are just too unreliable given their recent struggles.
At first glance, the Pens’ schedule isn’t that difficult. After visiting the Wings on Tuesday, they’ll play their remaining three games at home with the Preds on Thursday and then the Bruins and Flyers over the weekend. But you look up and down the Pens lineup and there’s a shortage of attractive fantasy options. Jason Zucker and Rickard Rakell are likely your best options outside of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel, but even Rakell has become a dicey play, having been dropped to a line with Ryan Poehling and Danton Heinen. Mikael Granlund will get a chance with Malkin and Zucker, but he’s largely been a disappointment since arriving from Nashville. With poor depth, a battered defense and shaky goaltending, the Pens just don’t have much to offer.
Streamers (rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Tyson Foerster, C, Flyers
Along with Tippett and Farabee noted above, also keep an eye out for Foerster, who is one of the Flyers’ best prospects and scored three goals in four games before being re-assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. The minor-league assignment should only be temporary; with a two-day break before Tuesday’s clash with the Habs, the Flyers sent Foerster down so he could play Sunday against Hershey, and in all likelihood will call him back up. Over the past week, Foerster averaged 17:52 TOI/GP, fourth-highest among Flyers forwards, showing that John Tortorella is not shy about playing the rookies.
Phillip Danault, C, Kings
Danault is coming off a three-assist effort against the Blues, giving him seven points in his past six games. It helps when your wingers, Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala, are red-hot, and despite the Kings playing all four of their games on the road this week, none of their opponents are particularly strong on defense.
Dylan Strome, C/RW, Capitals
The Caps’ latest lineup shuffle has moved Strome to the top line, where he’s been excellent centering Tom Wilson and Alex Ovechkin. With two points Saturday against the Pens, Strome is now Washington’s leading scorer in March with 17 points in 12 games, tied for 12th in the league. Evgeny Kuznetsov has drawn the ire of the Caps’ coaching staff all season, so Strome’s strong play should make him the top pivot for the rest of the campaign.
Phil Di Giuseppe, LW/RW, Canucks
Di Giuseppe has become one of Rick Tocchet’s favorites and has cemented his spot on the second line next to J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser. The long-term minor-league journeyman is a proven scorer in the AHL and is now getting to show his wares. Only three Canucks — Miller, Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko — have scored more points than Di Giuseppe over the past week. He’s worth streaming in the deepest of leagues given his role on one of the league’s best teams over the past month.
Michael Matheson, D, Canadiens
Matheson’s assist Monday against the Sabres pushed his point streak to four games, and he’s been invaluable to the Habs’ blue line since returning from injury. He plays a ton of minutes and currently quarterbacks their top power play. While Matheson has never been known for his offense, note that he’s made an effort to shoot the puck far more often lately, averaging 2.56 shots per game compared to 1.89 last season.
Joonas Korpisalo, G, Kings
The Kings have stubbornly stuck with their rotation, and barring any changes, Korpisalo will be the lucky one this week, facing the Flames and Kraken but avoiding the Oilers. Korpisalo remains unbeaten since joining the Kings, going 4-0-1 with a .929 save percentage. The Kraken may seem like an intimidating opponent, but they’ve been very average at home, going 15-16-4.
Laurent Brossoit, G, Golden Knights
Brossoit looked fantastic after missing a month due to injury, allowing just three goals against the Oilers. He’s played sparingly this season due to injuries, but given his strong performance, he will likely split the starts going forward with Jonathan Quick. The Knights’ goalie-friendly system means wins are a little easier to come by, making Brossoit worth a streaming start or two, especially with a Thursday matchup against the Sharks coming up.